BY: Lauren Smith, DVM

Dear Veterinary Hospital,

I am writing in regard to the recent developments of the COVID-19 pandemic. I want you to know that I appreciate the hard work and dedication you and your team are putting in in order to continue to provide veterinary care to the community. I know this is a scary time, not only for the health of yourself and your loved ones, but for the health of the business you have worked hard to grow.

I am scheduled to work relief shifts for your hospital in the coming month. I would like you to know that, should the need arise to cancel my shift due to decreased need for non-emergent services, the financial health of your practice, or the presence of ill team members or clients, I will be waiving my normal cancellation fee for any shifts in the month of March or April.

Should you still need my services, I would like to make you aware of a few stipulations. Under normal circumstances, I have always valued reliability as a fundamental trait in a relief veterinarian and strived to always show up and do my best, even when I wasn’t feeling my best. These are not normal times. The decisions I make no longer affect only myself, but the health and wellbeing of the entire community. I will be doing a temperature check prior to any work shifts and should I develop a fever or feel ill in any way, I will institute a self-quarantine and will not be able to work.

I also request written notification of the safety precautions you have taken to protect not only my health while I work there, but the health of your entire team as well as the health of your clients and the community you serve. It is extremely important that as veterinarians we strive to uphold the oath we took to protect the health, not only of animals, but of the public as well. At this time that means conserving personal protective equipment by temporarily suspending elective surgeries such as spays, neuters, and prophylactic dental procedures. It also means instituting social distancing practices to the best of our ability. There are many ways to do this, including postponing vaccine and wellness appointments so as not to encourage clients to risk their health for non-emergent services, instituting curbside services, and/or limiting or eliminating the presence of non-staff members within the building.

If I do not feel that the proper precautions are being taken, I reserve the right to cancel my upcoming relief shift and strongly encourage you to reconsider your policies. These measures may seem extreme, but they will benefit everyone in the long term.

Thank you for your understanding.

Lauren B. Smith, DVM