CARE offers a full-service surgical facility supported by a staff of highly trained specialists and experienced veterinary technicians. Our board-certified surgeons have experience in all aspects of surgery, including soft tissue (abdominal, thoracic, oncologic, reconstructive), orthopedic and neurologic procedures.
Why CARE Is the Best Choice for Your Pet’s Surgery
CARE’s three experienced and talented surgeons are supported by highly skilled technicians and assistants. They are also part of a team of doctors comprising seven areas of expertise who are committed to providing the best possible care for your pet. Collaborating with other experts to provide a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating patients creates the best possible outcomes. Read more about what makes CARE exceptional here.
What To Expect From Your Pet’s Surgical Experience
In most cases, after an initial evaluation, your CARE surgeon will meet with you personally to recommend diagnostics and review available treatment options. Whenever possible, our surgeons use minimally invasive surgical techniques, including arthroscopy (joints), laparoscopy (abdomen) and thoracoscopy (chest). These less invasive techniques result in less post-operative pain and often shorter hospitalization times.
Along with the most advanced surgical care, CARE offers conscientious post-operative care. Our highly trained staff monitors for pain 24 hours a day and use injectable pain medications and constant rate infusions to control post-operative pain. This ensures your pet’s comfort and reduces stress levels during and immediately following the procedure. A CARE veterinarian is always available in the building, 24 hours a day, for any unforeseen concerns. Your pet’s comfort and quick recovery are of utmost importance.
When surgery is not recommended, CARE surgeons assist in managing acute and chronic issues in conjunction with your family veterinarian.
Our Surgery Doctors
Vet Tech Profiles
Rachel Gallegos, RVT
Surgical Service Lead and Department Coordinator for Surgery
As a surgical tech, her responsibilities take a patient through surgery from start to finish. The extensive list includes communication with families, scheduling, testing, administering anesthesia and meds, assisting with surgeries, and being on-call for surgeries. As the surgery department coordinator, her responsibilities include arranging technicians’ schedules and job duties monthly, maintaining inventory for surgical equipment and implants (ie, bone plates, screws, etc.), facilitating department meetings, and more.
Vet Tech education
Graduated from Gaston College in ’08; earned Bachelor’s degree in English (’12) at UNCC, all while working in Veterinary medicine.
Born in Indiana, her family moved to Charlotte when she was 5.
Superpowers she wishes she had
“Genuinely being able to communicate with animals. Also, X-ray hands would make it less stressful for dogs and cats. The superpower of X-ray hands started as a joke with my department. It was a silly joke at first, but then more and more frequently, I was faced with how convenient it would be. Stand in line for an x-ray? Nope, I got my X-ray hands. Need to check on a pin placement mid-surgery? Let me just lay my hand on it real quick. Need X-rays on a scared squirmy puppy? Let me just take some X-rays disguised as some pets and belly rubs.”
Favorite movies/books about animals/pets
The documentary “The Great Alone” about four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey, and the book “This Much Country” by Kristin Knight Pace. Both are about Alaska, sled dogs, and the Iditarod. These works changed Rachel’s life and deepened her love of Alaska and working dogs. She has been to Alaska to do pre-race ECGs and bloodwork on sled dogs running in the Iditarod. “In a past life, I think I lived in Alaska,” Rachel says.
Originally posted as part of CARE’s celebration of National Veterinary Technician Week (Oct. 16-22, 2022).
Fig, Half Sack & Tucker: The once-limping littermates
CARE Charlotte is celebrating its 7th anniversary by sharing seven stories of thriving patients. Today’s story is the final and biggest one. Fig, Half Sack, and Tucker are 2-year-old siblings who shared the same problem: an angular limb deformity. Drs. Laura Dvorak, Elizabeth Thompson, and Amber Gunstra performed the surgical corrections separately.
First, dear reader, let’s tackle burning questions you may have:
- An angular limb deformity (ALD) is a condition in which a limb is not straight (excludes fractures). Left untreated the abnormal positing causes joint pain and limping. ALD is most commonly diagnosed in dogs and relatively uncommon in cats.
- None of the owners knew each other before coming to CARE. They are members of a rescue group on Facebook and connected there first. They’re friends now, thanks to the doggos and the good doctors at CARE.
- Entirely by chance, each dog ended up with a different surgeon.
Fig was the first to show up at CARE. She would limp after playing even just a little bit. Dr. Gunstra found the angular limb deformity through an exam and extensive testing. The delicate surgery was scheduled and successful!
Owner Christi Medrano shared an update about Fig in the Facebook group. Her posts caught the attention of Michele Bell, Half Sack’s mom, and Jessica Davy, Tucker’s owner.
Half Sack’s injury was only in one limb, the same as Fig’s. Dr. Thompson performed the second surgery. Another success! While the other pet owners who lived near CARE, Half Sack’s family lived 90 minutes away. The distance and a longer-than-expected recovery challenged the family. Still, Michele says it was worth every minute of the many drives, and they would 100% use CARE again. “Everyone from the front desk to the doctor is caring and loving,” she says. “They make you feel so welcome. Even the folks who walk the dogs outside would say hi to Half Sack as we waited in the parking lot.”
Unlike the other two, Tucker had to have both of his forelimbs corrected. Tucker’s surgery was more complicated but a total success!
All three dogs are doing dandy these days and sometimes have playdates with each other.
- Fig is a major snuggle bug and loves to romp with her siblings.
- Half Sack is amazing and runs like the wind.
- Tucker is full of personality, super-playful, and loves baseball.
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