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Intensive Care Unit Prepared for the Most Critical Patients

March 3, 2015

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Ruby was treated on a mechanical ventilator in the ICU for more than a week.

March 3, 2015

When pets are critically ill, care provided by the most knowledgeable and skilled critical care veterinarians and technicians increases the likelihood of a successful outcome. The Veterinary Medical Teachng Hospital's Intensive Care Unit has six specialists (four faculty and two staff veterinarians) board certified in emergency and critical care. One of the complex procedures for which they are specially trained is mechanical ventilation. In addition to these highly-skilled veterinary specialists, the ICU is also staffed with technicians who are trained to provide ventilator support as part of the comprehensive patient care services we offer. 

One such recipient of that care is Ruby, a 9-year-old female French bulldog who spent Christmas and New Year’s in the ICU. She arrived at the VMTH a few days before Christmas in respiratory distress. Our critical care specialists placed her in an oxygen cage overnight and sedated her to keep her calm. Due to her distress becoming more severe overnight, Ruby needed to be placed on the mechanical ventilator. She remained on the ventilator for a week, and then remained hospitalized for another week until her lungs were functioning well enough for her to be released.

The VMTH was a pioneer in mechanical ventilation, having developed protocols for utilizing and enhancing this technology in companion animals and foals since the inception of the hospital more than 40 years ago. The hospital, which currently has four mechanical ventilators, continues to be at the forefront of mechanical ventilation, and likely uses the procedure on more critical patients than any other veterinary facility. Ventilator patients need to be carefully monitored around the clock, which requires a large team of technicians and veterinarians with advanced training in mechanical ventilation. Being the largest teaching hospital in the nation allows the VMTH to train and maintain such a dedicated team, which is difficult to accomplish in even the largest multi-specialty hospitals.

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About the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
The William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis—a unit of the School of Veterinary Medicine—provides state-of-the-art clinical care while serving as the primary clinical teaching experience for DVM students and post graduate veterinarian residents. The VMTH treats more than 47,000 animals a year, ranging from cats and dogs to horses, cows and exotic species. To learn more about the VMTH, please go to Timely news updates can be received on its Facebook ( and Twitter ( pages.

Rob Warren
VMTH Communications & Marketing Officer