Patient Care Services
Assessments: including phone triage of emergency situations, triage of emergencies that arrive in the hospital for order of care, physical examinations of pets which, at minimum, include assessment of temperature, pulse and respiration (TPR), assessments of hospitalized, sick pets for response to therapy, assessments of sick or injured pet's vital signs, assessments of surgical and anesthetized pets to monitor and maintain the stability of the patient during surgery, monitoring and assessments of hospitalized patients at least every 2 hours or more as directed.
Bandage care: Applying bandages to injuries for support and bleeding control, changing and rebandaging post surgical patients, applying supportive bandages to ear crop patients, removal of declaw surgical patient's foot bandages, applying slings and bandages for orthopedic concerns.
Fluid therapy: Our licensed veterinary technicians place intravenous (IV) catheters in patients, administer IV fluids while pet is hospitalized, administer subcutaneous fluid (subQ) therapy as directed, establish rate and type of fluid therapy with the attending veterinarian's review, and administer blood transfusions when needed.
Hygiene maintenance: Nursing services also include maintaining our patients in clean, dry, comfortable kennel, crib, isolette, or run while hospitalized, providing creature comforts such as blankets, toys, and family items, placing urinary catheters for non-ambulatory patients for ease of keeping them dry, bathing and drying patients that are wet or soiled as needed, maintaining clean bandages and catheter taping, and maintaining hygiene between patients. Lots of hand washing!
Medication administration: Licensed Veterinary Technicians administer injectable, oral, and topical medications to their patients as ordered by our veterinarians through the use of a treatment sheet. Technicians also supervise the feeding, creature comforts supplied and care provided by the hospital assistants. Technicians make up prescriptions in our pharmacy for hospitalized pets, outpatients and for refills. Our technicians are familiar with uses for medications, side effects, general dosages and can assist pet owners with questions regarding medications. Our technicians also give home care instructions for prescription drugs and over the counter medications used for pets at home.
Nutritional support: Nutritional support is very important to the maintenance and recovery of sick and injured patients, yet our hospitalized patients are the least likely to eat well while hospitalized. We make every effort to make sure our patients maintain the required number of calories and nutritional support to help them heal. The Hospital Assistants provide general routine feeding of patients who are allowed to eat. Pets with special diets, pets being fed via a "peg tube" directly into their stomach, those patients that require special foods at particular times are fed by our nurses, the licensed veterinary technicians. Many of our technicians and hospital assistants have been specially trained concerning prescription diet use, and nutritional support for sick or injured patients.
Physiotherapy (PT): Research has shown that the quality of human life can be improved with the use of physiotherapy-similar to physical therapy in humans. Many of the human treatment protocols were based on research from animal models. We believe that the animal condition and quality of life can also be improved with physiotherapy as an adjunct to conventional therapies and surgery to correct problems. Our licensed veterinary technicians can and do perform physio- therapy for our hospitalized pets as ordered by the attending veterinarian. Our technicians supply this nursing care to pets that are hospitalized and for some pets who are treated as outpatients. The therapy includes stretching muscles, massage for comfort and to provide soothing warmth, range of motion exercises to prevent or treat stiffness, and the addition of low level lasers, electrical sources, magnetic fields, ultrasound, rehabilitation exercises, hydrotherapy and application of heat and cold. Physiotherapy can provide comfort, ease pain, improve function and circulation and provide our patients with additional supportive care for healing.
Self-protective restraint --Sounds unhappy, but this term really means preventing our patients from injuring themselves. Sometimes patients chew or lick surgical incisions, wounds, inflamed skin lesions or exascerbate existing problems with "self-mutilation". Our technician nurses monitor our patients closely and if self injury is happening, they try several methods of distraction such as food, petting, or saying "no", covering with area with a bandage, or blanket, and if all else fails, find a comfortable cloth or plastic collar for the patient to prevent further damage. Our patients quickly acclimate to wearing a collar and seem quite unperturbed when wearing it!
Generally, anesthesia consists of a short acting injectable anesthesia to render the patient unconscious and then before the patient wakes, placing an endotracheal tube into the trachea to deliver gas anesthesia which is the most safe type of anesthesia. The type and amount of injectable anesthesia is decided and ordered by the veterinarian in charge of the patient. The patient's endotracheal tube is then attached to an anesthesia machine which delivers a regimented amount of anesthestic gas mixed with oxygen per minute to the patient to provide continuous, safe levels of anesthesia for the patient.
Our technicians are also the nurses who clip and shave our patients making the nice square areas of shaved skin that you see upon taking your post-surgical pet home. The clipped areas make it easy to clean the skin using an "aseptic technique" for the area of surgery. The technicians, using a special surgical scrub and scrub technique eliminate bacteria from the skin by gently scrubbing the surgical area of patients to ready them for surgery. The licensed technician then monitors the patient's heartbeat during surgery using an ECG machine, breathing, utilizing an apnea monitor, body temperature during and after surgery using a continuous thermometer, level of gas delivered to the patient, blood pressure, using a sphygnomometer, and the patient's general stability during surgery.
Sometimes, the veterinarian performing surgery needs an assistant while performing surgery and another technician, in sterile gown, mask and gloves assists the veterinarian in surgery, not generally to pass instruments but for holding a limb, retracting skin or providing the "third" hand that is sometimes needed.
When the surgery is all over, the technician lowers the level of gas anesthesia and allows the patient to awake. The technician administers pain medication, cleans the patients and delivers the patient to the waiting warmed kennels for further recovery to fully awake status.