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Critical care is an area of veterinary medicine that treats the most serious and often life-threatening medical cases. Critical care often improves the outcome of these serious cases. PETS is fully equipped and has a medical team that is trained to provide this level of care. We maintain a stock of blood products such as blood cells and plasma, snake bite antivenin, antidotes for toxin ingestion, and a variety of fluid types and medications to treat patients. Critical cases often require additional monitoring utilizing specialized monitoring equipment and on-site laboratory testing.
PETS have one of the only Veterinary Critical Care Units in the Gallatin Valley. The Veterinary Critical Care Unit is a specialized type of equipment that provides oxygen and temperature support. The concept of the unit is to provide an airtight enclosure where the oxygen concentration and temperature are adjusted based on the needs of the patient.
Patients needing supplemental oxygen can be kept in the temperature-controlled unit with oxygen concentrations higher than room air. This increase in oxygen is useful for patients with respiratory distress, shock, or trauma. The Veterinary Critical Care Unit provides a way to administer oxygen without additional stress to the patient. Patients can be kept in the unit on oxygen for extended periods of time allowing them time to respond to medications or recover from conditions such as pneumonia, asthma, or heart disease.
Patients needing temperature support can be cooled or warmed in the unit depending on their condition. Even though Montana does not have the high summer temperatures found in other areas of the country, we often see dogs that are overheated, who can benefit from being in a cool environment to reduce their body temperature. This unit can also be used to warm a patient that has a low body temperature.
The Veterinary Critical Care Unit also allows us to provide nebulization therapy. Nebulization allows medication to mix with oxygen and become small enough to be inhaled by the patient. This therapy allows medication to be delivered quickly to the lungs and airways of the patient.
The use of a Veterinary Critical Care Unit is vital to the care of patients that require oxygen supplementation or temperature support. PETS is certain the patients in the Gallatin Valley will benefit from this level of care not yet available in other hospitals in the area.