Coronavirus Updates


Updated March 23, 2020

Veterinary Teaching Hospital

With the implementation of the “Stay-at-Home” order by Governor John Bel Edwards, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital will now move to an Emergency-Only protocol starting Tuesday, March 24, 2020. By moving to Emergency-Only, we will meet the intent of the order to reduce personnel movement within our communities, while still meeting the emergency needs of our clients and patients. Our first priority will always be to ensure the health and welfare of the citizens of Louisiana.

In an Emergency-Only protocol, we will only be receiving emergency and essential needs cases to ensure that the cases in most need of care are being treated.

We will continue to postpone non-emergency cases and elective procedures until April 20. This date has been moved back two weeks because of the new order and current public health expectations regarding the spread of COVID-19. 

We have continued to reduce the number of staff and faculty in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and clinical students are now being taught on-line to limit exposure and provide appropriate social distancing.

The large and small animal lobbies will continued to be closed. We believe that by limiting contact, we can better protect the health of our clients. 

Car-side admissions and discharge processes:

  • Clients should arrive in the appropriate small or large animal parking lot.
  • Clients should call our client services desk to notify us of their arrival. The small animal number is (225) 578-9600 and the large animal number is (225) 578-9500.
  • A client service representative will ask you some questions to ascertain your health status and then dispatch the clinical service team to assist you and your patient.
  • Clients and their patients will be greeted car-side by our clinical team and the patient brought into our hospital for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Clients will have limited access to the Teaching Hospital but may remain in their cars; however, we encourage our clients to return home and wait for updates regarding their patient’s discharge.
  • Clients needing prescription refills for their pets should provide 24 business hours’ notice for the refill to be processed. They should call upon arrival and a client services representative can receive payment over phone and bring the prescription out to the car. Refill orders can be placed by calling (225) 578-9600 and selecting option 5.

We do anticipate that there will be increased wait times for our clients and we greatly appreciate your patience during this challenging period for our country.

Please continue to monitor the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine website for updates to our COVID-19 response and for additional updates on rescheduling appointments. 

Thank you for your patience and support of the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Geaux Tigers!

Research Update

The most recent directive from Governor John Bel Edwards declared a statewide stay-at-home order until April 12, 2020. This has raised questions from our faculty about how this order will affect our ongoing research and how we can ensure the safety of our researchers, provide for the care of our animals, and maintain our instruments and processes. 

A note to explain the follow-up procedures at LSU was sent to the entire faculty by academic affairs, and I hope this note will clarify these procedures for our team at the School of Veterinary Medicine. 

The processes for monitoring the safety, upkeep and welfare of animals, as well as cell lines and insects, remains unchanged. Each department should set up procedures such that delicate machines (those that cannot be turned off such as freezers and mass spectrometers, and those that require liquid nitrogen) are monitored at appropriate intervals for the particular machine. Liquid nitrogen levels should also be maintained for long term cell storage. 

New experiments should not be initiated from this point forward and current experiments should be terminated. Laboratory workers such as graduate students and postdoctoral trainees should not enter laboratories except to check on animals or instruments within the laboratory. These visits should be as brief as possible. 

Laboratories currently performing research in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are excluded from this request, with appropriate social distancing in mind. I know of only three qualifying laboratories at the SVM performing such research. Research being performed in those laboratories other than COVID-19 research should be terminated. 

The goal of these directives is to keep the number of people on campus to an absolute minimum without jeopardizing the care of animals, critical instrument maintenance, organism maintenance, and loss of samples or reagents. This should reduce the spread of the virus, which is currently absent from the SVM. 

We take great pride in our research efforts at the LSU SVM, but we must do everything possible to keep our researchers safe and healthy.  I will continue to share any updates from central campus immediately. If you have any questions about the policy, I ask that you please discuss them with your department head. 

Updated March 21, 2020


In light of the continued spread of COVID-19 around the country and Louisiana, the Louisiana Animal Diagnostic Laboratory (LADDL) is closely monitoring the situation. We continue to operate with as many people and functions as possible within the guidelines set forth by Louisiana State University, the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, and Louisiana Department of Health. At this time, LADDL will maintain regular business hours. Most of our services have not been affected, but please note this could change very rapidly. Our diagnostic services to clients may become limited with short notice. We will continue to update our website and encourage you to use that as a resource for up to date information. Please contact our LADDL business office at 225-578-9777 if you have any questions.

Updated March 17, 2020

Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Our Veterinary Teaching Hospital is moving to a reduced services model, where we will postpone elective cases. For emergency and critical cases, hospital staff will take the patient history over the phone and then meet the pet owner in our parking lot to collect the patient; we will operate this way for the foreseeable future to protect our staff and clients.

If you are bringing a pet to the hospital, please call 225-578-9600 when you arrive and select option 3 to let us know you have arrived. Someone will come out to help you.

If you are bringing a horse or farm animal to the hospital, please call 225-578-9500 and press option 2 to let us know you have arrived. Someone will come out to help you.

If you need to pick up medications, call us when you arrive. You can provide payment information over the phone, and we will bring the medication out to you.

Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory

The LADDL courier service is operational as usual. 

Necropsy protocols will continue as usual. People may continue to drop off samples and bodies as usual.

Updated March 16, 2020

Our focus is entirely on the health and safety of our SVM family and the animals in our care.  Our administrative team is well underway planning for numerous scenarios that protect our people and allow us to adjust to changing circumstances as this pandemic takes shape.

Here are the most recent updates from several key areas:

International travel is banned until August 17. Domestic travel is discouraged but is still allowed if it is mission-critical.  


Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Our Veterinary Teaching Hospital team is working through several operational plans with the goal of preserving our commitment to excellent health care and protecting the health of each team member. Our leadership team will be discussing the plans with hospital service chiefs and we will keep everyone informed of any decisions that are made.


Our Student Affairs team is building a framework for off-site learning for each of our classes that keeps each student connected, informed and supported. The team is working through technology options, lecture planning, and creative learning models. The specific needs of our Phase II students are a high priority. Dr. Lorrie Gaschen and her team will be sending out details to the student classes.


Our Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory remains open and the full range of our diagnostic and testing services remain available to our clients. Dr. Udeni Balasuriya and his team are notifying our diagnostic clients that we are fully operational.

Non-essential Personnel to Work Remotely

Given the Governor’s mandate to close bars and restaurants, LSU encourages people to work remotely when possible. Each supervisor should discuss with their employees whether this is possible depending on the mission of their unit. Those who cannot fulfill their mission remotely (research and animal technicians, researchers, staff in the hospital, etc.) would be expected to report to work as usual.  Supervisors are encouraged to be flexible on allowing their employees to work remotely.  


LSU has released guidance on several other issues:

All on-campus events and LSU-sponsored off-campus events of 30 attendees or more to be canceled effective immediately, through May 30. Details are available online.

LSU has provided information to assist employees in conducting their work remotely. The SVM administration is working with our HR and IT teams and campus resources to understand how working remotely will be administered. More info to come on this critical issue. Details are available online.

Research Continuity Planning and the administrative services of ORED will continue for the LSU research community, including via remote operation. More details are available online.

I also encourage you to bookmark the link for the Louisiana Department of Health. It presents the most up-to-date information on coronavirus cases, tests completed and location of reported cases in a dashboard format:

Thank you for your patience, dedication, creativity, and resilience in this unpredictable time. Be safe, wash your hands, practice social distancing and keep supporting each other during this crisis.

Joel D. Baines, VMD, PhD, Dean