Southeast home of new critical care provider

Southeast home of new critical care provider

Nov 01, 2001
By staff

Auburn University, Ala.-Critically ill pets in the Southeast may gain a second chance at life in the newly-launched Critical Care Program at Auburn University (AU).

The emergency veterinary program is one of five university programs nationwide. (The others are at Tufts University, Colorado State University, University of California, Davis, University of Illinois and University of Pennsylvania.)

Dr. Jim Wohl, dipl. ACVIM, ACVECC, an associate professor who serves on the critical care team, says the program emerged as the direct result of a need in three areas.

"We saw a demand for that type of service by clients in the Southeast," he says. Secondly, referring veterinarians were seeking such a program when animals needed urgent care.

"Third, we have students clamoring for more education and experience in critical care medicine," he says.

The intensive care unit is operated 24 hours a day by AU clinicians and technicians. Specialists are also available in internal and critical care medicine.

"We have always been a referral hospital, but this new program will allow us to quickly admit an acutely ill animal on the same day that a veterinarian calls," says Dr. Timothy Boosinger, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "In the past, most of these animals had to wait until the next available appointment."

The college operates as a veterinary hospital for animal owners within a 30-mile radius. Beyond that radius, pet owners must have a referral from a general practitioner.

Redesigned program

Investment was minimal, according to Boosinger, who says the college was able to transfer existing faculty to newly created posts.

"We have faculty members with extensive experience and training in critical care, so we shifted some of their responsibilities so they could be more available to practicing veterinarians for the same-day referral of critically sick dogs and cats," he says.

Those on the AU Critical Care team are: Dr. Douglas Macintire, ACVIM, ACVECC, Small Animal Critical Care; Wohl, Small Animal Critical Care; Mary Tefend, RVT, Hill's instructor in Veterinary Critical Care Nursing; and Dr. Ted Bellhorn, ACVIM, Small Animal Critical Care.

Hill's Pet Nutrition is active in the program by supporting a new faculty post: Tefend's appointment. She previously worked five years to create the Texas A&M University intensive care unit.

Educational hub

The new critical care program doubles as a regional training center for students and veterinarians in the study of veterinary emergency and critical care medicine.

"We are an approved residency training site sanctioned by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC) Medicine," says Wohl. When training is completed, residents take a specialty board certification examination to earn status in the ACVECC.

For more information, call the AU College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences at (334) 844-4690.