Amazing Stories


Two diseases are Better Than One ????

Riley is a smart and perky 12 year old West Highland White Terrier. Acquired as a eight week old pup, he has been protector and companion to his family of mom, dad, and has raised 2 girls and a boy for all of his years.

In middle age, he began having problems with his weight, drinking extra water, and developed a “pot belly”. Neither his diet nor eating habits had changed. But Riley had developed the hormonal, metabolic disease know as Cushing’s Disease. Riley’s adrenal gland was producing too much cortisol (natural form of cortisone) Diagnosed and treated, Riley has responded positively to the medication, vetoryl.

But shortly after vetoryl, Riley seemed like he was panting all of the time. It didn’t seem to be a problem; until a year later, the panting progressed to shortness of breath, severe lack of energy and lots of coughing.

With radiographs and blood work by Dr. Beier then echocardiogram by internal medicine specialist, Dr. Kenny Arceneaux *, Riley was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.

The treatment for IPF is steroids and brochiodialators delivered by inhaler.

Yes, Riley got an inhaler.

Actually Riley had both diseases concurrently. The extra cortisol from Cushing’s Disease was “treating” Riley’s IPF. When vetoryl corrected Riley’s Cushing’s Disease, it allowed the symptoms of IPF to present.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is similar to COPD in humans. It was first described in 2002 in a Westie, and it is almost always a disease of older West Highland White Terriers. The cause and prevalence in the Westie breed is unknown.

There is no test for early detection of IPF, but the breed and symptoms will be suspicious. The alveolar tissue in the lungs becomes scared ( fibrosed). The lungs cannot inflate properly, and the dog is starved for proper oxygen.

Riley is now functioning better and has grown even more precious to his family.

* Dr. Kenneth Arceneaux, DVM Diplomate ACVIM Med Vet New Orleans


Still Golden: The Millennial Girls at Shenandoah


Good family, good genes, and the best in preventative dental and medical care with proper nutrition keeps these girls going and living well into their “golden” years.

The oldest gal at Shenandoah, Genevieve was born November 26, 1999. She is a dainty toy poodle that insists that her hair is always done and her bows in place. She is feisty and loves her momma the best. She rules those youngsters in the family with a look, a toss of the head, and a snarl of the lip.

Coming in 4 months younger, the diva, Jinger, a poodle mix. Her birthday is March 13, 2000. She rules her house with her stubborn determination to do what only she wants to. She has never put up with sisters and brothers, but has raised the roof a lot.

Perdie is the youngest golden girl; born about July 1, 2000. She missed all the fireworks of the change of the century, but creates her own celebration at the house. She is a dalmation mix with the fine black spots on the sleek body of a Italian greyhound. She is mild mannered and a gentle, obedient girl.

Shenandoah South is proud to celebrate our millennial Girls.


The Oldies: But Goldies Millennial Boys at Shenandoah South

It was an incredible visit -- two boys, Sully and Vawarc, both going on 18 years old.

They came to Shenandoah South on the same day at the same time !

And neither boy had any major problems--one wellness blood work and one blood pressure reading.

It was a “Kodak Moment”. OK, if you remember that advertising slogan you are of a “certain age” . Hint 1961…

Both boys are millennials (in the nicest sense) as they have January 2000 birthdays. Sully is a labrador retriever mix and Vawarc is a boxer mix complete brindle (tiger) stripes.

Sully has traveled the United States with his owner. He has his special fixed bed in the vehicle and is the perfect travel companion. When out of town, he resides in residence type hotels. He says it is a good life.

Vawarc is a Baton Rouge native who is known to all in his neighborhood. On his walks, he chooses the path and stops at certain houses to say hello every day. Oops, except rainy days; he hates the rain.

Jinger is also a Baton Rouge native who enjoys going to the doggie beauty parlor and prefers her walks in her own yard. She says getting old is the pits !

Both boys and our diva have owners who have kept up with all the years of wellness care--good diet, heartworm and parasite prevention, vaccinations, dental care, surgery as needed, and regular walking exercise.


Vawarc is Seventeen !!

A unique looking tiger-striped dog with a spunky attitude presented as a lost dog to SSVH back in 2002. He was medium size with a stocky stature and estimated to be about one and a half to two years. Unfortunately, this was before the days that microchips were widely used. There was no way to ID this lost boy.

His winning ways got him adopted into a family with four other dogs, a true dog pack. Unique name, Vawarc , for a special fella. Named after Vladimirovka, a missle base. He is a very special dog with a special inner acceptance and peace.

Vawarc lived with his sisters and a brother. Daily walking, wrestling, and chasing the “monster” at the bottom of the pool was the life. Into advanced middle age, one day Vawarc, zigged when he should have zagged and tore up his right knee. His ACL and a meniscus was gone. Vawarc celebrated the 2012 New Year with surgery --meniscal removal and TPLO knee repair done by speciality surgeon, Dr. John Maurterer…

Dr. Beier originally diagnosed Vawarc with anal sac tumor by a rectal exam during the annual exam and vaccinations in April 2014. This would become Vawarc’s biggest hurdle. Vawarc had tumor removal surgery performed by Dr. Brian Bufkin, Med Vet Mandeville. The biopsy confirmed anal sacadenocarcinoma. Vawarc soon began a successful chemotherapy program with Dr. Elizabeth Kergosien at MedVet - Mandeville. He continues to be monitored and is still in remission three years !!!

Ironically Timber, Vawarc’s predecessor ( April 1985 - Aug 2000) also was diagnosed with anal sac carcinoma. Fortunately canine cancer surgery and chemotherapy techniques have really evolved since 2000. Timber could not be saved.

Vawarc has developed other problems over the years, but he continues to be happy and thrive in his daily routine. To help with mobility, Vawarc uses laser therapy on a regular basis so that he can make his rounds in his neighborhood each day. Exception are the rainy days; Vawarc will not walk in the rain.

During his semi-annual exam April 2015, a heart murmur was found. Vawarc defies the odds and continues to do well without cardiac medications. Vawarc celebrated his 15th birthday , with laser surgery by Dr. John Maurterer to remove 2 large, painful, infiltrating lipomas of his neck.

Without the lipomas, his quality of life was much improved. Feeling frisky in May 2016, he just had to launch at the squirrel in the yard. Oops, tore his left ACL. We called Dr. John Maurterer….for surgical repair. Once again, he celebrated his 16 th birthday with ACL surgery. Vawarc rehabilitated like the champ that he is.

Vawarc is the last of the original “dog pack”. He doesn’t just overcome and survive; he thrives.

This tribute is to Vawarc for showing us all how to preserve and live life to the fullness.

My sunshine doesn't come from the skies,
It comes from the love in my dog's eyes.
-Unknown Poet

Yoda's Survival

I want to introduce a sweet boy, Yoda. Yoda has had a tough life and in early May he had to fight for his life.

Yoda was attacked by 2 dogs on May 4, 2017. He was able to get free and hide. He stayed in hiding almost 3 days. When he was found Sunday May 7th, he was taken to Sherwood South Emergency (thank you for being there) Yoda was in bad shape.

From the dog attack, he had a head injury; teeth were knocked out causing jaw injuries, and his rear legs were severely chewed. Yoda spent the better part of the week in emergency because he could not be easily moved. On May 12, Yoda was transfered to SSVH for continued intensive care. Yoda couldn't sit up or walk, eat or drink on his own, couldn't maintain body temperature, multiple wounds, and was anemic. Yoda did not give up and neither did Dr Beier, the SSVH staff , or Yoda's mother. The routine every day was IV fluids, force feeding, flush wounds, physical and laser therapy on the back legs. Yoda was a terrific patient with a sweet attitude. He even required some minor surgery on an area that developed gangrene. The first sign of hope was when Yoda pushed (flopped) out of his cat bed. He wanted to move on his own. It was a great sight to see. Next he was getting enough food to maintain body temperature, and he did not require the heating unit or the swaddling. Although he was force fed from a syringe, we noticed at night he was picking up pieces of dry food. His rear legs remained spastic and stiff. With his determination and laser therapy, it took until the 14th day for his coordination to effectively return. He began eating an drinking on his own on May 25; "walking" on May 26th; he was able to go home. Yoda, his mother and father still have challenges. He has a residual head tilt, slow progress in his weight gain, slowly healing wounds, doesn't climb into litter box, and is still taking epogen for the anemia. We have seen the "never give up attitude" in Yoda. We expect recovery to be a "new normal" for Yoda. He is one lucky kitty cat.


Brandy the oldest patient 35 ½ years Young !!

Originally purchased as a fledging in a New Orleans pet store, but Brandy was hatched in 1982 in Mississippi. His two state origin was just the beginning of an incredible travel life for this parrot. Brandy is a blue and gold Macaw. The bird is native to South America; macaws are a large parrot with striking blue feathers on top and gold underneath. These parrots are known to bond to humans for life. Brandy is bonded to his daddy.

Brandy was “the” parrot of White Oak Plantation for over twenty years. He ruled the kitchen area and yelled at “passer-bys”. He lived with Vegas, the aged boxer, Flash and Wonder Woman, the intimidating Dobermans. Brandy never did like the dogs and would have loved to take a chunk out of their noses pressed into his cage. They were just too fast. After the Age of the Dogs, Brandy tolerated an imprinted wood duck, Woodie. He and Woodie sometimes shared an outdoor enclosure.

Unlike most birds, he hates water and does not bathe. He displays a temper and throws food or his water.

Brandy goes to work everyday with his wood working specialist daddy. He has multiple enclosures made to fit the work site. He is truly the most cosmopolitan parrot of these parts. Brandy has worked and lived for the past fifteen years in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Oregon, California, Washington, Wyoming, Nevada, Idaho, and Utah.

He travels crosscountry in a specially fitted work van with his 5X4X2 foot cage. If it is a rough road, he responds to the command “Hold On” by grabbing the cage with his beak.

Brandy’s “Bird Speak” can be literal or up for interruption.

“Get out of here, dog” is said to chase off a dog or when he doesn’t like something. If he is mad at daddy, he’ll say that when daddy comes home.

“Hello or Hello Brandy or How are You?” is the usual greeting for daddy.

“ Polly wants a cracker “ means I want to eat what you are eating.

“Bye Bye” in a crescendo-ing voice means he knows you are leaving him.

“Apple” is for get out of the cage because he can’t say “outside”.

He sounds like a duck, but he is really an incredible and intelligent macaw.



Ginger's Story

I came into this world in the usual way right before Christmas 2003.

Then I found my family--or they found me. They loved me at at first sight. What is not to desire? I’m a blonde. I threw my long locks everywhere, and they still loved me.

I finished rearing two amazing girls; I saw them go to college and then come back home briefly. and lived through two weddings. And the big move to Houston. And in the last year, a precious grandchild to love and rear. Life is a big cycle.

I got my Mom and Dad to finally retire. Mom was a school administrator. Dad is an engineer; still gets called for consulting when no one else can handle the problems. My Dad is so smart and wonderful. Dad loves woodworking.

Then Friday night April 17, 2015, I was having trouble breathing, pressure on my diaphragm. I started bleeding internally and collapsed. Luckily the bleeding stopped.

My spleen had a large tumor. I thought OK simple take out the spleen. But there was a complication. The tumor was in an unusual location. It had grown on the head (top) of the spleen & attached to my back bone, aorta, and diaphragm. Darn tumor !

I was very weak and stayed in intensive care until Dr. John Maurterer of Baton Rouge Specialities removed my huge spleen and took biopsies of my liver. I loved everyone that pulled me through and cared for me, but oh boy ! I was glad to get back home.

Almost immediately I was transferred to oncologist, Dr. Liz Kergiosen of Med Vet in Mandeville. She was so nice and very positive about my high grade splenic-stromal Sarcoma--really a fibrosarcoma. One of the meanest tumors that there is. Several options were given to my family, and they chose the best for me. A plan of chemotherapy after surgery. It was adriamycin IV. That stuff was strong and I really didn’t want to eat. My family helped with nausea medication. I got more IV adriamycin doses every three weeks. Then another chemo drug a pill, cyclophosphamide, was added. Dad tried to fool me but I knew it wasn’t a treat. I got really weak; My CBC on June 17, 2015, showed that I was anemic. So I had to stop the cyclophosphamide, but I got to eat cooked liver. At first it was a treat, but everyday? Come on.. But I started to make red blood cells again just had to get stuck for a CBC every 10 days. So I had to go back on the cyclophosphamide and I continued IV adriamycin for a total of 7 treatments.

September 2, 2015, I thought I was really doing well. My abdomen and chest were clear for mets. But Dr. Liz started a new chemo cocktail, IV carboplatin. That stuff bottomed out my WBC. So although I received it every 4 weeks, a smaller dose was given. All the time, I’m really doing what I can to keep the family positive. My cutest butt wiggle was very effective.

November 16, 2015, I was back for my usual re-evaluation. Oh Oh, a small nodule near my left kidney was found on ultrasound. My chest was clear; so I was happy, but Dr. Liz was cautious. Dr. Liz knows more about ugly cancer than I do. IV Carboplatin treatment continued December and January. February, Dr. Liz stated that my tumor was re-occurring and began monthly palladia treatments.

So, I’m still here. I’m mildly anemic; my appetite seeks out the finer foods in life. I keep my Dad guessing as to what I want to eat. I’m not losing weight, so he is doing a good job. I get to go on family trips to Texas now; no boarding for me. I can see the wear on the family, so I don’t have as many demands for play and walks.

Here is my life with Cancer 460 days later. Cancer has not changed my love and devotion to my family. Cancer cannot change the memories of the great times with my family.

Sincerely,

Ginger

Ginger passed away June 21, 2016 surrounded by her loved ones.


Vie's Story


Closing time had come and gone, the hospital was cleaned, and the patients tucked into their kennels. Dr. Beier, Victoria, and Jessica were about to take their tired bodies home. The emergency bell rang, and groan, we knew somebody’s pet was in trouble.

At the door was a young girl, ultra pale, ultra thin, about sixteen years old accompanied by an older man who did not move or say a word. The young girl was clutching a shoe box with a laid out and “way too still” cold kitten about six or seven weeks old. The kitten was literally covered with blood sucking fleas stuck in his skin. We had to really look to make certain the kitten was even alive. Everyone went into exam room one for a better look.

The girl’s pupils were pin point and her gait was unsteady. She began to explain that the kitten’s mother was a “bad mother cat” and would not nurse the kitten. Dr. Beier asked about the other kittens in the litter. The girl replied that this kitten was jumping around and playing with the other kittens just this morning. Doubting the accuracy of the information, Dr. Beier questioned if the kittens were nursing or eating solid food. The girl in protest got up from the chair and almost fell face forward. Doctor Beier grabbed her by the shoulders seating her in the chair and told her to stay. Again Dr. Beier questioned the girl; she blurted out that all the kittens were dead as if she didn’t realize that she had just pronounced all kittens well and jumping around in the morning. She stated that the mother (queen) was fine and this kitten needed to be saved. Taking control of the dialogue, Dr. Beier stated that the problem with this kitten was not a bad mother! Showing the palour of the oral cavity, nose, and foot pads to everyone, Dr. Beier stated that this kitten did not have enough blood left in his body to be alive. The flea infestation was severe enough that fleas had sucked all of the blood out of the kitten’s body. The queen also had to be covered in fleas. But the girl protested that all the cats lived inside with her and fleas had not been noticed or treated.

Dr. Beier explained that the kitten needed an immediate blood transfusion and then flea removal. Due to the moribund condition, she explained to the girl that the transfusion might not be effective, there might be permanent damage to organs, and flea removal with a flea product was high risk to life. The girl agreed, signed consent for treatment, left a modest deposit and both people were escorted to the door sending flea medication home for the queen.

Then the scramble began. Victoria and Jessica knew their responsibilities and quickly got the transfusion equipment together. The kitten was placed on a heating mat; fleas were running up Dr. Beier’s hands as she handled the kitten. Jessica sealed the infested shoe box in plastic. Victoria set up a warming chamber. Ethel Anne was selected as blood donor; everything was OK until Ethel Anne realized what was happening; she flagrantly declined to give blood by jumping off the table and climbing to the top of the kennels. Dorie was the back up plan. Dorie was cool with the procedure. She got her neck clipped, cleaned, and a large needle placed in her jugular to collect blood. Dr. Beier calculated that this frail kitten could probably take about eighteen to twenty cc’s of Dorie blood.

Now the blood was collected; Dorie was given special treats and put back in her kennel. Time to transfuse. Small mosquito catheters failed time after time as evidenced by lack of red blood flash back to find a vein in the kitten. There was some unfamiliar white material accumulating in the catheter needle. The right and left cephalic (front legs) and saphenous veins (back legs) were not accessed. The tiny catheter could not even seat in the two jugular (neck) veins. It looked hopeless as the fleas continued to jump off the kitten to Dr. Beier’s hands.

Dr. Beier stated that the last chance was to put the blood directly into the heart’s left ventricle. It was risky, but the kitten was dying, and there was nothing to lose. She warned Victoria and Jessica that if this heart stick failed, it would be hard to watch. By a miracle, Dr. Beier accessed the beating left ventricle. The little kitten was so out of it that he never moved during the heart needle stick and the slow addition of blood to his body. In amazement, Victoria and Jessica noted that the pink color from the blood was slowing filling the kitten. Starting with his foot pads and ending with his tongue, the kitten became rosey pink. It was like he filled with blood --like putting gas in a gas can.

Kitten was still unconscious; now to eliminate the blood suckers. Cotton balls were saturated with Adam’s flea mist that was streaked on the body to stop the fleas. A 0.1ml drop of feline Advantage was applied to the skin of the neck. The kitten was wrapped in a towel and then in the cocoon-like heating unit. And that is the way that he stayed for the next four hours. In that time, perspective gave insight that the unfamiliar white material in the catheter was actually white blood cells from the veins. There was no flashback because there was just not any red blood cells in the kitten’s veins. He really should have been dead.

Later that night, the kitten began to stir and we thought, he might make it. Canned kitten food and water was left with the kitten. A really tired and good team went home. Well, this kitten was a fighter with strong survival instincts. In the morning, he had eaten all the food and was climbing on the bars of the kennel. We were amazed that the only residual effect was a slight left head tilt. The kitten was abundantly grateful and friendly. He never looked back or missed a meal from that day. Dorie was praised on facebook, and Ethel Anne was shamed. Ethel Anne stated that transfusions was not in her “job description” , and she was never going to let this bother her.

On the next day, it was time for kitten to go home. But the young girl was offering reasons why she couldn’t pick up the kitten. This went on day after day for two weeks. The very day that Dr. Beier sent a registered letter to pick up the kitten, the young girl called and stated that she could not take care of the kitten. She revealed that she had two young boys and needed to take care of them. That revelation shocked Dr. Beier, who had become a kitten admirer. Dr. Beier assured that young girl, if she would come into the office to sign ownership of the kitten, a good home could be found. The young girl complied. The next day, her phone was disconnected; we have never heard from her since.

So that is how Dr. Beier became Vie’s (french for life) new owner.