Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital is now the only veterinary teaching facility in the west and one of just a handful in the country to be certified as a Level I facility by the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS).
According to the VECCS, a Level I emergency and critical care facility provides small animal emergency care to patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and always has a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care employed full time and available for consultation on-site or by phone.
“It just translates into more peace of mind for the pet owner,” said Dr. Linda Martin, associate professor and lead veterinarian of WSU’s Emergency and Critical Care service. “We are always striving to make things better. Our goal is to continually have our service improve, whether it is for our clients, services for pets, or educational opportunities for our students, interns, and residents.”
WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital is the largest veterinary referral center in the Pacific Northwest. On average, 10-12 emergency cases are brought to WSU daily, adding up to about 4,000 to 5,000 emergency cases each year. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital has offered uninterrupted 24-hour care to animals in need of emergency care every day since opening its doors in 1996.
Martin said the certification wouldn’t have been completed if not for Licensed Veterinary Technician Sarah Huston leading the project, Assistant Professor Dr. Beth Davidow finalizing the process, and the whole team coming together as a unit.
In total, and prolonged by the ongoing pandemic, the certification took three years. It involved Huston taking pictures of equipment, making videos to display the level of care, writing protocols, and recording team education and qualifications.
“It was a lot of busy work, but I learned a lot about our hospital and our capabilities,” she said. “I am very proud to be a part of a team that has the capability to practice the gold standard in veterinary medicine.”
Martin is proud of her team, too.
“I love my team; they work really, really hard to get the job done every day,” Martin said. “We couldn’t have done it if it was just the doctors or the technicians. It happened because we all came together to get it completed.”