When pets become too sick to be cared for properly on an out- patient basis, our clinic can provide a cost friendly option of hospitalization. Pets are also hospitalized while they recuperate from surgery. For these patients, Dr. Haggerty and staff will recommend hospitalization for in-patient care.
Hospitalization enables us to provide the following:
Most sick pets are not eating or drinking at home, and may be losing fluids through vomiting or diarrhea. The exam may reveal them to be dehydrated, at which point providing balancing electrolyte solution intravenously is the most effective way to rehydrate a patient. This is necessary for the healing process to begin.
Intravenous fluids (I/V) fluids are administered by catheterization taped into the patient’s leg. Most patients tolerate the catheter well, but they need to be confined to a kennel. Some patients will need “Elizabethan collars” to prevent them from pulling the catheter out.
Intravenous Medications, Oral Medications and/or Injections
Some medications need to be given directly into the bloodstream to increase their concentration and speed of action. This is easy to do when patients are maintained on i/v fluids. Hospitalized patients may also be medicated by other routes in injections, such as intramuscular or subcutaneous. Some patients may also need oral medications administered, which can be difficult for their owners to do at home.
Nebulization, Oxygen Therapy
Patients with certain respiratory conditions can sometimes benefit from nebulization therapy. The nebulizer generates a mist containing a strong antibiotic or bronchodilator that is inhaled deep into the lungs. Acute heart or respiratory failure may require dogs or cats to be hospitalized and given oxygen delivered into a cage enclosure until they are stable enough to undergo further diagnostics or stabilization.
While hospitalized, it is important to monitor a patient’s clinical status with blood chemistries or cell counts for ongoing diagnostics. For example, diabetic patients need blood glucose tested regularly. Some patients may also need sequential radiographs, for such things as barium studies for gastrointestinal conditions. Our in- house laboratory and digital radiology enables us to get these results quickly.
Fluid intake needs to be monitored and adjusted, medications administered, and bandages changed, wounds redressed. Sick pets may need to be syringe fed or encouraged to eat. Patients are walked outside regularly to relieve themselves. All their functions are recorded and any problems are brought to the doctor’s attention immediately
Some illnesses are potentially contagious to other cats or dogs, so we may need to keep them for their treatment in a small ward away from the other pets coming in the clinic.