Featured Patient: Patch's Story
September 2010 when he was only 8 months old, "Patch," a black and white
Coton-de-Tulear, tangled with a car while his owners were visiting friends
in Walla Walla, Washington. After a local veterinarian examined Patch and
saw the extent of his injuries, she immediately referred Dan and Kathy
Schwartz of Seattle, Washington, to the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Luckily, the Schwartzes were able to fly from Walla Walla to Pullman,
arriving just hours after Patch’s accident.
"With extensive trauma, the sooner we can start treatment the better,"
said Dr. Sabrina Barry, WSU small animal surgery resident. "For small
animals like Patch, the magnitude of the trauma is greater because of his
When he arrived later that day, Emergency Services saw Patch first where
they immediately took a radiograph (x-ray). The next morning he was given a
CT (computed tomography) scan.
"His pelvis was crushed," said Dr. John Mattoon, a board certified
veterinary radiologist and chief of WSU’s diagnostic imaging section. "A CT
scan is a better way to understand anomalies that may not be detected on a
traditional radiograph [x-ray]."
Patch in his cougar sweater
Fortunately for Patch, the college received a new CT scanner in the
spring of 2010, thanks to a very generous donation from Joseph T. Mendelson
Sr. and his wife Barbara of Santa Barbara, California. "The 3-dimensional
reconstructions make it truly state-of-the-art and improve our
capabilities," said Dr. Mattoon.
For Patch, those improved capabilities helped WSU radiologists to guide
the surgeons as to exactly what procedures needed to be performed to save
"The CT scan was important for making an accurate diagnosis," said Dr.
Barry. "From the radiograph alone we weren’t sure if he had a hernia
or if the swelling and pain was just from the crushed pelvis."
Looking at the CT scan Dr. Bonnie Campbell, WSU veterinary soft tissue
surgeon, and Dr. Barry could see that his fractured pelvis had caused the
abdominal wall to tear away from the pelvis, creating a hernia of his small
intestines. After Dr. Campbell and Dr. Barry repaired the hernia, the
orthopedic team—Dr. Steve Martinez, WSU veterinary orthopedic surgeon and
Dr. Russell Fugazzi, WSU small animal surgery resident—repaired his
Patch on the boat
"We were going to take care of his pelvic fractures first, but I got a
call around 5 a.m. from the overnight doctor that the swelling had gotten
larger and he seemed to be in more pain," said Dr. Barry. "We were
suspicious that there could be bowel strangulation, so we opted to do
emergency surgery that morning. Fortunately, there was not
"We were so impressed how Dr. Barry explained all his injuries and how
they were going to help him get better," said Kathy Schwartz.
"The professional care of our gravely injured dog was superb," added Dan
Schwartz. "But it was their empathy and frequent communication with us
that we found truly remarkable."