HELPING PETS ALWAYS, GIVING CARE DURING THE PANDEMIC
Laura Meals of Glen Ellyn
Associate Veterinarian at Glen Ellyn Animal Hospital
Consulting Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarian,
Phillips Park Zoo (Aurora) and Cosley Zoo (Wheaton)
She grew up in Aurora, moved to Naperville, and now lives in Glen Ellyn with her husband, Ryan, two daughters, Madeleine (4.5) and Lila (2), and of course a dog and two cats. Since a very young age, Laura has always felt a deep connection to animals, which led to her career as a staff veterinarian at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, a wildlife rehabilitation facility that provides care and medical treatment to native injured and orphaned wild animals in the western suburbs.
Her days are now spent as an Associate Veterinarian at Glen Ellyn Animal Hospital, as well as the Consulting Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarian at Phillips Park Zoo (Aurora) and Cosley Zoo (Wheaton) examining pets and zoo animals; administering and interpreting diagnostics tests (i.e. x-rays, bloodwork); and performing surgeries. She also spends a significant amount of time addressing client concerns and educating pet owners and zookeepers on animal health and husbandry.
Laura is an essential worker. Animals need constant care, so the COVID-19 crisis cannot shut-down veterinary clinics; but, to reduce exposure to clients and staff, they have had to change the way they operate their clinics.
“Instead of the traditional appointment in an exam room, we are now mainly operating as a curbside business,” she says. “Pet owners typically remain in their car while I examine and/or treat their pet in the clinic. Afterwards, I review my findings and recommendations over the phone with the owner.”
Laura and her colleagues have also been utilizing telemedicine for clients who would prefer not to leave their homes.
“I often have owners send me pictures of their pet's injury or have them video chat with me so I can see a behavior that the owner is concerned about,” she adds.
These times are stressful for everyone, but Laura and her staff have been working harder than ever to keep up with their high patient volume and are grateful everyone has been incredibly flexible with their schedules and willing to help their co-workers. They have also had many clients buy lunch for their entire staff or bring in treats to acknowledge their dedication during the pandemic.