A Letter From Your Criticalist
My name is Vibha Asokan and I am the staff Criticalist at Heart of Texas Veterinary Specialty Center.
The education process before becoming a boarded veterinary criticalist is not unlike any other specialty in veterinary medicine. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I went to Purdue University for veterinary school and graduated in 2011. After that, I went on to do a small animal rotating internship at the University of Tennessee. I then moved to Chicago where I worked as an emergency veterinarian for a couple of years before joining the University of Missouri as a Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care resident. I finished my master's degree and residency and became a Diplomate of ACVECC in 2017. I have since been at Heart of Texas working with the rest of the team.
A lot of people ask what a criticalist does in the veterinary world, and our roles are like a hybrid of an intensivist, hospitalist and emergency room doctor that our human counterparts experience. We are dedicated to dealing with acute, life-threatening emergencies, as well as managing the critically ill patient. We try to be the piece of the puzzle that brings together a larger picture to evaluate both a patient's immediate prognosis, as well as a long-term outlook. We serve as a complementary role to the care provided by you, the primary care veterinarian. In addition, we are there to help with those acute injuries/ailments - blunt force trauma, penetrating trauma, post cardiopulmonary arrest management, respiratory fatigue/disease, acute renal failure, sepsis, parvoviral enteritis, stabilization of a patient that needs surgical intervention such as a GDV, hemoabdomen, or septic abdomen, electrolyte derangements, coagulopathies, thrombopathies, etc, etc! The more pumps involved, the more a criticalist needs to be around. By and large, we like to help find the way out of an acute illness and on to a path for long-term success with you, the primary care veterinarian. Along with the Emergency doctors, criticalists like to be here for those cases that just cannot wait.
I'd love to be available to your patients, whether as a primary caretaker or as a consultant to the ER team or over the phone to you!