CritiCare Emergency Care Services: Call 24/7 (703) 752-9102
When your pet needs emergency medical care, naturally, you'd call your veterinarian. But when he or she is not available, who should you call? VCA SouthPaws CritiCare is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. So, we're here even when your veterinarian's office is closed. We like to work as an extension of your veterinarian's practice, with the same caring, compassionate approach you and your pet expect and deserve. We assist with after-hours or daytime emergencies, urgent care needs, critical care, and supportive care to stabilize sick animals preparing for surgery or other procedures. Some pets come to us for post-operative care after their veterinarian has performed surgery so that pain medications and fluid support can be provided overnight.
Even when the power goes out in the greater DC area, SouthPaws can provide care thanks to our backup generator. This unit is large enough to power almost all aspects of our hospital (except CT and Linear Accelerator) for up to seven days without requiring refueling.
To provide this level of care, SouthPaws has recruited veterinarians with expertise in emergency and critical care, and a highly trained and experienced nursing staff. In case your pet needs additional specialty services, veterinarians from our surgery, neurology, oncology, internal medicine, radiology, and ophthalmology departments are on-call and available to our CritiCare doctors.
Brock McGee, DVM
Alicia Montgomery, DVM
Jennifer O'Keefe, DVM
Sara Vachher, DVM, DACVECC
Kathleen Molero, DVM
Kathleen Olsen, DVM
Geoff Tucker, DVM
SouthPaws CritiCare - We're here when you need us.
24/7/365 service for urgent veterinary care offering standard emergency room procedures and diagnostics, but also offering intensive care for critically ill or injured patients. We also care for post-operative or other specialty patients overnight. Our services include:
- Constant, in-hospital doctor and nursing care
- Respiratory therapy including continuous oxygen therapy, nebulization therapies, monitoring of blood gas values, pulse oximetry, and end tidal CO2, and ventilator therapy.
- Comprehensive pain management
- Blood and plasma transfusions
- IV Fluid and colloidal support
- Cardiovascular monitoring, support and therapy including ECG, blood pressure, medical pressor therapy, diuretic therapy, inotropic therapy.
- Nutritional support including enteral and parenteral nutritional therapy
What Is An Emergency and Critical Care Specialist?
A board certified specialist in emergency and critical care is a veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional training in treating life-threatening conditions.
An emergency and critical care specialist can help in the following types of cases, among others:
- Traumatic injury (including fractures, bite wounds, burns, lacerations)
- Respiratory emergencies (including cases in which the use of ventilators is needed)
- Animals in need of blood transfusions
- Animals that are in shock
- Animals with life threatening neurologic disease, such as coma or severe seizures
While your regular veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems and handle many routine emergencies, certain situations may require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in handling emergency and critical care for your pet. An emergency and critical care specialist typically works in tandem with your veterinarian on a referral basis, as well as with any other needed specialists, until the emergency is resolved.
How Can I Find A Specialist in Emergency and Critical Care for My Pet?
If your veterinarian does not handle after-hours emergencies, then he or she probably already has a referral relationship in place with a local or regional emergency hospital. You can also look for emergency specialists in your area on the the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC) website. In addition, you can also check with any veterinary universities in your area to see if they have a fully staffed and equipped emergency room. You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when and where to refer you and your pet for emergency or critical care is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of care for his or her problem.
When Does My Pet Need Emergency Care?
Any of the following situations can be considered an emergency:
- Difficulty breathing
- Ingestion of a foreign object or unknown substance
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in the feces or urine
- Swollen, hard abdomen that is painful to the touch
- Serious wound
- Suspected broken limb
- Any injury to the eye
- Loss of consciousness
- Inability to move or sudden weakness
- Unusual or erratic behavior
- Signs of extreme pain, such as whining or shaking
- Straining to urinate (especially a male cat)
- Labor that does not progress
- Signs of heatstroke
What Is Critical Care?
While an emergency is unfolding, or throughout recovery from a serious illness or accident, ongoing diagnostic and therapeutic care and constant monitoring of your pet's condition may be required. Many emergency and critical care facilities offer 24-hour supervision of critically ill pets and, just as in human hospitals, may have dedicated Intensive Care and Critical Care Units (ICU/CCU). Such facilities are equipped to provide oxygen therapy, cardiac monitoring, blood transfusions, and nutritional support. Such facilities also typically have advanced diagnostic capabilities onsite, such as ultrasound , in-house laboratories, digital radiography and access to specialists in surgery, neurology, oncology, internal medicine, radiology and ophthalmology.
Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?
Many emergency hospitals work on a referral basis with general practitioners. In some cases, your pet will only be referred to the SouthPaws CritiCare for after-hours care. In other cases, your pet may be in the care of the emergency and critical care specialist for the duration of the emergency and recovery, but then referred back to your general practitioner veterinarian for follow up and routine care. For some pets, their urgent medical needs means that they will be cared for in SouthPaws CritiCare to stabilize their conditions, then transferred to one of our other specialty departments for more definitive therapy.
Did You Know?
There are more than 125 board-certified veterinary emergency and critical care specialists in the U.S. today. It is the fastest growing specialty in the profession.