My Story

Do you have a story to share about your experience at the WSU VTH?

We would love to hear from you.

Email your story and photo to Kay Glaser at

  • Monty (December 2013)

    Monty and Friend


    Lee and Monty Lise & Rick M.


    It was just after Christmas 2013 that my girlfriend, Lori, who raises toy poodles phoned me to let me know she had a very sick puppy that was about 4 months old at the time. We named the puppy Monty and he was diagnosed with a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which is a heart defect that he was born with. Without correction of the PDA, Monty could develop congestive heart failure, a complication of heart disease, and die within a year.

    We live in Vancouver, BC, Canada and found a surgeon who would operate on him. During his surgery he started to hemorrhage and had three staples placed near his heart. We discovered sadly that his heart murmur was still present as the surgery was unsuccessful.

    During this time I had offered to look after Monty and nurse him back to health. He was so affectionate and loving that everyone who met him felt a connection with him. My girlfriend Lori was up late worrying about him and decided to contact the Washington State University Veterinary Program. We couldn’t believe it when Dr. Pamela Lee a noted cardiologist contacted us.

    After discussing the case with Dr. Lee, we made the decision to drive to WSU. Our beautiful puppy Monty would probably not last the year if there was no intervention done. And at this point he had won both of our hearts and we couldn’t imagine not doing everything in our power to give him hope.

    The care at WSU was unbelievable....from the staff at the front reception room to the vet technicians, vet students and finally the wonderful cardiology staff. Monty had his surgery where Dr. Melissa Tropf and Dr. Pamela Lee successfully occluded/blocked the flow of blood that was leaking from his heart using a minimally invasive procedure. I cannot thank them enough.

    It took us a full day of driving each way to get to WSU and I would have gladly driven across the country for the care that we received from the staff. It takes some pretty special people to go into veterinary medicine, especially cardiology. And I sincerely believe that the best ones teach at WSU. Every night, just as I fall asleep....Monty curls up beside me and the last thing I do is put my hand on his heart and say a quiet thank you that he is with me. And I am able to do this only because of the wonderful and kind people that work, learn and teach at Washington State University.

  • Fiona (August 2013) Kristy D.


    Meet Fiona. She is a six year old albino ferret and our little darling! Fiona joined our family about five years ago via the Spokane Ferret Rescue. She and her cage mate had been surrendered by their owner because he was attending college and couldn't keep them in the dorm room. We found their story on Craig's List and applied for adoption.

    Fiona is a healthy, happy ferret who spends most of her days and nights sleeping in the "condo," a double decker Ferret Nation cage she shares with her six year old ferret sister. She looks forward to spending her play time outside the cage wrestling with Willamina, her sister, and exploring every nook and cranny she can squeeze into.

    About three months ago, we noticed that she was developing a bald spot on the top of her head. She had "molted" before but always grew her hair back, so we were waiting and expecting this to happen again. It did not. In fact the spot grew to cover the size of the entire top of her head. She started losing hair on the top of her feet, her vulva enlarged, and finally began developing a bald spot on her abdomen. All of these indicated that she had adrenal gland disease which is deadly in ferrets.

    Because we live in a small isolated area, we didn't have access to a exotic animals veterinarian and ours recommended that we take her to the North Idaho Animal Hospital in SandPoint, ID about 80 miles away, which we did. Even having all the classic signs of adrenal gland disease it was necessary to do complete blood workups to rule out other possibilities.

    The tests confirmed our fears which left us with three choices. The first was to do nothing and plan to euthanize her when she got too sick to function. The second was to medicate her for the rest of her life knowing that the medication was not a cure, and the last was to remove her adrenal glands which would require ex-rays to determine which side the tumor was on followed by surgery. I was told that if it was on the right side the procedure was extremely risky and there would be a strong possibility that she would not survive.

    All of these solutions were beyond the comfort levels of the veterinarians at the North Idaho Animal Hospital, and they referred me to Dr. Finch, the exotic animal specialist at WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman, WA which is about 200 miles away. I contacted the hospital and was lucky enough to get Fiona an appointment that Thursday. Email communication with Dr. Finch made our decision simple. She would receive a Suprelorin F implant. A fairly new drug which lasts anywhere from one year to a year and a half before having to be re-implanted and effectively reduces the symptoms of adrenal gland disease in ferrets.

    After giving her a physical exam, Dr. Finch explained the procedure, administered a sedative, and injected the implant between Fiona's shoulder blades. Once she was awake, Dr. Finch brought her to the waiting room, showed me the incision, and explained what to expect in the coming weeks. Now, we simply wait and watch for her symptoms to disappear. We know that this will not cure the adrenal gland disease, but it does slow the progression down and make it possible for Fiona to live out her full life comfortably. The biggest upside to this is the fact that she didn't have to go through any dangerous, expensive, invasive surgery. YAH! She doesn't even seem to know she has the implant.

    I am so impressed with the staff, the facilities, and Dr. Finch! Thank you for everything you do for our little ones!


Washington State University