William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

ICU - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many animals can you treat on your ICU?
A: We currently have physical space and staffing to care for not more than 12 animals at a time. Our architectural and fund-raising plan to remodel and increase our capacity for care in the ICU and ER was recently completed.

Q: How can I donate to the Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Service expansion?
A: Contact any veterinarian in the Emergency and Critical Care Service or Tom Venturino in the School of Veterinary Medicine Development Office (530.754.2160) or (http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/Gifts/default.html).

Q: What does it cost to have my pet in ICU?
A: Daily ICU fees range from $400-1900 per day dependent upon the level of care, treatments, and specialized equipment used.

Q: What is the nurse to patient ratio?
A: One extensively trained ICU veterinary nurse cares for between 1 and 3 patients at any given time.

Q: What is the average length of stay for a patient in the ICU?
A: Some pets are in the ICU for only a few hours and one required our intensive care for 36 days. When averaging all the patients, we find the average stay in the ICU to be just over 2 days. They are often in the hospital longer but are moved to the general wards as their condition improves.

Q: Why would my pet be admitted to the ICU and not the general wards?
A: If your pet requires intensive monitoring, personalized minute to minute care and treatment adjustments, oxygen therapy, blood transfusions, or intense post-operative recovery care, your veterinarian will direct your pet's care in the ICU.

Q: Is there a veterinarian in the ICU all night long?
A: The primary veterinarian who directs the care of the ICU patient is not always at its cage side, but there is a doctor in the hospital at all times. Our specially trained ICU veterinary nurses are. The primary veterinarian, as well as the board certified ICU veterinarians, are always on call and available 24/7 to answer questions from the nurses and to modify therapy as clinically indicated.

Q: What does ACVECC mean?
A: American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. This is the specialty college that certifies veterinarians with advanced training in this veterinary medical specialty.

Q: What does it take to become board certified by ACVECC?
A: A specialist in emergency and critical care is a veterinarian who is dedicated to treating life-threatening conditions. They undertake specialized training after graduation from veterinary school: usually a one year internship and a 3-year ACVECC residency training program. The veterinarian must then pass a difficult board certification examination given by the ACVECC. Upon successful completion of the residency and passing the examination, the veterinarian is a Diplomate of the ACVECC, is termed a 'specialist', and is board certified in veterinary emergency and critical care.

Q: Do you have an ACVECC Residency Program?
A: Yes. Our residents are graduate veterinarians who have chosen to have additional training in the specialty of Emergency and Critical Care. This intense program focuses on the most up-to-date techniques for diagnosis and treatment of life threatening disease or injury. The emergency and critical care residency is supervised by mentors who have completed similar training and are themselves board certified Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

Q: How do I know if a veterinarian is a specialist in emergency and critical care?
A: You can ask the veterinarian or look for the ACVECC credential (DACVECC). You may also check the ACVECC web site (www.acvecc.com) where all ACVECC Diplomates are listed.

Q: How do I know if my pet needs a specialist veterinarian in Emergency and Critical Care?
A: First, ask your veterinarian. Any pet that is seriously ill might benefit from this type of care. Animals that have sustained trauma or bite wounds are an obvious example, but a number of other problems are commonly treated. The following is a sampling of the type of patients that routinely benefit from care by an ACVECC Diplomate:

• Trauma patients, including those hit by cars, or those having sustained bite, bullet, burn, or other injuries
• Any animal that is having trouble breathing
• Animals that need a blood transfusion
• Any patient that is in shock (signs of shock can include weakness, pale gums, cold feet, 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 or unable to eat on their own
• Animals in which an 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