Southeast home of new critical care provider


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).

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

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

Dr. Jim Wohl, dipl. ACVIM, ACVECC, an associate professor who serveson the critical care team, says the program emerged as the direct resultof 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 whenanimals needed urgent care.

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

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

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

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

Redesigned program

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

"We have faculty members with extensive experience and trainingin critical care, so we shifted some of their responsibilities so they couldbe more available to practicing veterinarians for the same-day referralof 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; MaryTefend, RVT, Hill's instructor in Veterinary Critical Care Nursing; andDr. Ted Bellhorn, ACVIM, Small Animal Critical Care.

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

Educational hub

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

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

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

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