Helping injured wildlife also a service of Cedarwood Verterinary Hospital
Posted: Friday, July 1, 2016 4:41 pm
(This is the second part of a two-part series on Dr. Sandra O’Connor and her veterinary hospital east of Newport.)
Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital, located off Asheville Highway (East Hwy. 25/70), staff is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Dr. Sandra O’Connor’s service in Cocke County.
The surgery center is one of the busy hubs of the business where Dr. O’Connor and
veterinary technician Rebecca Raines are doing some surgery everyday. These may include routine spaying and neutering, reconstructive surgery from wounds and limbs, whether a damaged leg or wing.
In June it was truly wildlife week at Cedarwood, because of emergency care the staff gave to several animals. Two of these were fawn and the others were baby opossums.
The first fawn they received had been hit by a vehicle and left to die. Maggots were already in the wounds. Dr. O’Connor treated the fawn doe and placed a splint on its injured leg. Then it was transported to an area wildlife rehabilitation center.
Dr. O’Connor explained that these centers do not receive state funds for treating wildlife but rely on private donations. The center she used was Wynn Wood Rehabilitation Center near Elizabethton.
By the time they were back at the hospital someone brought in a buck fawn that was only a few days old. Apparently it had been abandoned and perhaps its mother had been killed. This fawn was also taken to the center.
About the same week, Dr. O’Connor was traveling home along Edwina-Bridgeport Road and spotted a dead mother possum. She also saw what looked like spots in the road.
Stopping her vehicle, she found four dead baby possums but five were still alive. She took these into her care and later the survivors were taken to a different rehabilitation center.
Problems for animals
Dental care is important to animal health, and Dr. O’Connor and her staff give animals top attention whether for cleaning and teeth removal or treating infections and abscesses. Dental problems are the number one disease of animals, she said. Untreated these lead to more serious ailments and even death.
Another big problem for animals is skin disorders. And the number one cause is flea dermatitis, hence the importance of flea control. Also cats and dogs suffer from food and inhaled allergies.
Perhaps most of her surgical attention is on tumor removal and most tumors are found in dogs, she said.
“Skin tumors appear to be over represented in our region of the country,” she said.
“Cat’s hide disease signs better than dogs,” she said. And because it is more difficult for pet owners to transport cats they may not get the level of care that pet dogs do.
She gives this advice to cat owners who are discouraged and need help transporting their pets: Use feline pheromones, which are available commercially, to help calm cats during transportation.
Also train your cat to become accustomed to carriers before vet trips. Use the transport/carrier as a place to give treats and as a safe haven when they are kittens and as they mature.
“We have a kitty comfort room designed specifically for cats,” she said.
Dr. O’Connor has a dedicated staff, mostly women but recently added a man who had been working as a nurse. Chad Chambers joined the practice in 2014.
He is an ex-marine and Army veteran of Iraq, and over time found out he prefers working more with animals then humans. He had worked in nursing homes and Memorial Mission Hospital.
Chambers is a registered nurse who trained at Asheville Buncombe Technical College. He is a Haywood County, NC native and lives just outside of Marshall, NC from where he commutes to work.
“I find veterinary work both enjoyable and rewarding,” he said.