I CANNOT thank you all sufficiently for your professional and kind approach.
When it opens next month, it will boast 21,000 square feet and showcase some of the region’s best medical facilities.
It will have three state-of-the-art operating rooms, an intensive-care unit, a 24-hour emergency room, a massive CT scanner on the premises, and “a grieving room.” It is looking to draw 12,000 patients a year.
And the new $4.5 million hospital on Three Tun Road in Malvern quite literally is going to the dogs. And the cats. And, potentially, the birds and rabbits and guinea pigs, too.
Not so long ago, dedicating an entire hospital to household pets would have been unthinkable to most people. But Dennis Burkett, who has headed Malvern’s Hope Veterinary Specialists since 2004, says people’s attitudes toward their pets have changed drastically in recent years.
“Many of our clients treat their pets like children,” he said. “For many, their pets are their children.”
In 2011, 63.2 percent of American pet owners told the American Veterinary Medical Association they considered their pets family members.
That same year, the association said, pet owners spent, on average, $375 on veterinary costs for all pets in their households.
And in wealthy Chester County, especially, the “parents” of ailing cats and dogs have shown they are willing to spend significant sums to ensure that Spot and Fluffy make full recoveries.
Burkett, a former schoolteacher, earned his veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania, which also boasts a top-notch veterinary referral hospital. His enthusiasm for Hope’s new facilities is infectious.
On a tour of the new hospital last week, he pointed out everything from bathrooms to laundry stations to the bright room with floor-to-ceiling windows where dogs and cats with cancer will receive chemotherapy treatments.
“This is the grieving room,” he said, opening a door to an empty room painted soothing green. “It’s for when we have to put animals to sleep – we’ll have couches in here. It’s peaceful.”
His office will have large windows looking out onto the waiting room.
“I want people to be able to say, ‘Oh, there’s Dr. Burkett!’ ” he said, laughing.
During construction, vets are working out of four trailers connected by a small boardwalk – Burkett calls it his “Boardwalk Empire.” They were operating out of a clinical facility about half the size of the new hospital. When the client list expanded to 13,000, the old space became untenable.
On a sweltering day last week, a client gingerly unloaded an enormous black Labrador retriever from her car onto a gurney, while inside, a veterinary technician prepared a tabby for a chemotherapy treatment. In a recovery ward, a tiny puppy suffering from pneumonia snoozed in what appeared to be a repurposed incubator.
Hope has 22 veterinarians on staff, many of them specialists in areas such as cardiology, internal medicine, and neurology, and the hospital will boast an ICU with two temperature-controlled cages, an isolation ward for infectious diseases, and, most important, more space.
In the temporary trailers, “we’re much more limited in what we can do,” said Lauren May, one of two surgeons at Hope. “It’s mostly emergency soft-tissue procedures – we’re not doing orthopedics or any minimally invasive procedures.”
But even in cramped quarters, treating a Pomeranian with a heart defect or an American shorthair with cancer isn’t as daunting as it might seem – and learning how to effectively treat pets’ ailments can help researchers looking to cure human maladies, Hope veterinarians said.
“Dogs have many of the same cancers we develop – bone cancer in dogs is literally identical to bone cancer in humans,” said Craig Clifford, one of three oncologists on staff at Hope. “So we can treat the disease in dogs, but the information benefits people as well.”
Medical treatment for pets is significantly cheaper than it is for humans, Burkett said. Fixing a heart defect in a puppy might set a pet owner back about $3,500. For a human, the same procedure would cost up to $40,000, he said.
And the growth of pet insurance – which about 3 percent to 5 percent of pet owners buy, Burkett said – has made it easier for pet owners to afford treatments.
The hospital plans to hold seminars for other veterinarians, and, at some point for pet owners, including a class on how to perform CPR on their pets.
Hope won’t see patients for regular checkups, Burkett said; it’s a referral hospital where veterinary general practitioners can send pets who need special treatment. For now, the hospital will be limited to dogs and cats.
“It’s like an extension of a general practice,” Burkett said – and, judging by the volume of patients the hospital is already seeing, and the high-income demographics in Chester County, he expects the facility to succeed.
The veterinary-hospital phenomenon “came into existence because there was a demand for pets to be treated at the same level as owners,” Burkett said. There are about 300 to 350 such hospitals across the country.
“We didn’t invest in this lightly,” he said.
“We want to provide for as many patients as we can see.”
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130602_State-of-the-art_hospital_in_Malvern_will_treat_pets.html#3YypcCMvJDjyRVxo.99
Spring has officially sprung as the bulbs start to peak their flowery heads to the surface. Its easy to get distracted as we start to wake from our winter hibernation so Hope VS just wanted to remind everyone of the two most common pet emergencies we see this time of year, Easter lilies and chocolate.
Easter lilies, or any flower in the lily family for that matter, are extremely toxic to cats. Ingestion of any part of this flower or plant, even the smallest amount, can be deadly. Guess what, EVEN that pesky staining orange pollen is toxic! Be sure to bathe your cat if you see this pollen on their face or coat after a romp in the garden. They could ingest it if they try to groom themselves.
We still aren’t sure just what causes the toxicity or why it effects cats and not other species such as a dog or rabbit in the same way. There is no antidote for lily toxicity so quick action is imperative to your pet’s survival. Symptoms of ingestion can start within 6 to 12 hours. Keep an eye out for:
- Loss of appetite
Kidney failure can occur in 36-72 hours after ingestion and it is essential to treat with aggressive fluid therapy. Sub cutaneous fluids is not enough for these cats. Signs of kidney failure are:
- Increased urination, followed by decreased urination, followed by no urination
- Increased thirst
If you suspect that your cat has ingested any part of the lily plant, including pollen, please consult HOPE VS immediately.
Everyone is outside watching the kids look frantically for those Easter eggs you just filled with jellybeans and chocolate. Its easy to forget you left the remaining bag of Hershey’s kisses on the kitchen table where Fido is more than happy to discover his own Easter treat. Chocolate is a common ingestion amongst dogs cause they have excellent sniffers and let’s face it, who doesn’t crave a little chocolate from time to time? Its important to note that even though dogs are the most common culprits of chocolate ingestion, cats have been known to take a nibble or two.
Chocolate is derived from the seeds of Theobroma cacao, which contains caffeine and theobromine. These two substances within the seed can have toxic effects on animals so the amount of chocolate ingested is important to know when talking to a veterinary professional. The types of chocolate that are concerning are:
- Bakers Chocolate-highest concentration of caffeine and theobromine. As little as two ounces can be toxic to a 20 lb dog.
- Semi-sweet chocolate
- Milk Chocolate
- Coco powder
Signs of chocolate ingestion for dogs and cats are:
- Rapid breathing
- Muscle Rigidity
- Increased heart rate
- Increased temperature
If you have a concern that your dog has consumed some of the sweet stuff, please give us a call so we can help you. In addition the ASPCA animal poison control center is a good resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They can be contacted at (888) 426-4435. (A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.)
It’s time to get YOUR Bark and Bowl On!! The National Canine Cancer Foundation is proud to present the Bark and Bowl! The Inaugural Bark and Bowl was so much fun and such a success that now we are bringing it to YOU! Love to bowl and love dogs? Don’t like to bowl but love dogs? Well either way you will have a blast.
Lace up your bowling shoes (if they haven’t been chewed up!), grab your bowling ball and help find a Cure for Canine Cancer.
Bowl under the best light and sound shows around, glow balls whizzing down the alley, great music to dance to and tons of great prizes. Not to mention drinks, team photos and the Dog House Vendor Area! All proceeds from the Bark and Bowl event benefit the NCCF.
Did you know that 1 in 3 dogs will be affected by Cancer? And of those half will die. We are out to break that cycle! The NCCF will provide the action, YOU provide the teams and Bowl for dogs around the world. Bring your family, friends and co-workers, start a team or join one. Come party with the NCCF at premier bowling centers across the country.
“If we all BOWL together, We are the Cure!”
Our exciting journey has begun and we are one step closer towards moving into our new state of the art patient centered care facility-literally! In fact, you will be able to see the progress of our new hospital just as we can because our temporary home is located right next to the new building currently under construction.
Our new address is 40 Three Tun Road in Malvern, PA 19355 and our phone number remains the same: 610-296-2099.
As of Monday January 7th, Hope VS no longer resides within the Veterinary Referral Center at 340 Lancaster Avenue. No worries, we are just 0.8 miles around the corner and will continue to offer the same quality comprehensive care you have come to expect from us. In fact, we are now delivering you more! We have added surgery and oncology to our expanding list of services and more is to come in the near future. Hope VS continues to be the ONLY specialty referral hospital in Chester County that can deliver critical care emergency medicine overseen by two board certified trained criticalists to care for your pet in need.
We apologize for any inconvenience but rest assured the same dedicated staff and commitment to the care of your pets are still our number one priority.
Having recently moved from Philadelphia to the suburbs with our three dogs, we’ve recently encountered a downside of “country life.” Two of the dogs are completely obsessed with eating acorns, and, unfortunately for us, our new backyard is loaded with them.
Wondering if this is a problem, I visited the go-to place for all things related to pet poisons, http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/ask-the-expert/ask-the-expert-poison-control/acorn, and this is what they had to say:
Acorns (Quercus spp.) contain a toxic principle called Gallotannin. In cows and horses who repeatedly ingest significant amounts, we have seen potentially severe gastrointestinal irritation, depression and kidney damage.
Dogs, however, generally do not forage on acorns as livestock do—and even if they do ingest several acorns, it is usually an acute (single) exposure, not a chronic situation. In these cases, we typically only see mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset, which can include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. However, there is also the potential for mechanical irritation (from the sharp fragmented pieces of acorn), and possible obstruction, should a large amount of acorn material become lodged in the GI tract.
We’d seen some of the “moderate gastrointestinal upset,” usually at 3 am (of course!), and so we decided we’d have to be more vigilant about monitoring the boys’ backyard behaviors. As a result of this, we now more carefully supervise our dogs, stopping them, if we can (they’re speedy!), from eating acorns—or, at least massive amounts of them, but they sure do seem to love them (and be able to sniff them out). We’re doing better, and we certainly know that a little policing now is certainly worth avoiding potential head- and heartache later!