Critical Care

Our board-certified emergency / critical care doctors are experts in dealing with animals with complex critical and multi-system diseases. Critical care patients often come to VSC following traumatic injury, development of acute life-threatening illness or in conjunction with major surgery. Rather than seeing cases primarily, the critical care service is involved and integrated with all services in our hospital. Depending on your pet’s needs, the critical care service may assume primary responsibility for their care. Life-saving procedures, including thoracocentesis, pericardiocentesis, oxygen therapy, and blood transfusion therapy are performed routinely by this talented team.

We are proud to offer mechanical ventilation services for pets with severe respiratory distress secondary to trauma, lung disease, cardiac disease, and neurologic disease. We are also proud to offer extracorporeal renal replacement therapy (intermittent hemodialysis and therapeutic plasma exchange) for pets suffering from acute kidney injury, immune-mediated disease, exposure to toxins, and other conditions. Our critical care service works seamlessly with our ER and other specialty departments and your primary care veterinarian to ensure a comprehensive approach to patient care.

What is a board-certified veterinary criticalist?

A veterinary criticalist is a veterinarian who has successfully completed additional training, including a minimum of a 1-year internship followed by a 3-year residency in a program that meets the guidelines established by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC). Board-certification requires publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and completion of a rigorous examination.

What to expect if my pet is under the direct care of the Critical Care service

Our critical care service operates 7 days a week. It is helpful for our team to have access to your pet’s medical history if your pet is hospitalized with us. Our staff will facilitate this at the earliest time point possible.

Additional diagnostics (eg, comprehensive blood work, urinalysis, radiographs, ultrasound, CT) may be recommended to accurately diagnose your pet’s condition and optimize treatment recommendations. Our critical care specialists will work with you on developing the best treatment plan taking all factors into consideration. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with you and your primary care veterinarian to provide optimal care for your pet.

We understand it can be stressful to have your pet in the hospital and we value the human / animal bond you share. With this in mind, we strive to provide the following:

Daily updates

  • Our Emergency/Critical Care coordinators will call with a brief morning update on your pet as well as a financial update between 7am-11am daily (NOTE: updates are not currently available on Weds mornings and instead will be provided by your pet’s doctor when they talk with you between 10am-3pm).
  •  The doctor overseeing your pet’s care on the Emergency/Critical Care service will call with a daily update between 10am-3pm. If your pet’s condition changes significantly, we will call you as soon as it is feasible.
  •  If you would like to know how your pet is doing at the end of the day, please feel free to call for one evening update between 9pm-11pm. This update will be given by the technician taking care of your pet.

What will it cost? 

Treatment costs vary widely. Our Critical Care team will keep you updated as charges accrue and discuss changes that may be recommended and/or needed.

Visiting

We offer flexible visiting hours (NOTE: 6am-9am and 6pm-9pm are busy hours in our hospital and we strive to minimize visits during these times). We recommend visits be limited to 30 min or less in order to avoid disrupting your pet’s ongoing treatment.

Accomodations

The Courtyard by Marriott Seattle North / Lynwood Everett provides discounted accommodations to families whose pets are undergoing diagnostics and treatment at Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle. Their address is 4220 Alderwood Mall Blvd, Lynnwood WA 98036 and they can be reached at (425) 670-0500. For safety reasons, we do not allow sleeping overnight in our hospital.

Our Critical Care Team

Anya Gambino

DVM, DACVECC

Veterinary Specialist, Emergency and Critical Care

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Raffaella Corsi

DVM, DACVECC

Veterinary Specialist, Emergency and Critical Care

Yuki Tse

DVM, DACVECC

Veterinary Specialist, Emergency and Critical Care

Learn More