March 16, 2015
Jud, an area service dog, is now home recovering from a successful TPLO surgery from Dr. Jeff Brourman; he was just nominated for a 2015 national hero dog award.
We were delighted to learn that a WestVet patient and local service dog has been nominated for the Fifth Annual American Humane Association Hero Dog awards. Voters select the winner from hero dogs from around the country, read more about the award HERE, and cast your vote for Jud HERE.
Not long ago, this amazing animal was a patient at our hospital undergoing a TPLO (knee repair surgery) with Dr. Jeff Brourman, WestVet Chief of Staff and Board Certified Small Animal Surgeon. He is now recovering beautifully and his person, Lisa, tells us that he is getting stronger every day. When we asked her about Jud, how he came into her life, and how he provides service to her, this is what she wrote to us:
Jud is an amazing dog. He has given me so much that most people take for granted in life. When a person faces a disability or health obstacle that means you can no longer perform simple day-to-day tasks it can be discouraging. In addition, dealing with seizures and not knowing when an oncoming seizure will happen, has put me into some dangerous situations. Unfortunately, there were times when people around me took advantage of me being incoherent; this led to an increased fear of leaving home at all.
Then Jud came into my life. When I traveled to North Dakota to pick up Jud from Service Dogs for America, I admit, I was somewhat skeptical. My previous dog had been wonderful but had become ill and was no longer able to perform. I wasn’t sure another dog would be able to serve and help me.
Jud quickly dispelled my doubts. He is a wonderful helper. I suffer from tremors, and even a simple task like turning off lights (painful during a seizure), he quickly sees to. He also opens doors, carries stuff for me, awakens me in the middle of the night when a seizure is imminent with my seizure medication in his mouth. He even goes to the fridge to retrieve water for me to take the medication.
Previously I could fall out of my chair when I was trying to retrieve items that fell. Since Jud came into my life, I have not had to call 911 for help getting off the floor. In other situations, he has hit the alert button when an extreme seizure led to a fall. He has simply proven over and over that he is my furry angel.
While all of these reasons are wonderful, the biggest blessing that Jud brings into my life is when he warns me that a seizure is coming. Before I could suffer from breaks, cuts, or bruises due to falling during or after a seizure. With Jud in my life that has not happened. I am functioning on an independent level again, my fear of leaving home is subsiding, I have more confidence, courage, and ability to join the human race. Simply put, he has given me my life back—something I never thought would happen.
Jud has given me up to two hours of warning before a seizure happens. This enables me to return home and put myself in a safe place. He remains near until the seizure passes, even moving objects out of my way. If he is unable to move the object, he will lay between me and the obstacle to protect me, even if it means he may feel some pain or discomfort.
Jud is my angel on four paws, my knight in fur.
We completely agree! We are voting for Jud to win this national recognition. You may cast a vote every day until the competition closes and we hope others around the Treasure Valley will do so, too. This amazing animal has been a blessing in his person’s life and an inspiration to all of us. We thank Lisa for sharing this beautiful story with us and these pictures. What a beautiful boy!.
February 23, 2015
In today’s veterinary blog, our Q & A reveals some of the reasons why cats are out and about – and squalling late at night.
Question: Have you ever had a blissful night's rest disturbed with the screeching, calling and crying of your cat alongside other cats right on your back porch?
We asked Dr. Hazel Carney, Cat Behaviorist and Clinician, why cats often squall and cause such a ruckus in the wee hours of the morning.
Answer: One reason cats are drawn to one another during the night is estrus—or feline fertility. Cats call to one another as part of the mating ritual.
Also, believe it or not, this late night activity may become a learned behavior with owner-rewarded incentives. If a squalling cat gets an owner out of bed for an invitation inside, a midnight snack, and some TLC, this could become a very tiring (and oft-repeated) routine.
There are some medical causes for the behavior. Senior cats that experience decreased vision or hearing could be seeking owner reassurance. Cats with health issues such as hyperthyroidism, hypertension, hypokalemia, thiamine deficiency or intracranial masses may vocalize at night. A complete veterinary examination including ophthalmic evaluation, blood pressure testing and basic laboratory testing will successfully diagnose most medical causes. Upon occasion, cats may require advanced procedures such as an MRI.
A few simple things that bleary-eyed owners can try to quiet kitties at night include keeping cats indoors, utilize in a restful bedroom, and add a nightlight and some calming scents such as lavender.
If you’ve got additional questions about your cat’s quirky behavior, Dr. Carney is here to help. She can help with cat litter box aversion, introducing a new cat to your family, negative or anti-social behaviors, and your cat’s physical wellbeing, too. You may make an appt. by calling 208.375.1600 or via email HERE.
February 13, 2015
Thanks to financial help from the Audrey Pet Foundation and after care from WestVet employees, the Rodriguez family is expecting Max to return home, we are happy to share their story in today's veterinary blog.
WestVet Animal Emergency and Specialty Center in Garden City is happy to report that “Max”, a dog hit by a car following his displacement from a house fire last week, is recovering well after surgery.
The Rodriguez family home burned last week. During the fire, their five-year-old black lab bolted from the backyard, away from neighbors trying to help, and directly into oncoming traffic. After Max was struck by a car, a passerby quickly scooped him up and brought him to WestVet. Our emergency doctors and team treated Max for multiple injuries. The most severe included a fractured pelvis, his spine separating from his pelvis and an injured tail. Overall, WestVet doctors felt he would not walk again without surgery and were concerned about nerve damage and restoring a good quality of life for Max.
Shortly after the incident, Carol spoke with WestVet doctors and learned about the extent of Max’s injuries. She said that while she knew surgery was imperative for Max, she had two concerns: the financial cost, and his post-surgery recovery. She and her son are displaced from their home–and they will be for several months—which means she has no place to provide care for Max, and no yard to guide him with the gentle walks that would be required to help him fully recover.
To help with the financial burden, Carol was directed to apply for funds from the Audrey Pet Foundation. This 501(c)3 non-profit organization provides financial support for specialty veterinary care at WestVet. A completed application for assistance is evaluated and approved by an independent board of directors. Upon approval, a family may receive funds to put toward emergency and specialty treatment. The funds are then combined with donated time by the WestVet hospital, doctors, and specialists, significantly reducing the expense of veterinary care.
Once the financial hurdle was cleared, and WestVet staff members realized the extent of the families’ predicament, two of WestVet’s Veterinary Technicians volunteered to care for Max during his recovery time. Each will move Max into their home for a 3 to 4 week period where he will receive lots of TLC, the necessary physiotherapy, and close assessments to ensure his post-op recovery.
Carol said she was grateful for the help in such a difficult time and that the assistance was just what she needed to restore her son’s dog to good health. Last Friday, Max underwent an 8 hour surgery with Dr. Sean Murphy. Today, Dr. Murphy reports that Max is doing really well and feels that while Max still has some challenges to overcome, he should make a full recovery
Even though Carol feels overwhelmed with all the recent challenges she and her son are currently facing, the generosity from people in the Treasure Valley has been inspiring. “The highlight of this whole ordeal is the amazing things that people have done,” she said. “In the evening, we have returned to our hotel and have received anonymous gifts and cards. The community outreach has been wonderful.” In addition, WestVet can report that generous community members have donated funds directly to the Rodriguez account.
Carol expressed how important their pets were help her son through this ordeal. Remarkably, both of the Rodriguez family pets survived the fire. Their goldfish—a prize from the fair last fall—also survived, even after its bowl had shattered due to the heat.
The Rodriguez family are now in the painstaking process of working with their insurance company for their home and property. Even with such upheaval in their lives, they drop in to visit Max every day at WestVet. Carol tells us one thing she is worried about, that when Max does return home he is going to expect the constant attention and TLC he is currently getting here at the hospital. “He is certainly the center of attention at WestVet,” she said. “He has enjoyed customized bandages, warm blankets, and toys to cuddle with. I just hope we’ll be able to keep up the standard when he returns home.”
February 9, 2015
Pet injuries with Fish Hooks are not uncommon, but they can be fatal, in today's Veterinary blog: Moose has a fish hook embedded in his tongue.
Moose is a 12-week-old Chocolate Labrador puppy. He visited WestVet Emergency Hospital recently after getting a little too curious around the fishing gear. This hungry little pup had taken a big bite of a fish hook—and it had pierced his little tongue.
After his people checked and accounted for the remaining fishing gear (to ensure he hadn’t eaten or swallowed anything else) they brought him to WestVet.
Moose was such a sweet little bundle –though we are confident he will soon grow into his big name. While at WestVet he was certainly distressed, but remained very calm. The emergency team provided a continuous oxygen source and gentle sedation to enable Dr. Sean Murphy to gently extract the hook without further injury.
Moose was a real trooper!
The removal went smoothly and this little one was soon returned to his family and enjoyed extra spoiling during his recuperation at home.
When we checked on his recovery and asked if there were any noticeable repercussions from the accident, his people tell us that he is 100% back to himself and that this little mishap didn’t even show him down.
With outdoor activities on the horizon, Moose wanted to remind pet families that warmer weather may bring additional potential hazards—lawn fertilizer, weed killer, small sporting gear, chewy swim toys, and litter or trash left on walking paths.
February 2, 2015
Suffering From a torn ACL, 'Louie,' was in pain and limping, in today's veterinary blog his family shares this active Yellow Labrador Retriever's TPLO surgery success story.
“Louie” is a four-year-old yellow lab, a sweet bundle of energy, and a TPLO surgery success story. He came to WestVet’s veterinary surgeon Dr. Sean Murphy after his owners noticed a persistent limp and soreness. We were delighted when they agreed to share his story for today’s blog post.
In 2010 Jessica and Vinny were newlyweds. When Louie joined their life, he made a new family of three. They tell us that they fell in love with everything about him. From his energy and enthusiasm for life (whatever he’s doing) to the fact that he looks like he’s actually smiling all the time. They quickly discovered that this happy dog was happiest when he was busy. His favorite activity? Getting dirty, exploring the foothills, or swimming in the Boise River.
Then they noticed that Louie was limping. Jessica reported there was not a specific incident that caused a torn ACL injury for Louie.
“He started getting sore with an accompanied limp after a run in the foothills or the park. We tried some Glucosamine supplements. They seemed to help a little bit, but the problem persisted. Initially, we were hesitant to bring him to Dr. Murphy because he was still 100% fine while playing and running. Then things took a turn. We noticed Louie was limping even before outdoor activities. That’s when we called WestVet.”
After an examination with Dr. Murphy, board certified surgeon, Louie was diagnosed with a torn ACL. Dr. Murphy recommended a TPLO surgery without hesitation.
Jessica and Vinny initially felt a little nervous about the procedure, but Dr. Murphy reassured them that the success rate for veterinary TPLO surgery is very high. He also told them surgery would enable Louie to return to near normal activity
Here is Jessica’s description of the day of surgery and immediate recovery:
“We dropped Louie off first thing Monday morning, July 7th. He was discharged for home the next day. Amazingly, when we picked him up, although he was walking with a sling around his waist, one shaved leg, and a pain medication patch, he was wagging his tail.
The first two weeks were a little stressful. My husband slept nearby Louie to ensure he did not get up and move around too much. We were very careful to use the sling properly, to keep him a tight medication schedule, and to keep him sedentary. We also used ice to help with the swelling.
One of our biggest concerns was keeping our very active Louie calm after the TPLO surgery, but through the healing process, miraculously, Louie seemed to understand his limits. We were very diligent about doing the recommended exercises and physiotherapy prescribed to us by the doctors— something I think that has helped in the healing process immensely.”
Jessica reports that recently Louie had a very positive follow-up eight week check post surgery. Radiographs of the operated limb showed complete healing of the bone cut and all the implants were intact
Jessica tells us that Louie is returning to activity every day. “We are walking Louie about an hour everyday and jogging for about 20 minutes also we are able to do some hill work (all on leash). His muscles seem to be coming back strong. He is determined to make a full recovery. Louie also REALLY enjoys being massaged on the leg he has surgery on after our walks. He is still inside during the day, and according to doctor’s orders, he will not be outside unsupervised until week 12 of recovery.
Most importantly Louie seems so happy! He’s back outside smelling everything in sight and checking out the neighborhood.
I would recommend TPLO surgery for anyone who has a dog suffering from a torn ACL.”