VCA Veterinary Specialty Center offers a wide range of emergency and critical care services, including:
- Evaluation and treatment of walk-in patients and referred cases, 24-hours per day, 365 days per year
- Initial diagnostics (radiographs, brief ultrasound, ECG, blood pressure)
- Arrangement of further diagnostics and consultation with other internal specialties
- Initial stabilization and therapy for variety of trauma and medical illnesses
- Continuous care and therapy for hospitalized patients, including case coverage for specialty services overnight and on weekends
- Surgical repair of minor wounds and other injuries
- Emergency soft tissue surgery such as GDV/gastropexy, enterotomy, resection/anastamosis, pyometra, Cesarian section, splenectomy)
- Oxygen therapy and respiratory support including mechanical ventilation
- Nutritional support: enteral and total parenteral
- Advanced pain management
- Transfusion therapy including blood typing, cross matching, plasma, packed red cells, cryoprecipitate and platelet concentrate
- Arterial and central venous blood pressure monitoring
- Pulse Oximetry
- Blood gas evaluation and monitoring
- End-tidal carbon dioxide measurement
- Colloid oncotic pressure measurement
- Electrocardiography (ECG) continual monitoring-telemetry
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 kinds 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 general practitioner 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 general practitioner veterinarian on a referral basis, as well as with any other needed specialists, until the emergency is resolved.
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 and echocardiography.