Animal doctors, or veterinarians, make sure our pets stay on the healthy side. But sometimes they face big challenges, and here are 10 veterinarians who went above and beyond to take care of our animal friends.
1. Dr. Larry Baker of Decatur, Illinois, was the only one out of 200 dentists who agreed to travel to Ethiopia to perform dental procedures for two dogs.
Costs were taken care of for the doctor, but he found himself in a very strange place when he arrived. Dentists were few, and there were no high-speed drills for him to use on the dogs. He actually had to use a Dremel tool, which was not easy for him.
The dogs required root canals and crown work, and although it was a challenge, Dr. Baker’s work was successful.
2. Around Christmas in 2014, Lola, a 4-year-old dachshund, was in rough shape… She had a slipped disc and couldn’t walk, and her owners were crushed when they knew they would have to give her up to an animal rescue group because they couldn’t afford the $6,000 surgery to fix Lola’s problem.
But when Dr. Michael Wong found out the couple could not afford his surgery, he did it for free. Then, Lola was reunited with her happy owners, David and Sumey Hageman.
Says a tearful Sumey: “This is the best Christmas gift I could’ve gotten.”
3. In Pathum Thani, Thailand, an injured Golden Retriever did something very unusual… It pawed at the door of a veterinary clinic wanting to be let in.
When workers there opened the door, they could quickly see that the dog had an injury to one of his eyes. So they took him in and fixed him up.
Then, they posted about the dog on Facebook to find his owner, and it worked. The dog and his owner were soon reunited.
4. In Vera, Spain, an abandoned greyhound gave birth to 10 puppies, and, with a broken leg, walked 2 miles until someone found her and took her to a vet.
While at the vet, doctors noticed she was producing milk and had just given birth. So the vets, Ellen Sobry and Lianne Powell, had the dog lead them all the way back to her puppies.
Says Ellen: “She led us to them, it was incredible – I couldn’t believe what I saw. That dog didn’t know us, we’d only met her like an hour before so it was really incredible how she decided to trust and show us where they were.”
5. Jonathan is a giant Seychelles tortoise… and he must be pretty wise… He’s 185 years old. But a couple of years ago, the tortoise, who lives on St. Helena Island, was in bad shape because he lost his eyesight and sense of smell, leaving him eating tiny twigs and dirt.
But the island’s vet, Dr. Joe Hollins, stepped in and put him on a high-calorie diet of apples, carrots, cucumbers, bananas and guava. Jonathan has since gained weight and become more active.
6. 14-year-old Rascal was dropped off at Vancouver’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He looked like he was caked in dirt. But when he was taken to the vet, doctors there determined that that wasn’t dirt. Rascal was COVERED in fleas. Doctors estimate there were 100,000 fleas biting up Rascal.
Says veterinarian Ken Langelier: “It’s the most fleas I’ve seen and I’ve been in practice for almost 40 years.”
Because of all those fleas, Rascal was on the verge of death. Staff quickly gave Rascal a bath, then a blood transfusion.
Langelier said: “I looked at this dog and said, ‘You’re not dying on my watch, baby.”
The transfusion lasted 4 hours and Rascal finally regained his strength. And all the fleas were gone.
7. In China, Moon Bear Mandela was put in a small cage on a bile farm and for years, a tube was inserted in his abdomen to collect bile. He lost his appetite. He had trouble breathing. And finally, his spinal cord collapsed and nerves were compressed, putting him in unbearable pain. And the 440-pound bear was dying.
He was taken to a veterinarian and was nursed around the clock, being spoon-fed and given medications to help his spinal cord. He did recover and was NOT returned to the bile farm. He was put in a den for infirm bears and was now able to be a bear.
8. A pony was left to die in a muddy ditch in Amelia County, Virginia. But he was found and taken to an animal hospital. He had contracted EPM through possum feces while eating grass, and it spread to his spinal cord, causing paralysis.
Dr. Carmen Vaughan adopted the horse and nursed him back to health. The pony, nicknamed “Ponz,” can now walk, trot and even run.
Says Vaughan: “He is always in the back of my mind when I am trying to find the strength to keep treating a tough case or even fight a battle in my own life. Ponz is now a mascot, and has helped to raise more than $6,000 for the Richmond Mounted Police and Central Virginia Horse Rescue.
9. A snail’s shell was broken when a woman stepped on it near a veterinary clinic in Tel Aviv, Israel.
But a clinic worker found it, brought it inside and worked to fix the shell for the snail.
When its shell was fixed, clinic workers, who named the snail Chevy, gave it some veggies to get its health back.
10. 6-year-old Lia Vega was attacked by a pit bull and it bit her in the chest in Washington Heights, New York. She was taken to the hospital and staff there applied cream on her wound and wrapped it.
Lia has no resentment toward the dog, which was placed with Animal Care and Control after the incident for observation. As a matter of fact, Lia now wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up so she can take care of all kinds of animals.
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