Boren Veterinary Hospital

posted March 21st, 2016 by
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Boren Veterinary Hospital – Preventative Care to Pacemaker Surgery

Boren Veterinary Hospital at Oklahoma State University Provides a Full Spectrum of Animal Healthcare

By Bria Bolton Moore

Photos by Gary Lawson, University Marketing

 

In the wake of a May 2013 tornado that whipped through the Sooner State, Evie was found wandering the streets of Shawnee, Okla. 

The 2-year-old black and tan Shepherd was one of 60 animals brought to Oklahoma State University’s Veterinary Medical Hospital in Stillwater following the tornado.

“We had several clients where, at the moment, they felt like they had lost their pet, but it was here, brought to OSU by a Good Samaritan,” said Dr. Mark Neer, DVM and director of the Boren Veterinary Medical Hospital at Oklahoma State University. “There’s no words you can say to describe that feeling where they thought everything was totally hopeless, and it turned out they had their pet back and also had it back healthy.”

Following the storms, the veterinary hospital treated 22 dogs, 15 cats, 11 horses, four woodpeckers, two guinea pigs, two birds, one donkey, one pot-bellied pig, one chicken and one turtle. Although many were reconnected to their owners, Evie was never claimed. After heartworm and tick treatment, Evie was adopted by University staff member

Lorinda Schrammel and went on to become a member of Pete’s Pet Posse, a group of trained therapy dogs at OSU. Evie is now schooled to provide comfort to people in nursing homes, schools or even those who have been through traumatic experiences like tornadoes.

Since its establishment in 1948, the hospital and College of Veterinary Medicine have worked toward outcomes like Evie’s: restored health and positive pet/owner relationships.

For more than 30 years, the teaching hospital and clinic were located in Oklahoma State’s McElroy Hall. Then, in 1981, the Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital opened. Today, the hospital is just one of a collection of buildings and facilities that make up the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. Dr. Neer said the hospital’s veterinarians   see about 15,000 cases a year in the 145,000-square-foot facility. About 12,000 are small- animal cases tending to dogs, cats, birds   and others.

“We see everything from birds to pocket pets to reptiles,” Dr. Neer said.

About 3,000 of the cases are focused on caring for large-animal patients like horses, cows, sheep, goats and swine.

Dr. Neer said the staff continues to see more and more animals each year. In fact, in the last three years, the caseload has grown almost 30 percent per year.

Dr. Neer said a common misconception is that veterinary students are the ones providing all the pet care. However, an entire team cares for each patient with the over-sight of a faculty member who is a veterinary specialist.

“An important thing for people to under-stand is that when they bring their pet here, especially when it’s in the hospital, we have a team of caregivers, which include a faculty member (a specialist), an intern, a resident, a registered veterinary technician and a veterinary student,” Dr. Neer said. “So, you have a team of four to five people that are involved daily in the care of the pet, so they get a tremendous amount of one-on-one TLC from that whole group. It’s not one person; it’s a whole team providing that pet care.”

Although the hospital has an active community clinic providing primary care for pets in and around Stillwater, most of the   animals seen at the hospital are there to be examined by a veterinary specialist such as a cardiologist, ophthalmologist, radiologist or oncologist. Most of these clients and their pets are referred to OSU by their home-  town veterinarian and travel from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, northern Texas and across Oklahoma to seek the expertise of specialists like Dr. Ryan Baumwart, DVM, a veterinary cardiologist.

On a typical weekday, Dr. Baumwart begins his morning by checking to see if there were any emergency transfers to the cardiology department overnight. Then, he begins rounds, checking on the patients currently under his care. After that, around 8 a.m., there’s usually a training, lecture or presentation focused on equipping fourth-year veterinary students. About 9 a.m., Dr. Baumwart begins seeing cases with students. For the most part, he’s seeing scheduled clients “where their dog or cat might have a heart murmur or have passed out, and they thought it might be due to a heart condition,” Dr. Baumwart said. “We end up looking at their pet and doing some additional testing. The majority of testing that I do diagnostically is ultrasounding the heart or echocardiograms. That’s the bulk of my day—trying to figure out what’s wrong with the heart.”

Dr. Baumwart said the majority of the patients he sees are dogs and cats, and   while most of the cardiac treatments are medical, some are surgical, like pacemaker implantation surgery.

“We just put a pacemaker in a cat yesterday, which is pretty uncommon to put pacemakers in cats, and we’ve put two in [cats] in the past couple of months,” he said.

Dr. Baumwart said most veterinarians don’t have a board-certified specialty, but he wants pet owners to know that specialty care is available if they should ever need it.

“I have two responses when I tell people what I do,” Dr. Baumwart said. “One is, ‘Oh my god, that’s amazing. I can’t believe you get to do that. That’s awesome for the owners and clients.’ Then, the other response is, ‘Who would take their dog to a cardiologist?’ We’re here for that first group of people—if they ever get into a situation where they want to take it further to get some more information or get some treatment options or pursue a surgical option, that’s what we’re here for.”

Although Dr. Baumwart has worked at other clinics and hospitals, he said the caring nature of everyone, from the receptionist to the technical staff to the doctors, makes OSU a special place.

“I think there’s that true caring about people and their animals, and people want that,” he said. “A lot of the animals we see are people’s kids. For the most part, people really care about their animals, and they want to see that from us. And I think that’s probably a big thing that Oklahoma State has that I love and the reason I came back.”

Shawn Kinser fell in love with veterinary care in high school while working for a clinic cleaning cages in his hometown of Boswell, Okla. Fast forward about a decade, and Kinser is now a fourth-year veterinary student, learning about different disciplines through three-week rotations in the hospital.

Kinser has cared for numerous animals that remind him why he loves his work. However, a 4-week-old kitten holds a special place in his training memories. While away on a clinical rotation in Amarillo, Texas, Kinser was part of a team that cared for a stray kitten with a broken leg.

“I was able to participate in the surgery to remove a front leg from the kitten,” Kinser said. “The surgery went very well, and the kitten is currently with one of the staff members who adopted the kitten. We were able to give the animal a fighting chance for a good life.”

Kinser also recently helped care for a Doberman Pinscher with cardiac disease. He said the close relationship between the owner and dog was special to witness. 

“Seeing the human-animal bond displayed so well like that makes me humbled to know that we can nurture that and contribute to strengthening that bond and keeping that bond intact,” he said.

Whether providing care for strays like Evie, someone’s beloved best friend like the Doberman Pinscher, a wild animal brought in by a resident do-gooder, or Oklahoma State’s Spirit Rider horse Bullet, the Boren Veterinary Medical Hospital is committed to providing the best animal care possible.

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