Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: Great experience at local veterinarian

When a pet is sick, sometimes information comes in the form of subtleties, not symptoms.

On Monday, my 9-year-old rescued Siberian Husky, Teddy, started peeing in the house. At first, I thought it was more of my 2-year-old toddler’s shenanigans, a pool of spilled water on her bedroom floor looked like her typical tea party gone bad. I cleaned it up and noticed the white paper towels had a slight discoloration, paused for a moment and gave our finicky orange cat a sidelong glance, then submitted it to a sniff test, and was grateful the unmistakable smell of ammonia didn’t assault me. I thought nothing of it.

On Tuesday evening after my girls and husband had gone to bed, the house was blessedly quiet, and I was web surfing. I heard the sound in the hallway of rustling and dripping. I got up and saw Teddy. He eyed me unabashedly, as a dark spot spread beneath him, onto my mocha rug. He wanted to go out that night and refused to come inside until morning. This was all so unlike him.

In the morning I called around to several vets, hoping to find someone with an evening appointment that same day. Morris Hills Veterinary Clinic was the most accommodating, offering a same day appointment.

My husband took Teddy to the vet around dinnertime. As I cooked, the phone rang and my husband asked me to send over a recent lab report from our last vet regarding a tumor that Teddy had been recently removed from Teddy’s hind leg. I asked if I could read the report to the vet over the phone rather than abandon the chicken cutlets sizzling on the stove, and overseeing our two little girls. Dr. Larry Hirshenson got right on the phone, and I read the main parts of the lab report to him. Afterwards, I told him that to me, Teddy seemed lethargic, and that his peeing did not seem behavioral, it seemed trance-like and unintentional. I appreciated the doctor’s unhurried, and concerned manner on the phone.

My husband came home after the appointment with Dr. Hirshenson and said simply, “I like him,” then delivered the worrying news. The doctor had looked under the microscope and had seen a plethora of white blood cells, but no bacteria, and was sending the sample to an outside lab for detailed analysis. Knowing Teddy’s age, he mentioned cancer as a possibility. My husband and I were stunnedscared at the implications of possibly losing our sweet pet, and the potential cost of further testing or treatment.

Just two days later we had a phone message directly from Dr. Hirshenson. I called back quickly and the veterinarian was kind, unpatronizing and realistic. He told me that Teddy looked as young as a 4-year-old dog, and that he was hopeful that the preemptive strike of antibiotics he’d given us at the first appointment would knock out whatever bacteria was bothering Teddy. He also warned that should the treatment not work, he would suggest an ultrasound to get a view of what was really going on inside. I asked some questions as to the efficacy of the antibiotic, in the face of what could be a “very bad infection,” and he assured me the drug was the right one and could treat urinary tract or kidney infections. I asked several more questions, and each was thoughtfully responded to, and treated with compassion and professionalism.

My husband and I were completely satisfied with Dr. Hirshenson’s service, and would recommend him to anyone.