Tufts Foster Hospital Named New England’s Only Level 1Trauma Center for Small Animals

This entry is article 1 of 8 in the June 2013 issue

The last thing pet owners want to picture is their family pet suffering. What if your pet needs an ultrasound at 3 a.m. or an anesthesiologist immediately? You might not know where to turn—until now.

Recognizing the need for an animal-equivalent of a human trauma center, the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care has developed the nation’s first network of veterinary trauma centers. Nine veterinary hospitals made the list, including Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals: the only hospital in New England with such a distinction.

As a Level One Veterinary Trauma Center, high-level specialists and equipment are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. If you discover your dog collapsed or your cat is hit by a car, highly-skilled veterinarians and board-certified specialists at Tufts Foster Hospital are ready and waiting.

It is reassuring to know there’s a place to turn for trauma that uses a team-based approach allowing emergency/critical care veterinarians to work closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists, radiologists, cardiologists, neurologists, and other specialists. This approach helps ensure trauma patients are taken care of quickly and thoroughly.

“[Our Pomeranian] Abbey was whisked away the moment we arrived as we were checking in with help from the desk staff, Gloria and Tara,” according to Pamela and Raymond from Torrington, Connecticut. “Within 15 or 20 minutes we were apprised of Abbey’s situation. Dr. Bucknoff then went over Abbey’s initial findings and let us know the different issues she was facing, what was being done and what initial care she was getting. The first few days we received timely updates on her condition and what was being done. Those phone calls really helped us to get through the first days until she started getting better. When we came to pick her up six days later, the information we needed to continue her care was clear and concise.”

Clear and consistent communication with owners, like Pamela and Raymond experienced with their dog Abbey, is particularly important in such a stressful situation as taking your pet in for emergency care. Rebecca from Paxton, Massachusetts, concurs. “Dr. Lynch saved my cat’s life,” she said, “and now he’s as good as new. The doctor has consistently followed Bailey’s progress and has been very supportive. I had a wonderful experience.”

Compassion is a vital aspect of the team-based, patient-centered care provided at Tufts Foster Hospital, and we apply it to both patients and their families. As Michelle from Brimfield, Massachusetts, experienced three years ago, Dr. Moyer and the emergency staff “saved my cat Enza’s life when she was rushed in from a home so flea-infested that she needed blood transfusions and ‘died’ twice but was resuscitated. If it wasn’t for the Tufts emergency team, I would never have had the chance to share my life with such an amazing cat.” When Michelle returned recently for an emergency visit, “everything Foster Hospital did was wonderful. It was Easter Sunday and very busy, but the medical staff was able to take care of Enza quickly and ease my stress as well as hers.”

Over the coming year, Tufts Foster Hospital and the other eight designated Veterinary Trauma Centers will form a network of lead hospitals that will seed the development of trauma systems nationally. They will work together to define high standards of care and distribute information and methods that will improve management efficiencies and outcomes for trauma patients.

“This new designation creates a standard of care in veterinary medicine that didn’t previously exist,” said Dr. Armelle de Laforcade, an emergency and critical care veterinarian at Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals and executive secretary of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. “Receiving care at a certified trauma center with the necessary resources in place may help improve survival rates for the most severely traumatized patient.”

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