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Critical Care

The SASH Critical Care service has a state of the art intensive care unit with all the equipment necessary to care for the most critically ill cats and dogs.

State of the art critical care

The Critical Care service at SASH provides around the clock care to patients with life-threatening illness and injuries. Working closely together as a dedicated team of veterinary specialists and nurses, we do everything we can to restore the quality of life of critically ill patients, and to give families peace of mind at a particularly difficult time.

SASH Critical Care

About the Critical Care team

The Critical Care team cares for patients 24 hours a day in our state-of-the-art Intensive Care Unit. Specialist Critical Care veterinarians attend to patients 7 days a week, supported by nursing teams providing constant care and comfort. Combining expertise, vigilance and a deep commitment to the well-being of the pets entrusted to our care, we ensure that our patients’ needs are identified promptly and managed in the best possible way.

While some of the patients treated by the Critical Care team are pets admitted to hospital through our 24-hour Emergency Department, we also care for patients initially being treated by other specialty departments at SASH. Modern veterinary care requires a team approach to the treatment of patients with complex needs, and the Critical Care service plays a vital role in providing the highest level of care for SASH patients undergoing major surgery, those with complicated medical diseases and patients experiencing unexpected acute decline. This close collaboration ensures that every aspect of a patient’s care is addressed as part of an all-encompassing, integrated management plan.

We understand that no-one wants to be in a position where they need the services of a Critical Care team. We also recognise that, when this kind of support is required, it can mean the world to feel reassured that your beloved family member is in caring and capable hands. It is our privilege to combine our knowledge, skills and compassion to provide comfort to those in need and help pets and their families live their best life.

Services and equipment

The dedicated Intensive Care Unit at SASH resembles that in a human hospital, both in terms of the level of patient care and the advanced nature of the facilities.

Some of the sophisticated critical care equipment and services available at SASH are the first of their kind in veterinary hospitals in Australia. Our services will continue to evolve with further developments in technology and understanding, so that we can constantly improve our ability to help pets recover from serious illness and live happy and healthy lives.

Our facilities include:

  • Equipment for continuous monitoring of heart function (wireless ECG), blood pressure and blood gases (pulse oximetry, capnography)
  • Laboratory equipment including blood gas measurement
  • Equipment for high flow oxygen therapy for severe lung disease – the first of its kind in veterinary medicine in Australia
  • Life support (aka mechanical ventilators) equivalent to those used in human hospitals, these devices breathe for animals that have severe respiratory disease and cannot breathe for themselves
  • Advanced monitoring of blood clotting and platelet function (thromboelastography)
  • Blood transfusion for both cats and dogs
  • Equipment for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation including a defibrillator
  • 2 portable ultrasound machines– for animals that are too unwell to be moved to radiology
  • Oxygen cages with climate control and humidification
    High Flow Oxygen Therapy – like a CPAP machine for dogs

FAQs about Critical Care

Communication with families a key priority for our team. The Critical Care veterinarian will provide families with updates at least once a day, including the results of diagnostic testing and any significant changes in their pet’s treatment plan. At other times, the nurses caring for individual patients are able to provide brief updates.

The Intensive Care ward is attended by veterinarians and nurses, 24 hours per day. Should there be any change in a pet’s condition a member of our veterinary team will contact the patient’s familyto discuss these  developments. When the Critical Care specialists are not in the hospital, they are on-call to provide advice as needed for patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

We are in communication with referringveterinarians throughout a pet’s time at SASH. When a pet goes home, the primary care veterinarian receives a comprehensive copy of the patient’s medical records, including diagnostic results, medications administered and the follow-up care required. We provide ongoing support as needed to help achieve the best possible long-term outcomes for each patient.

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