Emergency Critical Care for pets
Specialist veterinary emergency and critical care (intensive care) is dedicated to dealing with life-threatening emergencies as well as managing critically ill pets. Adam Mugford is our ECC specialist, and to be a board-certified Specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care you need to do four or more additional years of intense training in emergency medicine and critical care.
You may be referred to a Specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care if your vet decides that your pet requires specialist equipment and/or expertise. This may be in the form of intensive care support, investigation of severe infection (sepsis) and diseases and the support of failing body systems vital for health such as the heart, lung, kidneys and liver. ECC Specialists are also experts in the care of patients after severe trauma and intoxication.
The ECC service and the veterinary emergency and critical care Specialist are trained to provide life-saving interventions and therapy for the sickest of pets and also admitting urgent cases and arranging consultation with other Specialists within the hospital by transferring your pet the same or following day. This is achieved by working in a multidisciplinary setting with a highly trained group of people in a facility that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week assisting and coordinating with each of the other specialist teams.
The ECC Specialist stays in touch with your vet while your pet is hospitalised, as well as during follow up appointments if required, to ensure the best team approach for your pet’s medical care.
As a pet owner, how do you know if you need an ECC Specialist?
First, ask your vet. Any pet that is seriously ill may benefit from this type of specialist care (ideally in a 24/7 facility). Patients requiring frequent blood pressure monitoring, heart monitoring, electrolyte/acid-base blood work monitoring, frequent blood sugar monitoring, intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, etc. are typically ones that may need a Specialist. Other examples include any pet:
- with any trauma (e.g., those hit by cars, attacked by other animals, knife or burn injuries, etc.)
- having difficulty breathing
- requiring transfusions
- with a life-threatening poisoning
- with signs of shock (e.g., such as an elevated or very slow heart rate, low blood pressure, pale gums, collapse, etc.)
- with uncontrollable seizures or neurologic signs (e.g., coma, non-responsiveness, etc.)
- that may not be producing urine or is having difficulty urinating
- with life-threatening complications (e.g., pneumonia, organ failure, clotting problems, blood pressure abnormalities, etc.)
- with organ failure (e.g., congestive heart failure, kidney failure, etc.)
- not responding well from anaesthesia, or not responding well to current treatment
While this list isn’t all inclusive, please contact your vet to find out more. Specialists want to work with your vet as a team to best treat your pet.