June/July 2014 Issue Sponsor: Nashville Veterinary Specialists
Nashville’s premier specialty animal hospital honors their commitment to animals and the environment through advanced technology and creative upcycling
BY HEATHER DOWDY
No doubt you have referred to the back cover of our magazine when in need of an emergency vet, but the newly renovated and expanded Nashville Veterinary Specialists (NVS) is also the leading specialty practice, to which your regular veterinarian may refer you if your pet experiences a joint injury, has major organ problems or is diagnosed with cancer. In fact, the highly skilled and incredibly compassionate team at NVS was there for us when our chow mix, Molly, required urgent care and when our shepherd mix, Shelby, needed TPLO surgery after tearing his cruciate ligament last year.
The NVS team is made up of doctors in a multitude of specialties including behavior, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology and surgery. These talented individuals work as a team in conjunction with the clinic’s emergency doctors to provide comprehensive twenty-four hour care for all of their patients.
PHOTO BY MICHELLE CONNER: NVS Staff Ellie Batchison, Karen Marcus and Christina Ariano working in the newly expanded clinic.
High-Tech Surgical Procedures
NVS uses advanced technology for many surgical procedures. Laparoscopic surgery (also called minimally invasive surgery, Band-Aid surgery or keyhole surgery) is a modern technique in which abdominal and thoracic (chest) operations are performed with tiny cameras and instruments through small incisions as opposed to the larger incisions needed in traditional open surgical techniques. Drs. Joanna Fry and Wes Roach are leading the charge in Nashville by offering many laparoscopic procedures for your pets.
“There are a number of advantages for the patients with laparoscopic surgery versus an open procedure,” says veterinary internist Dr. Fry. “These include reduced pain due to smaller incisions and shorter recovery times. Many of our pet patients are able to go home the same day as the procedure.”
NVS is also offering a specialized procedure called a prophylactic laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy, in which the stomach is sewn to the abdominal wall through two small incisions. A prophylactic gastropexy is performed to prevent the all-too common, life-threatening problem of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)—more commonly known as “canine bloat.” The condition, in which the stomach twists on itself, constitutes an incredibly serious surgical emergency. “It can be a problem for all dogs,” says Dr. Roach, “but it is especially of concern for large, deep-chested dogs. In fact, Great Danes have almost a fifty percent chance of developing a GDV during their lifetimes.”
PHOTO BY MICHELLE CONNER: Veterinary neurologist Dr. Rossi House and
Dr. Trey Calfee, owner and chief surgeon, with the clinic's CT scanner.
“We highly recommend that dog guardians talk to their primary care veterinarians about prophylactic gastropexies. The best time to do it is when the pet is spayed or neutered, since the pet is already under anesthesia. But for at-risk dogs, it’s worth scheduling on its own as well,” he advises. The laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy performed at NVS is a minimally invasive version of this procedure.
The veterinary specialists at NVS are also highly skilled in performing total joint replacement, which requires very specialized training, specific instruments and an extremely clean and sterile operating room. The clinic’s owner and chief surgeon, Dr. Trey Calfee, is experienced in this technique and has done a number of these procedures, which are comparable to a human hip or knee replacement.
Dr. Calfee offers the story of Mulligan as an example: “He is a rescued dog, and when his guardian adopted him as a puppy, Mulligan was already missing his left rear leg. When he was almost a year old, he began displaying signs of severe hip dysplasia and was in a great deal of pain, so his primary care veterinarian referred him to us. We did a total joint replacement on his right rear hip.” Mulligan is now a happy, healthy dog who is able to get around just fine. “I’m sure you can imagine that for this dog, having a joint replacement was truly a life-saving procedure. It gave him back his quality of life.”
Utilizing Advanced Imaging Technology
NVS is proud to offer the only Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine for animals in Middle Tennessee. The machine uses a medical imaging technique involving strong magnetic fields and radio waves to form images of your pet’s body, as well as to investigate the anatomy and function of the body. Dr. Rossi House, specialist in the field of neurology and neurosurgery, explains that “this technique is widely used in human hospitals for medical diagnosis, staging of disease and for follow-up without exposure to ionizing radiation. MRI is non-invasive, does not use radiation and provides good visualization of the brain and spinal cord.”
The clinic also has a computed tomography (CT) scan, which uses radiation to evaluate spinal abnormalities. For instance, a CT scan can be used to evaluate spinal fractures, disc herniation and narrowing of the spinal canal.
A Commitment to our Environment
While the first priority at NVS is always their patients and clients, operating an earth-friendly facility comes in a close second. “We have a broader concern and commitment to being environmentally responsible,” says Dr. Calfee. “We have made the commitment to provide the highest level of care while being as green as possible.”
The clinic’s green features include a 28-megawatt photovoltaic solar panel system, which supplies about 25% of the clinic’s energy needs through the sun, as well as a 5,000 gallon rain water collection system. The rainwater is used to irrigate the hospital’s landscaping. Meanwhile, eight four-by-four foot skylights bring natural daylight into the center of the hospital reducing energy requirement needed for lighting, and creating a more soothing interior environment for patents and hospital employees. Much of the hospital’s structure and décor is recycled, from reclaimed medical cabinets and employee lockers to exam room furniture. Environmentally safe cleaning products are used when possible, while a comprehensive single-stream recycling program diverts paper, plastic, aluminum, glass and packing materials from landfills.
Of course, many of these features—from the abundant natural sunlight to the beautiful reclaimed décor—also offer many an anxious client a relaxing and beautiful environment during a time when we just may need it most.
Visit the NVS website below to take a photo gallery tour and to learn more about their specialty and emergency services. And, as always, be sure to check out their helpful tips on the back cover of every issue!
Nashville Veterinary Specialists
2971 Sidco Drive
Nashville, TN 37204
PHOTO BY BECKY DAN: Veterinary surgical specialists Dr. Wes Roach and veterinary internal medicine specialist Dr. Joanna Konerman Fry prepare for a laparoscopic procedure.