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A Very Special Thank You to our
Veterinary Medical Community

We want to extend a heartfelt thank you and express our deepest gratitude for the efforts performed by the professionals at both Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in Orchard Park, NY and those at the office of Dr Scott Nachbar in Springville for saving our Great Pyrenees, and heart of our farm, Xena. 


On March 15, 2022  Xena was not acting like her happy, bouncy self. From out of the blue she was lethargic and separating herself from her beloved cows. Knowing she was 25 days pregnant we were concerned that she was having trouble with the pregnancy. I contacted Dr Nachbar with her symptoms and he also expressed concern. He opened some time for us the following morning to bring Xena in. Dr Gugino examined Xena, did bloodwoork and after taking x-rays found she had a pneumothorax.  She let us know the seriousness of this condition and that Xena needed medical attention at a veterinary hospital. She immediately had Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center (OPVMC) contacted and let them know we were on our way.


Xena was examined immediately and then admitted. X-rays confirmed Dr Gugino's finding that she was suffering from a pneumothorax, but there was no signs of trauma or indication as to how this occurred. They inserted a chest tube to help her breathing and drain fluid. We were also informed that after inserting the chest tube, they scanned for fetal heartbeats, but none were detected. We knew this was a risk so although disappointed we weren't surprised by the news. However, the chest tube provided no signs of improvement. She was then scheduled for surgery. We were told the risks of the surgery and that after all it may not provide a cure. During the entire process Dr. Minnier-Thomas stayed in contact with us. She called us to let us know Xena was in surgery but she was struggling and that they had not located the problem. Then about 30 minutes later Dr Minnier-Thimas called to let us know they found the problem!  The surgical team, lead by Dr  Kloc, found a small twig which had punctured her lung and then lodged itself between the chest wall and diaphragm. Once they removed the damaged lung lobe she quickly improved! During that time on the table, Xena's surgical team went through extraordinary measures to save her, and they did. It was due to their dedication, expertise, skills and compassion that Xena made it through that surgery. 


Sad to have lost the pregnancy but elated that our Xena was saved, she came home to recover. During this entire process Dr Gugino from Dr Nachbar's office had kept in contact with us and OPVMC for updates on Xena's progress. Once Xena was home we scheduled a follow up visit with Dr Gugino to assure the lost pregnancy was resolving properly. It was during the ultrasound exam that Dr Gugino discovered she still had some live puppies! Not only did the surgical team at OPMVC save Xena's life, they unknowingly saved her puppies' lives as well! Now Xena was not only recovering from major surgery, she was still pregnant and had a delivery of puppies in a few weeks. During the ultrasound Dr Gugino could only see 2-3 pups that had survived. But as we always do, we had x-rays done the week before her delivery date. That's so we know how many puppies to expect. To everyone's surprise, there looked to be 10! We thought she had lost some during her ordeal but apparently she had not,  A few short weeks later, on April 22nd Xena delivered her puppies. They all arrived whining and hungry to nurse! By the morning she had delivered 9 pups. Concerned there might be one still lingering I called Dr Nachbar. This was a Saturday morning when he isn't typically open, but he told me to come right in and he'd take another x-ray.  We packed up Xena and the pups and headed to Springville. He took the x-ray and confirmed they were all delivered, did quick check of Xena, looked over the pups, and with a big smile, said everyone looked great!


Xena delivered her puppies just as she had done the last two litters, without incident (but with the help of two cartons of vanilla ice cream!) If it wasn't for the professionalism, dedication, expertise and compassion of both these incredible veterinary teams Xena and her puppies would not be here today.  There simply are no words to express our gratitude. Thank you to Dr Scott Nachbar, Dr Justine Gugino, the surgical team at OPVMC that included Dr Paul Kloc, (Surgeon), Colleen (VA), Morgan (LVT), Emily (LVT), Sarah (LVT) and all the nurses, techs and staff that helped us save this girl's life. We are eternally grateful.


Xena before surgery, struggling to breathe


The twig that almost took her life

Xena after surgery resting comfortably


At home recovering


Back to her playful self!


The proud mama of nine

OPVMC Surgical team.jpeg

The OPVMC Surgical Team
From left: Colleen (VA), Morgan (LVT), Emily (LVT),
Sarah (LVT), Dr. Paul Kloc (surgeon)


Dr Stacie Minnier-Thomas


Scott G Nachbar Veterinarian
Dr Justine Gugino & Dr Scott Nachbar

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