Critical Care

What does it mean to be a Board Certified Emergency and Advanced veterinary Critical Care Specialist?

The first step is to obtain a doctorate of veterinary medicine at a recognized school. Then the veterinarian must complete a minimum 3 year residency of intense training in emergency, critical care, and surgery through a program approved by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC). The resident focuses on the most up to date techniques for diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening disease processes in an emergency and for the critical time the animal is recovering. The resident is supervised by DACVECC mentors and monitored by the ACVECC. Upon completion of these 3 years of comprehensive training, the veterinarian must pass a difficult board certification examination given by the ACVECC. Once successful, the veterinarian is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, is termed a specialist, and is ‘board certified’. Only those who have gone through this grueling process can hold the title of Board Certified in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

Any pet that is seriously ill might benefit from this type of care. The following is a sampling of the types of patients that routinely benefit from care by an Emergency and Critical Care Specialist.

Trauma patients, including those who have been hit by a car, bite wounds, bullet wounds, knife or burn injuries.
Any animal that is having troubles breathing
Patients who may be in need of assisted breathing/ventilation
Any patient that is in shock (signs of shock can include weakness, pale mucous membranes in their mouth, cold extremities, and an abnormal heart rate)
Animals that are having trouble urinating or are not producing urine
Dogs and cats that need specialized nutritional support because they are unwilling of unable to eat on their own
Animals in which abnormal heart rhythm is causing problems
Animals with life threatening neurologic disease such as coma or severe seizures that are not responding to medications
Patients that have had surgery and are not recovering well from anesthesia or are having trouble in the first few post-operative days.

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