Excerpted with permission from Philadelphia Magazine, February 2000, Volume 91, Number 2
A menagerie of extraordinary caregivers and researchers in the
world of fur, fins and feathers.
What makes a vet great? The adoration of pets and owners, a hunger to keep up with changes in the field, willingness to offer treatment options, the ability to communicate. Philly has more than its share of superb generalist and specialist vets, thanks to what is arguably the nation's best school, hospital and emergency clinic, the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, or VHUP -- where nearly all the doctors on this list trained. We asked vets where they refer pets with special needs, conferred with veterinary consultants and pet-rescue agencies, and asked the experts who they consider the experts in order to compile this list of vets doing remarkable things. It includes high-tech researchers, old-fashioned neighborhood practitioners, New Age innovators and one very special veterinary nurse, all distinguished by their dedication to creatures great and small.
Type of practice: Veterinary oncology, with a subspecialty of radiation oncology -- providing radiation therapy to animals with cancer. One of fewer than 40 such specialists in the world. Veterinary editor of OncoLink, an on-line resource for cancer information. Holds a degree in philosophy from Yale.
Says: "I was a nonscience major, but I was interested in the healing arts in general. I thought veterinary medicine was more holistic, more humanistic, than human medicine. I'm now working toward my master's in Penn's bioethics program. So my philosophy background wasn't left by the wayside."
And: "Make an informed decision. Never be afraid to ask a vet for a second opinion. Cancer has such a stigma. It's so scary. People think treatment has to be a terrible thing. And many vets just tell them, 'It's time to put Fluffy to sleep.' The worst thing is when a vet says, 'There's nothing we can do,' and the owner euthanizes the pet and then a week later talks to a friend or sees a TV report about how the pet could have been saved."
Owns: "Two dogs, but I've had as many as six, and two cats. All rescued. And yes, I have had a dog with cancer."