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Michelle Waschak

DVM, MS, DACVS
Michelle Waschak
Veterinary Specialist
Surgery
Availability: Monday - Thursday
Michelle Waschak

At a Glance

Practicing Since:

1998

Board Certified:

Small Animal Surgery

Specialties Include:

Soft tissue surgeries
Laparoscopic surgeries

My Pets:

Miss Jingles - Chihuahua
Doyle - Rottweiler 
Pretty Girl - Pit Mix

Dr. Michelle Waschak, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Surgeons, received her D.V.M. from the University of Georgia. After internships at the University of Tennessee and at a private surgical referral practice in Cincinnati, she completed a surgical residency and a Masters in Veterinary Science degree at the University of Missouri. Board certified in surgery in 1997, Dr. Waschak moved to Columbia South Carolina in 1998 to join the original surgical referral center in the area after having been an associate Professor at Mississippi State University's clinical teaching program.

As a member of the VCA Animal Specialty Center of SC, she is the internship director and specializes in soft tissue surgical procedures. Dr. Waschak has previously served as at multiple times as an officer of the Greater Columbia Association of Veterinarians and the Society of Veterinary Soft Tissue Surgery. Her interests include oncological surgery, reconstructive and dermatologic surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, thoracic surgery and minimally invasive surgical procedures. She is honored to be able to give back to her local community and veterinary profession. She frequently lectures on a variety of subjects at local and regional continuing education seminars.

Dr. Waschak is a homebody but does love to travel and is a book nerd who enjoys spending her free time reading or with her family, friends, and pets. She currently has three dogs: a Rottweiler, Doyle; a rescue Pit Bull, Pretty Girl; and the Queen of the bunch, a Chihuahua, Miss Jingles. Dr. Waschak has had a variety of birds over the years and has 4 birds in the current fold: a love bird, a rooster, and 2 ducks.


Surgery

For various reasons, most pets face surgery at some point. It may be nothing more than neutering or spaying or it could be a life-threatening situation. Regardless of the condition, our objective is simple but all-important: giving you and your pet more quality time together. That's where quality surgical services come in, and that's why our Surgery department offers comprehensive surgical services. At its basic level, surgery involves the treatment of disease by operation or the manipulation of tissue. The goal is a mutual one: a healthier, happier pet and happier pet family.

Be assured that we do everything possible to make the entire experience as easy as possible on both you and your pet. That's one reason surgery involves anesthesia and pain management. Whether it's local anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, or general anesthesia, the goal remains the same: pain-free surgery. Still, when needed, pet surgery is stressful to pet's families. Please see 'What To Expect' if your pet needs surgery prior to your appointment.

Our surgical facility is highly advanced with sophisticated patient monitoring capabilities that allow us to track your pet's condition throughout surgery. Trained technicians monitor pets under anesthesia; they monitor anesthesia levels and vital signs. Our monitoring capabilities let us closely assess your pet's response to anesthesia/surgery, enabling us to prevent problems before they endanger your pet family member.
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Surgical Procedures
Below is a partial list of our surgery services.

  • Abdominal Procedures
  • Aural Procedures
  • Endocrine Procedures
  • Herniorrhaphy Procedures
  • Integumentary Procedures
  • Musculoskeletal Procedures
  • Neurologic Procedures
  • Ocular Adnexal Procedures
  • Ovariohysterectomy (Spay)
  • Thoracic Procedures
  • Upper Respiratory Procedures
  • Urogenital Procedure

Surgery, What To Expect
We do all we can to make the surgery experience more comfortable for you and your pet. Prior to sugery, the doctor will discuss your pet's condition with you and treatment options available. If surgery is indicated and you're prepared to move ahead, we can admit your pet to the hospital that same day or assist you in scheduling surgery at a later time. You'll be asked to sign a Consent to Treat form, which includes estimated costs, barring complications. Please see our Hospital Payment Policy. Please also bring any special diets and/or medications your pet is currently taking with you to all appointments along with instructions so we are sure to meet all of your pet's needs.

Leaving Your Pet
Your pet's surgery will be scheduled the day of admission after doctors complete their rounds or the next day based on pre-operative work-ups. In rare instances, life-or-death emergencies reschedule healthy pets' elective surgery. We don't consider emergencies 'walk-ins.' Everyone needs an appointment, even if it's an 'emergency' appointment. What matters is giving every patient the attention it needs. By the way, tuck your pet in before you leave - it's reassuring to all!

After Surgery
Your pet enters recovery following surgery. Your doctor will then update you on surgery and its aftermath. During your pet's hospitalization, our referral coordinator or your doctor will call in updates between 8:30 and 10:00 a.m.

What Is A Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon?

A board certified veterinary surgeon is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional surgical training. A veterinary surgeon can offer special assistance in the following kinds of cases:

  • Traumatic injury and emergencies (such as fractures, skin wounds and lacerations, correction of gastric dilatation-volvulus, and exploratory (abdominal/thoracic) surgery
  • Orthopedic surgeries (such as total hip replacements (THRs), cruciate ligament surgeries (TPLOs), and arthroscopy for joint exploration).
  • Soft tissue surgeries (such as tumor/cancer removal and correction of congenital defects).
  • Neurological surgeries (such as herniated discs and spinal injuries).

While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems, certain diseases and conditions require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive surgical training in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet. Your veterinary surgeon will work closely with your general practitioner veterinarian, as well as'"depending on your pet's condition'"other board certified specialists in internal medicine, veterinary oncology, veterinary neurology, and veterinary radiology.

Why Does My Pet Need A Veterinary Surgeon?

Just as your own primary care physician may feel the need to refer you to the care of a specialist from time to time, your general practitioner veterinarian may feel your pet needs the additional expertise of a board certified surgeon for certain surgeries. In fact, many general practitioner veterinarians refer all but the most routine of surgeries to specialists'"orthopedic and neurology cases, reconstructive surgeries, tumor removals, etc.

Board certified veterinary surgeons also are often affiliated with referral hospitals where they may have access to specialized diagnostic or surgical equipment, the latest and safest anesthesia monitoring equipment, physical therapy or rehabilitation capabilities, and other critical care services that a general practitioner may not have access to. All of these specialized services may be necessary for the optimal care and recovery of your pet.

You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet to a veterinary surgeon is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of care for his or her problem.

What Kinds of Problems Require the Expertise of a Veterinary Surgeon?

Board certified veterinary surgeons can repair complex fractures, perform total hip replacements, and use advanced techniques to repair torn ligaments (ruptured cruciate ligaments) within the knee. They can also remove cancerous growths, manage extensive or non-healing wounds, and perform reconstructive surgery, such as grafting skin over large injuries. Veterinary surgeons can perform intricate surgeries in the chest or abdomen, such as kidney transplants in cats or repairing heart defects in dogs. Spinal injuries and herniated discs are problems that are also commonly referred to board certified surgeons. Veterinary surgery is also expanding into minimally invasive surgery, such as arthroscopy, thorascopy, and laparoscopy.

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?

In many if not most surgical cases, your regular veterinarian will still supervise your pet's veterinary care, especially if your pet is continuing to cope with a disease or chronic condition. It depends on your pet's particular disease and health problem, however. Typically, though, your general practitioner veterinarian will oversee many aspects of your pet's pre-op and post-op care, just as in human medicine. Recovery periods are often prolonged in many surgical cases, particularly in orthopedic surgery, and it is very important to follow your veterinary team's recommendations concerning at-home recovery guidelines for your pet, follow up care and appointments, as well as any rehabilitation that has been prescribed.

Did You Know?

Just as in humans, a pet's recovery from veterinary surgery can go more smoothly or even result in a better outcome with the addition of rehabilitation options. Many veterinary referral hospitals offer rehabilitation services, such as water therapy, physical therapy, and massage therapy, as an adjunct to surgical care.

Just as in people, laser surgery is becoming a much more common surgical technique in veterinary medicine, bringing with it the same advantages of reduced blood loss and shorter recovery times.

If you think that your pet may be a candidate for veterinary surgery, talk to your general practitioner veterinarian, or find a board certified veterinary surgeon near you today.

Our Surgery Team

Surgery Associate
Staff Veterinarian - Practice Limited to Surgery
Surgery Associate
VCA Animal Specialty Center of South Carolina

3912 Fernandina Road

Columbia, SC 29210

Main: 803-798-0803

Fax: 803-798-7916

Hospital Hours:

    Mon-Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Sat: 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

    Sun: Closed

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