PETS FRIENDLY HUMAN HOSPITALS
This month we have some good news: companion pets will be allowed to visit their owners at Torrevieja and Vinalopó (Elche) hospitals. First of all, this is not an animal-assisted therapy; it just consists of people that is being at the hospital, and even chronic patients who usually spend a lot of time at the hospital, will be allowed to be visited by the pets which live with them. It will be also applicable in case of terminal patients who are about to pass away and want to say goodbye to their pets.
This is a very common procedure in Florida and California hospitals, but not in Europe or Spain. Nowadays there is only a similar project in Ibiza.
These pet visits will take place in special facilities placed apart from hospital rooms, and initially every patient may apply for this service.
Authorizing the visit of the pet or not logically depends on the doctor IN CHARGE, who will consider general condition of the patient, risk of allergic reactions, emotional condition, and if the patient can be moved to pet visits area. As anyone can imagine, the animal must have an updated passport or vaccination book, must be free of zoonotic diseases (transmissible to humans), and in case of dogs, they must be vaccinated against leptospirosis. In other words, they must be healthy and have all the legal requirements (including microchip) updated. Apart from this requirements, the animal will need a specific Veterinary Health Certificate every time they are going to the hospital, which will certificate the animal has had an internal and external antiparasitic treatment and is not suffering diarrhoea, vomiting or coughing. This certicificate is valid for 3 days.
The law that will regulate this service is still an incomplete project, and, so far, it doesn’t mention other companion pets different from the dog, such as cats, rabbits or birds.
In our opinion, these are great news, and we hope they have the law ready as soon as possible.
Liliana Aldeguer Cerdán col 793
English translation by Sergio Reina Esteban col 747