Walking Again with Multiple Myeloma
Meet Zeus, a 12 year old Australian Shepherd who presented for hind end weakness, ataxia and marked proprioception deficits. He lost the use of his hind legs for a period of time. It was quickly realized that Zeus needed an MRI to obtain a diagnosis.
Zeus was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, plasma cell (bone marrow) tumors. He was taken to an oncologist for chemotherapy and then returned for care with his primary veterinarian, and later to Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital of Wichita for rehabilitation.
Zeus is now maintaining by coming in once a week for acupuncture and conditioning exercises with the owners working hard on his rehabilitation. Shannon Jacobs, a technician who has been immersed in Zeus’s recover says “I am so happy to work with amazing people at our hospital(from all services). I am beyond blessed to have an amazing mentor in Dr. Holly Smith. She is an extremely talented surgeon, acupuncturist and rehabilitation veterinarian. He [Zeus] has taken all of us on a roller coaster of emotions. So many staff members have curled up and snuggled with Zeus or gotten out some chicken just to give him a snack (he LOVES snacks).”
We spoke with his Fur-Mom who said “Watching this video reminded me, the oncologist at KState commented on how much muscle mass he has regained in the back end. She was super impressed!!!”
Paw It Forward - Maggie’s Miracle
Lauren and her husband have had an Akita, Maggie, for 9 years. “In fact, we got her the day after Thanksgiving 9 years ago” she said. “My husband and I celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary and she was our wedding gift to each other. We always laugh looking back on it because we were just moving into our tiny apartment and we fell madly in love with her. And has been around for the birth of both of our babies!”
This past Thanksgiving holiday gathering brought Lauren’s family, and their family’s dogs together. Unfortunately, something sparked a fight between Maggie and her “cousin” dogs, and Maggie received the worst of it. Lauren’s husband and mother-in-law rushed Maggie to Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital, she was barefooted, revealing what a hurry they were in after the scuffle.
Dr. Michelle Townsley, who was on duty at the time, said “[Maggie] had a thick hair coat yet that could not protect her from many skin punctures along the top of her neck, her ears, her throat, chest and forelimbs. This girl had such a thick hair coat it took us nearly 2 hours to just shave her.”
“This case was emotional for me,” said Dr. Townsley. “Maggie reminds me a lot of my big Malamute, Bo. He too was jumped by a housemate just this past summer and it was a very traumatic experience. I could relate to them.”
The first night, Maggie’s front legs were purple and swollen. She received injectable pain relief and laser therapy after her surgical debridement and evaluation. The next morning her skin appeared non-pigmented and near normal! “It was the most amazing thing,” said Dr. Townsley, “I wish I had taken pictures.”
“The day after the event, we had a very open conversation about the emotional trauma pets experience. I also asked the family how they were doing. This loving family showed graciousness and understanding from the very beginning. [A family member] had offered to pay the hospital bill.” said Dr. Townsley.
Once home, Lauren noticed Maggie refused to eat and was incredibly lethargic. “When she drank, she started throwing up, so the doctors asked that we bring her back in.”
Maggie returned with concerns about NSAID gastritis. Endoscopy did reveal significant irritation to the esophagus and reddened stomach lining. She was hospitalized again. Her owners were very disheartened when they had to return to the ER a second time, and were financially overwhelmed considering another 2-3 days hospitalization.
Dr. Townsley’s heart ached, “They told me that they just couldn't do it anymore and considered euthanasia.” It was at that time, they applied for a Paw It Forward grant.
Lauren said “At one point we weren't sure she'd make it, but the amazing doctors came in and said let's try one more thing.” The Paw It Forward grant covered a plasma transfusion. “It miraculously worked and she was immediately perkier. We came in after work that night and I remember seeing her ‘smile’ for the first time since before Thanksgiving” she said. “We were so excited.”
Lauren tells us “I’m not sure I could say thank you enough for the compassion that the staff and doctors have shown our family. I'm not sure I can actually count the amount of times I have called the vet to check on her or ask a silly question. Not once have they acted like I was bothering them or being overprotective. Even after they sent us home, I was able to call about medication questions or just to figure out what to do when I felt something was wrong. The doctors did literally everything they could for Maggie, and it worked. I can't thank them enough for saving our first "baby". They have gone above and beyond for our little family and we couldn't be more grateful.”
A month later we asked Lauren how Maggie was doing. She said “Maggie is doing really well. She still looks silly (half of her fur is shaved), but she is so happy. The girls are so thrilled to have her home and they've spent a lot of time playing together in the backyard. She is now off all of her medications and eating well. We are able to scratch all of her favorite places again (she has puncture wounds so we had to be careful), and she soaks that up.”
Dr. Townsley, who was so invested in Maggie’s recovery told us “[Maggie’s owner] did contact me a couple times just to give me updates on her progress over time. It made my day to see her in her Christmas sweater with her girls. What a perfect Christmas gift :)”
Bella's Second Chance
Bella is a husky with some serious issues. At 7-years-old, she was surrendered to Kansas Humane Society with several health risks. The most obvious health factor was her weight. Additionally, she was in dire need of dental care and had a least one mammary tumor.Bella’s consultation with Dr. Winter revealed she had been a cage chewer, which in excess wears the back of her canine teeth down until they lose their strength causing breakage. She also had painful fractures in a molar and premolar, requiring several extractions.Dr. Holly Smith gave Bella a full exam, affirming her mammary tumor and noticing several more nodes along her mammary channel, requiring surgery. The doctors determined is best to tackle the mammary surgery first and run the pathology to determine if the tumors were malignant before her extensive dental procedure.
On June 6th, Bella underwent surgery and her pathology came back malignant, locally. Dr. Smith was able to remove all of the cancerous tissue!
On August 9th, Bella returned for her final round of treatment, tackling her complicated oral health issues with Dr. Winter. With 60% of the tooth being below the gingival margin, radiographs were necessary to evaluate the anatomy of the root structure and health for an appropriate treatment plan. Dr Winter found: a complicated crown fracture on two teeth, four non-vital teeth with pulpitis and periapica, five missing teeth, and all of Bella’s teeth had a varying degree of abrasion, attrition, and uncomplicated crown fractures. Her surgical extractions went great and she’s on her way to a happy pain-free life!
Dr. Douglas Winter and Dr. Holly Smith are hero’s, taking on this complicated case in order to give Bella a second chance.
Giving back to the community one paw at a time
Animal lovers, especially pet owners, understand all too well that having four legged friends around the house can be a blessing. Though when it comes to pet health and emergency situations, animal parents, just want good care for their fur babies no matter the cost. That’s why Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital of Wichita (VESHW) created Paw It Forward, a non-profit charitable fund, for the purpose of providing financial assistance to in-hospital patients. Established in 2015, the Paw It Forward Foundation has granted over $50,000 toward veterinary care for pets in crisis.
Which is why pet owners, like Brandi, and her 7-month-old husky were so grateful when they came to VESHW last month after an accident at home.
Jax, a friendly blue eyed husky, came to the VESHW emergency hospital in pain and in need of immediate care. Jax’s “mom” knew right away that her pup had suffered a serious injury to his front leg. Jax got caught in a bed frame while running around the house with the other family dog.
“He [Jax] was scared and crying,” said Brandi. “I had to talk to him and calm him down so I could pull his leg out without damaging or hurting him further. It was so scary and sad for all of us. I immediately called the emergency veterinary hospital and took him in.”
Jax was x-rayed that night and confirmed that he suffered a fracture of his left radius/ulna. Doctors at VESHW said that Jax would need surgery under general anesthesia to secure the fracture using a locking plate and that he would have to wear a cast for 4-6 weeks while the bones set in place and healed. Brandi knew what she had to do no matter the monetary cost.
“They [staff and doctors at VESHW] were caring, understanding and patient,” said Brandi. “The surgeon was especially amazing. She explained the procedure and what could happen without the procedure. She was very considerate and recognized my fears and reassured me that Jax’s outcome would be positive.”
And positive it was. Jax is not only in full recovery, taking it slow and following postoperative care, but because of Paw It Forward his emergency and medical bills were made affordable. While Jax is taking it easy his “mom” is grateful for the care he received and the help that she received in making sure he would be able to walk and play again.
“Being a single mom, raising 3 kids and 2 fur babies I was really stressing on how I would be able to pay for the surgery that had to be done,” said Brandi. “I couldn’t just walk away from Jax and not get him the appropriate care he needed. I am so thankful for the Paw It Forward Foundation for stepping in and helping me with Jax’s care.”
Hospital Director, Brock Lofgreen, DVM, believes that nobody should lose their best friend because of financial hardship.
100 percent of every dollar donated to the Paw It Forward Foundation is used to treat sick or injured animals. Paw It Forward donated funds are available to patients being treated at VESHW and are used solely toward funding for Good Samaritan cases, assistance for pet owners in demonstrated financial crisis and/or funding for pets harmed or displaced due to local disasters.
The Paw It Forward Foundation relies solely on donations to help those in need. If you would like to make a donation you can by visiting the hospital website, www.vetwichita.com. Or you can help in other ways; consider corporate sponsorship, volunteering for an event, or setting up a memorial fund. You can also spread the joy by hosting a birthday fundraiser. To find out more about all of these ways you can help, please reach out to us at [email protected] or visit our Facebook Page @vetwichita.
Patient Care & Quality Medicine
Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital of Wichita offers a range of exceptional continuing education (CE) programs to help our technicians and veterinarians expand their knowledge, hone their skills and continuously improve the quality of care they offer their patients.
Our most recent presenter, a regular consultant of ours from Sterling, Virginia, is highly regarded in the veterinary industry. Julie Antonellis, LVT, VTS (ECC) has nearly two decades of experience in emergency and critical care. She provides detailed assessments and training for veterinary practices looking to elevate the level of nursing care they are providing their patients.
Julie presented to our hospital technician staff and current students of WATC pursuing a veterinary technician license. She gave an in-depth lecture on capnography and pre and post-operative care of critically ill patients.
Capnography is the monitoring of the concentration or partial pressure of carbon dioxide. CO2 is a crucial compound to monitor during anesthesia and patients on a ventilator. This training session provided an intensive refresh in addition to learning better methods of patient care and quality medicine. Our hospital prides itself on taking a progressive approach to medicine. We are dedicated to providing the best possible care to your pets, that’s our promise to you.