Every year it is my pleasure to name the veterinary practice behind the winner of the VPI Hambone Award. After all, none of our nominees would have made it through to compete for the annual award without the veterinary teams who pulled them through. Every year we see a wide variety of practices among the nominees: They represent every part of the country, large practices and small, urban, suburban and rural, traditional or more cutting edge, primary care or emergency care/specialty centers.
But this year, we had a first: The veterinary practice behind this year’s Hambone Award winner was the teaching hospital at one of our schools or colleges of veterinary medicine. This year, it so happened I was already at that very university when the winner was announced after the votes were counted, which is why decided to stay an extra day and make a celebration of it.
I was very proud this morning to hold one of those display checks and hand over a real one for $10,000 to the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. That’s because the Purdue CVM’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital saved the life of our latest Hambone Award winner, a Labrador retriever named Charlie, who lives in Indianapolis, Ind., with Jessica Parsons. Charlie slipped under a piece of farming equipment, and although the injury didn’t seem severe at first, it was soon apparent that the dog’s life was in jeopardy. From our Hambone Blog:
After Charlie slipped under a disc behind a tractor driven by Jessica’s farmer boyfriend, the dog was taken to a nearby animal hospital for cuts near her tail. But the next day, Charlie wasn’t able to stand up on her own. The veterinary staff recommended that Charlie be transferred to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. “The stress of the accident itself was enough, but then in the back of my mind I’m thinking, ‘Can I afford this?’” said Jessica. “Having pet insurance to offset medical expenses gave me some reassurance to proceed with treatment.
Jessica left Charlie with the experts at Purdue, expecting her dog to have more tests and possible surgery the next day. She got a call later that night with a daunting update: Charlie had a spinal fracture and was bleeding internally from a damaged kidney, requiring fluids and medications to control her heart rate and blood count.
Jessica wasn’t sure she would ever see her dog again.
Charlie underwent two surgeries at Purdue, and her recovery was slow but steady. VPI reimbursed Ms. Parsons $10.400 for medical care and expenses, an amount that for many people would be as life-threatening as the accident that landed the Labrador at the veterinary teaching hospital in the first place. I also can’t help but to think of how many veterinary students got to enjoy a big “win” with this one, learning not only how to help other pets but also how pet health insurance helps make such care possible.
All in all, this year’s Hambone Award will be hard to beat next year!
On the home page and above: Ms. Jessica Parson sand Charlie with the veterinary team that saved Charlie’s life: Dr. Tim Bentley, assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery; Dr. Amy Fauber, assistant professor of small animal surgery and neurology; Dr. Rebecca Lee, small animal surgery resident; Dr. Talisha Moore, neurology resident; and Dr. Katrina Stewart, small animal internal medicine resident.