March 2017 Patient of the Month

Hemi's Story

One day in July of 2009, we were at our veterinary clinic for a visit with one of our cats. A family had recently left a handsome yellow lab with Doctor Kibiuk, Doctor Jank and staff at the Watertown Animal Hospital. His name was Hemi, he needed surgeryon his left knee, and the doctors were hoping to find a new family for him but knew it would be difficult. They mentioned him to us since they knew we were looking for a dog to adopt. We met him once and that was all it took. He came home with us that dayand we learned quickly that he was a happy, friendly and very energetic guy.

In October of 2009, Doctor Jank successfully performed surgery on Hemi’s ACL in his left knee. Around the same time, pre-existing skin allergies became increasingly worse and unbearable, and he ended up having 2 hematomas, one in each ear, and 2 surgeries as a result. After several years, and several medications that didn’t work, we went to Cornell for allergy testing. Hemi now receives allergy shots and Apoquel and can get through the day and night without scratching continuously. Hemi loves walking in the fields and woods, and one day turned to look backwards and his right knee buckled! Another torn ACL and another surgery performed by Doctor Jank. Unfortunately, this surgery was not as successful and he had to go to Cornell to have a TPLO performed on his right knee. Throughout his recovery, it was a struggle to keep Hemi walking slowly, but he was learning and doing great, until he had a setback. Cornell diagnosed him with Peripheral Neuropathy and Laryngeal Paralysis. He continued to have trouble with his back legs, which weakened and caused pain and stress on his front legs as well. Throughout all of this, he has remained the same happy, friendly and energetic guy we first met.

Desperate for help, we asked Doctor Jank if there was anything we could do for him. Doctor Jank talked to us about looking into acupuncture and physical rehabilitation and he recommended Veterinary Medical Center of Central New York. We called VMC the very next day and set up an appointment with Doctor Michelle Burnett on July 28, 2015 for acupuncture and pain management. We also made an appointment with Doctor Molly Flaherty to begin physical rehabilitation after she arrived from Chicago in early August of 2015. So began our visits at VMC weekly for physical rehabilitation and acupuncture treatments, along with pain management assessments, every other week. 

Our visits with Doctor Flaherty include laser therapy on Hemi’s joints, spinal manipulation and underwater treadmill treatments. Hemi does not like water and barked the entire time he was in the tank until Doctor Flaherty “out foxed” him. A kong filled with peanut butter, that he can lick, makes him forget all about the water he’s in. Doctor Flaherty & Jen have helped Hemi to maintain muscle mass, which enables him to have a better mobility. He can now enjoy his daily walks and move around the house so much easier.

Doctor Burnett has helped Hemi be able to enjoy his daily activities more comfortably by introducing him to new medications and acupuncture treatments. She gets a workout during each acupuncture visit because Hemi is much more interested in visiting than standing still for the needles to be placed in position. Although, by the time the electroacupuncture machine is hooked up, he is worn out and usually dozes until the treatment is finished.

Then, as the weeks went by we noticed that Hemi’s breathing was increasingly labored. This was due to the Laryngeal Paralysis and needed attention. At the beginning of the summer, Doctor Timothy Robinson performed Tieback surgery on Hemi to relieve the breathing stress. Hemi was then able to get through the summer without any further problems.

We are so happy and fortunate to have Hemi as part of our family. Hemi just celebrated his 13th birthday at the end of October and we cannot thank VMC enough for everything they are doing for him. Our experiences with everyone at VMC has been outstanding!

-- The Coons Family

Diagnosis:

  • ALC Left Knee
  • TPLO Right Knee
  • Arthritis in Most Joints
  • Laryngeal Paralysis

Treatment:

  • Laser Therapy
  • Underwater Treadmill
  • Chiropractic Care
  • Acupuncture
  • Pain Management