Doctor of Vet Medicine, Tufts-Cummings School of VM, USA, 1989
Master of Science, Tufts Univ-Friedman SNSP, USA, 1985
BA, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States, 1981
A veterinary anesthesiologist, pain specialist, and animal welfare scientist, Dr. Alicia Karas has dedicated her career to the alleviation of pain and stress in animals. She is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia (ACVAA).
Dr. Karas graduated from Tufts Veterinary School in 1989 and after several years in practice returned to Tufts to do a residency.
Dr. Karas started an elective on pain management in 1994 for DVM students and residents, and, along with her anesthesia section colleagues, brought many of the lectures into the school's core curriculum. She uses video often in her lectures to illustrate various indicators of pain in many species.
At the Cummings School, Dr. Karas teaches anesthesia and pain medicine for companion animal populations. She is always examining ways to assess pain, reduce stress and improve quality-of-life. This includes reducing the pain of examinations by using skillful sedation, meeting postoperative needs for pain control and treating chronic pain. "What I love about teaching is the ability to share this vision of making hospital visits and everyday life as comfortable and fulfilled as possible," she says. "There are so many ways to do this—our clinicians and technicians work to diagnose and cure illness; along with that goes the experience of being cared for."
She has partnered with Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil and other veterinarians, technicians and hospital staff to forge new ways to reduce pain and stress throughout their hospital stay. The "Chill Protocol", a method of providing oral sedation prior to hospital visits, is a product of their collaboration.
Dr. Karas also recognized that many of her elderly patients suffer from a form of cognitive dysfunction, similar to that seen in humans. She teaches her clients to use nutritional and other strategies to help dogs and cats deal with their senior challenges.
As the faculty mentor for our student-run Pet Loss Hotline, she works to help our students understand the grieving process and complicated grief, to learn the value of empathetic listening and self-care for the practitioner.
In 2018, she took on the full time administrative position of Hospital Director at Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment and Specialties (TuftsVETS) in Walpole, MA. Tufts VETS is an emergency and specialty practice with numerous board certified specialists and 5 interns. In addition to her role running this successful hospital, she serves as the Tufts VETS staff anesthesiologist and consults with veterinarians about managing pain and cognitive dysfunction.