The ICU doctors coordinate the care of critical pets with other specialties within our hospital because critical patients often have complex problems that are better tackled by a team of different specialists. Any pet that is seriously ill usually needs intensive nursing care including continuous monitoring of ECG, oxygen levels and blood pressure. The ICU doctors monitor the changing status of the critical patient and provide the diagnostics and treatments required to keep these patients alive.
This type of illness rarely gets better rapidly or smoothly. More commonly the initial, acute period is followed by a longer period of recovery during which the body remains at risk from infections or relapse.
Our ICU is the only one in British Columbia that is headed by board-certified critical care specialists.
How do I know if my pet needs a specialty care veterinarian in Emergency and Critical Care?
Any pet that is seriously ill might benefit from this type of care. Animals that have sustained trauma or bite wounds are an obvious example, but a number of other medical or surgical problems are treated commonly.
The following is a sampling of the type of patients that routinely benefit from care in an ICU with critical care specialists:
- Trauma patients, including those hit by cars or with bite, bullet, knife or burn injuries
- Any animal that is having trouble breathing
- Animals that may require blood or blood product transfusions (such as whole blood, plasma or albumin)
- Any patient that is in shock (signs of shock can include collapse, weakness, pale gums, cold extremities, and an abnormal heart rate)
- Animals that are having trouble urinating, or are not producing urine (such as animals that have a blockage and or may need peritoneal dialysis)
- Dogs and cats that need specialized nutritional support because they are unwilling or unable to eat on their own
- Animals in which an abnormal heart rhythm is causing problems like weakness or collapse
- Animals with life-threatening neurologic disease such as coma or severe seizures that are not responding to medications
- Patients that need major surgery, that have had surgery and are experiencing serious complications or are not recovering well from their anesthetic or are having trouble in the first few post-operative days
These references are taken from the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.