Veterinary Specialty Hospital 2017 Food Drive A Success!

Due to the amazing generosity of so many wonderful members of our community, 8,915 pounds of pet food and $1,145 in cash was donated to our 2017 Holiday Pet Food Drive! It was our second largest drive to date. We sincerely appreciate everyone’s kindness including the support from many of our referring partners for reaching out to their clients and placing bins at their hospitals.

Internally, the staff at VSH held a competition by forming teams, to see which team could collect the most using their personal network of family & friends. For the second year in a row, Team Neuro in Sorrento Valley won collecting 1,346 pounds of food!

The Jacobs-Cushman San Diego Food Bank supplied the red barrels at both our hospital locations and also to our referring partners, making several visits to empty the barrels as the lobbies started to overflow with pet food. At the end of the drive, they used their extensive network of area charities to distribute the donations to San Diego families in need.

Translating pounds into meals, the Food Bank bases their calculation on human consumption as follows: 1 meal = 1.2 pounds. The total pounds collected for the Pet Food Drive (inclusive of physical and monetary donations): 15,785 pounds (13,154 meals)! If you think of the smaller bellies of most our animal friends, the meal count would actually be much higher. 

We sincerely appreciate everyone’s support for the success of our 2017 Holiday Pet Food Drive to help keep pets and their families together. Thank you!

Pet Anesthesia and Pain Management

General anesthesia is necessary to perform procedures such as advanced imaging, surgery or endoscopic procedures. General anesthesia as general rule can be very safe for your pet, with appropriate pre-anesthetic workup, proper monitoring and use of appropriate drugs for each individual patient.

As with people, not every patient is the same and so each patient is managed to make their individual anesthetic experience as comfortable and safe as possible.

When your pet comes to Veterinary Specialty Hospital, we start by performing a thorough physical exam. Depending on the age of your pet and your pet’s current health status, pre-anesthetic blood work will likely be recommended or required to evaluate the function of important organs such as the liver and kidneys, as these organs are especially important for the metabolism and elimination of commonly used drugs. Other diagnostics, such as x-rays, urinalysis, etc. are also sometime indicated.

We want to make each pet’s experience as minimally stressful as possible. Therefore, patients scheduled for surgery will receive medications prior to general anesthesia to help provide pain relief and sedation.

Prior to anesthesia, each patient has their blood pressure evaluated and an EKG performed to evaluate their cardiovascular status. An endotracheal tube (“breathing tube”) is placed into your pet’s airway at the beginning of anesthesia, in order to provide oxygen and inhaled anesthetics during anesthesia, as well as, provide us with the ability to assist breathing in your pet, when necessary. Your pet’s vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygen status, ventilation and temperature) are monitored continuously throughout the procedure.

After anesthesia, your pet is provided pain relief when indicated and monitored closely until they are warm and fully awake. Our surgical and anesthesia team includes five Boarded surgeons, several well-trained and educated technicians and often a surgical intern; all working together to provide the safest anesthesia and surgery possible for your pet.


State-of-the-Art Monitoring Equipment

VSH uses state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to evaluate cardiovascular and pulmonary function, utilizes intravenous fluids for maintenance of hydration and cardiovascular support. We provide the most up-to-date preventative and therapeutic pain management for your pet. Our expertise includes anesthetizing patients with intracranial issues, cardiac disease, endocrine disease, kidney and liver failure, trauma, and much more. Each of these situations affects the patient’s body in different ways requiring different types of pet anesthesia and pain management.

Optimal Post-Operative Pain Management

We are dedicated to minimizing anesthetic risk and providing the patient with the most optimal post-operative pain management through the following efforts:

  • In-hospital anesthetic case supervision/management
  • Anesthesia protocol review and consultation
  • Pre, intra and postoperative pain assessment and management
  • Continuing education for VSH staff, and outside veterinarians and veterinary technicians

Our staff has been highly-trained in the administration of pet anesthesia and pain management – to learn more or to book an appointment, please send us an email or call us directly at (858) 875-7500 (San Diego office) or (760) 466-0600 (North County office).


If you’d like to learn more about how VSH is working to provide the latest advancements in pet anesthesia and pain management, please contact us today or read our blog.



Arthroscopy is the most advanced surgical technique for examination and treatment of joint diseases. In arthroscopy the surgeon makes a small incision and inserts a pen sized instrument (arthroscope) to work inside the joint. Arthroscopy provides better visualization and greater opportunities for treatment of joint disease while being much less invasive than traditional surgery. Many arthroscopy patients can be treated on an out-patient bases.

Dr. Kurt Schulz is a internationally recognized leader in the field of veterinary arthroscopy. He is an author of the only textbook available on small animal arthroscopy. (link to Amazon page?) and lectures and instructs arthroscopy courses nationally and internationally. He developed arthroscopy techniques and instrumentation during his 10 years as a faculty at the University of California Davis performing an average of 5 to 10 cases a week.

Diseases of dogs commonly treated with arthroscopy include:

Arthroscopic view of a normal (top) and ruptured cranial cruciate ligament.


  • OCD
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Biceps disease
  • osteoarthritis


  • Elbow dysplasia
  • OCD
  • Fragmented coronoid process
  • Osteoarthritis


  • OCD
  • Cruciate and meniscal disease

Case Study: Canine Foreign Body


Joshua Jackson, DVM, Diplomate ACVS

Jake, a 2.5 year old German Shepherd, was presented for evaluation of vomiting, anorexia and
lethargy. Prior to referral, Jake had a 5 month history of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and
inappetence. He was treated supportively with a bland diet, maropitant and omeprazole. Although
his vomiting ceased and he began eating, Jake remained persistently lethargic. He was evaluated
five days after initiation of supportive care. A leukocytosis (17.4K) characterized by a monocytosis
and thrombocytopenia (98K) were revealed. A spec PLI was normal. Supportive care was continued
and Jake apparently improved over the next few days. His signs did not completely resolve, thus he
was presented for further evaluation.

Bright, Alert and Responsive
Body condition score 3/9
Very tense on abdominal palpation, but all other parameters and vitals normal.

Primary gastrointestinal disease including gastroenteritis vs. partial obstruction (foreign body) vs.
intussusception vs. mesenteric or splenic torsion vs. less likely parasitism vs. secondary to
endocrine disease such as hypoadrenocorticism. Renal, hepatic and pancreatic disease are less
given results of biochemical analysis and cPLI.

Abdominal ultrasound: A linear foreign body within the peritoneal cavity with a diffuse peritonitis
was evident. Regional intestinal mural alterations, likely secondary to inflammation or adhesion formation, were noted, as well as periaortic lymphomegaly and hypoechoic hepatomegaly.

Exploratory celiotomy and foreign body removal.

A standard ventral midline incision was made from xiphoid to pubis. 300mls of purulent ascites was
encountered upon entry into the abdomen. Diffuse omental and intestinal adhesions were present.
A large toothpick foreign body was discovered floating free in the ascites. Adhesions were
removed and copious saline lavage performed. A closed suction drain was placed.
Closure was routine.

Chronic peritonitis, especially septic peritonitis is not common. Animals are able to tolerate severe
abdominal inflammation and hide their clinical signs much more than people. Historical veterinary
literature suggests a mortality rate of septic peritonitis from 25-75%. It is our experience that with
aggressive medical and surgical management survival rates are much better than what has been
reported historically.
Open peritoneal drainage is almost never performed and almost all patients are managed with closed suction drainage. One of the most important components of successful postoperative management of the peritonitis patient is addressing the often severe hypoproteinemia. Early post operative enteral feeding is important. The use of nasogastric, esophagostomy, gastrostomy or jejunostomy tubes should be considered standard of care with septic peritonitis. Colloid support in addition (hetastarch, plasma, albumin) is often required.
Patients often lose tremendous volumes of fluid from the abdomen. A close watch of blood
pressure, body weight and hydration status is important and volume administration adjusted
accordingly. The use of paired blood and abdominal fluid glucose levels has not been validated in
the post operative period to determine if sepsis is present, but it is our experience that a lower
abdominal glucose than plasma in the post operative period generally suggests recurrent leakage.
A closed suction drain enables easy access for cytology to evaluate WBCs morphology and presence
of bacteria. Broad spectrum antibiotic therapy is generally utilized. We often utilize enrofloxacin
combined with ampicillin or ticarcillin.
In this case, the patient was discharged 3 days after surgery and has done well in the postoperative


Download the PDF for this case study here: canine_foreign_body