Veterinary Medical Center News: Spring 2012

From the Director

Karin Zuckerman, Director, Veterinary Medical CenterWe had an early spring and the weather has taken more of us outside to enjoy the sun. With more people and animals outside playing, sometimes accidents and illnesses do happen. Remember that the Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) offers an Emergency and Critical Service equipped to treat even the most serious cases. Our veterinarians are highly experienced and knowledgeable in approaching many different types of emergencies with varying degrees of severity. Additionally, we are the only facility in central Ohio at which all of the emergency and critical care veterinarians are board certified by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

We have dedicated Intensive Care Units for companion animals, horses, and farm animals that are monitored 24/7 by our skilled and caring staff. In addition to our board certified veterinarians, the VMC boasts board certified technician specialists in emergency and critical care. Additionally, our state-of-the-art monitoring equipment allows us to more effectively assess and treat critical cases. You can read more about our new telemetry monitors, as well as several emergency cases with happy endings in this issue of "Update."

We realize that emergencies can be stressful for everyone involved. Should a trip or a referral to the VMC be necessary, we will do our best to make the situation as smooth as possible for you. We are committed to providing the best care possible for our patients and our clients, and look forward to serving your needs.

Prize Bull Restored to Reproductive Health

Tubmill Creek Farms in New Florence, PennsylvaniaKitty and John Goodish put their Tubmill Creek Farms on the fast-track to success by purchasing a purebred bull for $32,000 from the Kentucky Expo. Then, the animal developed a medical problem that threatened its reproductive capabilities. Fortunately, the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center Hospital for Farm Animals corrected the problem.

Kitty and John realized they needed to do more to support the hospital, which they recognize as a vital community resource. They decided to make a monetary gift to the hospital.

"The medical and support staff at the VMC provide the highest quality veterinary services that I have experienced in my tenure as a cattleman," said John Goodish. "When our animals are at the Ohio State clinic, we know that they are receiving the best diagnostic and treatment regimens available. This knowledge provides us with great peace of mind when our livestock is offsite for treatment."

Visiting the VMC is not easy for the Goodishes. Their home is four hours away, in New Florence, Pa., where they operate the 700-acre farm specializing in purebred Limousin and Lim-Flex animals. The outstanding services, state-of-the-art facilities and reasonable costs have made it their go-to facility for many medical issues.

Tubmill Creek Farms in New Florence, Pennsylvania"If the VMC were to shut its doors for lack of funding, our business would suffer," said Goodish. "Contributing to the VMC is not just giving to charity; it is an appropriate and sound investment in the future of Tubmill Creek Farms."

The Goodishes hope other people who make their livelihood from agriculture recognize the importance of the VMC and choose to support the facility as well.

"Agriculture is an important contributor to the U.S. economy," he said. "If our industry is to remain economically viable and globally competitive, we must have access to first class veterinary facilities. The value provided by the VMC to regional farms and ranches with large animal programs cannot be overstated. University endowments are a critical component of funding for essential animal research and the enhancement of veterinary medicine."

"America's universities have a long and successful history of promoting our nation's agricultural growth and innovation. Ohio State is a part of that tradition. Sustaining the VMC is nothing less than a way of sustaining the regional farms and ranches that put food on America's family tables."

When Do I Take My Pet to the Emergency Room?

Sooner or later, every pet owner may ask themselves this question.

Dr. Edward Cooper, head of Emergency and Critical Care at the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center, provides some guidelines for dealing with your pet's health and safety. Call your veterinarian if the following symptoms occur.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Labored breathing
  • Increased noise when breathing
  • Blue gums
  • A respiratory rate over 50 breaths/minute (not panting)
  • Coughing blood
  • Constant coughing
  • Non-productive retching or gagging
  • An elevated heart rate (> 160 beats per minute at home)
  • Pale gums
  • Collapse/loss of consciousness
  • Crying out in pain
  • Not being able to move or dragging the back legs
  • A distended abdomen
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Any significant amount of bleeding
  • Any trauma
  • Bite wounds/abscess/lacerations
  • Any toxin ingestion or suspected poisoning
  • Squinting, bulging, or painful eyeballs
  • Bloody urine or straining to urinate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Labored breathing
  • Open-mouth breathing or panting
  • A respiratory rate over 50 breaths/minute (Hint: count the number of breaths in ten seconds and multiply by six to get the total breaths per minutes)
  • Coughing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Hiding (under the bed, in the closet)
  • Not moving
  • Straining or making multiple trips to the litter box (especially male cats)
  • Profuse vomiting (>2-3 times/day)
  • Not eating for more than 2-3 days
  • Sitting over the water bowl and not moving
  • Seizuring or twitching
  • Bite wounds/abscess
  • Any kind of trauma
  • Any kind of toxicity or poisoning
  • Any string hanging out of any orifice (Seriously. And please don't pull or cut it).
Persian Cat and Basset Hound

Bailey Saved by Drastic Measures

One of every pet owner's nightmares is to discover that their pet has ingested something potentially harmful, whether it is a foreign body or, even worse, a toxic substance. Three board certified Emergency and Critical Care (ECC) specialists using the state-of-the-art equipment are poised to treat even the most serious cases at the Hospital for Companion Animals at the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center (VMC). And they are ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bailey, a one year-old, mixed breed dog ingested an entire tube of his owner's 5-fluorouracil (a chemotherapy drug known to cause neurologic toxicity). He was initially treated by his regular veterinarian. However, when Bailey collapsed and began having seizures, he was referred to the VMC for further evaluation. He was unresponsive and experiencing continued seizure activity when the critical care team first saw him. The team, led by Dr. Edward Cooper, head of the ECC Service, put Bailey in a medically-induced coma to control seizure activity. He was also in respiratory distress, requiring a ventilator. "Drastic measures, such as inducing a coma and mechanical ventilation, can be necessary and helpful when you need to buy some time for the toxin to run its course, or allow other medications to take effect," explained Dr. Cooper.

While Bailey was in the ICU, 24-hour care was provided by the ECC Service specialists, residents, and a highly trained and caring technical staff. Over the next two days he was weaned off the ventilator and began a slow recovery with oxygen therapy, nutritional support, and rehabilitation. "Bailey ingested a lethal dose of 5-fluorouracil which typically carries a grave prognosis," Dr. Cooper said. "Many hospitals are not equipped to handle this kind of a case. We are just glad to have had the opportunity to support Bailey through his severe situation." After six days in the hospital, Bailey was finally able to return home to his eagerly awaiting family.

Even Dairy Cows Get the Blues

Dairy CowFor one Brown Swiss dairy cow, decreased milk production and refusal to eat led owners to consult their regular farm animal veterinarian. While "Bingo" had a history of depression and anorexia, this time her doctor suspected an intestinal blockage and referred her owners to the Emergency and Critical Care team at the Veterinary Medical Center's Hospital for Farm Animals.

Arriving at the VMC, "Bingo" was seen by Dr. Amanda Hartnack, farm animal medicine and surgery resident, Dr. Jeff Lakritz, head of farm animal medicine and surgery and two fourth-year veterinary students. Blood work and ultrasound coupled with her other symptoms indicated that the cow did indeed have an intestinal blockage. The team immediately administered IV and oral fluid therapy. However, the next morning, she was still uncomfortable and the decision was made to surgically remove the blockage. In addition to the intestinal blockage, a large blood clot required the team to perform an intestinal resection. The critical care team kept in close contact with "Bingo's" regular vet – keeping him apprised of her prognosis and treatment plan.

While "Bingo" required a few days of monitoring in the hospital, she began eating shortly after surgery. Her progress was monitored 24 hours a day until she was ready to return to the farm.

Any case that requires frequent monitoring and treatments beyond what owners can manage on the farm can be referred to the VMC to ensure the best outcome for the patient.

Dr. Cooper with telemetry transmitterBetter Care in ICU - Thanks to Friends Like You!

There are many ways to support the work of the veterinarians and technicians at the Veterinary Medical Center. Often, animal lovers and clients show their appreciation for great care received by their animals by providing a monetary gift to be used "where it can help the most."

Recently, the fund called Friends of the Veterinary Medical Center was used to purchase an important piece of equipment for the Intensive Care Unit: a telemetry unit. A telemetry unit provides continuous monitoring of a patient's vital signs.

"This unit allows us to monitor patients from a central location," explained Dr. Ed Cooper, assistant professor and Head of the Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Service. "Any increase or decrease in the heart rate, or incidence of abnormal rhythms, can be tracked more effectively. The system also has a 72 hour look-back period that can be used in long-term treatment decisions."

The telemetry unit has the potential to track other vital signs as well, including blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels. " Employing these functions requires the purchase of new bed-side monitors that are able to communicate with the telemetry system, because our current older models do not," explained Dr. Cooper. "Expanding the capabilities of the telemetry system this way would allow us to take even better care of our patients."

Generous donations by Dr. Michelle Kozel and Robert Kozel – both Ohio State alumni – have allowed the purchase of another piece of specialized equipment – a lifting weight table. "This is a very sophisticated gurney," said Dr. Cooper. "It can be maneuvered up and down, which makes moving patients and getting them onto the table much easier. Most importantly, it has a built-in scale, which allows an accurate weight measurement, and saves the step of weighing the patient on a separate scale. Having an accurate weight from the beginning of treatment is critical to ensuring accurate doses of medications and fluids."

Galbreath Equine Center Provides Skills for Recovery

Mare and FoalYou have to have a fighting spirit to win two World Champion Titles as well as four Grand National Titles in Amateur Pleasure Driving, and 10 year-old Morgan "Dragonsmeade Carnaros" is no stranger to competition.

"He's all ready to go when he sees the endgate. He may knicker for treats in the barn, but in the gate he is all business," said owner Nancy Hendrick. "he is just so sweet, not aggressive. Everyone loves him who meets him."

Dragonsmeade Carnaros, or Dave as he is lovingly referred to around the barn, began showing signs of colic and fever, and Nancy became concerned when she noticed a change in the color of his manure. She decided to bring him to the able care of Dr. Sam Hurcombe at the Galbreath Equine Center at Ohio State. After an evaluation Dave was taken to emergency surgery where Dr. Hurcombe discovered a stick free floating in Dave's abdomen. Dr. Hurcombe and his team quickly removed the stick and performed a bowel resection. After surgery, Dave was admitted to the ICU and given antibiotics and IV nutrition. But, after two weeks, Dave was still suffering. Dr. Hurcombe, who had been in daily contact with Nancy about Dave's condition, and Nancy made the decision that a second surgery was necessary.

"He wanted to win even when he was really sick. He's smart, athletic and kind and I really needed to follow-through," said Hendricks. This was a stressful time for the Hendricks family. Nancy's husband was also hospitalized in ICU with a bowel resection necessary for his recovery. "They were having similar treatments. He's fine now… but it was stressful."

The second surgery was successful. Within a few days, Dave was back home in the barn, and has a very good prognosis. "I cannot say enough about Dr. Hurcombe and the staff. Everyone was wonderful, including the students." While he will no longer be able to compete, Nancy looks forward to bringing him home to drive around the farm. "He developed a 'fan club' at OSU and they spoiled him," she says laughing, "I am anxious to spoil him some more!"

Meet Rex and Baron Wilson!Rex and Baron Wilson

Newsletter correction: In our last issue, we had a picture of the wrong Cavalier King Charles spaniel with the story about clients Liz and Richard Wilson. We apologize for our error and hope you enjoy meeting Rex and Baron.

Changes Coming to Pet Loss Hotline

The Companion Animal Listening Line (CALL) at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine was one of the first pet loss support lines offered in the country. The service offered counseling to people who were grieving the loss of a pet. This service is now duplicated at many other universities, as well as private agencies. Because of the decline in usage and new resources now available, the hotline will be discontinued effective May 31. "I am confident that clients will continue to be served through our other resources," says Joelle Nielsen, program coordinator for Honoring the Bond.

Other hotlines are still available for those in need, including:

  • ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline: (877) 474-3310
  • University of Illinois C.A.R.E Pet Loss Helpline: (877) 394-2273

Download PDF: Spring 2012.pdf