Emergency and Critical Care

Veterinary Specialty Center (VSC), a Certified Trauma Center, is always open to help your pet in an emergency. Similar to human hospitals, our team quickly evaluates cases that present at our hospital to prioritize the most critical patients and begin treatment.

Before coming to the ER, we recommend that you or your primary veterinarian call to discuss your pet’s current medical concern and recent medical history. This also allows our team to prepare for you and your pet’s arrival. If your pet is experiencing an emergency and does not need to be seen immediately, we also offer the ability to Get In Line for the ER so that you can wait in the comfort of your home instead of in your car and receive a text message when it is time to come to our hospital. To see if your pet’s condition qualifies and to register for our Get In Line for the ER service, click here.

Upon arrival, our team will examine your pet and discuss diagnostic and treatment options with you. Should your pet need to be hospitalized, our team will closely monitor your pet and keep you updated on your pet’s progress. Cases involving life-threatening illness or injury will be managed by our critical care team, which consists of our board-certified Criticalists and board-certified emergency and critical care technicians, emergency veterinarians and ICU technicians and assistants, to provide the highest level of critical care.

Our emergency and critical care teams coordinate treatment with you and your pet’s primary veterinarian while collaborating with our other specialists within VSC. Some of the more extensive treatment options we have to offer at VSC include:

  • 24-hour access to advanced imaging such as digital radiography, focused ultrasound, MRI, CT, and fluoroscopy
  • Advanced monitoring including pulse oximetry, capnography, and blood pressure (invasive and non-invasive), and telemetry system for continuous ECG monitoring
  • Advanced multimodal pain management
  • Emergency endoscopy for foreign body retrieval
  • Enteral and parenteral nutritional support
  • Extracorporeal therapies including hemodialysis, plasmapheresis, therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE), apheresis, and peritoneal dialysis
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
  • In-house STAT laboratory services such as blood gas monitoring, CBC, blood chemistry analysis, and viscoelastic coagulation testing
  • Long- and short-term mechanical ventilation
  • Oxygen therapy including critical care ICU oxygen cages, nasal oxygen therapy, and advanced high-flow oxygen therapy
  • Transfusion medicine and blood component therapy



Starting Monday, April 8th through the end of September, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will begin their road resurfacing project along Waukegan Road from Lake Cook Road to Half Day Road (IL 22). Please allow additional travel time to our hospital during the construction. Learn More: Waukegan Road Resurfacing Project