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November/December 2020 – Tails from the Field

Dec 17, 2020

We are guided by our mission of giving pets and their families more happy moments together.

It’s at the heart of what we do.


Tails from the Field is a glimpse into that very heart — our family of hospitals. Each, and every, day the talented and dedicated Compassion-First veterinary teams make a profound difference for pets and people in each of the communities they love and serve. Our focus always remains on what’s important—the meaningful relationships we have with pet owners and our referring veterinary partners to provide exemplary specialty and emergency care for the pets we cherish most!

Here are just some of those stories…


VetMED: Healing hearts

Phoenix, AZ

When a sweet black and white pit bull was found with severe burns on her sides, May Day Pit Bull Rescue brought her to VetMED for care. After a thorough physical exam, the VetMED team not only uncovered a heart murmur, but also discovered she had more than surface problems. An echocardiogram identified pulmonic stenosis, a narrowing of the artery leading from the heart to the lungs that can lead to heart failure. The lucky rescue was cared for by a foster family as her burns healed, until she was ready for a procedure to correct her vascular defect. The VetMED team performed a life-saving balloon valvuloplasty, which is a minimally invasive procedure to stretch the narrowed vessel, so she can live a normal, healthy life with her future family. Check out the fortunate rescue here.

Virginia Veterinary Centers: Saving struggling puppies

Richmond, VA

When Hazel had been in labor for six hours without producing any puppies, her family rushed her to VVC’s emergency service, where Dr. Bales performed an ultrasound and quickly recommended a Cesarean section. The surgery team delivered five puppies—three females and two males—but they were not breathing. After 90 minutes of resuscitation, however, all five puppies survived. Brave momma Hazel and her adorable puppies were discharged and are thriving at home. Helping bring these newborn pups into the world, and ensuring their survival, definitely put a smile on VVC team members’ faces. See Hazel and her newborn puppies here.

Upstate Vet Emergency & Specialty Care: Helping pets live pain-free lives

Greenville, SC

Chico’s owners brought him to see Dr. Heather Duncan, a board-certified veterinary dentist at Upstate Vet’s Greenville hospital, for oral pain, bad breath, drooling, and an inability to eat, despite treatment. Dr. Duncan diagnosed chronic canine ulcerative stomatitis, which causes painful oral ulcers triggered by miniscule quantities of dental tartar that accumulate on the teeth and under the gums. A full-mouth dental extraction, which removes the tartar source, is the most helpful treatment for dogs with this condition. Dr. Duncan extracted all Chico’s teeth, and he is now eating comfortably. His owner reports that Chico’s demeanor has significantly improved now that he is pain-free. See Chico’s thankful face here.

MissionVet Specialty + Emergency: Making “Great” strides in cancer treatment

San Antonio, TX

Lizzie is a beautiful 4-year-old Great Dane who presented to MissonVet for osteosarcoma in her left front leg. After an amputation to remove the tumor and pain source, she began a combination of immunotherapy and adoptive cell therapy to fight any remaining cancer cells, since osteosarcoma has a high metastasis rate. Lizzie received a personalized cancer vaccine weekly for three weeks, to help her immune system recognize and destroy the cancer cells. Then, adoptive cell therapy was used to activate and clone her cancer-fighting immune cells, which were infused back into her blood. Click here to see Lizzie receiving this life-extending infusion. Lizzie is responding well to treatment, and her owners report that she is happily running around their home on three legs.

Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists: Giving pets a better future

Longmont, CO

When Ruby’s owners adopted the sweet, squishy bulldog puppy, they expected housetraining challenges, but they did not anticipate congenital problems that caused urinary and fecal incontinence. After an MRI, AMVS’s neurology department diagnosed severe malformations of Ruby’s vertebrae and spinal cord (i.e., spina bifida) and protrusion of the tissue layers surrounding her spinal cord through the defect (i.e., meningocele). To prevent Ruby’s condition from progressing to paralysis, AMVS surgeons repaired her meningocele. Now 7 months old, Ruby has made great housetraining progress, and her incontinence is much more manageable. See adorable pictures of Ruby growing from a little puppy with severe problems, to a teenager with a better outlook on life.

Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists: Going the distance to help a shark in need

Houston, TX

Although our hospitals typically treat dogs and cats, CGVS surgeon Dr. Grayson Cole was recently asked to use her advanced skills to treat Stella, a sand tiger shark at the Mississippi Aquarium. Stella had a partial spinal luxation that was not improving with medical management. While spinal luxation surgery had never been performed on a shark, whose spine is made of cartilage instead of bone, it was determined that Stella could benefit from an orthopedic plate typically used in human osteoporosis patients. The needed plates were graciously donated, and Dr. Cole drove six hours to join the surgery team and participate in the groundbreaking surgery. Stella did well during the procedure, and the team did an amazing job repairing her spinal column. See Stella’s surgery team in action here.

Red Bank Veterinary Hospitals: Treating diabetes in a unique patient

Tinton Falls, NJ

Whether fur, fin, or feather, we love helping pets of all shapes and sizes live better lives. Our hospitals frequently treat diabetes in dogs and cats, but RBVH has a unique diabetic patient—a 7-year-old sun conure named Remington. Board-certified avian and exotics specialist Dr. Brynn McCleery first evaluated Remington in April for increased thirst and urination, and diagnosed diabetes when his blood glucose level was extremely high. Managing diabetes in small pets can be challenging, since insulin, if overdosed, and can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia. Fortunately for Remington, his owners are dedicated to his long-term good health, and bring him for frequent recheck appointments, allowing Dr. McCleery to monitor his glucose levels and adjust his medications. At Remington’s most recent appointment, his blood glucose was only mildly elevated and his condition had significantly improved. Although Remington’s diabetes will likely require lifelong management, he is living life to the fullest! Check out Remington’s recent visit to RBVH here.


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