The “Animal I-C-U” at Iowa State University’s school of Veterinary Medicine is now open 24-hours a day. Spokeswoman Tracy Raef says there’s already been plenty of demand among pet owners for the services of the “vet-med” faculty and students who care for small animals. “When things get tough,”
Raef says, “a pet owner like myself can’t call 9-1-1.” She says people are already taking advantage of the 24-hour emergency animal care. When she goes there, there are always 10 or 12 animals being cared for, pets that might be on a ventilator or one that’s collapsed with its condition unknown.
An advantage of the emergency-care available at the I-S-U veterinary medical school is the ability to do things a local vet can’t perform, like animal blood transfusions. Fifty-two board-certified specialists can diagnose animals and treat conditions like skin problems, heart ailments and other specialized health problems.
All the students who work in the Animal ICU are seniors, who’ve gone through the full 3-year curriculum and are doing :clinical rotations,” including a 2-week stint in the ICU. She points out students are always under the supervision and direction of a veterinarian. Rayf says people come from as far away as Omaha to bring sick or injured animals to the ISU 24-hour emergency animal-care clinic.
She says even the experienced professionals on the faculty have a soft spot for pets. She’s often been in with her own dog, Lily, and says when they walk down the hall the veterinarians, who you’d think would be jaded by now, come out to pet the animal and fuss over her. Raef says “It makes me feel very good.”