Patients coming to Cornell University Hospital for Animals’ farm and equine hospitals after hours now benefit from access to a new kind of specialized expertise. Dr. Rolfe Radcliffe, who has directed CUHA’s large animal after-hours emergency service since 2005, has earned board certification in emergency and critical care (ECC).
Boarded first in surgery, Radcliffe earned ECC certification in fall 2012, making him CUHA’s only faculty member with this useful combination of credentials. He has been promoted to a lecturer in large animal surgery and ECC. In this capacity he will continue to supervise after-hours cases, many of which differ significantly from cases typically seen during the day.
“Nighttime emergencies are some of the most challenging cases we see,” said Radcliffe. “Certain cases present more commonly at night. Owners often find wounds and lacerations when they get home from work. Many emergencies come from referring veterinarians who saw them during the day and it’s nighttime when the patients arrive here. Horses often get colic at night. Many of our patients arrive extremely sick and in pain, many of the owners are very distressed, and it’s rewarding to help turn these cases around.”
Radcliffe received his fellowship training in ECC under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Divers, section chief of large animal medicine, who is certified in both ECC and internal medicine and was recently named the Rudolph J. and Katharine L. Steffen Professor of Veterinary Medicine Professor. Divers is one of several faculty leading the large animal medicine service during regular hours and consults on after-hours cases as needed. Sharing his own new knowledge, Radcliffe also teaches a course in emergency large-animal medicine and surgery.
“The toughest cases I saw in veterinary school were very sick horses with emergencies,” said Radcliffe, who grew up on a farm. “It’s amazing to help a sick horse, find and fix the problems ailing it, put it back together, and see it survive because of what you did. I was fascinated with the complexity of these procedures and liked helping people through very difficult situations with their animals.”
CUHA’s emergency service covers all large animal species. Common after-hours cases include reproductive emergencies, wound repair following trauma, and colic. Bone fractures and diseases of the liver, kidney, and nervous system also arise. Working as a team, the emergency service has access to faculty with expertise in medicine and surgery, orthopedic fracture repair and ancillary specialties from radiology to oncology. The service is equipped and staffed to offer patients around-the-clock supervision, technical support, intravenous therapy, and intensive care.
“Referring veterinarians around here are very friendly and great to work with,” said Radcliffe. “We’re always available for consultation and encourage them to call if they have any questions, whether they’re wondering whether to refer, have follow-up questions, or wish to discuss how to manage patients on the farm.”
The Equine and Farm Animal Hospitals can be reached at 607-253-3100 (for emergencies press 1).