Michigan State Recognizes ‘Miracle Dog’

Michigan State Recognizes ‘Miracle Dog’

Actress Stephanie Pratt, left, and Annie Harvilicz, DVM, at the opening of Animal Wellness Centers in Santa Monica, Calif.

Katie, a black Labrador and former patient, was named a miracle dog at the Michigan State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Celebration of Life ceremony.

Her experience led to the creation of an annual $1,000 scholarship award from PurinaCare Pet Health Insurance Co. of San Antonio for a MSU veterinary student. Owners Marilyn and Mark Johnson of Williamston, Mich., said PurinaCare allowed them to seek the best veterinary care without having to worry about finances.

That’s because PurinaCare covered 80 percent of the medical bill, or about $14,500 out of a total of $18,410. Katie’s care included the hospital stay, four surgeries and many tests in the MSU critical-care unit.

Her health problem started after a spay procedure led to complications. The veterinarian noted that Katie was struggling, reopened her and found internal bleeding. The dog was referred to MSU for intensive monitoring and care.

MSU veterinarians found a clotting abnormality and a spleen problem. A splenectomy was performed on the 5-year-old dog, and her dramatic response against all odds was likely the reason why she was selected a miracle dog, her owners said.

“We had gotten insurance for the first time a few months earlier, having found a plan that covered items we felt were important,” Marilyn Johnson said. “In this case, the most important benefit was that the plan has a $20,000 cap per year, whether it is used for one or for many events. We didn’t have to worry about finances; we could just concentrate on Katie’s condition.”

Katie is alive because her family had the foresight to get health insurance, said Bill Craig, DVM, PurinaCare’s chief medical and underwriting director.

“The unique part of this whole scenario is the fact that Katie had quick access to the world-class care at the veterinary college at MSU,” Dr. Craig said, “and her obvious will to live.”

Katie’s story prompted PurinaCare to recognize the determination of pet owners like hers who exemplify the human-animal bond, said Mike Albo, PurinaCare spokesman.

The Celebration of Life, held March 20 at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, honors animals that had a low chance of survival yet recovered, said Ari Jutkowitz, VMD, Dipl. ACVEEC, an assistant professor of emergency and critical care medicine at MSU.

The PurinaCare scholarship is a way to recognize MSU veterinary students who show a dedication to medicine and the human-animal bond, said Pat LeBlanc, director of the veterinary hospital.

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Katie, a black Labrador and former patient, was named a miracle dog at the Michigan State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Celebration of Life ceremony.Katie, a black Labrador and former patient, was named a miracle dog at the Michigan State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Celebration of Life ceremony.Michigan State, Miracle Dog, Celebration of Life, PurinaCare, veterinary

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