When Kim Armstrong adopted her dog Shiloh, she never could have guessed that she would need the services of nearby VCA Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists, which offers advanced emergency and critical care. But when tragedy struck Shiloh in December 2019, she was grateful to have a hospital with highly trained experts nearby.

In a random and shocking act of violence, Shiloh was attacked by a mentally unstable neighbor. The two and a half year-old Weimaraner suffered deep lacerations on his neck, chin and right shoulder. 

“Shiloh was a really remarkable case,” says Brandon Downs, technician manager at VCA Palm Beach.  “They knew from the extent of the trauma that they needed a place with board certified specialists that were able to do advanced treatments and surgical procedures for his repair.”

After stabilizing Shiloh, staff at VCA Palm Beach began to assess his wounds. They were shocked to find three large lacerations across his throat that went through the skin and muscle, into the trachea and larynx. His life threatening injuries needed immediate, expert care.

“He came within millimeters of being able not to get air into his lungs,” explains Michelle Tucker, DVM, MPH, one of the hospital’s emergency and critical care veterinarians.

Thankfully, Shiloh had been brought to a hospital that is not only staffed by an emergency and critical care team 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but also has experienced surgical specialists. Board certified surgeon Robert Roy was able to repair the damage to Shiloh’s trachea and larynx, essentially reconstructing his throat.

But the ordeal wasn’t over quite yet. Shiloh’s injuries caused him to lose over half of the blood in his body. 

“It became pretty clear, pretty soon, that he needed a blood transfusion,” recalls Ellen Grey, DVM, a member of the emergency and critical care team.

Shiloh received a packed red cell transfusion, which stabilized his heart rhythm. He then received a few other treatments and lidocaine for his heart. Within 48 hours after his blood transfusion, he was back on his feet.

Shiloh’s recovery continued to be a team effort. With internists, a surgeon and emergency and critical care specialists all under one roof, Shiloh received expertly coordinated care with a special caring touch.

“Shiloh got good care, we all loved him,” says Karah Reynolds, emergency and critical care coordinator. “He was really a very sweet, sweet dog.  So absolutely everyone talked and decided what the best game plan for Shiloh was.”

Staff were thrilled when Shiloh started showing signs of recovery, like eating and wagging his tail. 

“You could see the life come back into his eyes, you could see that glow like, ‘I'm back,’” remembers surgical nurse Cynthia Rodriguez. “Right then and there, we were like, ‘he's going to be just fine.’”

Shiloh spent 14 days as an inpatient at VCA Palm Beach. Although staff had grown attached to the gentle, lovable dog, they say that watching him leave the hospital was a wonderful feeling. 

“It's one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” says Cynthia. “That's the reason we do what we do.”

Now back at home with his owner Kim, Shiloh is doing well. Since Kim was unable to afford the cost of Shiloh’s extensive care, a local animal rescue league generously covered the cost, which was discounted by VCA. VCA has similar partnerships with rescue groups and shelters all over the country.

When the unexpected happens, every minute matters.  VCA Animal Hospitals are here for you.  Visit our website to locate the closest 24/7 emergency veterinary center near you. 
“Shiloh’s recovery continued to be a team effort. Shiloh received expertly coordinated care with a special caring touch.”