Animal Trauma Center
Veterinary Medical Center officially designated as Level-1 Animal Trauma Center
The American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care has officially designated the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center a Level-1 Animal Trauma Center, alongside nine other veterinary hospitals and clinics nationwide.
The American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC) has officially designated the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) a Level-1 Animal Trauma Center, alongside nine other veterinary hospitals and clinics nationwide.
The VMC launched its Animal Trauma Center, the first of its kind in the nation, in 2011.
Based on the human model for clinical trauma care, the Animal Trauma Center was created to leverage the expertise and capabilities of the VMC’s board-certified specialists and to provide the comprehensive, team-based care important in treating dog and cat trauma and other serious emergency cases.
By announcing the Level-1 Animal Trauma Center designation, the ACVECC Committee on Trauma hopes to create a network of lead hospitals that seed development of trauma systems. These hospitals will work collaboratively to define high standards of care and disseminate information that improves trauma patient management efficiency and outcome.
The criteria and expectations for Level-1 Animal Trauma Centers include:
- The ability to provide total care for every aspect of management of the small animal trauma patient, from emergency stabilization through definitive medical and surgical care and rehabilitation.
- The availability of board-certified specialists for consultation seven days a week in the fields of emergency and critical care, surgery, and radiology.
According to board-certified veterinary criticalist Kelly Hall, DVM, the hope is that the new certification will create a network of veterinary medical centers and teaching hospitals across the country that will work collaboratively to continually develop methods to improve trauma patient care.
“By working collaboratively with leaders in the veterinary trauma field throughout the country, advancements in trauma care will be shared between centers rapidly, assuring the most severely injured patients have access to the most advanced therapies,” said Hall.
Like human trauma centers, animal trauma centers also provide leadership in education and research. The Animal Trauma Center designation reflects a depth of resources as opposed to just an ability to deliver medical care, Hall noted.
A veterinary trauma center ensures patient access to the expertise and resources needed in critical cases. Because care components are often tailored to each individual patient, the VMC’s emergency and critical care veterinarians work closely with VMC surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists, radiologists, cardiologists, neurologists, and other experts representing 16 different board-certified specialties to provide the region’s most comprehensive, cutting-edge care.
“Most animal hospitals are equipped to handle common animal emergencies during regular office hours, and a number of emergency clinics in the Twin Cities extend those services beyond normal hours,” said David Lee, DVM, director of the Veterinary Medical Center. “The University of Minnesota’s Animal Trauma Center is unique in that we’re able to quickly mobilize the critical resources needed to meet the needs of trauma patients. Just as in human medicine, not every practice or emergency clinic needs the ability to handle trauma cases—but a large metro area can benefit from having a designated center to serve the region.”
Like a human hospital, the VMC also operates a 24-hour intensive care unit, as well as an on-site blood bank, full-service pharmacy, in-house clinical pathology laboratory, physical rehabilitation center, and one of the most advanced veterinary imaging centers in the country, complete with MRI and CT. VMC doctors are supported by a well-trained team of certified veterinary technicians, many of whom have advanced certifications in their service area.
Examples of trauma cases capable of being treated by the Animal Trauma Center include injuries resulting from moving vehicle accidents, major falls, bite wounds, and smoke or chemical inhalation. In addition, most of the region’s police department K9 units rely on the VMC to provide care for canine officers injured in the line of duty.
“It’s not unusual for a complex case at the VMC to involve a team of a dozen or more individuals, including world-renowned clinical researchers, veterinary specialists, house officers, technicians, and students, in a compassionate, patient-centered environment,” said Lee. “The VMC in St. Paul is known for providing the region’s most comprehensive and cutting-edge veterinary care. The Animal Trauma Center will only enhance that reputation.”
Located on the St. Paul campus, the Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) has served the community for more than a century. It is the most advanced, full-service referral care center for large and small animals in Minnesota. The VMC sees more than 40,000 cases annually, with specialists available in all areas of medicine and surgery. More than 50 of the veterinarians on staff have undergone several years of additional training to become board-certified specialists in a particular area of veterinary medicine. Within the University’s state-of-the-art facilities, patients receive the benefit of more than 60 experts in 16 recognized specialties.
The College of Veterinary Medicine improves the health and well-being of animals and people by providing high-quality veterinary training, conducting leading-edge research, and delivering innovative veterinary services.