Alphie is a very shy, sweet personality and is precious beyond words to his owner.  He is a thin dog and only middle aged – to young to be walking with such a significant limp.  It seemed that one of his rear legs or something in his rear end was painful.

He had visited at least one other veterinarian in Danville, Virginia and diagnosed with a possible cruciate ligament rupture.  The vet was unable work with him because he was to “mean,” and Alphie was sent to see a specialist in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The specialist was unable to examine Alphie, but was confident that it was not a cruciate ligament rupture that was causing the problem.  Alphie was treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to no avail.  He was still very painful and his owner had to be very careful not to hurt him when picking him up, or walking him.

When Alphie came to Mount Hermon Family Vet, he was wary of animal hospitals and kept himself curled up under the chair, protected behind his owner’s legs.  Dr. Smith came in the room, introduced himself and took Alphie’s medical record and went to the corner of the room and sat on the floor!

This seemed a little strange at first, but as Dr. Smith and the owner talked about the chain of events that brought Alphie to this visit, Dr. Smith would throw little dog treats along the floor just close enough for Alphie to reach from the safety of his hiding space.  Alphie liked the treats and would venture out from under the chair to reach the treats that didn’t quite make it to him and over the next 10 minutes, he was taking the treats from Dr. Smith hand.  Dr. Smith started the pet Alphie and they made friends that day.

Dr. Smith notice that Alphie had a hump in the middle of his back and was walking very stiffly.  With some gently and careful manipulation, Dr. Smith was able to get a blood sample from Alphie and take an X-ray of his spine.

It turns out that Alphie had a serious case of discospondylitis.  He had an infection in his spine that was causing the pain in his lower back that radiated down his legs.  Alphie went on to a consultation with a veterinary neurologist and was on long term antibiotics.

Alphie fully recovered from the disease and lives happily now without any side effects!

Dr. Smith has a special interest in animal behavior and recognized the shyness and fear in Alphie immediately and knew that he would have to develop a trust with Alphie before trying to examine Alphie or run any tests.  Animals experience emotional stress as well as physical pain and recognizing that made a big difference in Alphie’s life.

Too Many Cats!

A Danville man was having trouble with stray cats accumulating around his house, it was hard to determine when the problem started, but it was definitely beginning to get out of hand.  He had about 9 cats and springtime breeding season was approaching.

He came to see us at The Family Vet and Dr. Smith was eager to help.  The man realized that living outside was not a good life for the cats as several had been killed in car accidents already.

We determined that 2 things were important, first, we had to stop the breeding and second, we had to find homes for all the cats.  Dr. Smith agreed to spay or neuter the cats at a reduced cost and the man was better able to find homes for the cats having just been spayed and vaccinated for rabies.

Six female cats will have an average litter of five kittens twice yearly.  If we had waited another year, the cat population would have grown exponentially!

Iris Is About 12 Years Old

Iris is about 12 years old, her cataracts have rendered her completely blind, and her eyes have a beautiful pearlescent shine that mirrors her personality.  She was found in Pittsylvanina County wandering in the middle of the road.

We will never know what her life was like before she was found, but Iris’ story is one that speaks to the core of who we are and what we do.  The woman who found Iris is a true animal lover and knew immediately that no one cared for her and it was unlikely that she would ever be adopted.  She also knew that she had to give Iris a chance at a better life for the days ahead.

Iris is a poodle mix and was matted and dirty with twigs and leaves woven into her hair.  One of our dedicated associates stayed after work the day Iris came in to shear the mats and bathe her.  You could see the life come back into Iris almost immediately.

We worked with the Danville Area Humane Society to look for her owner and then find her a home.  The Humane Society found her a foster home and paid for her spay.  Iris had a mammary tumor remove and extensive dental work to clear the horrible infection in her mouth.  Iris is diabetic had to be is now regulated on insulin.  She has gain weight and energy in short time she has been in her new home.  She has found a permanent home out of state and live a much deserved pampered life.  Iris has an appointment with the veterinary ophthalmologist to have her cataracts evaluated for removal.

Iris’ story is a metaphor for who we are.  A helpless animal is rescued by a selfless good Samaritan and a community of people come together to alleviate suffering in a very specific way.  Seeing the goodness in people, seeing Iris happy, seeing people work together, and knowing that you made a difference is very gratifying.