The Tale of Tula! Contains surgical/graphic images

Tula belongs to one of our amazing team members, Ashley. Ashley has been working at LVH for a very long time, and not only are we very lucky to have her, but any pet that she owns is also extremely lucky to have Ashley too. Ashley adopted Tula a few years ago, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Tula, unfortunately, has had some health issues along the way. Recently, she came in for complex surgery, and Ashley was there, right by her side for the entire thing. We are so grateful to Ashley for documenting this personal case, and for all the hard work she has done for LVH. We may be in the medical field, but we too, worry, care, and love in the same way as everyone else. We understand how stressful it is for you when your pets are sick. That is why we will always think of you and your pets as family.


Tula’s surgery, documented by Ashley…

“So today was a big day for Tula… since I brought her home as a poor sweet little rescue pup at 2.5 years old, she’s always had issues here and there. When I brought her home, she was recovering from Lyme Disease and stressed induced mange which left her with bald areas all over, and a thin hair coat in the areas that she did have hair. She’s also been diagnosed as extremely arthritic for her age. No doubt this is because she’s put more than normal stress on certain limbs due to compensating for previous injuries, and probably a few bad genes (since she’s a WHITE pitbull)”.

“Just recently she tore the cruciate in her right hind leg. This needed to be fixed ASAP, but since she had a previous injury to her left cruciate, putting an abnormal amount of weight to compensate for her right leg was rapidly proving it wasn’t strong enough to support a full recovery from surgery on only her right. Since cruciate repair surgery on one leg dramatically increases the risk for surgery on the opposite leg (even if they have no previous injury), I decided to go forward with a bilateral cruciate repair. Yes; surgery on both hind legs at the same time. It sounds drastic, but it’s better than having to put her through another rough surgery/recovery in the near future”.

So… today was the day.


Tula being prepped for surgery.

Dr. Lazar (Board-Certified Veterinary Surgeon) and Karen (Licensed Veterinary Technician) performed the surgery and worked closely with many LVH team members.


Dr. Lazar performing Tula’s cruciate repair.

Dr. Lazar performs specialized surgeries at primary-care veterinary hospitals in Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District. Lazar Veterinary Surgery works alongside local practices to provide specialized surgical expertise for a wide range of complex orthopedic and soft tissue conditions.




Ashley was by Tula’s side for the entire surgery, with Dr. Lazar keeping Ashley informed of what was happening.



“The ruptured cruciate ligament is the most common knee injury of dogs; in fact, chances are that any dog with sudden rear leg lameness has a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament rather than something else. The history usually involves a rear leg suddenly so sore that the dog can hardly bear weight on it. If left alone, it will appear to improve over the course of a week or two but the knee will be notably swollen and arthritis will set in quickly. Dogs are often seen by the veterinarian in either the acute stage shortly after the injury or in the chronic stage weeks or months later”.

To learn more about cranial cruciate ligaments in dogs, click here.


Dr. Lazar moving on to the left cruciate repair.

After the procedure, Tula was moved into recovery. Her vitals (heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature and pain level) were checked on a regular basis. Tula received IV pain medications that we slowly tapered down over the course of 5 hours until her post-operative pain medications were due.


Tula was cleared to go home and although she would need pain medications and it would be a long recovery, her surgery went very well. 


Ashley also has pet insurance with ASPCA and she recently found out that almost her entire bill was covered by insurance. For more information on ASPCA pet insurance, click here.


Tula on the ride home from LVH

UPDATE:  Tula came into LVH today for a re-check and to have her sutures removed. She is doing great, and her recovery is right on track! 


A note from Ashley…
“I cannot say thank you enough to my co-workers, team, and work-family: Specifically for this procedure, Dr. Melberger, Joanne, Lorraine, Stacie, Dr. Homyk, Julee, Kim, Karen, Jackie K., Jackie M.,McKenzie, Melissa, Dorothy, Laurie, Tina, and obviously, Dr. Strickland, Dr. Lazar and his amazing tech, Karen. I am so grateful I was able to sit-in and watch from start to finish… (perks of the job!). It was an intense surgery, but incredibly interesting and Dr. Lazar talked me through the whole thing and even let me take pictures! 

I honestly can’t thank you ALL enough… to be honest I was a worried mess driving her in. But as soon as I arrived this morning, I remembered where I worked. Leesburg Veterinary Hospital. Voted BEST Veterinary/Veterinarian Hospital in Loudoun County for years now. I am so blessed to be a part of this team and constantly surrounded by people that literally care as much as you do about your own pet. I was fine as soon as I saw Joanne and Lorraine. It‘s almost silly to be worried at all when you’re working with this team! Tula is home now and resting comfortably”.

Life on the farm is good!

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