The Michigan State University (MSU) veterinary team has named former patient Katie, a black Labrador Retriever, as one of its miracle dogs, which the MSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital honors at its Celebration of Life ceremony this month.
Katie’s story of survival started when she was taken to her primary care veterinarian for what was supposed to be a routine spay surgery. The veterinarian noted Katie was struggling, re-opened her and found internal bleeding. The owners were notified and the dog was referred to MSU for intensive monitoring and care.
She was transferred to MSU, where veterinarians found a clotting abnormality and a problem with her spleen. Soon after, a splenectomy was performed and Katie started on the road to recovery.
Her dramatic response and iron will against all odds are likely the reason why she was chosen as a miracle dog, according to her owners, Marilyn and Mark Johnson of Williamston, Mich.
Katie’s experience has resulted in the creation of an annual $1,000 scholarship award for an MSU veterinary student from PurinaCare Pet Health Insurance, a subsidiary of Nestle Purina.
PurinaCare allowed them to seek the best quality veterinary care without worrying about finances, her owners said. That’s because PurinaCare covered 80 percent of the medical bill, roughly $14,500 out of a total of $18,410. Katie’s care included the hospital stay, four surgeries and many tests in the MSU critical-care unit.
“We had gotten insurance for the first time a few months earlier, having found a plan that covered items we felt were important,” Marilyn Johnson said. “In this case, the most important benefit was that the plan has a $20,000 cap per year, whether it is used for one or for many events. We didn’t have to worry about finances; we could just concentrate on Katie’s condition.”
The 6th Celebration of Life on March 20 at the MSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital honors animals that, like Katie, were not expected to survive, yet recovered well, said Dr. Ari Jutkowitz, assistant professor of emergency and critical-care medicine at MSU.
The PurinaCare scholarship program, to be announced at the event, offers a way to recognize MSU veterinary students who show a strong dedication to medicine and the human-animal bond, said Dr. Pat LeBlanc, director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
As for Katie, her owners said she’s back to her playful self, enjoying activities such as agility, tracking, obedience, dock jumping and playing with the other family dogs.