Monthly Archives: July, 2013

What will happen to your pets when you are gone or even here?

I know, not the question  you want to answer….me neither. To tell you the truth I never really thought about it.  I just assumed my children would care for them.  I met some folks on Sunday who run the Kitty Retirement Village and that started me thinking.  There are probably  many animals that end up in shelters or even euthanized due to their owners passing away or no longer being able to care for them. 

We are advocates of preparing for emergency situations.  We have an emergency pre-registration program at Veterinary Specialty Care where you can pre-register your pet so if there is an emergency all your pet’s information is available to our emergency team. This is also handy for pet sitters. I can’t even tell you how many times a stressed out pet sitter shows up with a pet they are caring for and they have NO idea what treatment they should authorized. They often don’t have the financial means to pay for the pet. They usually have no idea of the pet’s medical history and as fate would have it – that is the time nobody can reach the owner!  All these things make an emergency situation even more complicated.  By filling out the pre-registration form for the VECARES program  ( both of our 24 hour emergency facilities will have the pet’s information handy as well as the owner’s wishes. If you own a pet, this is a must!

OK, back to the original question. I met the people who run Kitty Retirement Village in Ladson. They set up a program that guides you in preparing for your pet’s care if something were to happen to you.  They  have set up a kit that will help you organize all the things you need to do to help ensure your pet is cared for if you no longer can.  The kit is $5.00 and that is a donation that is tax deductible.  It has window emergency stickers, emergency contact information, and much more.  If you would like more information please contact them at

All of these ideas will help ensure your pet’s safety and well being in any situation.



The Emergency Use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Upper Airway Obstruction in a Bulldog

The Emergency Use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Upper Airway Obstruction in a Bulldog

Peter Brofman, DVM, MS, ACVIM (Neurology & Internal Medicine)


The nervous system can respond to an injury to the spinal cord and brain in only a limited number of ways; and, similarly, there are only a few medical treatments available to us that may aid in the body’s recovery. Due to this limited arsenal of treatments, as a veterinary neurologist and neurosurgeon I am always looking outside of the box for additional treatment options. Sometimes this thinking takes me back to ancient treatments (I am a big proponent of acupuncture); but sometimes it takes us forward to newer treatment options. Recently I have become interested in hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Briefly, hyperbaric oxygen is the medical use of oxygen at a level higher than atmospheric pressure. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows you to breathe 100% pure oxygen under increased pressure. This level is much higher than the 21% oxygen found in room air. The air inside the hyperbaric chamber can be compressed up to three times the pressure found at sea level. The combination of high pressure and pure oxygen drives oxygen into the bloodstream at a very high concentration so that it can spread deep into the body tissues to help fight many types of illness. It is also quite effective at reducing pain, inflammation and swelling, due to several mechanisms. I have been somewhat frustrated by the limited number of treatment options available for my patients with strokes, spinal or brain trauma, disk disease, etc…, so I initiated incorporating HBOT into our hospital. I soon found out how effective it could be for other conditions as well. Some of the other conditions include snake bites, trauma, skin burns and crush injuries, inflammatory diseases, anemia, etc… A recent case of an English bulldog with a large spinal tumor was a great example of the usefulness of HBOT for conditions outside of the nervous system. English Bulldogs are known to have difficulty breathing after anesthesia because their head and facial conformation make it difficult for them to take good breaths; this is often exacerbated after the breathing tube used for anesthesia is removed because the tube causes swelling of the larynx (airway entrance). This often results in a need to heavily sedate the patient, place them in an oxygen cage, and sometimes even replace the breathing tube. This may result in a vicious cycle causing worsening of the swelling. In the case of my patient, when we removed the breathing tube after performing an MRI he had a lot of trouble breathing and required sedation and being placed in an oxygen chamber. He quickly calmed down and recovered without further incident. The following day, however, I performed surgery to remove a spinal tumor. During placement of the breathing tube the swelling of his larynx was already quite noticeable. Following surgery, he again had difficulty breathing when the tube was removed but the conservative care that was successful the previous day was not effective this time and he required having the tube placed again. To avoid the vicious cycle of replacing the tube and causing more swelling I removed the tube and placed him in our HBOT chamber. Upon placement in the chamber his oxygen levels in his blood were low and he had very loud noises as he tried to take each breath. Within a few minutes of treatment he was resting more comfortably as his oxygen levels rose. The treatment lasted an hour and when he was removed from the pressurized tank he was wagging his tail, breathing with ease, had normal oxygen levels in his blood, and was actually barking. It was such a relief to finally have this treatment modality available to us to avoid the life threatening swelling of the larynx that we so commonly see in this breed. Our hyperbaric oxygen chamber is the only one of its kind in Charleston, the state of South Carolina, and all of the bordering states. It makes me proud to be a member of such a progressive and advanced veterinary team at Veterinary Specialty Care to be able to provide such a unique and successful treatment modality for your pets.

Doggie Treats!

I received this tidbit from our emergency technician, Tiffany. Thanks for sharing!

I recently visited my parents and was introduced to a dog treat, Merrick
Texas Hold ‘Ems. Silly name, I have no idea what dog food has to do
with poker. Anyway, my parents have 3 spoiled Yorkshire Terriers and
they are pretty picky – they love these treats that a friendly
dog-loving neighbor first gave them. It seems that very few dogs will
turn them down! They are light, airy wafers that break easily into
whatever size you require, and they don’t leave a residue. They only
cons I found are that they do crumble and they are a bit smelly. But
hey, they’re dog treats. Merrick is a trusted brand, the treats are all
natural and high in protein with no artificial colors, flavors or
preservatives. And made in the USA! These are my new go-to snack for all
my canine buddies.