Veterinary Intensive Care

March 4th, 2015


If your pet should become injured or ill, you may need to seek emergency care. Some pets require a long term hospital stay or intensive care given the nature of the illness or injuries. If the condition warrants, your pet may be admitted to a veterinary intensive care unit (ICU).

Veterinary ICUs are often staffed by board certified emergency and critical care veterinarians as well as technicians with specialty training and certification in emergency and critical care. This specialty certification requires passing rigorous examinations.

Pets may be referred to the ICU for severe medical or surgical conditions by local practitioners or present directly from an emergency service. They may have complicated disease processes such as: overwhelming infection/sepsis, heart and lung disease, and kidney failure. Some pets have surgical emergencies that require intensive peri-operative care, including: gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), penetrating wounds and bleeding tumors.

Patients in the ICU receive IV fluids, blood products and may require IV nutrition. These patients benefit from on site blood testing and other specialized testing (i.e. x-rays, ultrasound, CT scan and MRIs).

ICUs are equipped with advanced monitoring equipment, including heart monitors and continuous blood pressure monitoring. ICUs are even able to provide oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilation for patients with severe lung disease.

For those patients admitted to an ICU, the stay is often extended, typically ranging from 2-5 days. These patients are labor intensive and require the dedication of the pet’s family and the ICU staff to help achieve the best possible outcome.

Provided by:
Dr. Kim Slensky, Hope Veterinary Specialists

Dr. Kim Slensky is one of the board certified emergency and critical care doctors at Hope Veterinary Specialists. She is part of a team of emergency doctors and other board certified emergency and critical care doctors that contribute to the care of emergent and critically ill patients. The group works closely with the other specialists at the hospital to provide the highest level of care for those patients in need of advanced care and life support.