Wisconsin’s Emergency and Critical Care Specialists

WVRC’s Emergency Facilities Meet or Exceed all Standards Recommended by the Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Society (VECCS)

Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center has always been a leader in emergency care and we have now expanded these services through the addition of 7-day-a-week emergency and critical care specialty coverage at our Waukesha location! Our critical care specialists (Criticalists) at all three of our locations: Grafton, Racine and Waukesha, partner with our emergency clinicians, specialists, and amazing support staff to ensure that both the immediate needs and the continued intensive care requirements of our most severely ill and injured pets are supported at every level.

WVRC-Waukesha is recognized as a certified Level One Emergency and Critical Care Facility by the Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Society (VECCS), indicating the highest level of Emergency and Critical Care (ECC) patient care, based on specialist and technician staffing, emergency capabilities, equipment and instrument availability, in-patient support capabilities, continuing education programs, and facilities.

  • An emergency and critical care specialist is on duty 7 days per week, 365 days per year.
  • Our critical care specialists are experts in this specialized field and provide guidance to our emergency and specialty teams in all areas of ECC medicine and patient care
  • We have state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and expertise to handle any traumatized pet and/or any and all emergency and critically ill patients.
  • Our Critical Care specialists are on-call 24/7 for emergency consultation
  • Specialized mechanical ventilation services available for respiratory distress patients
  • Canine and feline blood bank available for our use at WVRC or by your veterinarian
  • Emergency medical imaging including point-of-care ultrasound and CT scans
  • Complete laboratory diagnostics for immediate blood test results
  • Clinical Pathology services available for STAT interpretations via Marshfield Labs
  • Emergency surgical procedures including traumatic wound management, GDV, C-section, GI foreign body removal, and abdominal exploratory.
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with dedicated nursing staff and advanced patient monitoring
  • Complete in-hospital pharmacy with specialized inventory

WVRC-Waukesha is recognized as an American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care provisional trauma center, with Critical Care specialists and emergency clinicians that exemplify the ideal team-based approach to trauma care. Our diverse team of specialists and staff play an integral role in the stabilization and recovery of our veterinary trauma patients. We have been recognized for our commitment to a continual process of quality improvement, education enhancement and internal (between specialty groups) and external (between trauma centers) collaborations.

Trauma center designation and VECCS certification is centered on ensuring exceptional emergency and critical care for ill and injured animals, improving patient care services at every level, and promoting professional and public awareness around the care and prevention of pet trauma.  With these designations, WVRC-Waukesha separates itself as specialized hospital capable of providing all of the necessary resources to recovering veterinary patients.

What is Critical Care?

Critical care helps pets with life-threatening injuries and illnesses. Critical Care specialty teams, including our Critical Care specialists, emergency clinicians and nursing staff, help treat complications from surgery, trauma, accidents, infections, organ failure and severe heart and breathing problems.  The critical care team is a group of specially trained veterinary caregivers who work in both the emergency room and in a special area of the hospital known as the Intensive Care Unit, or ICU. Their main focus is to help very ill patients get better. The critical care nursing team serves as a valuable source of information regarding the minute-to-minute status of critically ill patients, and they are committed to teaching patients’ family’s strategies to improve favorable outcomes.

Critical Care management involves close, constant attention by a team of specially-trained pet health care providers. Critical care takes place in an ICU or trauma center and typically relies on specialized monitors, point-of-care ultrasound, intravenous (IV) tubes, feeding tubes, urinary catheters, breathing machines, and other medical equipment. Critical Care specialty medicine is a rapidly growing area of specialty medicine and has seen tremendous advancements that are now helping many pets survive conditions that were once considered fatal. We are here for you when you need us the most and our Critical Care specialists are prepared to provide you and your pet the highest level of emergency and critical care medicine.

Our Critical Care Specialists

Our Criticalists have undergone rigorous specialty training focused on caring for every aspect of the critically ill patient and work with our other specialists to manage the patients with multiple co-morbidities affecting a number of body systems. Our Criticalists’ high level of broad interdisciplinary expertise allows for the unique collaboration amongst specialists to care for the most severely ill and injured pets. Specialized services at the core of critical care include trauma management, mechanical ventilation, CPR and post-arrest care, transfusion medicine, post-surgical recovery, acute organ failure and sepsis management and tailored pain control planning.

Our Criticalists partner closely with our emergency clinicians and nurses to provide expedient and problem directed care to our most urgent patients. Together, these teams use innovative approaches such as point-of-care emergency ultrasound and fear-free handling techniques to gently assess and care for beloved pets in times of crisis. As a recognized American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care provisional trauma center, our Criticalists and emergency clinicians are prepared to expertly manage all types of traumatic injuries in our state-of-the-art facilities. Our Criticalists lead our trauma center team and provide valuable oversight and direct management of all of our trauma patients.

All pets admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), are closely monitored and continually assessed by our Criticalists and specialized ICU nursing team. Our Criticalists work closely with the families of our critically ill patients to coordinate the highest level of care while ensuring each step of the process is clearly communicated and understood by family members and caretakers alike. Our Criticalists are instrumental in the transition of care not only between specialists here at WVRC but also partner with your family veterinarian to allow seamless case management for future and on-going care.




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