Rebecca and her husband used to have five dogs that all loved playing together in their big yard. Rufus was the youngest, and his best buddy was Cabo.

"I got Ruffes as a birthday present for my husband last January. He just loved him," Becky says. All that ended when their house burned to the ground. They lost everything, including three of their dogs, one of which was Cabo. Ruffes survived, in fact, it appears another dog in the house laid over him, protecting him from the flames. Ruffes spent the first night in a hotel room with his owners. They said that he coughed, gagged and vomited all night.

When Ruffes came to us our recommendation was to hospitalize him for supportive care, with oxygen supplement, and perform diagnostics.

His family, who had lost everything in the fire, were approved for a Paw It Forward grant to get Ruffes back on his feet. "It gave us the opportunity to treat him. Otherwise we would have had to euthanize him. We had just lost three of our dogs, I can't imagine having to put another one to sleep," Becky explained. 

Ruffes had suffered severe second and third degree burns, along with smoke inhalation. Initially his skin wounds would require several treatments a day followed by wound management for several weeks. We continued pain medications, antibiotics, and other supportive care along with daily wound cleaning, debridement, laser therapy, and bandaging. At some point, we would need to teach his owners how to care for his wounds when he was stable enough to return home.
In the early days, Ruffes required sedation for his daily bandage changes, because his wounds were too painful to handle while awake.

Within four days of the incident, he was eagerly eating, helping his healing rate.

By the sixth day, he was able to return home. He needed to return daily for bandage changes, but was eventually weaned from the daily sedation. "He has a long way to go, physically and emotionally", Becky said. "But having Ruffes home helps our family heal. When we see him it feels like we haven't quite lost everything. He helps me heal, and I help him. I want to do all I can for him and I just keep praying."

She went on to say "The doctors and staff have been so great. I can't say enough good things about them. They love him, they're invested in him and I appreciate them so much. When I take him in every day they're so happy to see him. They've made this whole process easier on us."

Ryan brought Mika to VESHW when he noticed unusual and excessive bleeding following her “heat” cycle.

Our staff quickly diagnosed Mika with Open Pyometra, an infection in the uterus. Pyometra is considered a serious and life threatening condition that must be treated quickly and aggressively. In Mika’s case, when pregnancy did not occur through many cycles, the uterine lining continued to thicken which created a breeding ground for bacteria.

Mika underwent surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries, known as “spay”. At this stage, however the surgery is more complicated, requiring longer hospitalization, antibiotics, and IV fluids.

Surgery Notes: Reproductive track was extremely enlarged and fluid filled throughout. No free abdominal fluid was noted. An ovariohysterectomy was done.

Dr. Christinat called the Ryan and let him know Mika was awake from surgery and doing great. He discussed the surgery and blood work prior to surgery and informed him we would likely keep Mika a couple of days, but there is a chance she could go home the following night if she is doing well by then. Mika was kept on a Morphine drip the next 10 hours or so, then switch over to oral pain medication. The plan was to start feeding again around noon the next day.

Unfortunately, when we checked her pulse oxygen levels, it was only 74%. We called Ryan again informing him we believed Mika had developed aspiration pneumonia and we would need to start oxygen therapy, a new antibiotic, and take chest radiographs. We let him know that Mika had been doing fine otherwise, no vomiting, ate well, potassium was back to normal, and her abdomen seems comfortable on just oral pain medication.

The radiographs did show pneumonia and it was worse than we expected. In addition to the previously mentioned therapies we did nebulization and brought up quite a bit of material from the lungs doing coupage. She already seemed to be breathing better.

The following day the lungs were still harsh, tachypneic (rapid breathing) and slightly dyspneic (shortened breath). When we get her up she is active and able to cough more material up, we kept walking her every 2 hours to see if that would help.

Ryan came in for a visit the next day, but Mika was still having problems breathing and unsafe to go home. The pneumonia was unexpected, and so was the added cost of radiographs, oxygen therapy, nebulization, and additional antibiotics. Ryan wanted to do everything in his power to get Mika back on her feet. However, the following day he recognized he had completely exhausted his funds treating Mika.

He then applied and was approved for a grant from the Paw It Forward Foundation. Mika was able to remain on her therapies and received follow-up radiographs. The radiologist felt that while still bad, the lungs had improved from the previous images. He believed the pneumonia was responding to therapy.

The next day Mika was able to walk outside without oxygen! Her breathing was good overnight and we began to wean off the oxygen therapy. She continued to improve throughout the day and returned to her family that night.

Ryan and his daughter brought Mika in for a visit several weeks later. We captured these images and our staff was thrilled to see her happily wagging her tail!

The Paw It Forward Foundation is solely funded through donations. Please consider donating to this worthy cause.  CLICK HERE

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!!!”My Post (4).jpg

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 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.