I was the proud owner of a wonderful yellow lab named Tucker. She was a joyful and courageous spirit who confronted life with exuberance, and her eventual cancer with a stubborn indignant determination to survive. She had the will to beat the odds and I wanted to make sure I gave her every option to fight for as long as she chose to do battle. Her mast cell tumor was first detected in 2008 by her general veterinarian. He immediately recommended we include an oncologist in Tucker’s care. I learned of an oncologist in NY who was heavily involved in research oncology and who was lecturing around the country on mast cell tumor. We met, and he immediately became a part of Tucker’s team.
We had a very successful partnership for years that way, but ultimately, Tucker’s team would need to be expanded. In 2011, Tucker developed laryngeal paralysis. A surgeon and a veterinarian trained in complementary therapies came aboard. Finally, the palliative and hospice team was called on to help provide the care Tucker needed in his final days.
Time and again, Tucker beat the odds and found her way back to a quality life. In fact she survived over a year, passing just before her 14th birthday. My story is an anomaly, few clients benefit from such a collaborative effort by doctors to work together to support a shared patient. I hope that the future of the veterinary field can make my experience the norm instead of the exception. Having an integrated team of general and specialty practitioners available to support our pets through the health challenges they face in life is both empowering and comforting. Her diverse team of extraordinary medical generalists and specialists allowed me to feel at peace that I had given Tucker every opportunity for survival for as long as she chose to fight.
Barbara Urquhart, Elmwood Park, NJ
I would like to take this opportunity to share my experience and the importance of co-managed veterinary care for your pets. As a show breeder of Champion Sired Labrador Retrievers for over thirty years, I have had many positive experiences with my general practitioner veterinarian and their professional relationships with veterinarian specialists. This combined approach to animal healthcare includes the referral to DVM specialists with the latest advancements in veterinary care.
Some of my experiences include successful exploratory emergency surgery at 2:00am to remove a ball of horse hair that caused a severe stomach blockage, cardiac surgery with the successful placement of a pacemaker that saved one of our pets lives, (where the cardiac team came into The Hope Center very early on a Saturday morning lead by Dr. Bonnie Lefbom). Additionally, Dr. Elsa Beck, our expert oncologist, currently treats one of our dogs for epitheliotropic lymphoma. Typically this diagnosis is a 3-6 months lifespan, yet he is still with us two years later since the onset. Again the referral to the veterinary oncologist was through one of our general practitioner veterinarians that are involved in the co-management of his care. This process has added great value to our pet’s treatment and prognosis.
The co-managed care experience provided by the veterinarians has been a superb experience with excellent results. I know these specialists practice their medical knowledge with the perseverance and dedication to do everything to help both your pet, and you the owner. I am so thankful to our specialists, and my regular veterinarian who said this is where you go for help that is beyond our capability.
Co-managed veterinary care is an opportunity that you take advantage of, as these specialists have cared for our pets as if they were their own. The result is a group of doctors working together as a team that are the healthcare advocates for your pet.
North Potomac, MD