Emergency Clinic Helps Save Animals - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/08/04

Emergency Clinic Helps Save Animals

If your beloved pet has a serious medical emergency in the middle of the night, what would you do?

In the past, it may have been difficult, if not impossible to find intensive care for your animal in South Mississippi, but not anymore.

Two animal lovers, who fell in love in vet school, opened The Gulf Coast Veterinary Emergency Hospital seven months ago in Woolmarket.

Not only does it offer state of the art medical equipment and full time after hours staffing, it also has three in house heroes, blood donors of the canine variety.

"We're very similar to a human ICU with the same type of equipment and services they offer," Dr. Jennifer Lewando said.

Dr. Jeff Sutton and his wife Jennifer give after hours emergency care to the four legged patients of about 50 vet clinics on the Coast. They also help anyone with a pet emergency.

"We're open only after hours, from 5:30 p.m. until 8 a.m. and 24 hours over the weekend," . Lewando said.

Since opening July 5th, they've already cared for 1300 sick animals. Many of the pets they treat are badly injured and in need of blood.

"We do have blood banks that are available for animals. The blood banks are located throughout the country, and in a case of emergency often times you don't have the capability to get the blood here fast enough," Lewando said.

The couple's three beloved pets stepped in and solved that problem, including five year old black lab Jazz.

"She came to us with heart worm disease. Her owners was unsure about treating her. She was a stray initially, so we went ahead and treated her. Jack is a 4 year old mixed breed who, unfortunately, has a passion for chasing cars," Lewando said.

"After being hit twice, his owners brought him to be put down. He had a very badly broken leg. In lieu of treating him, we decided to go ahead and amputate the leg. He, in turn, has become a great pet for us and saved several lives. Brittney also saves lives and behaves perfectly while giving blood. We adopted her when we were in vet school and she has become one of our best donors," Lewando said.

Jazz, Brittney and Jack have helped save the lives of more than 100 pets, and all they ask for in return is a treat, and a few kisses at the end of the day.

by Rebecca Powers

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