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An exploration of the world of the veterinary specialist. The place of surgical and non-surgical treatments and diagnostics. Can a specialty practice "Go Where No Man has Gone Before?" We are accessible, while providing value and great communication. Please, Look Around

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Large and Rare Tumor Successfully Removed


Meet Louis, a three year old Cocker Spaniel cross, who over several months developed a large, firm mass attached to the left portion of his skull. The mass deviated his left eye and felt like a bony growth under his skin.

A CT scan demonstrated a rather uncommon tumor, whose name has changed multiple times over the years and is referred to today as a Multilobulated Osteochondroma (MLO). These tumors usually arise from the flat bones of the skull. Although they are typically evident on the outside of the skull, they tend to grow just as aggressively on the inside, often compressing the brain.

This tumor was exceedingly large and besides the extensive nature of the mass, my concern was that its removal might compromise the drainage of blood from the brain, thus leading to Louis’ death. We fortunately have very specialized equipment that not only allows us to look at a mass from all directions but has the ability to construct an accurate three dimensional model giving us specific landmarks for growth removal.

I have included 3-D reproductions of the mass from the front, the side and the top. I’ve included a cross sectional view that shows the mass compressing Louis’ brain. I colored the brain red-brown and the mass in green so that you can appreciate the amount of pressure exerted.

The surgery involved removing the entire boney mass and then additionally, to ensure wide margins, removing a significant portion of the left boney orbit that holds the left eye, the left frontal sinus and much of the right frontal sinus. Closing the surgical incision so the brain is protected and adding material to insure no access for infection from Louis’ nasal passages to his brain, are problems we have seen and solved many times in the past. Several techniques I learned, while rotating with human neurosurgeons, were helpful.

Included is a picture of Louis the day after surgery and one week after surgery.  We are going to remove his staples in about two weeks and may have to trim the extra skin which developed as the mass slowly stretched the area out of shape.

This tumor, even with the finest of excisions, does tend to grow back. However, this
may occur years from now. I have removed the same type of tumor from some dogs two, three and four times while they continued to live a normal, happy life. Louis looks pretty darn handsome already and is back to behaving like his usual sweet self.

When faced with extremely complicated cases, VCA VRA is known for its excellent results over the past three decades. Our experienced staff and cutting edge technology are available 24/7 should your furry friend be in crisis.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

King Wyatt!

Wyatt is an adorable patient at VCA Veterinary Referral Associates. He has had three brain surgeries with our neurologist, Dr. Steven Steinberg.

I call him ‘King Wyatt’ because he rules the Critical Care Unit whenever he is here. Because of time constraints, I made him an official crown with construction paper, tape, and a roll of cotton gauze. When it was complete, he paraded around the hospital wearing it and brightened everyone’s day. His Mom, who is a local veterinarian, loved it too and said that seeing the crowned Wyatt made her day as well!

Natalie Baker

CCU technician

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Meet Our New Oncologist

We are incredibly pleased to welcome oncologist Dr. Bobbi McQuown to our team!
Dr. Bobbi McQuown is originally from Ohio. She attended the University of Central Florida for her undergraduate degree. Following this, she spent five years in the Army. After completing her service obligation, she changed career paths to veterinary medicine.
Dr. McQuown graduated from North Carolina State University in 2011. She then completed a one year internship at VCA Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center/VCA Shoreline in Connecticut. Following her internship she completed a residency in small animal medical oncology at Tufts University. While at Tufts, she conducted research regarding lymphoma and IGF-1, anal sac adenocarcinoma, and heart base tumors.

Dr. McQuown relocated to the DC area to reunite with her husband, their Boxer dog, Alabama and cat, Nemo.

Learn more about VCA VRA's Oncology Department. We are very proud to offer oncology services to our patients. VCA VRA is one of the few veterinary oncology providers in the Montgomery County and DC area. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Two of the Cutest Blood Donors EVER!

Check out this picture of Missy and Kona enjoying a break from the summer heat by hiking on the C & O canal near Sharpsburg.  Missy and Kona belong to Barb, one of our receptionists! They also participate in our blood donor program here at VCA VRA!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Welcome Dr. Chris Gauthier!

We are thrilled to introduce our new surgeon Dr. Chris Gauthier! We are confident that he will be a wonderful addition to our hospital. Check out his bio below!

Christopher M. Gauthier, DVM, MS, MSM (Practice Limited to Surgery)
Small Animal Surgeon

Dr. Gauthier earned his veterinary degree from the University of Florida in 2010. Afterwards, he completed an internship at Tufts University, a surgical internship at the VCA Animal Specialty Center of South Carolina, and a small animal surgery residency at Colorado State University.  Dr. Gauthier’s special interests include: minimally invasive surgery, orthopedics, wound management, and surgical oncology.  Outside of the hospital, he enjoys spending time with his wife Zahra, dog Madeline, and cat Milton.  His hobbies include SCUBA diving, traveling, cooking, and beer brewing.