Focusing on the bond between owner and pets

December 29, 2011

When Dr. William Wade was only 10 years old, growing up on a small farm in Ohio, he decided his life’s career.  While spending time with the veterinarian who came to treat his family’s farm animals, Dr. Wade determined that being a doctor for animals was what he wanted most in life. “I knew even as a young boy that I would be attending The Ohio State University to study to be a veterinarian,” he said. “My parents were happy about it and supported me. I love this job and for me it is a passion, rather than a job.” In 1976, when Dr. Wade graduated from veterinary school with eight years of college studies under his belt, there was a recession underway nationally. Many of the steel mills in Ohio were closing. It was at these very mills where he had worked to help pay his way through school. With the economy in a rut, he decided to find another location where he could pursue his career and raise a son with his wife, Suzanne. I remember seeing a promotion about the Eastern Shore of Maryland,” he said. “It described a place that was 30 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and 30 minutes from the Chesapeake Bay.  Since I thought I might want to buy a sailboat one day, this sounded like a good place to live. So, I headed for Salisbury, Maryland.” In Salisbury, Dr. Wade went to work with the Johnson & McKee Animal Hospital. A short time later he learned that Seaford veterinarian, Dr. Larry Manogue, was considering retirement. In January 1978 Dr. Wade bought Seaford Animal Hospital and now, 34 years later, the hospital has grown from one doctor and one staff member to three doctors and eleven staff. Located on Atlanta Road, Seaford Animal Hospital is one of the few animal hospitals in the area that is fully accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Only fifteen percent of small animal hospitals in the United States and Canada have this accreditation. AAHA is a voluntary organization of veterinary hospitals committed to providing a high quality of veterinary care. Member hospitals are held to a significantly higher standard of care than the states of Delaware and Maryland require. Seaford Animal Hospital has been accredited since 1989. Recently, Dr. Wade was honored as the 2011 recipient of the Delaware Veterinary Medical Association H. Wesley Towers Veterinarian of the Year Award. While extremely honored with the award, Dr. Wade is quick to acknowledge that he is normally a “quiet and shy” person and is not used to being thrust into the limelight. “My staff did this behind my back,” he said smiling. “But, I am extremely grateful to have received this honor.” According to Lynn Appel, executive director of the Delaware Veterinary Medical Association, “Dr. Wade demonstrates quiet, steady, humble, committed, balanced dedication to the betterment of the profession and surrounding community. He displays a life leadership example by which we all can aspire and improve.” It is this passion that Dr. Wade brings to his profession that exemplifies the philosophy of Seaford Animal Hospital. For Dr. Wade and his colleagues and staff the most important facet of what they do is based on the bond that exists between an animal and its owner. “Every pet and owner that we see has a special bond,” Dr. Wade said. “Our goal is to offer services that respect that bond. We want to do everything we can to ensure that we provide treatment that allows that special relationship to continue as long as possible and in a quality manner.” Dr. Wade said the doctors and staff at the Seaford Animal Hospital are not there to make decisions for pet owners, but more to help owners with sometimes difficult decisions that may need to be made. “Good health is much more than the absence of disease,” he said. “A major focus of our business is to educate clients so they can make healthy choices for their pets. We see ourselves as the advocate or voice of a pet and make needed recommendations to ensure a great quality of long life. We also realize that everyone's bond with their pet is unique and strive to provide quality medical care at the level that the client chooses -  without judgment.”

Dr. Wade believes it is crucial that he and his staff maintain the educational process to help ensure they can assist clients in a variety of ways. “Sometimes pets get injured or sick,” he said. “We at Seaford Animal Hospital believe in continuous learning to maintain and enhance our skills to put pets on the road to recovery as soon as possible. We make use of modern technology and techniques to get help get an accurate, timely diagnosis. Our clients are then informed of our findings and are invited to be involved in the treatment plan.” Dr. Wade said he is excited about the level of expertise that he and his fellow practitioners are able to bring to Seaford Animal Hospital.
The three doctors are able to work in a synergistic fashion that combines certain areas of veterinary skills.  He said Craig Metzner, DVM, is exceptional with the use of ultrasound as a means to discover internal issues including various cancers, tumors, and bladder issues. Mary Eagle, DVM, a longtime associate of Dr. Wade, excels in the treatment of chronic illnesses, including kidney disease. Dr. Wade, who along with providing surgical skills, is certified in acupuncture; a less invasive procedure that has been extremely successful in treating animals for injuries and disease as well as aiding in pain management. He said that in many cases acupuncture has been more successful than surgery.  Dr. Wade said that over 4,000 years ago, the ancient Chinese discovered that life energy or Qi (pronounced chee) flows over and into the body through pathways called meridians. Points on these meridians can be stimulated with fine needles to adjust and balance the flow of energy allowing the body to heal itself. 
Scientists have recently found that insertion of needles into specific acupuncture sites releases endorphins and other chemicals that have an effect all over the body. These neurotransmitters help relieve pain, aid the immune system, and improve organ function.  “I am very interested in the ability to combine some of the best qualities of both eastern and western therapies,” he said. “Integrative medicine helps our patients heal faster and feel better. Acupuncture alone, or combined with other therapy, has helped many of our patients with many chronic problems such as uncontrolled seizures, arthritis, improved healing after surgery, chronic and acute intestinal diseases, behavioral changes, kidney disease, and other chronic diseases that are not responding to conventional therapy. It is also a successful treatment for pets that are not responding well to traditional western medication.” Dr. Wade said acupuncture has been a therapy that has enabled the improvement of the quality of life in hospice-like care for pets with terminal cancer.  Acupuncture, according to Dr. Wade, has grown in popularity over the years. “The first class in 1998 at the Chi Institute had about 12 vets in the class,” he said. “Recently when I attended classes there were 110 vets in attendance.” He said animals respond very well to acupuncture therapy. “Most  of the pets like it with many falling asleep during treatment.” The length of treatment depends on the nature, severity and duration of the disease. A single treatment may be enough for an acute condition.  A series of three to 10 treatments can resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may need monthly to quarterly treatments over time. "It matters not whether medicine is modern or ancient, it only matters that it produces results,” he said.
Dr. Wade said the most important service he feels Seaford Animal Hospital can provide to pet owners is to be an option before seeking specialized, sometimes very costly, treatments. “Before an owner makes the trip across the bridge to seek specialized care for their pet, we are able to assess the situation and provide alternatives that can oftentimes be very successful in treating the illness or injury,” he said.  He said for the hospital doctors and staff it must always be a “win-win-win” situation. “When someone buys a product or service from us, they benefit from a relationship with us. Any product or service we sell has to pass the ‘Win-Win-Win’ test,” he said. ‘It has to be beneficial to the pet, of benefit to the client, and beneficial to the high standards of care of Seaford Animal Hospital. We work with the client and their pets as individuals to recommend only products and services needed for good health. We only recommend products we have researched and trust.” Dr. Wade said many pets age four years for every one human year. Every three months of a pet’s life is like a year in a human’s life. He said Seaford Animal Hospital recommends only services and products that a pet needs to maintain good health, prevent a preventable disease or treat a treatable disease. Therefore, in order for pets to have a long, comfortable life it is important that owners not put off seeking care for their animals. Even with the extraordinary level of veterinary expertise and skills available at Seaford Animal Hospital, Dr. Wade gives the lion’s share of credit for the hospital’s success to the staff. “Our staff is our biggest asset. They love the animals and they are excellent with the owners. The staff is caring and empathic and they came to us with a caring attitude and a passion to care for pets and their owners, and it shows. The staff members take pride in learning new skills and acquiring knowledge. They combine high technology with high touch. Our staff has a track record for excellent customer service.” Last year the staff at Seaford Animal Hospital won the outstanding customer service award presented by the Seaford Chamber of Commerce.  “Our team has worked together to formulate our creed, mission, vision and core values. Our planning, decisions and answers to most questions come from our joint values,” Dr. Wade said. 
“We offer timely appointments; focus on the clients’ concerns; offer the best care and products; provide a clean, modern hospital, and strive to make communication between our hospital and our clients a priority.” Please visit the revised website www.seafordah.com for more information.  
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