Intensive Care Unit

What is Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care?  

ICU-thames2Emergency and Critical Care is a specialty within veterinary medicine. Those veterinarians working in Emergency and Critical Care love taking care of patients with emergent and critical needs. The MSU CVM ICU is open 24/7 and staffed with certified veterinary technicians and veterinarians year round. The goals of the ER are to admit patients with urgent needs, stabilize them on presentation then determine their short and/or long-term treatment needs. Long term treatments might involve consultations with additional specialists, further diagnostics procedures and surgical or medical management. Veterinarians trained in emergency and critical care address the urgent and critical needs of your companion by providing individualized, intensive and compassionate care.

What special treatments and therapies can a veterinary ICU provide?

  • Advanced Diagnostics (blood tests, digital radiographs, ultrasound, advanced imaging including CT and MRI)
  • Acute pain management
  • Stabilization of emergency patients (snake bites, heatstroke, toxin exposures, near drowning, bite wounds, vehicular traumas)
  • Oxygen therapy (additional oxygen supplementation via oxygen cage or ventilation due to respiratory distress or neurologic disease)
  • Management of diabetic and endocrine emergencies
  • Pre-operative stabilization for surgical patients including constant rate infusions for pain, administration of fluid therapy, blood transfusions, antibiotics, anti-seizure medications and other biologic products (antivenin, albumin, lipid therapy)
  • Intensive monitoring for critical or post-operative patients (continuous electrocardiogram monitoring, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, urine production, neurologic status)
  • Provision of nutrition for patients with chronic disease​

When does your Companion Animal need Emergency or Critical Care?

In any of the following instances:  


  •     Traumatic injuries (vehicular trauma, bite wounds, bullet, knife or burn injuries)
  •     Patients in need of blood transfusions or with bleeding disorders
  •     Patients in shock (signs include weakness, pale gums, cold limbs and an abnormal heart rate)
  •     Animals  having trouble urinating or are producing inappropriate amounts of urine (too much or too little)
  •     Patients that are having trouble breathing that need supplemental oxygen
  •     Patients with seizures or other neurologic abnormalities
  •     Patients that have been exposed to a toxin (insecticides, pesticides, certain plants and even foods)
  •     Any patient with an abnormal heart rate or rhythm that is experiencing exercise intolerance or having episodes of syncope (fainting)
  •     Animals suffering from extreme temperatures (heatstroke or hypothermia)