Pet ICU: Understanding Veterinary Critical Care

When most people consider critical care or an ICU, they likely think of life-threatening medical scenarios where a patient is given life support and monitored closely in a special unit. The same is true for our pet patients. Advances in veterinary critical care have made it possible to treat those with critical illnesses or traumas that once would have likely resulted in a very poor outcome.

While veterinary emergency and critical care are often closely intertwined, veterinary critical care (or intensive care) is a branch of veterinary medicine that focuses on animals who are experiencing a serious medical situation that can potentially be helped. Unlike hospice care, where a pet is supported and kept comfortable during the end stages of life, the goal of critical care is to use all avenues of treatment to give a patient the best chance of survival.


All Your Questions About Pet Emergencies Answered

Animal HospitalWhen you have a pet emergency, no doubt there are many questions racing through your head. You might think to ask them, but your mind is generally preoccupied with the task at hand:  getting your pet better.

Oakland Veterinary Referral Hospital thought it might be nice to answer some of the more frequently asked questions about pet emergencies for you before you ever need to know them.

In the heat of the moment

No matter what kind of emergency you are having, things can get a little harried in the midst of it. Keep your cool by remembering the following: Continue…

The B-Word:  Bloat in Dogs

OakForest_iStock_000089139143_LargeFew health issues can take a dog’s life as quickly as bloat can. Despite its serious nature, though, few pet owners really understand what this devastating condition is. Taking just a few minutes to learn about bloat in dogs might just help you to recognize it if you are unlucky enough to encounter this canine emergency. Your knowledge may just save your dog’s life.

Bloat Basics

Bloat is a condition involving the digestive tract. It occurs when the stomach fills with air, inflating much like a balloon. The emergency happens when bloat turns into what’s called a GDV, or gastric dilatation volvulus. This occurs when that balloon of a stomach turns on itself, trapping the air, food, and fluid in the stomach and strangulating the blood supply to the stomach. Sometimes the spleen, which is a close neighbor to the stomach, also twists in the process. Continue…

Veterinary Cancer Patient Emergencies and What to Do

Veterinarian Doctor Consulting Cairn Terrier Dog with StethoscopIf you have a pet who has been diagnosed with cancer, you already know that things aren’t always going to be easy. These special patients do need attention and TLC but, in your concern, it is also easy to become jumpy about every little thing and worry needlessly. Veterinary cancer patient emergencies do happen, though, and any pet owner who is caring for one needs to be aware of the signs of a truly urgent problem.


Special Needs of the Cancer Patient


The oncology department at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services understands that having a pet going through cancer treatment is not easy on either of you. We are very educated in the special needs of these delicate patients. Pets undergoing cancer treatment may have: Continue…

On the Forefront: VetCOT and Elevating Veterinary Trauma Care

OVRS_iStock_000015016040_LargeCutting edge veterinary hospitals like Oakland Veterinary Referral Services are joining together to form a national network of veterinary trauma centers. Hospitals in this network will work with the recently formed Veterinary Committee on Trauma (VetCOT) to produce a veterinary trauma registry, standardize trauma practice, and further trauma education. Learn more about why this and other work planned by VetCOT is so important for improving veterinary trauma care.


In human healthcare, it is common for hospitals across the nation to work based on the best practices in how patient care is handled. Veterinary hospitals, however, are traditionally privately owned and often work independently. This becomes particularly evident in trauma medicine, where hospitals may be working with dated, or less than optimal, trauma processes and knowledge. Continue…

Basic First Aid for Pets

OVRS_iStock_000005845426_Large (1)No one wants to think about a pet falling victim to accident or illness, but most of us will agree that thinking about emergency preparedness is important. The reality is: accidents happen and sudden illness or symptoms of distress can befall any pet, even the healthiest. Because of this, having a basic understanding of how to administer First Aid for pets is an important skill for any pet owner and can even save the life of a pet. Continue…

The Pet Owner’s Guide to Triage and the Veterinary Emergency Room

OVRS_iStock_000022610052_Large (2)No one plans on their pet having an emergency, but it is bound to happen eventually if you have animals in your home. Visiting the veterinary emergency room can be scary, especially if it is at a facility other than your pet’s regular veterinarian.

Learn what you need to know about the veterinary emergency room at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services and how things work so that you know what to expect should you have to visit us unexpectedly. This includes understanding how we prioritize the order in which pets are seen in the ER. Continue…

Summer Pet Emergencies



Summer is a wonderful time of year for people and their pets. With the sunny weather, though, comes some special issues that every pet owner should be aware of. Be vigilant about potential summer pet hazards so that everyone can enjoy the season.

Animal Fights

Spending more time outdoors can mean that your pet may be confronted by another animal at some point. There are some things that you can do to help prevent unwanted encounters and prevent pet emergencies..

  • Keep dogs on a leash
  • Consider keeping cats indoors
  • Take into account your pet’s personality before going to a dog park
  • Do not allow your pet to approach another animal without the owner’s permission


Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care

OVRS-130One of the most dramatic changes in veterinary medicine in the past 15 years has been the tremendous advancement in the field of veterinary Emergency & Critical Care (ECC) for pets. With the development of ECC as a veterinary specialty comes great advancements in our ability to help seriously sick and injured pets. We have made great strides in being able to save the lives of critically ill pets, who, just a few decades ago, likely would have died.

At Oakland Veterinary Referral Services we are proud to offer world-class pet Emergency and Critical Care. Pet emergencies are often unexpected, stressful, and upsetting. Our knowledgeable and compassionate expert veterinary team is prepared to help you in your time of need regardless of the seriousness of the emergency.

We are proud of the excellent veterinary emergency and critical care doctors, staff and technology that have been available to our Michigan clients the last 25 years. We hope that you feel more secure knowing that OVRS offers:

Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care When You Need It

Pet emergencies don’t happen on a schedule. They often occur on weekends, late at night, or on holidays. Our ECC services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our staff’s training and experience are centered in emergency, specialty and critical care since that is our hospital’s focus. Continue…