Patient care at the Small Animal Hospital
The Small Animal Hospital provides high-quality examinations and care for both outpatients and small animals staying at the hospital for a longer period of time. This website provides information and treatment instructions for the owners of animals arriving and staying at the Small Animal Hospital.
Before arrival

Calling ahead of arrival at the emergency department is recommended but not compulsory. After the need for treatment has been assessed, the animal must remain under the supervision of the owner until the treatment can be initiated.

Small animals at the hospital

Wards of the Small Animal Hospital

The Small Animal Hospital of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital includes separate wards for internal medicine patients as well as for patients recovering from or preparing for surgical procedures, and for severely injured patients. The hospital has separate inpatient wards for dogs and cats, which reduces their stress.

At the hospital ward, patients are examined and monitored and decisions are made on necessary further care measures.

Inpatients eat, spend time outdoors and rest as their conditions permit. In the case of longer-term hospitalisation, owners can also visit patients. Further information can be obtained from admitting nurses or veterinarians in charge of patients. The goal is to keep patients in the ward for as short a period as possible, as pets usually heal faster in home care.

Intensive care unit at the Small Animal Hospital

The anaesthesiology–intensive care unit of the Small Animal Hospital was established in 2003 with the aim of improving the quality of patient care, treatment outcomes and animal welfare. Patient care is based on research-based knowledge, and treatment practices are updated as necessary.

 

The intensive care unit treats animals in need of supervision around the clock. On average, the unit treats five to seven patients per day, with the animals usually spending two to three days in the ward. Patients are usually examined, treated and supervised collaboratively by specialists and nurses specialised in a range of fields. There are always trained and experienced nurses on site, including at night.

Intensive care is needed for many reasons. Problems typical among intensive care patients include the following:

  • Shock and injuries caused by traffic accidents or falls
  • Breathing difficulties due to various causes
  • Fluid imbalances
  • Septicaemia (blood poisoning), severe anaemia 
  • Blood coagulation disorders
  • Complications caused by poisoning and adder bites
  • Seizures 
  • Acute kidney or liver failure

Patients recovering from or preparing for demanding surgeries may also need intensive care.

Patients with highly contagious diseases, such as severe intestinal inflammation caused by parvovirus, are treated in a separate isolation facility. Thanks to intensive care, most of our debilitated parvovirus patients recover.

Patients’ vital signs and blood counts are monitored regularly to allow quickly addressing any sudden changes in their condition. Fluid balance is ensured by continuous intravenous hydration. Liquids and blood products are precisely administered using infusion pumps. Pain management is an important part of intensive care, and patients suffering from pain often receive continuous intravascular pain medication.

In the case of debilitated patients, the need for supplemental oxygen is assessed. If necessary, supplemental oxygen can be administered in an incubator or through a nasal cannula. A central venous catheter is often inserted in the neck of severely ill patients, making it possible to optimise hydration with the help of monitoring central venous pressure. Inserting a urinary catheter may also be necessary to facilitate urination and monitor the sufficiency of urine excretion.

In addition to conventional blood sample testing, the rapid laboratory beside the intensive care unit analyses arterial and venous blood gases and carries out blood coagulation tests. The aim is to conduct all examinations and therapies in accordance with the patient’s health without causing additional stress to the animal.

Many intensive care patients may need a transfusion of blood or plasma. In fact, the dog and cat heroes of the animal blood bank operating at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital can save the lives of their fellow animals by donating blood.

The purpose of intensive care is not to prolong the animal’s life if there is no hope of recovery, or if the animal’s suffering cannot be sufficiently alleviated during diagnosis. In such cases, intensive care will not continue.

 

Owners can visit their pets in the intensive care unit. Visits to the isolation ward are not permitted.

Visiting hours are from 17.00 to 18.00, and no more than two people can be present for 15 minutes at a time. Further information can be obtained from the admitting nurses at the patient office or the veterinarian in charge of the patient.

Anaesthesia for small animals

Effective pain relief during surgery promotes the patient’s welfare and quick recovery after the operation. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital invests in anaesthetic safety, including with equipment not in use anywhere else. Anaesthesia, pain relief and intravenous rehydration are planned individually for each patient undergoing anaesthesia at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Anaesthesia is supervised by trained and experienced nurses with the help of a veterinary anaesthetist and high-quality anaesthetic monitoring equipment.

Surgical, endoscopic and dental procedures are always carried out under general anaesthesia, as are tomography and MRI scans. We also have alternative and painless anaesthetic methods at our disposal. Effective pain medication is also administered intravenously during procedures.

During surgeries, we continuously monitor the animal patient’s blood pressure as well as respiratory gas and anaesthetic levels. If necessary, we will take blood samples, including during anaesthesia, to gain information on the patient’s status. We also monitor the patient’s electrocardiogram (ECG), sufficiency of tissue oxygenation, and temperature.

After surgical procedures, patients can recover in peace under a thermal blanket. Recovering animal patients are moved from the recovery room to rest in a regular ward or at home often on the same day.

Small animals in physiotherapy

Instructions for physiotherapy admissions

When arriving for physiotherapy for the first time, please bring with you any documents pertaining to your animal’s prior medical history. The most important thing is to bring a referral from a veterinarian concerning the current ailment or problem, if any.

If your animal is on continuous medication, do not adjust it. The animal should not be heavily fed in the two hours before the appointment. As a reward, you can bring your animal’s favourite treats and toys.

Animals with reduced mobility or that are timid or aggressive should not be taken to the reception lobby to wait if it is unpleasant for them. You can drive your car to the small entrance on the right-hand side of the main entrance and, after registering, wait in the car to be called in.

Other members and animals of the family are welcome to join the therapy session, as long as they do not significantly disturb the patient.

Should a sudden change occur in the animal’s health (e.g., fever, cough, diarrhoea, skin disease, accident) or if you are unexpectedly unable to arrive at the time of the booking, please notify either our booking desk or the animal’s physiotherapist.

The fee for each visit is paid as you leave at the same reception desk where you registered on arrival.

Small animals as physiotherapy patients

Animals treated at a hospital ward may require rehabilitation provided by a physiotherapist. In such cases, a physiotherapist at the hospital will carry out the necessary physiotherapy with the animal, even several times a day. The physiotherapist will keep in touch with the owner directly by phone, through notifications and written instructions entered in the patient records, and at joint therapy sessions agreed in advance.

In the case of animals in need of intensive rehabilitation or owners’ challenging schedules, animals can be dropped off at the hospital in the morning and picked up in the evening. Such animals have a place in our inpatient ward where physiotherapists can carry out the necessary number of therapy sessions, even several times over the course of a single day. A separate ward is reserved for cats.

You can book an appointment at our outpatient clinic either with a referral or at your own initiative regardless of your place of residence or the location of the referring veterinarian. During a clinic visit, the owner should always be present during treatment unless otherwise decided with the owner for individual reasons. You should reserve roughly one hour for outpatient clinic appointments. In exceptional cases, which are discussed individually, the duration of sessions may be considerably shorter. An hour should always be reserved for the first appointment.