September 26, 2013
By Coleman Cornelius
Snake bites. Car strikes. Sudden illness. Surgical recovery.
Pets with urgent medical needs will receive advanced treatment around the clock in a new, $1.3-million emergency and critical care facility opening in Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
The opening in early October marks completion of a renovation project that expands the hospital’s emergency and critical care unit by 70 percent – to 3,550 square feet – and allows CSU clinicians and veterinary students to care for more than 4,000 sick and injured pets each year.
Facility costs, amounting to $1.3 million, were covered with funding from private donations and an allocation from the Boulder-based Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, a nonprofit that supports veterinary and other forms of higher education.
A lead contribution of $400,000 from the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center jump-started additional fund-raising and renovations at its partner facility, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Donors got a sneak peek at the new unit, called the E. Myrl Halstead Jensen Center for Emergency Medicine and Critical Care, during an unveiling reception on Sept. 19. The center is named for the wife of donor and CSU alumnus Gene Jensen, who graduated in 1949.
Several other lead gifts came from people whose donations were inspired by medical care their pets have received at the CSU vet hospital. For instance, the Claire and Angus Memorial Advanced Therapies Room is named for Great Danes owned by Tiffany and Yaron Goldman of Fort Collins. The room provides separate space for intensive, individualized specialty care, including advanced treatments for failing lungs and kidneys.
“The staff at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital put Claire and Angus first, and we trusted everyone who assisted in their care. It comforts us to be able to honor Claire and Angus in this way,” Tiffany Goldman said.
Dr. Mark Stetter, a veterinarian and dean of the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, noted that when the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital opened in 1979, it was among the best in the world.
“This renovation, and others to come, will keep our hospital on the leading edge,” Stetter said. “We truly appreciate our donors for helping us meet the training needs of veterinary students and the medical needs of small-animal patients in a facility that represents the very best available.”
The CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital is training grounds for students enrolled in the university’s renowned Professional Veterinary Medicine Program, ranked as the No. 3 vet school in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The hospital also is epicenter of CSU research into animal cancer, heart disease and other health concerns; many of these studies, collectively called “translational” research, are stepping stones to new insights into human health.
Among other benefits, expanded space in the E. Myrl Halstead Jensen Center for Emergency Medicine and Critical Care will allow for additional teaching and will help accommodate an emergency and critical-care caseload that has spiked by more than 30 percent in the past two years, said Dr. Tim Hackett, interim hospital director. The hospital provided emergency and critical care to more than 4,100 patients in the most recent fiscal year.
The renovated center also provides an urgent care center with point-of-care blood-analysis equipment from Abaxis, Inc.; a special cat care room; an isolation room for patients with infectious disease; and the space needed for clients to accompany their sick and injured pets.
Hackett said the renovated Center for Emergency Medicine and Critical Care is a key step in updating CSU’s trademark Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which sees more than 35,000 patients annually.
The next phase of renovation will focus on small-animal orthopaedics; canine sports medicine and rehabilitation; and neurology facilities.
“Many specialties in veterinary medicine have emerged in the 35 years since our hospital opened, and our work today contributes not only to animal health but to human health,” Hackett said. “We are very excited to continue renovations that will make our hospital a great example of veterinary medicine in the 21st century, and will allow us to continue fulfilling our mission in excellent teaching, research, and clinical service.”
Carol Borchert contributed to this report.