Treating an Arthritic Patient with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Tully is a 9-year old Labrador Retriever and our first official HBOT patient. He is also the “best bud” of Dr. Hitt, our AVIM&O Medical Director and the lead on introducing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to our facility in Annapolis. Tully was born with bilateral elbow dysplasia, a condition in which both elbows develop abnormally, resulting in pain and lameness. He underwent arthroscopic surgery for both elbows via CVSS, our surgery group, when he was just 7 months old. While these surgeries improved Tully’s comfort level for the next 7 years, progressive chronic osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia eventually began to set in.

To reduce the discomfort associated with these conditions, Tully started receiving higher doses of gabapentin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and several supplements to increase mobility in his joints. Until just a couple of months ago, Tully seemed to be doing well. However, since December, he has required an increase in his medications in order to stay comfortable—even with reduced activity.

Thus, Tully was chosen to be the first patient in our new SeChrist HBOT unit. He has already spent two sequential, 1-hour treatments in the chamber and will now undergo treatment once a week, and then twice a month. After his first treatment, it appeared that Tully seemed more willing to run around with his housemate. Time will tell if HBOT is truly improving his situation, but we are hopeful.

HBOT has a variety of uses, helping patients that have experienced:

  • Smoke inhalation
  • Near drowning
  • Toxic snake or spider bites
  • Prolonged wound healing
  • Non-responding infections

There are other diseases that may also benefit from HBOT, but clinical evidence of these benefits is still unclear. We’re constantly learning and working to expand our skill set with HBOT, and we look forward to using it for the benefit of many future patients.

Celebrating A Milestone for Crockett

Crockett is a 8 year old, Portuguese Water Dog who transferred to Atlantic Veterinary Internal Medicine and Oncology from Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Clinic in July of 2017.

He was admitted to our facility for multiple enlarged lymph nodes, multiple masses in the liver and spleen, lethargy, loss of and poor appetite and diarrhea. He was fairly debilitated at the time of presentation. His diagnosis was consistent with intermediate cell lymphoma. Treatment options were discussed with the owners and the decision was made to start aggressive chemotherapy and Crockett was hospitalized for supportive care. Crockett’s prognosis was considered extremely guarded during hospitalization.

Despite poor odds, after a week of hospitalization,Crockett appeared to be slowly responding and he was sent home to continue with supportive care to see how he would do at home. Crockett came back in for a follow up visit and showed improvement in his clinical status and he has continued to make leaps and bounds throughout the rest of his chemotherapy treatments. He is an active dog and has continued to be so since throughout the rest of his treatments.

Crockett has been living his best life since undergoing treatment and his owners have been making the most of it, and overall happy with his progress. This is what the owners said when we requested pictures for this article. “Next week will be one year since diagnosis and we feel so blessed to have had such a good year with Crockett. This would not have been possible without your expertise and top-notch medical treatment– we appreciate you all so much! The Yellowstone photo is from earlier this month when we took Crockett out west. Yet, another milestone you helped us achieve. We always wanted to do this trip with him but we didn’t know if it would be possible. Thankfully, he came with us and had a wonderful time hiking and swimming.”

Giving Pets a Second Chance with Chemotherapy

Having a beloved pet be diagnosed with cancer is a painful blow. We know how stressful and scary these situations can be, which is why we do everything we can to comfort anxious owners and give their pets the kindest, highest-quality treatment possible. Every life is precious, and there is always hope that things will get better. Just ask Bart, one of our recent success stories!

Bart’s Story

Bart is an amazing boy who first came to see our team at AVIM&O in July of 2017 after being diagnosed with lymphoma. He and his mom were understandably nervous when they first came in, and now they are like part of the family. We soon started Bart on chemotherapy for his lymphoma, and he has never looked back!

Bart went into remission almost immediately and remains there today. He has tolerated his therapy very well, and has taken several trips with his family while on treatment. We celebrated Bart’s last chemotherapy treatment on Valentine’s Day and we couldn’t be happier for him and his family!

-Dr. Silver, DVM, DACVIM – Oncology

What You Should Know

We offer injectable and oral chemotherapy medications. Whichever one your pet receives will depend on their health history and the type of cancer they have. Please see our oncology and chemotherapy page.

If we recommend chemotherapy treatment for your pet, you may be comforted to know that chemotherapy causes fewer side effects in pets than it does in people. Your oncologist will be happy to address your concerns in more detail. Furthermore, you can expect nothing but support and understanding from our team as you and your pet begin this process.