Our veterinary schools and colleges step up for Hambone nominees

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Our nation’s veterinary schools and colleges exist to train future generations of veterinarians. That said, we should never lose sight of the other public services they provide, whether through important research or by serving pet owners through top-quality care at their teaching hospitals.

As Chief Veterinary Officer for the nation’s largest and oldest provider of pet health insurance, I may be more aware of what happens in teaching hospitals than most. I see many claims for really difficult cases that get referred to veterinary teaching hospitals. Many times the word “miracle” doesn’t seem too far-fetched for the result.

Since our Hambone Awards focus on the most interesting and often difficult cases, one nominee per month, it’s really not much of a surprise that each year it seems at least one of our finalists was saved at a veterinary teaching hospital. Last year, it was the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, and the year before that, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.

This month, the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine joins the ranks, with the case of Rocky the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. From our Hambone Award website:

rockeyTo say that Rocky the 7-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is comfortable with Chelsey and Paul Weinacht of Sacramento, Calif., would be an understatement. Rocky enjoys long naps on the couch, an occasional game of fetch, and watching television shows that feature dogs in the cast. However, one day Rocky’s comfort turned into a calamity after he slipped between the cushions of the couch during a nap and dislocated both his hips trying to get up. Rocky’s bizarre blunder and heartwarming recovery have earned him the title of October’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.

On the morning of the furniture fiasco, Chelsey was out meeting friends for brunch and Paul was relaxing with Rocky at home. Chelsey and Paul’s wedding was only a few weeks away and the couple was enjoying a nice day away from planning. As the morning went on, Rocky eventually fell asleep on the couch watching TV, as he commonly does, and Paul stepped out to grab a quick bite to eat.

During Rocky’s slumber, his back legs slipped between the cushions of the couch. When Paul returned home, Rocky sprung awake and attempted to jump off the couch to greet him, but his endeavor went horribly wrong. Rocky’s back legs were pinned in the couch and halted Rocky’s jump, mid-flight. When Paul entered the room, he found Rocky hanging awkwardly off the couch by one leg.

The couple rushed Rocky to the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for treatment. The veterinarians ran various tests on Rocky and were astonished by the severity of the injury. The team explained that one of the Spaniel’s hips was severely dislocated that the surrounding area had suffered structural damage. Rocky was in need of major surgery.

The surgery was a success, but another issue was discovered. The fall had damaged Rocky’s other hip beyond what was previously expected, and would also need to be surgically repaired. A couple days later Rocky underwent his second major hip surgery.

Today, Rocky is able to run and walk without issue and is regaining his ability to jump. Chelsey couldn’t be happier with the veterinary care provided by the staff at UC Davis, and is grateful for the pet insurance support they received from Nationwide.

Kudos to the team at UCD, and good luck winning the $10,000 grant to help other pets at the end of this year’s Hambone Award cycle.