Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Hospital focuses on quality care, technology for pets and owners

By Hannah Blick, hannah.blick@gazette.com - Published: March 31, 2014

When Chris and Stephanie Marsh adopted their newest Yorkshire Terrier in July 2012, they didn't have to think too hard for the perfect name.

"When we adopted Mac, we thought naming after Dr. McReynolds was a fitting tribute to a man who has helped our family so much," Chris Marsh, small-business owner, said.

Chris McReynolds, doctor of veterinary medicine and diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (DVM, DACVIM), founded Southern Colorado Veterinary Internal Medicine (SCVIM), the first internal medicine specialty service in Colorado Springs, in 1999. McReynolds treated the Marshes' dog Freddie, for several years before he passed away in 2012. He made Freddie's last few years of life a joy for the Marsh family as he gave Freddie the attention and care he deserved, no matter the chaos of the day.

Chris Marsh said he is grateful to the team of doctors, nurses and staff at SCVIM who have helped care for all four of his Yorkshire Terriers since 2006. Some of his dogs have had minor issues; others have had more lengthy and involved health problems, but he said the SCVIM team has always come through with treatment options.

"The combination of state-of-the-art technology and smart people who know how to use it is powerful," Chris Marsh said. "They also know how to deal with humans; to help you know how to make caring and compassionate decisions when it comes to your pets."

ALL IN A DAY'S WORK

SCVIM is an internal medicine hospital located within the Veterinary Specialty Center. The four doctors in the practice are all certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and work exclusively with dogs and cats. The staff at SCVIM cover specialties like endocrinology, oncology, cardiology, gastroenterology, urology, immune disease, and any complex illness that would require a vet to refer a patient to a specialist. This is much like when a primary care doctor sends a human patient to a specialist.

Because SCVIM knows your pet's health doesn't take weekends off, it provides 24-hour intensive hospitalization with nurses and doctors on site. The intensive care unit is always attended so pets are never left alone, and staff is able to re-evaluate pets and adjust treatments if needed on weekends.

Kirsta Scherff-Norris, wildlife biologist at Colorado Springs Utilities, knows first-hand how imperative timing can be. The first time she had to take her then five-year-old Australian Shepherd Trapper into SCVIM for what turned out to be an autoimmune disorder, staff stayed late into the night making sure Trapper would pull through.

"If we hadn't gotten him in and they hadn't stayed late, he wouldn't have made it," she said. "It was really touch and go; they pulled him back from the brink."

Trapper has been back a number of times, for everything from a liver infection to lymphoma, and SCVIM has treated him for it all. The resilient canine has even gone on to win several national titles in agility competitions with the American Kennel Club.

BEDSIDE MANNER

Karin Cannizzo loves her job, and it shows. Cannizzo, doctor of veterinary medicine at SCVIM, does not hide behind an overbearing or abrasive ego as accomplished doctors tend to do, but instead, her passion for loving and serving pets and their owners comes across in honest conversation, with a touch of light-hearted humor.

And this is the way it is with all four doctors whose names are on the front door at SCVIM. Including McReynolds and Cannizzo, Macon Miles and Brad Hines, doctors of veterinary medicine, also serve a roster of furry patients each day. Cannizzo said she considers it a luxury to mesh so well with her patients and fellow internists.

"I can walk away and trust what happens when I'm gone," Cannizzo said. "I know each of these doctors would treat my patients how I would choose to treat them. And I would never treat one of their cases less than mine. It's truly a gift."

McReynolds agreed, attributing the clinic's medical successes to the seamless personal friendships and professional relationships at SCVIM, both internally and with owners and patients.

THOUGHTFUL TECHNOLOGY

It's not all just tail wags and kitten kisses for the staff at SCVIM, though. These doctors know that saving the lives of pets requires the right technology, purposeful concentration and some serious elbow grease.

"Diagnosis is about 90 percent thought process," Cannizzo said. "We want owners to have all the info. We will spend an hour and a half going over all their options, write it all down, and then send the owner home to think it over in peace."

SCVIM also incorporates cutting edge technology into diagnosing and healing sick pets, including on-site CT Scan, endoscopy and a recent addition of the only veterinary hyperbaric oxygen treatment facility in Southern Colorado. The Veterinary Specialty Center also includes a physical therapy facility; Colorado Canine Orthopedic Surgery; Mountain View Veterinary Surgery, specializing in soft tissue and cancer surgeries; Animal Emergency Care Center, with overnight, weekend and holiday care; and Animal Dental Care. But ultimately, it's the people that keep the pets coming back.

"For us, they alleviated nervousness and anxiety, which allowed us just to worry about taking care of our pet," Chris Marsh said. "That was complemented by the demeanor of the people (at SCVIM.) The care they provide - for both the human and animal - is really amazing."

For more information on SCVIM, please visit IMVets.com

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