Category: Interesting Cases

Laser Surgery

Laser Surgery Comes to Baringrh

By: Renaud Houyoux, LVT

The Companion CTS therapy laser unit used that we use at Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital  Dr. Dayton doing laser sxalso has a surgical fiber with which we can do surgical procedures on soft tissues. Examples include wart removal, soft pallate resection, overgrown gum-line resection, and various other soft tissue surgery. The advantages of laser surgery include less pain post – operatively, as well as less bleeding and reduced inflammation / edema to the tissues. Small warts can also be removed with a local anesthetic and some patients may not even require anesthesia or sedation. This bjb sxsurgical adaptation to a therapy delivery platform is the latest development in this area of medicine. 

Acupuncture for Animals

Frequently Asked Questions

Kim Luikart, DVM, cVMA

Certified Veterinary Medical Acupuncturist

Dr Luikart



What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body via the insertion and manipulation of very small, sterile needles into the superficial tissues of the body.  Each treatment is carefully tailored to your pet’s unique situation.  Treatment plans are based on a thorough medical history review, careful physical examination and assessment of musculoskeletal and neurologic systems, as well as any additional diagnostics that may be required.  Our practice incorporates the cutting edge of neuroscience to provide a treatment that is a powerful adjunct to other therapeutic 100_5180modalities.


How does it work?

Acupuncture invokes neuromodulation by stimulating nerve endings and inducing local and distant changes in the body. Acupuncture enhances blood and lymph flow at the local level, relieves myofascial trigger points, modulates traffic in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, causes release of anti-pain and anti-inflammatory molecules from the brain stem and local tissues, and improves balance between the sympathetic (stress response) and parasympathetic (rest response) nervous systems.


Anatomic and physiologic studies confirm the presence of specific “afferent” nerve endings at acupuncture points, which transport input to the peripheral nerves, associated spinal cord segments, and brain.  This information is processed and endogenous regulation results in improved circulation and organ function, analgesia, muscle relaxation, and normalized immune function.  Dr. Luikart and other medical acupuncturists study these connections and choose acupuncture sites according to the desired neuromodulatory effect.


Effects include:

Improved nerve function

Relaxation of muscles and fascia

Improved circulation and faster healing

Control of pain and inflammation


What types of conditions can you treat?

Nearly any medical condition can benefit from acupuncture.  Some of the most common conditions treated include:


Neurologic injury (such as intervertebral disc disease)

Digestive disturbances (gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, colitis, diarrhea, constipation)

Allergies (itching, ear infections, chronic licking)

Urinary dysfunction (cystitis, incontinence)

Post operative/trauma recovery

Chronic pain (from injury, surgery, or other disease process)

Behavioral problems

In addition, many hospitalized pets can benefit from daily acupuncture treatment while in our hospital.


Does acupuncture hurt?100_4659

Most pets find their treatment enjoyable, or at least tolerable.  Some pets even fall asleep during treatment. We try to maintain a relaxed and nonstressful environment as much as possible.  Some pets however, may be very sensitive, and we never force treatments on any pet.


Are there any side effects?

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years as a safe treatment for many health problems.  In the hands of an appropriately trained professional, acupuncture is very safe.  On occasion, some pets may seem lethargic or even a little worse for a day or two after the first treatment.  This usually passes and the pet feels much better.


What is a typical treatment like?

First Appointment: On your first visit, Dr. Luikart will book an entire hour to spend with you and your pet.  This visit is very important, because every case is different and we need to thoroughly understand your pet’s specific situation.

Dr. Luikart will perform a complete physical examination, including a careful evaluation of your pet’s musculoskeletal and nervous systems.  One of medical acupuncture’s main tenets is that appropriate treatment stems only from appropriate diagnosis.  Therefore, Dr. Luikart may recommend further workup prior to setting a treatment program, which could include diagnostics such as bloodwork or radiographs.

Dr. Luikart is trained in osteopathic myofascial palpation and trigger point diagnosis.  This helps to identify fascial restrictions and painful spots, directs attention to specific joints or body parts, and guides the selection of points for acupuncture treatment.

Finally, Dr. Luikart will proceed with needling.  We often go very slow and easy on the first treatment since we do not want pets to find the treatment stressful.  First treatments may only involve needling of 3 or 4 points, although this is highly variable.  The success of treatment does not depend on the number of needles used.  Often we may use adjunct therapy at this time such as laser or massage.  The needles often stay in for 10-15 minutes, and we may incorporate electrical stimulation in some patients.  Once the fascia has relaxed, and the tissues have responded, the needles may fall out on their own, or Dr. Luikart will remove them.

Follow up appointments: During subsequent appointments, various parts of the initial visit will be repeated, but normally follow up treatments will take about 30 minutes.

How many times do animals need to be treated?

100_4960-001Often 2-3 treatments lasting 20-30 minutes are given in the first 2 weeks, then the frequency is tapered to what is appropriate for each case.  Depending on the type of illness, severity of symptoms, and overall health of the pet, this may be once weekly, once per month or two, or simply as needed.



Does acupuncture always help?

Not always.  Like any treatment, we see a few miraculous cases and a few do not respond at all.  The majority of pets will get some significant benefit.  Acupuncture does not replace regular veterinary medicine and other treatment modalities, and we do encourage a thorough diagnostic workup prior to initiating treatment.  Every animal is different and the benefits may increase over time.  Acupuncture is a valuable adjunct tool for many problems and can often reduce dependency on more invasive or side effect prone treatments.

How much does acupuncture cost?

The initial consultation and treatment as described above is $180, and all follow up visits are $70.

Hospitalized patients are treated on a case by case basis and prices range from $45-65 per treatment.

Please call our hospital to schedule an appointment with Dr. Luikart or give us a call for more information.


Poor Piper Was Stuck Up a Tree

Piper’s Terrible Tree Experience

By: Dr. Carrie Wright



As a veterinarian, I would only recommend treatments for your pet that I would for mine own.  Recently my own cat Piper escaped into the big bad world and ended up getting stuck in a tree after being chased.  She has a long beautiful tail that was yanked hard by her pursuer, causing what’s called a “tether” lesion.  Fortunately for us, some neighbors were able to dislodge her from the tree but she was unable to walk. 100_0166

After extensive x-rays and a consultation with a specialist in town, we determined that she most likely had a spinal lesion – which may or may not be permanent.  We were considering a CT Scan and spinal surgery (approx $6-8K), yet the specialist thought we could give her a little time and supportive care before engaging in such a costly and in depth procedure.  We decided on a trial course of anti-inflammatories and laser therapy.  Laser therapy? Yes, at Baring, we have a Companion Laser which is a therapeutic laser which uses light waves to decrease inflammation and stimulate healing. And now I have personal confirmation that it works.  Theory is always a great thing, but then there is the proof of your own pet.  Because I had the option to do the treatments on her myself, I started with laser therapy daily in an attempt to decrease her pain. The laser helps stimulate release of endorphins (the feel good hormones) and decreases many other inflammatory hormones like prostaglandins.  Over the next 3 days, she was slowly able to stand.


Next was bearing weight for a few minutes, and then walking, and then running and finally back to playing. The entire treament plan took about 2 weeks, and I have to say, even understanding the medical reasons for these results, I was shocked at how quickly it really worked.  To this day, she has never once looked back – you would never know that she had faced possible permanent paralysis in her hind end unless you look very closely at how she flicks her tail when she is playing with my other pets.  Then you would notice what we call  “scorpion” tail where she flips the whole thing up and over her back.  And we think THAT just gives her more character! I am a believer, and so is Piper!


All too many times I see through our clinic the fear, worry and hurt caused by pets getting loose and the affects and injuries that come from these scary events.  All of our hearts go out to the pets and the families that have to endure these times.  Recently, my own family had to go through that same fear.  We were awakened early in the morning with the message that our two dogs, Phil and Tater had gotten out through a gate that had been left open.  My heart sank when the message told us that Tater had been hit by a truck and his leg was seriously injured.  Luckily, both of them had been brought to the Animal Emergency Center and both of them were in stable condition.  Thankfully they had on ID collars and microchips and we were able to be found so promptly.  As soon as we heard, we rushed down to the emergency clinic to get our scared little family.  Phil was just fine, a little tired and happy to see our family, but Tater was very banged up.  He had a torn medial collateral ligament and a couple small talar fractures in his hock (ankle).  His injuries needed surgery and the procedure was going to be a very complicated one.  We brought him up to see the boarded veterinary surgeons at Sierra Veterinary Specialists, who were able to squeeze us in for surgery that same day.  Following his surgery, Tater had to spend a night in the hospital and has been back in and out of BBVH every day for laser treatments, splint and cast changes, and has been on four different medications.  He has been a wonderful patient, very tolerant of having to stay in his dog crate, so good about walking with a sling, and great about taking his medications.  He has a long road ahead of him, but has taken so many good steps so far.  We are confident that because of all the wonderful care he will make a near 100% recovery.

This is not the first time I’ve had to work on my own pets, and unfortunately I know it won’t be the last.  Still, being on this side of the treatments is always a good reminder of how much work and emotion it takes for families and pets to make it through these tribulations.  I am so thankful for how far veterinary medicine has evolved and the capabilities that we have to help Tater make such a good recovery.  He received top notch emergency care and flawless surgical correction.  We are proud at BBVH to have such capabilities to provide him the pain management to keep him comfortable, the medical abilities to prevent complications, the Class IV cold laser therapy to expedite his internal and wound healing, and the wonderful staff that has made his bandage and wound management so easy.

My family would like to extend an enormous thank you from the bottom of our hearts to a number of people:

 The staff at BBVH for all of your wonderful care and emotional support.  I get to see you all in action every day and know that you give your all to every patient, but being again on this side of the treatments, it is a good reminder of how important and appreciated all of your efforts are.

Dr. Davyd Pelsue and the staff of Sierra Veterinary Specialists.  Your prompt service, caring, and expertise have undoubtedly changed how Tater will spend the rest of his life.

Dr. Jim Nelson and the staff of the Animal Emergency Center.  In their time of biggest need and most fear, it is reassuring to know that our furry family was in such wonderful care.

To the selfless family that rescued our puppies.  You guys are so humble and so out of respect I haven’t named you here, but you know who you are.  It tears us up inside to think what might have happened if your incredible daughter hadn’t spotted our dogs and if you all hadn’t gone so far out of your way to help them.  Eternally thank you.

I’m a Survivor

I Survived Parvo

Hi my name is Jake and I am a parvo survivor ! I was brought into Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital for not eating or drinking, vomiting, and lethargy. I had no history of vaccines. After spending 3 days in the hospital with intense fluid therapy and medication I was able to go home. Here I am 5 weeks after I finished my treatment for my vaccines and am as healthy as a pup 🙂

 Boomer presented for exam on Tuesday, his Owner states that he might have swolled a saftey pin that morning around 6am, he noticed that Boomer was trying to vomit, and then fell over.  With Boomer’s history of well, being a puppy his Owner was concerned it might have been stuck and brought him in right away.

With Boomer now at Baring Dr. Luchetti decided the best thing to do would be to take some radiographs.  We took 2 views of Boomer’s abdomen. After sending the report off to the radiologist their conclusion was  that there is evidence of metallic gastric foreign material, with granular mineral debris scattered throughout the gastrointestinal tract. It is uncertain whether the larger radiodense structures in the stomach are additional foreign material, but this is suspected.

After discussing Boomer’s treatment plan with his Owner, Dr. Luchetti and Dr. Crumley decided to wait several hours to see if the foreign material would move/ pass through Boomer’s system. After taking the second set of x-rays later that afternoon the material had not moved. Boomer was headed to surgery.

Dr. Baker preformed Boomer’s exploratory/ gastrotomy, he was able to remove large amount of plastic/hair/ foreign material. Due to the large volume of material the was removed we took an x-ray of the material to make sure the safety pin was removed.

Can you see the safety pin??? The next day Boomer was bouncing off the walls and back to his normal crazy puppy self and was able to go home.

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Bella is a very happy 4 1/2-year-old boxer that had to move from the mid-West right after having surgery for a Mast Cell Tumor.
With Mast Cell Tumors you must make a very wide cut to insure getting good margins and leaving no cancer cells behind. Bella’s incision was a nice wide cut insuring nothing was left, but unfortunately the incision site dehisced or did hold the sutures. When she came to us there was not enough tissue available to close the site back surgically, so we elected to use Laser therapy, bandaging and allow it to granulate in.
Normally this would not be considered with a tumor removal, but with the grade of the tumor and the margins achieved, it was determined that it would be safe to Laser the site and speed healing.
Bella’s owners were incredibly dedicated to her care, bringing her in for regular treatments three times a week and doing regular bandage changes at home.
Bella is an angel and we are all so happy with her outcome, but miss seeing her smiling face on a regular basis.

Written By: Christina Johnson, LVT                                  

Rufus was brought into the hospital for vomiting, not really wanting to eat,and lethargy. After chatting with his Owner’s we found out that Rufus had a history of eating toys.  We took x-rays for Rufus and you can see that there was an obvious obstruction.

 After going in for an abdominal explore, Dr. Luikart was able to surgically remove this toy ball from Rufus. He did great the next day and went home later that night. ♥

Emma is a 2 year old pitbull. She suffered significant 3rd and 4th degree burns. She is an example of how quickly wounds can heal with the help of the companion laser. Treatment was from July 7th to August 9th. Most wounds like this would take months to heal.
For the full story, visit the BBVH website, thanks

Companion Laser Therapy

We’ve been using it after elective surgeries, injuries such as disc disease, sprains, strains, and to reduce the pain and inflammation of skin wounds and ear infections. Additionally, our older pets are enjoying increased mobility while requiring less medication. The treatments are quick, painless, and often result in noticeable improvement after just one treatment.
Laser therapy speeds healing by calling on the body’s own natural healing techniques, such as increasing blood flow to the injured area and carry away waste products, by releasing pain-killing endorphins, lessening scar tissue, reducing nerve pain, and to combat tissue infections.