Clinical Activities and Procedures

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Critical Care at the VMTH is provided through the Steve C. Haskins Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Established in 1975, and dedicated to Dr. Haskins in 2014, it is one of the longest-running veterinary critical care centers in the United States.

One of the goals of Critical Care is to provide immediate initial recognition, evaluation and care of patients with acute illness and injury, and continued care for critically ill patients. Our specialists strive to pursue the extension and preservation of life, and to promote the well-being of our patients through the relief of suffering and restoration of health.

To achieve our goals, the ICU is staffed by a team of board-certified faculty specialists in critical care, staff veterinarians, resident veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students. Many of our technicians are members of the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians (membership is granted by specialty-certifying examination). The ICU is always open to direct patient care to direct patient care and consult as needed.

The VMTH’s state-of-the-art ICU can accommodate eight to 14 patients, depending on patient size and the level of care required. The ICU has five oxygen cages, cardiac monitors, intravenous fluid pumps, syringe pumps, diagnostic ultrasound, mechanical ventilators and advanced hemodynamic monitoring capabilities, including direct arterial blood pressure, cardiac output and continuous electrocardiography. The ICU is also equipped with a laboratory to measure blood gases, electrolytes, lactate, hemoglobin, colloid osmotic pressure, osmolality, activated clotting times and creatinine.

Few facilities have the resources to provide patient care on the level of the VMTH’s ICU, such as: the ability to provide long-term ventilatory support for patients unable to effectively breathe on their own; managing patients with multiple organ disorders; and providing postoperative support to patients that have undergone craniotomies (brain surgery) or cardiothoracic surgery. The ICU also provides ideal pain control protocols individualized to each patient and optimizing fluid therapy and balance using crystalloids and colloids as well as blood products is a particular focus of the ICU.

To learn more about Critical Care, please visit the website of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care at