“Miracle Maggie”

On February 23rd, the world dimmed a little bit and a new star was created in the sky. Maggie, a long time patient of ours, was returned to heaven. We often find that we get attached to many of our patients because so many of them come in so often for their advanced diseases or health conditions, and Maggie was no different. Maggie burrowed her way into all of our hearts and when she passed, we all felt the loss. While we smile knowing that Maggie is healthy and happy, frolicking in the pastures near Rainbow Bridge, we frown because we no longer have her here with us or expect to see her soon.

Her furparents put together a beautiful video dedicated to the celebration that was Maggie. And even if you never met Maggie, we hope you take a moment to remember the wonderful times you’ve had with your furkids who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and are now another star in the sky shining over us:


A special heartfelt thanks to the doctors and staff at Encina Veterinary Hospital, most especially, to Dr. Stephen Atwater. It is due to Dr. Atwater’s exceptional skills as an oncology specialist that “Miracle Maggie” became one of the most famous patients in Contra Costa County. An additional thanks to Drs. Peter Nurre and Jenifer Wang for their expertise in internal medicine and for helping greatly enhance Maggie’s quality of life in here final years.

Dr. Jen Wang Becoming Board Certified

I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian since I was a child. I was always drawn towards stuffed animals and the very first one I got was of the Snoopy character from Peanuts, which I just LOVED to death. Over time, Snoopy’s neck got very limp and worn out from playing with him so much so I performed surgery on his neck using cotton and sewing materials.

My parents didn’t allow me to have pets growing up but one day, my high school Spanish teacher was giving away hamsters. I said, “Two please!”, and brought home 2 female hamsters appropriately named “The Black One” and “The White One”. Oh, how I loved these hamsters! They were great! I made a homemade harnesses and a yoke and let them run around strapped to each other. After 3 years, they passed away but I had no access to a veterinarian back then. My high school teachers knew how much I loved those hamsters because I talked about them so much, they had a moment of silence for me when they passed. It didn’t really dawn on me to be a vet until then – I guess it was always just an underlying assumption everyone had about me.

I completed my undergraduate courses at UC Berkeley and then went to Ross University in the Caribbean (St. Kitts Island). After that, I did a one year clinical at University of Wisconsin and graduated in 2007. When I first started attending veterinary school, I thought I wanted to specialize in surgery but as the classes went on, I found that I was much more interested in medicine (and better at it). Then while in clinics, the medicine rotations were much more interesting to me than any other ones, that’s how I knew Internal Medicine was the specialty for me.

To become board certified means that you have dedicated more time to studying medicine at a deeper level. It’s far from easy too; once you graduate veterinary school it’s required that you do a 1 year internship (optional additional 1 year medicine internship), 3 year residency, 2 huge tests, 1 published paper and then board certification!

The hardest part of the entire board’s process was disciplining myself to read and study after working full-time (plus more) while trying to balance my family, friends and pets. It wasn’t east but I am so proud to have done it!

Dr. Jenifer Wang

The 2011 ACVIM Conference

Dr. Adamo, during his presentation in Denver

Earlier this month, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine hosted its annual conference in Denver, which brought specialty veterinarians from around the globe together in one place for a meeting of the veterinary minds. We would like to congratulate our very own neurologist Dr. Filippo Adamo for his contribution to the conference, as he presented on “Recent Developments in the Surgical Treatment of Caudal Cervical Spondylomelopathy in Dogs.” What does that mean in plain English, you may wonder? Basically, Dr. Adamo has developed a surgical technique in which he uses an artifical disc of his own design to treat various neurological conditions of the spine, most notably Wobbler’s Syndrome. Dr. Adamo is originally from Italy, and has been with EVH for nearly two years, seeing neurological cases every Monday and Thursday.

Part of Dr. Adamo's Presentation

Other veterinarians from Encina also attended the conference, including Dr. Jenifer Wang and Dr. Stephen Atwater. Continuing education is a requirement for the job of veterinarian, but at Encina we pride ourselves as being on top of current trends in veterinary medicine. Thus, we often take advantage of conferences such as ACVIM to provide our docs with new perspectives.

For more information regarding the ACVIM Conference, please visit their website by clicking here

An interesting article regarding the conference is found here

For more information about Dr. Adamo’s work, and access to his published research, please visit his website BayAreaVNN.com

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Adamo, please call us at (925)937-5000, he is available to see appointments between 10a and 5p Mondays and Thursdays.

Tuba or Not Tuba, That Is the Question

Toward the end of January, Dr. Jenifer Wang had a very unusual patient on her endoscopy table. Toward the end of a slow afternoon, a woman walked into our office with a large black case and a strange request. The mother of two sons was desperately seeking help; she needed someone to save her son’s tuba from a one-way trip to the junkyard. As it turns out, while one of her sons was practicing the instrument for the school band, her other son decided to show his opinion of the music being played by throwing a plastic air freshener bottle toward his unsuspecting brother. Incredibly, he missed the mark of his brother’s head and the bottle went straight into the mouth of the brass instrument. Further inspection by the brothers showed that the bottle was lodged in the belly of the tuba. After fruitless trips to several music repair shops, their mother finally arrived at Encina, where her husband had suggested the use of our endoscope machine. Dr. Wang saved the day by using the grabber of the scope to free the tuba of it’s “foreign body,” saving the family from having to replace the costly instrument. It happened to be my day off, but I received a text from Dr. Wang that afternoon stating that she had “just scoped a tuba.” Thinking that “tuba” was a rare cat breed or perhaps that the animal belonged to a brass enthusiast, I asked for further explanation…and after seeing the pictures I wish I had been in the pre-op room for this one. Enjoy!

Lesette and our new "patient"

Dr. Wang removing the "foreign body"

The tuba on our pre-op table