Success Stories

Anesthesia & Pain Management

Hulahalla the Thoroughbred gets a new lease on life with experimental treatment for Laminitis

After a tendon injury, Hulahalla retired from a career in racing and became part of the teaching/research herd of the UC Davis Center for Equine Health. For unknown reasons, she developed laminitis, a devastating inflammatory condition that affects the nailbed, causing severe pain and suffering. Many of these cases are unresponsive or poorly responsive to current standard of care practices. As a consequence, many horses are put down as a last resort to end the pain and agony. Famous horses that lost their lives as a consequence of laminitis include Secretariat, the 1973 US Triple Crown champion, and more recently, Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner. Countless other horses lose their lives to laminitis. Instead of subjecting Hulahalla to Secretariat's or Barbaro's fate, Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgical and Radiological Sciences, Dr. Alonso Guedes, administered an experimental compound, t-TUCB, to Hulahalla, who at this point was not responding to the standard of care, was lying down for most of the time, and had extremely high blood pressure and pain. After only four days of treatment, the veterinarians saw great improvements in her demeanor, blood pressure, and pain levels. Hulahalla had a complete recovery and has been laminitis-free for the past year and a half!

A clinical trial to further examine this experimental anti-inflammatory compound is awaiting funding.

horse Hulahalla with pain management veterinarian Alonso Guedes


  • Guedes, A.G.P., Morisseau, C., Sole, A., Soares, J.H.N., Ulu, A., Dong, H., & Hammock, B.D. (2013). "Use of a soluable epoxide hydrolase inhibitor as an adjunctive analgesic in a horse with laminitis".  Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, ePub 7 Mar 2013. DOI: 10.1111/vaa.12030

Cancer (Oncology)

Barkley the Chocolate Labrador Retriever Snuffs out Nasal Cancer

Barkley the Chocolate Labrador Retriever sitting on the grassBarkley, a 9-year-old male chocolate Labrador retriever, was diagnosed with a cancer inside his nasal cavity in 2012. After a year of treatment with chemotherapy by his referring veterinarian, Barkley’s clinical signs were progressing and he was brought to the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for a novel treatment offered by Dr. Michele Steffey, a leading cancer surgeon in the hospital’s Soft Tissue Surgery Service. Barkley’s owner chose to enroll him in Dr. Steffey’s nasal tumor clinical trial, a new approach to treating nasal tumors involving a minimally-invasive method of killing the tumor by freezing it with cryoprobes. Barkley’s procedure was successful, and he has returned for many positive rechecks. At the latest, a CT scan showed no evidence of nasal tumor regrowth and no evidence of the cancer spreading to his lungs or lymph nodes. 

Frontier Red Kalliroh the Bloodhound's Heroic Battle with Osteosarcoma

Kalli’s story begins in January 1998 when she began her Search and Rescue training at the age of one. She was a companion and partner for over 12 years. She put 2 murderers in jail as well as one armed robber. She contributed a lot to society and I am proud to be her partner. It is with a heavy heart that I have this story to tell about my bloodhound.

After returning from a trip, I noticed my friend did not jump to greet me or perform her normal “I’m so glad your home" routine. It was that moment that I knew my friend was in trouble. A trip to UCDavis emergency department gave me the answers I was not ready to hear out loud.

The UCDavis team performed x-rays that showed a lesion on her spine. Detailed information would be required because of the location and talk of an MRI was necessary. The MRI showed a tumor covering 75% of her spinal cord and eating away her vertebra at L-3. Now I was faced with a decision of aggressive surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or do nothing. The help and guidance of the doctors and staff that understood the seriousness of my decision provided me with the information I needed so that I could make an informed decision for the health and longevity of my canine friend. I decided to try medical management coupled with Chemotherapy in the form of Pamidronate. She responded very well to the steroid treatment coupled with pain management. It is 4 months later and she is still going strong. I have had tremendous support from UC Davis doctors and personnel. The receptionist even knows her clinic number by heart! I cannot thank Kalli’s doctors and technicians enough!! She got lots of cookies when she came in for her Chemo, and of course Kalli made me bake for the humans every time she came in. I feel like a part of a family that is supporting both Kalli and I through to the end of her life.

Kalli lost her battle to Ostesarcoma of the spine on May 29th. Kalli was 13 years old.

bloodhound Kali that had bone cancer

Kitti the German Shephard mix: Protecting her quality of life despite a diagnosis of 3 types of cancer

Kitti is a 14-year-old German-shepherd mix who has been under the care of UCD Oncology since age 6 (in 2002) when she was first diagnosed with right anal sac carcinoma, circumanal gland carcinoma, and dermal apocrine gland carcinoma. Even with her cancer, she continued to enjoy an active life, participating in weekly obedience and utility classes, attending local dog club fun matches and going for frequent walks by the river. I am very grateful to the caring staff at UCD VMTH for contributing to Kitty’s longevity and great quality of life.

kitti dog with anal sac cancer and many other tumors

Dentistry and Oral Surgery

Bob the Domestic Shorthair Battles and Beats Chronic Gingivostomatitis with his own Stem Cells

Bob is 14-year-old DSH cat that suffered from painful gingivostomatitis for over 1.5 years

Meet Bob, a 14-year-old male Domestic Shorthair.  Prior to coming to UC Davis, Bob suffered from painful feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS), which causes inflammatory lesions that affect the gums and back of the mouth) for over 1.5 years. His owner tried everything available to treat Bob, including a full-mouth extraction and several courses of corticosteroids and antibiotics; however, nothing seemed to work or even improve his quality of life. After exhausting all of the standard methods, Bob's owner elected to enroll Bob in clinical trial investigating a novel stem cell therapy to treat FCGS. Bob's own fat-derived stem cells were processed and given back to Bob intravenously to downregulate the inflammation and promote tissue regeneration.  Three months after starting the treatment, Bob now lives a normal happy life that is free from pain and the disease.