As CARE’s first Emergency Critical Care Specialist, I wanted to write an article explaining what a “Criticalist” does. And, most specifically, how I will help your pets throughout their treatment.

While there are many specialized areas of veterinary medicine at CARE, we often work together (one of the best parts about CARE) to foster a multi-specialty team approach to our patients’ needs. Our common goal: help our patients through their hospitalization so they can live their happiest, healthiest lives.

How A Criticalist Fits In

As CARE’s Criticalist, I focus on working in the Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit. I also have advanced training in complex cases. Rather than concentrating on one body system, such as cardiology or neurology, I take a comprehensive approach to caring for each ICU patient.

Specifically, I focus on triage, stabilization, life-saving procedures and learning the most up-to-date techniques for diagnosing and treating the critically ill or ER patient. Depending on the case, I collaborate with other Board-Certified vets and Emergency vets within CARE or my patient’s primary care vet.

Critical Care Referrals

If your pet needs further testing or treatment, or if your primary care vet deems specialized equipment and/or expertise, you may be referred to a Criticalist.

As the pet owner, if you feel that your pet’s treatment could benefit from a Criticalist’s care, ask your vet or the ER doctor who is managing your pet’s case.

Common Critical Care Cases

Any pet that is seriously ill may benefit from the care of a Criticalist in a 24/7 facility. For instance, I am often brought into cases that require a dog or cat to receive frequent blood pressure monitoring, heart monitoring, electrolyte or acid-base blood work monitoring, frequent blood sugar monitoring, intravenous fluids and blood transfusions.

I also attend to and work with animals who are going through or require:

  • Traumas: These most commonly include an animal who has been hit by a car, attacked by other animals, stabbed with a knife or burned.
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Transfusions
  • Life-threatening poisoning
  • Signs of shock, such as an elevated or very slow heart rate, low blood pressure, pale gums, collapse, etc.
  • Uncontrollable seizures or neurologic signs, such as coma, non-responsiveness, etc.
  • Seemingly not producing urine or is having difficulty urinating
  • Life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia, organ failure, clotting problems, blood pressure abnormalities, etc.
  • Organ failure, including congestive heart failure, kidney failure, etc.
  • Not responding well from anesthesia or to current treatment

How We Can Help

Regardless of the specialty service, we treat your pet like we treat our own. We maintain an open-door communication policy to manage care alongside your primary care vet. And, as I mentioned before, the CARE team works together to provide the most comprehensive, effective treatment to each of our patients. We want to get your pet well and back to you as quickly as possible!

If your pet has experienced a trauma or requires emergency care, our ER vets are available 24/7/365. Please call ahead and let us know you are coming. 704-457-2300.

If your pet is living with a chronic disease or is in need of specialty care, ask your primary vet for a referral.