Dear colleagues,

I am writing to tell you that Tufts VETS is cancelling the March and April evening Continuing Education events, and to let you know some other temporary policies we have instituted.

We have cancelled CE on direction of the Tufts University policy for instituting social distancing measures We will miss seeing you and hope to return to our programming in May. We will connect with you about that when we know how things are going.

The other policies we are putting in place are very similar to ones you yourselves are writing and have heard about or experienced in other health professions. A devastating consequence of widespread quarantine among our staff is that we might have to close our Emergency Room. I cannot envision being unable to take care of the urgent sick and injured pets that present to our ER.

So, we are going to be as careful as we can. You might hear from your clients that we sent them away or made them reschedule elective appointments and that they are not happy about it. Hopefully most people are recognizing that it just doesn’t make sense to go in public right now, but we all lose our minds a bit when it comes to our pets, (and toilet paper) don’t we?

We will be providing scripted messages for our liaisons and Team ER to use. For clients with fever, respiratory illness, etc, we will have to make special arrangements – have a friend who is minimally exposed bring the pet, etc.

Our specialists are working on lists of essential conditions/patients so that we can at the present time, continue seeing those patients. We may be able to consult with you about patient issues as well, please consider getting photos or videos and as always, please use the referral portal on our website – sending a question to one person risks it not being noticed if that person is not at work!

We will be posting updated information on our website periodically so check back from time to time.

I am asking you to please refrain from sending patients in through the ER as a way to get them to a specialty service. This is unduly costly for the client (they pay both the ER exam and specialty consult or appointment), it involves a sometimes lengthy wait in the waiting room (which translates to a wait in the car for the time being) and the ER often cannot get started on the workup until they have the specialist’s advice. I need to keep the ER service for true emergencies just now.

Do get in touch with me if you have concerns or questions.

I send my very best to you and hope that we all weather this challenge well.

Alicia Z. Karas