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Patient Story: Oscar

For #Caturday, we have a very special patient story featuring Oscar the Cat! Late last year, this fearless 17 year old escaped from his home and was gone for nearly two weeks. Thankfully, Oscar eventually returned, and his human companion, Billy, brought him to our hospital. Under the care of Drs. Emily Wong and Erika Beck, Oscar received fluids, a blood transfusion and antibiotics.

oscar and billy

oscar and billy

Here, Billy shares a little more about Oscar:

I adopted Oscar as a rescue kitty. Despite his size, he is a type A kitty. Any other kitty I had at the same time always was/is aware where Oscar is. In addition to being a tough old man, he is fearless. I have seen him challenge dogs. My brother had a 110-pound dog. Oscar was on the back steps looking down at Frosty, who was jumping up and down, growling, etc. Oscar started moving back and forth, getting ready to pounce and scratch the nose. I yanked him away, reminding him that he was 16 and if he missed, well …

At age 17, Oscar escaped back in November/December at the height of the rains. After 13 days, I opened the back door and there he was – a huddled black ball. Somehow he managed to make it back home. Probably to die.

I brought him to VCA SFVS and the doctors saved him. A beautiful thing because he did not have much more time. Thank you, VCA SFVS. Oscar has bounced back and is his old self. He is ready for another 17 years!!!

Many thanks to Billy and Oscar for sharing this story and photo. Drs. Wong and Beck and all of us here wish Oscar all the best. We are so happy he is home and back to his old self again!

Today on the blog, we’re excited to feature … Charley! We met this sweet Chihuahua mix under some scary circumstances: He had just been hit by a car. Charley made fast friends with a few of our veterinarians. Dr. Allegra Roth was his receiving emergency services doctor, Dr. Laura West managed his case when he was transferred to internal medicine for further observation, and Dr. Margo Mehl removed a tooth that was damaged during the accident.

The wonderful news is that Charley was a very lucky little dog and was able to return home after three days. Below, his human companion Rachel shares a little more about Charley and his story. Many thanks to Charley and Rachel – we were so honored to be on this Miracle Mutt’s veterinary care team!

From Rachel:

I arrived at Peninsula Humane Society in early October 2011 very excited: I was finally about to adopt a dog of my own. My family loves dogs, always maintaining a pack of 2 or 3 while I was growing up. I had been living in San Francisco for a few years and was finally in the ideal situation for a small rescue dog. I strolled around the shelter looking at lots of wonderful dogs of all sizes, but there was one in particular that caught my eye: a small, tan Chihuahua mix puppy who looked to me like a little fox.

like a little fox!

like a little fox!

It took all of five seconds to decide he was “The One.” I loved his beautiful auburn coat, pretty doe eyes and one of the cutest little noses I’ve ever seen. I especially was struck by his little feet and tail that look as though they were tip dipped in white paint. It was love at first sight for Charley and me, like something out of a movie. He put his cute little nose on the glass up to my hand. I knew we were friends for life.

charley and rachel

charley and rachel

Charley the dog, affectionately known as “Cheese,” is a friend to all. His favorite activities include fetching socks, catching/eating flies, and running with his Sunny Day Dog Walks pack at McLaren Park. He is the ultimate snuggle buddy. When he hasn’t seen you in a while, he will greet you by dancing on his back two legs, high-fiving you with both paws. Most of all, he is a sweet little guy with a big heart and a curious spirit.

Last October, that curious spirit got the better of him. He chased a bird from the grass in Dolores Park on to 20th Street and got hit by a car. As a dog mom, that was my worst nightmare come true. Luckily the driver of the car was able to rush us to VCA. I cannot say enough about the excellent care we received from the team at VCA. Everyone was so kind, knowledgeable, and empathetic. They were extremely patient with all of my questions.

I feel so fortunate that they were there for Charley and me. It’s truly a miracle that he was home within three days and back running with the pack within a month, considering the severity of his injuries.

back in action!

back in action!

Over the years my family and I have given Charley several nicknames: Charlie Tuna, Carlitos, Cheesey, El Queso … but the one that’s going to stick for years to come is Miracle Mutt. And thanks to the stellar veterinarians and staff at VCA, he is just that.

curious charley stays updated on current events

curious charley stays updated on current events

Would you like your dog or cat to be featured in our Patient Stories series? Please email us for information. We look forward to hearing from you.

Learn a little more about the veterinarians and staff at VCA SFVS in our staff spotlight series! This week we feature Emily Young, VMD, a member of our current intern class. 

Name: Emily Young, VMD

Your position: Rotating intern

When did you join VCA SFVS? June 2014

Favorite part of your job? My favourite part of being a veterinarian is working with my animal patients and the humans who love them! I am awed every day by the wonderful relationships we establish with our pets and am grateful that I can help keep the four-legged partners in this relationship happy and healthy. My favourite part of working here at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists being able to work amongst so many incredibly knowledgeable and talented clinicians, RVTs and assistants and seeing how their dedicated teamwork benefits each of the cases seen at the hospital.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in New York but grew up in Europe, primarily in England, until I started college. I attended Tufts University in Boston for my undergraduate degree and fell in love with that snowy city! I moved to Philadelphia for vet school at the University of Pennsylvania and then came out to California, which has proved to be just an absolutely amazing area of the country. Since moving here I have loved exploring the city (and particularly the food!) of San Francisco and the surrounding area.

What does your workday entail? As an intern my schedule varies depending on which service I am working at the time. However, most days start with rounds at 8am, where the case of each patient in the hospital is presented, discussed and transferred to the appropriate service. From there, we move on to examining each patient and coming up with a treatment plan for the day. The day ends after evening rounds at 6pm once all diagnostics have been performed and appointments concluded.

Your work-related super power? I truly believe in the power of a smile, particularly when something is not going as well as you would like!

Any animal companions of your own? My boyfriend and I recently said goodbye to our very handsome Saint Bernard, Walter. We miss The Big Guy very much but are looking forward to bringing a new pup into our home in the coming months!

dr. young and walter out on a walk near crystal springs reservoir

dr. young and walter out on a walk near crystal springs reservoir

What do you enjoy doing outside work? When I’m not at work I love to spend time exploring the food of San Francisco, hiking and doing ANYTHING at the beach!

Favorite pet-related activity in the Bay Area? Walking any and everywhere! A great spot is the Crystal Springs Reservoir down by San Mateo.

What are you currently reading? I usually have two books going at any one time…a more serious or historical one (currently: Lenin’s Tomb by David Remnick) and a lighter read (currently: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot).

Favorite TV show? My favourite TV show of all time has to be Friends. But more recently I have enjoyed watching Parenthood, The Walking Dead, Homeland and Downton Abbey.

Dr. Laura West Joins VCA SFVS

We’re happy to announce that Dr. Laura West has joined our hospital on a full-time basis! An internal medicine specialist, Dr. West received her DVM from the University of Georgia and completed her residency training at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego.

dr-west-welcome

She sees internal medicine patients at SFVS on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Welcome, Dr. West!

More About Laura West, DVM, DACVIM

Dr. Laura West received her DVM from the University of Georgia in 2007. She went on to complete a rotating internship at VCA Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Norwalk, Connecticut, and a specialty internship in internal medicine at Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles.

Dr. West completed her residency training at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego in 2012, and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2013. Her special interests include feline medicine, immune-mediated disease and endocrinology.

Outside her veterinary practice, she greatly values spending time with her husband and their two cats, Kitten and Gypsy. She also enjoys yoga, running and hiking in the great outdoors.

Patient Story: Busby

Today’s patient story features … Busby! A patient of internal medicine specialist Dr. Craig Maretzki and cardiologist Dr. Justin Williams, Busby was diagnosed in 2014 with congestive heart disease, which is being managed by his human mom, Jaye, and his veterinarians.

Busby age 3

It is our honor to be on Busby the Wonder Dog’s care team! Many thanks to Jaye for putting together this sweet piece on Busby.

From Jaye:

What did YOUR mom always say: MAKE YOUR BED! And how about a dog who does just that!! Every day, Busby Berkeley goes into the bathroom and re-shapes a rug into a comfortable bed or finds a towel and curls right up into it, and makes himself a cozy, little sleeper:

Busby 2

Busby Berkeley, the Wonder Dog, who also trained as a Therapy dog, as well as a Service dog, at Marin Humane Society.

And who is Busby, anyway? 22 pounds of love and sweetness, a 14-year-old Havanese from The Netherlands, who came at 8 weeks, 3 days old to the USA to spend his life with me, his mom, Jaye, where he gives his smiles to everyone.

busby at 10-12 weeks!

busby at 10-12 weeks!

AKA The Big Baby Busby, he is champagne with a bit of black in his beard and the tips of his ears, and a bit reddish, with great very-human brown eyes, and a big brain in his little head.

And he knows how to get his way!

Busby came to VCA SFVS, in 2013, with a heart murmur. He was later again referred by his veterinarian and friend, Dr. A.J. Kallet of VCA Madera Pet Hospital in Corte Madera, in 2014, with a diagnosis of congestive heart disease. So sick and thin he was, with weight loss, a persistent cough, terribly ill, and it seemed hardly a chance to survive.

Busby was in the hospital for four days, until it was determined he was ready to go home, where his mom would manage his disease with his veterinarians.

jaye and busby

jaye and busby

Now under the incredible care of Dr. Craig Maretzki, internist, and Dr. Justin Williams, cardiologist, technicians and the support staff, Busby is a renewed boy, thriving, running (okay, only a little bit), and definitely eating. He wants attention, can still show a stubborn streak (where is MY food) and how about a big kiss for me. Then there is Busby’s pal Robin, technician, who carries Busby on her chest so he can rest his head on her shoulder, as he gets well.

Busby age 7

The Big Baby Busby, happy again.

Would you like your dog or cat to be featured in our Patient Stories series? Please email us for information. We look forward to hearing from you.

Community: VET SOS

VET SOS provides free veterinary care to the companion animals of homeless San Franciscans and links their human guardians with health care services. Operating since 2001, VET SOS is a project of SFCCC’s Street Outreach Services (SOS) program.

Photo credit: Mark Rogers Photography, via the VET SOS website Kasper & Brandy / Kasper has been Brandy's guardian for a year, since Brandy's previous owner decided she didn't want her anymore. She says that being with Brandy gives her support and a sense of responsibility. Together, they often visit VET SOS clinics to receive veterinary advice and supplies.

“Kasper & Brandy / Kasper has been Brandy’s guardian for a year, since Brandy’s previous owner decided she didn’t want her anymore. She says that being with Brandy gives her support and a sense of responsibility. Together, they often visit VET SOS clinics to receive veterinary advice and supplies.” Photo credit: Mark Rogers Photography. Photo and caption via the VET SOS website.

VCA SFVS is proud to partner with VET SOS. Each of our interns does at least one rotation with VET SOS during their year with us, and many of our staff volunteer as technicians, assistants and intake (including our referral coordinators Kayleigh and Jen).

Members of our 2013-2014 intern class volunteering at a VET SOS clinic

Drs. Savitt, Adamson and Bugman, members of our 2013-2014 intern class, volunteering at a VET SOS clinic

Photo credit: Marlena Hartman, via the VET SOS website AmeriCorps Project Assistant, Celeste Quintero / Meet Celeste! Celeste is a second year AmeriCorps member who is the Project Assistant for VET SOS. With a passion for animals and the clients we serve, she organizes and oversees all of our clinics, ensuring that our clients and patients get the care that they need.  She is very proud of VET SOS and holds dear the incredible relationships she is making with our clients and volunteers.

“AmeriCorps Project Assistant, Celeste Quintero / Meet Celeste! Celeste is a second year AmeriCorps member who is the Project Assistant for VET SOS. [Also an SFVSer!] With a passion for animals and the clients we serve, she organizes and oversees all of our clinics, ensuring that our clients and patients get the care that they need. She is very proud of VET SOS and holds dear the incredible relationships she is making with our clients and volunteers.” Photo credit: Marlena Hartman. Photo and caption via the VET SOS website.

VET SOS provides free pop-up veterinary clinics 12 times per year using volunteer staffing and a specially equipped mobile outreach van. We think it’s pretty incredible what they do and the services they offer (a recent clinic saw around 50 pets!).

Photo credit: Marlena Hartman. Photo and caption via the VET SOS website. "Volunteer, Bernadette Guirguis / As an AmeriCorps member, Bernadette served as VET SOS' Project Assistant for two years. She says one of her hardest but most meaningful moments was with a long-standing client and her 14-year-old dog. Despite our veterinarians' best efforts, they finally had to recommend euthanasia. Informing the client was very challenging, but the client was overwhelmed with gratefulness for VET SOS supporting her with end-of-life services for her cherished pet ."

“Volunteer, Bernadette Guirguis / As an AmeriCorps member, Bernadette served as VET SOS’ Project Assistant for two years. [Also an SFVSer!] She says one of her hardest but most meaningful moments was with a long-standing client and her 14-year-old dog. Despite our veterinarians’ best efforts, they finally had to recommend euthanasia. Informing the client was very challenging, but the client was overwhelmed with gratefulness for VET SOS supporting her with end-of-life services for her cherished pet .” Photo credit: Mark Rogers Photography. Photo and caption via the VET SOS website.

We salute the VET SOS team and all the volunteers – VCA SFVS is honored to play a small part in the important work you do!

Learn more about VET SOS:

Patient Story: Sugar

Today’s patient story features the beautiful Sugar! We met this sweet girl when she was 2; Dr. Margo Mehl had to perform a “ballectomy” after Sugar swallowed a little tennis ball (that someone else threw). More recently, Dr. Elyse Hammer treated Sugar for a foxtail and fleas in her ears and bilateral ear hematomas.

Below, Sugar’s human companion John shares a little more on this 90-lb. Alaskan Malamute. Many thanks to John for putting together such a wonderfully written story. We are proud to be a part of Sugar’s veterinary care team.

From John:

Going places with Sugar is like traveling with a movie star. When we take walks in San Francisco or Berkeley, we seldom go a block before someone stops to tell Sugar that she’s beautiful, and asks for her vital statistics (breed, weight, age, where we got her, about her personality and how much she sheds). Then they pet her, take photos and/or a video. One of Sugar’s admirers summed up Sugar’s personality this way: “She’s sweet, playful, beautiful and strong when she needs to be.”

john and sugar

john and sugar

Here are some answers to those frequently asked questions.

Sugar is a 90-lb., 7½-year-old Alaskan Malamute. Malamutes were named after the native Inuit tribe called Mahlemuts and worked in sled dog teams to pull heavy animal carcasses across the snow to feed tribe members. As such, the Malamutes had to help protect the carcasses from predators. In light of her breeding, Sugar’s personality traits are understandable: She is strong in body and spirit, and loves walking even in the most horrible weather. Sugar is very affectionate with people, protective of her “teams” of people, and a loyal member of her pack of dogs at Point Isabel, where I take her for one to two hours every morning.

Sugar had a hard start: She was underfed from birth to 5 months and then got severe kennel pneumonia after being confiscated from her owner. She was rescued by MUSH (Malamutes Unsettled Seeking Homes) and fortunately fostered by wonderful people.

My wife found Sugar online and thought she was the dog for us because she wanted a dog that was gentle, calm, furry and quiet and that didn’t drool. I wanted a large dog that liked to take lots of walks. Also, she knew that Sugar’s name would appeal to me as I love sugary foods, principally chocolate. We adopted Sugar from her foster parents. A few months later, Sugar’s foster parents adopted her sister, Luna. Sugar and Luna have been getting together at Point Isabel every other week for the last six and a half years.

sugar and luna

sugar and luna

When we got her at age 8 months, Sugar had severe separation anxiety. One time, my wife and I left Sugar in our fenced backyard while we went out to dinner. When we got home, Sugar happily greeted us when we opened the front door. Sugar had broken down the locked bottom part of the solid core backyard Dutch door, and entered our home. Now when we go out we leave Sugar inside our house.

We have another pet, Pontiac Jack, who began life as a feral tabby cat. Sugar and Pontiac Jack are close friends, and they take walks together for about half an hour every night. They periodically stop to rub noses, and Sugar barks protectively if another dog is in the vicinity.

sugar and pontiac jack

sugar and pontiac jack

Sugar is a certified Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Pet and participates in the Paws to Read program. She and I go to San Leandro, Oakland and Berkeley libraries once a week so children can read to her. One first-grader summarized the purpose of the program perfectly: “When I read in front of the class, I’m all scared, but when I read to Sugar, I love her.”

sugar4

beautiful sugar!

 

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