The intensive care unit at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre aims to provide the highest quality of care to critically ill small animals. The unit is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by critical care technicians.
The ICU is managed by a critical care clinician, Dr. Jennifer Ogeer, who completed a residency in emergency medicine and critical care. Clinical associates in anesthesia also staff the ICU and assist the VMC clinicians with patient care and provision of appropriate analgesia.
The ICU is equipped with state-of-the art medical devices that are used in critical care:
Q. How many animals spend time in the WCVM's ICU for small animals?
Approximately 800 to 1,000 dogs and 300 to 500 cats are hospitalized in the Small Animal ICU each year, with an average of four to eight patients per day. The average stay of all small animal patients admitted to the ICU is approximately three to five days.
Q. What costs can be expected for the critically ill patient care provided 24 hours a day in the ICU?
Costs to owners for hospitalization in the ICU typically vary between $300 and $600 per 24 hours, depending on the level of patient care and monitoring required.
Q. What illnesses do cats and dogs have that require them to stay in the ICU?
Animals with unstable cardiovascular diseases, oxygen-dependency, extreme pain, severe infections or septic states, extreme neurologic complications, severe metabolic derangement, or those requiring blood transfusions, ventilatory support, or intensive monitoring all reside in the ICU for the highest possible level of care and monitoring.
Animals that require hospitalization in the small animal ICU include those with severe pancreatitis, respiratory distress, acute congestive heart failure, pneumonia, moderate to severe trauma (from automobile accidents or other traumatic accidents), complicated diabetes, and recent surgeries and surgical complications. Canine and feline patients from other services such as internal medicine, soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurology and the emergency service may be hospitalized in the ICU. The care of these patients is directed by the supervising service and the critical care clinicians are available to provide consultations as needed to these services.
Q. What is the technician-to-patient ratio in the ICU?
The ratio varies from 1:1 to 1:4, depending on the intensity of care necessary to provide optimal care for the patient.
Q. Why does my pet need to be admitted to the ICU if it only needs fluid therapy?
Currently, the ICU is the only section of the hospital that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by trained technicians who can monitor patients on fluids. The technicians are trained to monitor the patients for signs of fluid overload and respiratory rate. They can troubleshoot and address any problems that may arise with the IV catheters or fluid pumps.
Q. Can I visit my pet?
Yes, there is a visiting policy in place for ICU visits:
Q. Can I bring in my pet’s special toys and blankets?
In general, we discourage any personal items with patients in the ICU. These are often lost or misplaced in the laundry and not returned to you.
Dr. Jennifer Ogeer
Associate Professor, emergency and critical care
Dr. Casey Gaunt
Clinical Associate, emergency and critical care
Small Animal Clinic:
Large Animal Clinic: