02 Feb Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital certified as VECCS Level 1, only second in Canada
Specialty and emergency critical care hospital in Langley earns the highest level of certification from the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society, making it just the second veterinary hospital in Canada with the designation
Pet owners living south of the Fraser River now have a certified Level 1 24-hour emergency animal hospital right in their backyard.
Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital (BBVSH), a specialty, emergency & critical care hospital in Langley, BC, has been certified as a Level I Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Facility by the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS). To achieve this certification, the highest of VECCS’ three levels, the hospital had to establish that it was properly staffed, trained, and equipped to handle any major emergency – particularly those considered life-threatening – experienced by small mammals, particularly dogs and cats.
BBVSH is only the second veterinary hospital in Canada to achieve such a designation and the only facility south of the Fraser River that can claim this fact.
Much like the LEED certification provides a degree of confidence that a building is energy efficient and healthy for humans, the VECCS certification signals to pet owners that a hospital’s staff has the credentials and the physical resources to effectively deal with any crisis around the clock.
“Our vision is to provide pet owners in BC an emergency and specialty hospital that can give their pet the same level of medical care that one would find at a human hospital” said Dr. Geoffrey Hutchinson, BBVSH’s co-owner and a surgeon, “The VECCS Level 1 certification, as well as our VetCOT designation as a Provisional Trauma Center, is a huge achievement for our team and a vote of confidence for pet owners who are seeking medical care for their pet.”
Worldwide, there are sixty-five VECCS certified facilities; four of which are in Canada; three of which are in BC. There are only two Level 1 designations in the entire country; both of which are located in the Vancouver Lower Mainland. The VECCS Facility Certification comprises of three levels – I, II & III. Level 1 is the highest certification a facility can obtain and means that a facility has “met or exceeded the minimum standards and guidelines published by VECCS. At a high level, this means a facility:
- Is staffed and equipped to handle small mammal emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
- Has a board certified Criticalist on staff
- Has a veterinarian on the premises at all times (not just on call)
- Has a continuing education program to keep staff trained on emergency protocols and equipment
As part of their Level 1 certification journey, BBVSH launched their 24-hour emergency veterinary service in January 2020 and in the past year have added a full-time cardiologist , radiologist and an internal medicine specialist to the team. BBVSH has in-house specialists (neurologist, surgeons, radiologist cardiologist, internists, oncologists) who are on-call for emergency cases requiring a specialist. The hospital is staffed by trained ICU teams and experienced emergency veterinarians, all of whom are trained in CPR to immediately treat patients in cardiac arrest.
Besides its VECCS Level 1 certification, BBVSH is also a VetCOT Provisional Trauma Center as managed by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC), whose vision is to create a network of lead hospitals “in order to seed the development of sophisticated trauma systems”. A VetCOT veterinary trauma center must first have a VECCS Facility Certification before being considered for the program.
In March 2020, BBVSH added a second criticalist (the equivalent in human medicine would be an intensivist who manages ICU patients) to their team of veterinary specialists. This means a criticalist is in the hospital 7 days per week and on-call to provide critical care leadership. Both of BBVSH’s criticalists are board certified, meaning they completed an approved post-graduate residency training program in emergency critical care and completed the required specialized training, caseload, research and final exam.
All the expertise in the world, however, is hamstrung without the right tools on hand when they are needed most. BBVSH has invested in on-site specialized technology – such as a ventilator, high-flow oxygen, 1.5T MRI, 64-slice CT scanner and a C-arm fluoroscopy (enables live video images during procedures, such as surgery) – to support their criticalists and emergency veterinarians.
“For people whose pet is a member of the family, there’s nothing that matters more than that pet’s well-being” said Dr. Tiffany Jagodich, a criticalist and BBVSH’s medical trauma director, “What ultimately matters to pet owners living south of the Fraser River about our VECCS Level 1 certification is knowing that they have a nearby hospital that can handle those time-sensitive situations when their pet’s life is on the line.”
Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital (BBVSH) is a specialty, emergency and critical care veterinary hospital based in Langley that serves the Vancouver Lower Mainland. BBVSH provides specialized veterinary medical care, provided by board-certified specialists, as well as certified 24/7 emergency vet services. BBVSH is a certified VECCS Level 1 facility and a VetCOT Provisional Trauma Center. More info: bbvsh.com.