Mount Laurel Animal Hospital has a self-contained Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for small animals that enhances our ability to successfully treat many critically ill and extensively injured patients. It accommodates one or more animals requiring extraordinary life support. The patient compartment is oxygen enriched with precise controls. Carbon dioxide is continually removed and humidity can be increased or decreased. Ports allow access for IV lines and probes for monitoring devices, and portholes allow the practitioner to reach in without opening the main doors. The animals under treatment are easy to view, as are the current environmental readings on the control panel.
The concept of a controlled environment system is to provide an airtight enclosure, and to control and electronically monitor the atmosphere. A desired oxygen concentration range is set by the user and maintained automatically. Visual and audible alarms can be set to sound or flash when oxygen concentration does not stay within the set range for any reason. Oxygen enrichment is often indicated for patients who are cardiac compromised, experiencing shock, head injury, neurologic disease, tissue hypoxia, severe anemia, and numerous other symptoms and situations. The ICU provides a way to administer oxygen without adding stress to the patient.
The center compartment houses the recirculating fans, carbon monoxide filter, heating element, cold coil, and oxygen sensor probe. The climate control system provides twelve air exchanges per minute with thermostatic control of temperature. Without heating or cooling capabilities patients can become under or overheated, thus undermining treatment or recovery.