Synergy At It’s Best – Download the PDF
by Phil Bunton, Rivertown Magazine
“Can someone give me a hand with a 50lb dog?”
A sad German Shepherd was carried, strapped to a stretcher – into the Valley Cottage Animal Hospital emergency room. His owners had found him lying on the ground, apparently with no feeling in his rear legs. He looked nervous and somehow sad at his misfortune.
It’s a Monday night at Valley Cottage, just after nine. Around the room, dogs and cats who have had surgery during the day are sleeping quietly in their cages. But Dr. Downing has emergency patients to take care of. Between now and midnight is the busiest time at the hospital and Dr. Downing never knows what to expect.
One night she had to perform a C-section on a goat. Another night someone brought in a bald eagle with a broken leg. But mostly the patients in the emergency room are cats and dogs – a cat hit by a car, a dog suffering respiratory problems.
The hospital staff quietly and efficiently swings into action with every challenge. Dr. Patricia Collins, one of the three owners of the animal hospital, told us, “The move to 24-hour emergency service was a big thing for us and it’s wonderful to see animals being saved who otherwise might not have made it.”
The two other owners of the hospital are Dr. Diane Tortorice and Dr. Linda Atkins. Dr. Tortorice’s special interests include internal medicine, ultrasound, CT scan and MRI diagnostics. Dr. Atkins has a special interest in ultrasound, feline medicine and exotic pets. She is also the consulting veterinarian for the Bear Mountain Zoo. Valley Cottage is the only veterinarian hospital in the country that’s open 24/7.
Previously, in time of emergency, owners had to take their pets to Westchester or New Jersey. It’s all part of a phenomenal enhancement the hospital has gone through in recent years. They’ve added more doctors and more rooms and are now providing exemplary care for every animal.
Last year, they treated more than 29,000 patients, according to Andreas Pahl, the hospital administrator. And not all of them are cats and dogs. “We’ve had goats, llamas and foxes, deer, crows, hawks and iguanas. We even had a porcupine with dental problems.” The hospital has 11 to 12 doctors on staff. During the day, doctors are available continuously to treat pet patients.
Dr. Collins, who has worked at the hospital since 1992, commented, “Clients come here because they feel they’re getting excellent medical care plus a personal touch for their pets and themselves. We practice excellent medicine and surgery here. We feel we also have the very best licensed veterinary technicians and so we take better care.”
In an effort to ensure that the hospital continues to provide high quality care and cutting edge technology, doctors attend a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education annually. At meetings, the doctors focus on the latest treatments, medications, products and innovative techniques.
In addition to medical expertise, the doctors’ personalities show they care about you and your pet. As the saying goes, “people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
The hospital is very active throughout the community in Rockland. Dr. Collins commented, “We’re a big hospital, but we try to stay family friendly.”