We are happy to be able to share just some of our medical successes over the years. These pets came to us with all manner of problems, some life-threatening. Their recoveries are a testament not only to our medical care, but also to their loving families and, of course, to the pets themselves. They continue to inspire us every day!
Read their stories:
Cookie – survives major burns.
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Cookie is a 7-year old Chihuahua who was brought to CUVS for treatment of a severe skin injury. Cookie sustained a partial thickness burn over most of his back while his owner was away, so the exact cause of the injury was unknown.
Initially, Cookie's treatment was intense, since he required daily bandage changes to treat the burn, antibiotics, and a continuous infusion of pain medication to manage his pain. As the skin healed, Cookie's bandage changes became less involved and less frequent. After several months of wound care, Cookie's wounds healed completely. Because Cookie's hair may never grow back fully, one of our crafty surgery technicians made Cookie a custom CUVS sweater to keep him warm! Cookie was a 2017 Courageous Companions.
Max - curiosity almost killed this cat.
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Max. One of our bravest Courageous Companions and patient heroes of 2015. Some injuries defy words. Max sadly, being the kitten that he was, became enamored with a large bait hook used for open ocean fishing. These hooks have a large main hook and a smaller trident-style hook. We suspect that he must have started playing with the bait hook overnight and gotten stuck on one of the hooks through his mouth, and then through his palate. As he struggled, first one paw and then three of his paws got impaled on the trident style hook. His struggles then caused the larger hook to move through his right eye. Upon his arrival to our emergency department, he was immediately sedated and given powerful pain medication. The hook was cut in several parts to free his limbs. Once stabilized, Dr. Morgan performed surgery to remove the larger main hook and repair the associated damage. He recovered incredibly well and does not seem to be missing out on anything! Max was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Calvin – paralyzed, now walking.
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Calvin is our sweet gentle giant. He is an almost 9-year old German Shepherd dog who sustained a paralyzing spinal injury to his hind legs in February 2017. After emergency neurosurgery to remove disk material from 3 lumbar disk spaces that was putting pressure on his spinal cord, Calvin came to CUVS’ Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation Service to begin his rehabilitation therapy with gusto! He quickly became a hospital favorite, demanding frequent belly rubs and working very hard during rehabilitation.
We are happy to say, Calvin is almost back to his regular self at home! He has regained the use of his hind legs, and is getting stronger every day. Calvin is a wonderful big brother to his human sisters, and we couldn’t be happier to share his graduation pictures!
Sophie – the gift of sight for her birthday.
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Our sweet patient Sophie was blind due to advanced diabetic cataracts when she came to see our Ophthalmology Service recently. Sophie came in for cataract surgery on the day of her 11th birthday and we were able to remove both cataracts successfully and restore her vision. Happy Birthday, Sophie!
Did you know that approximately 80% of diabetic dogs will develop cataracts within 16 months of diagnosis, with the majority developing significant cataract within 5-6 months? If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, talk to your veterinarian about monitoring your dog's eyes for development of cataracts and prevention of ocular complications.
Raleigh - survives cancer of the jaw.
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Raleigh is a 9-year old Hound mix who was presented to CUVS’ Dentistry & Oral Surgery Service with cancer of her left upper jaw. This type of tumor (a papillary squamous cell carcinoma) is locally invasive and aggressive, but does not spread to distant parts of the body. The preferred treatment is to remove the tumor surgically with 0.5-1cm margins of the normal tissue surrounding the tumor. Dr. Lisa Fink, our board-certified oral surgeon, and Dr. Oliver Morgan, our board-certified surgeon, together performed a partial maxillectomy removing a portion of the left upper jaw bone. The tumor is now completely removed and Raleigh is doing really well at home with her family!
Max – birth defects corrected.
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Max is 4 years old and came to see our Ophthalmology Service recently after experiencing several serious corneal ulcers (wounds on the surface of the eye) in his first few years of life. Max was born with very wide eyelid openings and prominent eyes (see photo on left), such that he was not able to fully blink his eyelids for protection. Dr. Wynne, our board-certified ophthalmologist, surgically corrected Max’s eyelid abnormalities without affecting his cute appearance one bit! Max has healed nicely from surgery (see post op photo on right) and is doing extremely well at home.
Sunday – still smiling.
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Sunday is a 10-year old Goldendoodle who came in last week for her recheck, approximately 2 weeks after having 17 teeth extracted due to tooth resorption.
Tooth resorption is a process in which the affected tooth roots become more like bone and less like tooth over time, which can result in fractured teeth. The cause of tooth resorption in cats and dogs is not completely understood. Dental x-rays showed that the crowns look normal but the teeth have no root structure. This is because, as the resorption progresses, the teeth become more brittle. Once we remove the affected teeth, the patient is more comfortable.
Sunday's family reports that, after the extractions, she is acting like a puppy again! CUVS is so happy that Sunday is doing well! We will continue to monitor Sunday’s remaining teeth for the development of resorption in the future.
Cody – survives removal of a large liver mass.
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Cody is a 7-year old West Highland white terrier who was diagnosed with an extremely large liver mass. Given the size of the tumor, it was thought to be nonresectable. A CT scan at CUVS, however, showed that the mass was predominantly involving the left lobes of the liver, and did not incorporate major vessels. So, Cody was taken to surgery – and the mass was completely excised by Dr. Oliver Morgan. Biopsy confirmed a slow-growing malignant cancer that tends to have a long survival time if fully removed. Postoperatively, Cody is bright and happy – and enjoying life! Cody was a 2016 Courageous Companion.
Kuro – quite the fighter.
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Kuro is a 2-year old cat who was referred to CUVS Critical Care Service for a pleural effusion (fluid in the chest cavity surrounding the lungs). Dr. Mazzaferro, a critical care specialist, drained the fluid and found it to be purulent (pus), a condition known as pyothorax. Pyothorax in cats is usually the result of a previous penetrating bite wound. Kuro had been adopted 5 weeks previously from a rescue organization, so his history was unclear. Under general anesthesia, chest tubes were placed in either side of Kuro’s chest. The infected fluid was drained every few hours and the chest cavity lavaged. Kuro was also treated with intensive fluid therapy and oxygen supplementation in addition to broad spectrum intravenous antibiotics and analgesics. He eventually improved and was discharged after 8 days of hospitalization on continued antibiotics. He recovered extremely well. Since that, however, poor Kuro developed urinary tract disease and urethral obstruction, and was back in our Emergency Service for treatment of this. Fortunately, he continues to do extremely well and is back to being a happy cat. Kuro was a 2016 Courageous Companion.
Oscar – survived 4 surgeries.
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Oscar is a 7-year old, incredibly handsome, and rather large (OVER 20 LBS) Maine Coon cat who lives in Brooklyn. Oscar had a condition called patellar luxation, in which the kneecap dislocates from side to side. This is not uncommon in small dogs, but is unusual in cats. The surgery to correct this condition is typically routine, but turned out to be quite challenging in Oscar’s case due to his size and the size of his patella. All told, over a period of several months, Oscar had 4 surgeries by Dr. Adrienne Bentley to correct his luxating patella. During much of that time, he stayed at CUVS, undergoing daily physical rehabilitation. If you’ve never seen a cat with an ankle weight around its leg, take our word - it’s priceless. Throughout all of his medical care, Oscar was incredibly cooperative and good-natured. Not surprising, he became very popular with the staff and became our hospital mascot while he was here. Thankfully, our interventions were ultimately successful, and he is back to fully functional. Oscar was a 2016 Courageous Companion.
Trouble – gets help with seasonal allergies.
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Trouble is a 5-year old Pitbull cross who visited Dr. Elizabeth Falk of our Dermatology Service for severe allergies. Trouble has had seasonal allergies since he was about 2 years old. Recently, this has progressed to year-round allergies, necessitating daily medications. His owner brought him to CUVS to see if it was possible to treat his allergies and get him off the medications (or at least lower them).
Allergen-specific Immunotherapy refers to allergy testing to identify the individual patient’s allergens, and then formulate a custom allergy vaccine. We use this vaccine to expose the patient to small amounts of the allergens, in order to desensitize their immune system to these allergens. Over time, when the patient comes across the allergens, they “tolerate” them without becoming itchy. Allergen-specific Immunotherapy is the only allergy treatment that treats the cause of allergy, rather than merely manages the symptoms. And it is the only treatment that can potentially alter the course of the disease. Allergies tend to get worse with age; with this therapy, it is possible to halt that progression.
Trouble is now receiving his allergy vaccine every 10 days and is doing great!
Muffin – is one lucky bulldog.
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Muffin is a 10-year old Bulldog that was very ill due to a mass at the base of her heart that was bleeding into her pericardium (the lining around the heart). The mass, unfortunately, was not surgically resectable but Dr. Oliver Morgan performed a surgery, called a pericardectomy, to remove the pericardium which relieved the pressure created by the bleeding. She recovered extremely well and is enjoying life! Muffin was a 2016 Courageous Companion.
Henley – so young and so sick.
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Henley is a 3-year old dog who was originally presented to our Emergency Service for respiratory distress and collapsing episodes after treatment for urinary incontinence. She was a very sick dog when we met her. Diagnostic testing revealed blood clots in her pulmonary arteries that were resulting in profound pressure elevations within her lungs. She was hospitalized in our ICU where treatment included oxygen, medications to reduce the pressure within her lungs and anticoagulants (to reduce blood clotting). She responded extremely well and was discharged from our hospital. Her collapsing episodes resolved and she was ultimately able to be tapered off of her anticoagulants. We are all so pleased! Henley was a 2016 Courageous Companion.
Tucker – breathing easily again.
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Tucker is a 13-year old Dachshund who suffered a long lobe torsion with resultant chylothorax. In this condition, the lung lobe twists, creating a buildup of milky fluid in the chest cavity that ultimately prevents the lungs from expanding and causes severe respiratory difficulty. After stabilization and fluid removal by our Emergency & Critical care Department, and CT scan to confirm the torsion, Tucker underwent 2 surgeries by Dr. Oliver Morgan – one to remove the affected lung lobe, and a second to perform multiple procedures to prevent the chylous fluid accumulation. He was the perfect patient – sweet and tolerant throughout. We are thrilled he is doing well. Tucker was a 2016 Courageous Companion.
Lincoln – be careful what you sniff!
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Lincoln is a 3-year old Labrador Retriever who was initially diagnosed with severe nasal inflammation in 2014, and was treated for a fungal infection. Despite extensive and repeated diagnostic testing as well as antifungal therapies, he continued to have resistant nasal fungal infections, and even developed liver toxicity from one of the antifungal drugs. In 2015, Dr. Marnin Forman repeated a CT scan and rhinoscopy and found (and removed) a small piece of plastic in his nasal cavity! This would explain the persistent infections. At that time, culture revealed a multidrug resistant Aspergillus fungal infection, which was then treated with a new medication. To date, we have detected no evidence of residual fungal infection and are hopeful that this incredible and sweet dog is finally and fully cured! Lincoln was a 2016 Courageous Companion.
Tyson – couldn’t handle the heat.
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Tyson is a 9-year old Rhodesian Ridgeback who was treated by our Emergency & Critical Care Department for heat stroke. He was presented to our Emergency Service, following a long run, collapsed and unable to walk. Even after cooling efforts by his family at home, Tyson’s temperature was 104.1°F! He was collapsed, unresponsive and in shock. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition. It results from overheating and leads to myriad systemic abnormalities, to which many/most patient succumb. In Tyson’s case, we found heart arrhythmias, kidney damage, intestinal effects, and abnormal blood coagulation. Tyson was managed by one of our critical care specialists, Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro. With aggressive treatment and monitoring in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Tyson eventually responded to therapy and steadily improved. He was discharged from the hospital 4 days after presentation. At the Courageous Companions event, he looked like nothing had ever happened to him. And he was clearly excited to be reunited with his caregivers. Tyson was a 2016 Courageous Companion.
Inky – eating again.
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Inky is a beautiful and petite 12-year old cat who was presented to Dr. Lisa Fink in our Dentistry Service for oral pain and a poor appetite. She has advanced kidney disease which placed her at a greater risk for anesthesia. With careful and very closely monitored anesthesia, she did great. She had periodontal disease and needed dental work including extraction of several teeth. She recovered beautifully and is now eating like a champ!
Hudson – in remission.
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This is Hudson, an 11-year old puggle. Hudson is a patient of Dr. Lindsay Thalheim, our Oncologist. Hudson has lymphoma - a cancer that arises from immune cells called lymphocytes, and can affect virtually any organ in the body. Lymphoma most commonly affects the lymph nodes throughout the body, but it also frequently can affect the liver, spleen, and bone marrow; sometimes even the kidneys and lungs. Hudson’s lymphoma affected his lymph nodes but was unusual in that it involved both types of lymphocytes (B- and T-cells).
Hudson is almost finished with his chemotherapy course. Like most dogs on chemotherapy for lymphoma, he has tolerated chemotherapy extremely well, and continues to be happy and playful. His family reports that he is doing great at home! This is Hudson at his most recent visit to CUVS.
Sammy – loving life.
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Sammy was diagnosed with multilobular osteochondrosarcoma (MLO) of the scapula (shoulder blade). This is an uncommon bone cancer that most commonly arises from flat bones of the skull, but can arise from other flat bones (ex: ribs, pelvic, shoulder). Sammy is under the care of our Oncologist, Dr. Lindsay Thalheim. He has been on injectable chemotherapy and is now transitioning to oral chemotherapy. They sent this picture of Sammy after one of his treatments!
Winslow and Wilbur – enjoying life despite cancer.
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Winslow is a 10-year old Golden Retriever who was diagnosed with T-zone lymphoma (a low grade/indolent form of lymphoma commonly diagnosed in Golden Retrievers) in 2013. Three months ago, a new mass was found on physical examination. This was determined to be a different type of cancer (called a low grade soft tissue sarcoma), which was surgically excised immediately following diagnosis. Winslow is not currently receiving chemotherapy; only low dose prednisone for skin allergies (which may also have some effect on his T-zone lymphoma). He is doing great, with no evidence of tumor recurrence or distant spread. Winslow’s brother, Wilbur (pictured on the right), always comes with Winslow to CUVS for moral support. We are also monitoring him for development of lymphoma. These guys always bring a smile to our faces and we are lucky to be able to work with them!
Brooke – beats the odds 3 times.
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Brooke is a 10-year old, flat-coated retriever who we have treated for no less than 3 life-threatening problems! Brooke was presented to us for complications of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which she had received following cruciate ligament surgery (at another hospital). She had a perforated duodenal ulcer and acute kidney injury. After an ICU stay and intensive therapy, she ultimately responded very well and was discharged home to her loving family. Several months later, Brooke developed a gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV, gastric torsion) which we repaired surgically.
Her family says that she’s back to her usual exuberant self, seeking to make friends with anyone and everyone she meets with her perpetually wagging tail! Brooke was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Scooter – won’t eat that again.
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Scooter is a 7-year old, male Chihuahua referred to us from Rye Harrison Veterinary Hospital. Scooter was taken to Surgery at CUVS on July 4, 2014 by Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro, to remove a foreign body from his jejunum, requiring a resection and anastomosis (removal of part of his intestine). 3 days post-op, he required a 2nd surgery, performed by Dr. Oliver Morgan. Scooter was hospitalized for 9 days before he was able to go back home to his family. Almost a year later, he is happy and healthy at home with his loving parents! Scooter was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Bruno – survives severe car accident.
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Bruno is a very lucky little guy. After vehicular trauma, Bruno was rescued by a wonderful family and with the help of Georgetown Veterinary Hospital and CUVS, we got him through three surgeries to repair his many fractures. He is now running around, healed, and in his new home. We are so pleased to see him in his new life and amazed by the groundswell of support for his cause. Bruno was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Kiara – came back to life.
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Kiara is a 12-week old kitten. She was seen by Dr. Forman of our Internal Medicine Department for severe nasal congestion and “inability to thrive”. After diagnosis and removal of a nasopharyngeal polyp, a blood clot obstructed her airway causing respiratory and cardiac arrest. After CPR and many hours of mechanical ventilation and supportive care – a team effort by Dr. Forman, 2 critical care specialists and several technicians – Kiara started breathing on her own again!
After a couple of day’s treatment in ICU, she awoke from her coma and has never looked back. She is a normal, happy kitten. A Christmas miracle! Kiara was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Jasper – survived coyote attack.
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This Courageous Companion, Jasper, is a very lucky and brave pup. Jasper was attacked by a coyote and his human brother was brave enough to scare the coyote away. Jasper had an open chest wound, multiple rib fractures, and was in shock when he arrived at the CUVS Emergency Service. He was stabilized by one of our excellent Emergency doctors, and treated by our team of critical care specialists and technicians. He went home several days later and is now doing great! Jasper was a 2015 courageous Companion.
Jake – keeps on trucking.
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Jake is a 16-year old pug. He had a gall bladder mucocele which was causing inappetance, nausea and vomiting. Given his age, we elected to try to avoid surgery and manage him medically. Fortunately, this was successful. Jake was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Earl – survives internal bleeding.
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Earl was diagnosed with a very rare tumor (called gastrointestinal stromal tumor or GIST) after presenting to the Emergency Service at CUVS in April 2014. We found a ruptured tumor with blood in the abdomen, and he underwent emergency surgery. A large liver mass and intestinal mass were removed, and he was diagnosed with a GIST that had spread to his liver. Earl has been treated with oral targeted chemotherapy, and we have substantially slowed tumor progression within his liver. He is still doing well at home! Earl was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Duke – normal after lung collapse and major surgery.
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Duke was referred to us by Bedford Greenwich Animal Hospital for a spontaneous pneumothorax – a sudden accumulation of air in his chest, causing his lungs to collapse. Following draining the air and stabilizing Duke, we performed a CT scan to diagnose the problem. Dr. Oliver Morgan performed thoracic surgery to remove the leaking lung. He recovered in our ICU. Duke is now perfect, with no adverse effects of his adventures in our ER. He and his family can breathe a sigh of relief! Duke was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Jax – breathing again.
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Jax was out for a walk one day with his owners when he collapsed and stopped breathing. His owner fortunately thumped on his chest that probably gave him just enough oxygen to recover from his collapse. His primary care veterinarian hospital, Brewster Veterinary Hospital, suspected laryngeal paralysis and referred Jax to CUVS. Dr. Oliver Morgan corrected the condition surgically. He is breathing well again and has a new lease on life! Jax was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Déjà – chest wall reconstructed.
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Courageous Companion, Déjà! This was a special case for our Surgeon, Dr. Oliver Morgan. “I grew up with a German Shepherd and Déjà is the type of dog that explains why people fall so madly in love with them. She is gentle, intelligent, and connected,” says Dr. Morgan. When her owner found a large rib mass while bathing her we were all worried for Déjà’s future. Fortunately, we diagnosed a slow growing cancer (called chondrosarcoma) and she underwent extensive surgery to excise and then reconstruct a large part of her chest wall. Déjà is now back to playing and running and is cancer free. Déjà was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Fun fact about Déjà: Her owner named her Déjà because as a puppy she reminded her a little of every German Shepherd Dog she had before Déjà.
Phoebe – survived severe systemic effects post-trauma. Phoebe was a 2014 Courageous Companion.
Sammy – the King.
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Sammy (also known as “The King”) was diagnosed in August 2014 with a very uncommon tumor in his shoulder (called multilobular osteochondrosarcoma or MLO) that had also spread to his lungs. Under the care and guidance of Dr. Thalheim, our Oncologist, he was treated with various therapies, including palliative radiation, pamidronate (a drug that helps prevent bony breakdown and alleviates pain associated with bone tumors), and oral and injectable chemotherapies. He did very well – the bone tumor and lung masses remained stable, and he has continued to live a very good quality of life. We always love seeing him at CUVS. Sammy was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Millie – received cancer vaccine.
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In June 2014, Millie was referred to us by Bedford Greenwich Animal Hospital for oral melanoma. She was found to also have metastasis (spread) to her lungs. She has been treated by our oncologist, Dr. Lindsay Thalheim, with the melanoma vaccine combined with metronomic chemotherapy. In December 2014, repeat x-rays showed resolution of her lung nodules! Also, no evidence of local tumor recurrence. Millie has been doing very well with treatment, with no side effects. She is such a great success. Millie was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Baron – diagnosed with Lupus.
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Baron is an incredibly handsome German Shepherd with a highly unusual disease in dogs – Lupus! He was referred to CUVS with a fever and was obviously uncomfortable; his owner had to carry him everywhere they went because he could only walk a few steps at a time. After extensive testing, Dr. Megan Morgan discovered that he had the systemic autoimmune disease, Lupus, and that his immune system was attacking many parts of his body, including his joints. We thought it would be easy sailing after we started the immuno suppressants to treat his Lupus, but Baron had other ideas. He developed a large abscess on his back leg and ended up back in the hospital. Baron’s mom was not going to give up on him after all they had been through. He had surgery on his abscess, went back on his treatments for his Lupus, and is now a new dog! Dr. Morgan had no idea how strong this guy was the first time she met him—now he drags her down the hallway and out to see his mom every time he comes in for a check-up! Baron was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Sniffles – more than nine lives.
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Sniffles is a wonderful, “spicy” cat who visited us back in September 2014 with a significant worsening of his chronic kidney failure. An ultrasound had shown that his right kidney was obstructed by a stone and that his left kidney completely obliterated due to chronic disease. His kidney disease was not Sniffles’s only problem by any stretch; he also had hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, a history of a stroke, and a history of urethral obstruction. Luckily for Sniffles, his owners are loving and dedicated. We performed a surgery to place a subcutaneous ureteral bypass system (essentially we gave him a new ureter). He’s had a couple of bumps in the road since then, but overall he has done remarkably well. We all love his slightly “snarky” personality, and feel that it explains why he is such a survivor!! Sniffles was a 2015 Courageous Companion.
Charlie – complicated fracture.
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Charlie the Italian Greyhound came to CUVS with a nasty left radial fracture. After a surgery to repair his leg and a lengthy recovery period, Charlie regained use of his leg and his spry nature. His sweet personality and toughness (despite his tiny stature) has made him a staff favorite and everyone at CUVS loves seeing him and his loving family whenever they can. This little guy is more than just “courageous”, he’s a star! Charlie was a 2014 Courageous Companion. His mom and biggest fan, Jaime, told us more about his journey:
"As new dog owners, any bump, scrape or bruise can be pretty frightening, so when our 1-year old Italian Greyhound Charlie broke his leg in the middle of the night, you can imagine our terror. However, the second we walked into CUVS, our fears subsided. From their state-of-the-art facility to their compassionate staff, we knew we were in great hands. The team not only treated Charlie with the best possible care, they also made my fiancé and I feel like we were part of the family. No question or late night phone call ever went unanswered or without a smile. Since Charlie's first accident, he has broken is leg again and has had two surgeries to date. We can certainly say that we know the team very well and to say the CUVS team/staff is caring and professional would be a complete understatement. There are no words to describe the level of care, attention, commitment and compassion that the CUVS team embodies. When Charlie was recognized as one of CUVS' Courageous Companions, we were honored and touched to be part of such a special ceremony.
If you are looking for the vest veterinary care and to be part of an extremely special community, the Cornell University Veterinary Specialists is the ONLY place to go."
Calvin - survives liver failure.
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Calvin the poodle came to CUVS with severe liver failure. After treatment by internist Dr. Forman and some strength of spirit, he made a full recovery. He is looking as healthy, robust and happy as ever. Calvin was a 2014 Courageous Companion. His dad was nice enough to share a little of their experience with us:
"Calvin, our six-month-old standard poodle, suddenly and inexplicably lost his liver and kidney functions. Our regular vet very ably offered 4 or 5 possible causes and quickly referred us to specialists at CUVS. They welcomed us with all-encompassing care, compassion and understanding. At each step, staff explained to us possibilities, options and test results. At each step, our family was confident Calvin was in the most capable hands possible. Happily, Calvin now is 10 months and so friendly and out-going as to deserve his nickname, 'The Mayor'... On behalf of Calvin and his entire two-legged family, we'd like to pay very special thanks to Drs. Forman, Morgan and the entire terrific and dedicated staff at CUVS for their super care and making this wonderful occasion possible..."