On this lovely fall Friday, we received a “thank you” note that warmed our hearts.

Evey Troisi-Hollock is a 12-year-old female spayed mixed breed who presented to Dr. McDonnell in June 2019 for unexplained episodes. Initially, Evey eating and suddenly jumped back from the food bowl and would not return to it, which her owners found very strange. She did not have another episode for 5 months, until she was in the back yard when Evey suddenly came running to her owner with her hair standing up and shaking. She continued to shake for several minutes then was fine for another 2 weeks. However, over the following weekend, Evey had 2 – 3 episodes where she would suddenly jump into her owners’ laps, hair standing up, and shake for 5 – 10 minutes. Other times, she would hide under the dining room table for long periods of time.

Evey’s owner Sommer is a veterinary technician with one of our partner practices, Atlantic Veterinary Internal Medicine and Oncology. She knew these episodes were strange and wanted to get the opinion of veterinary neurologist, so she turned to Dr. McDonnell and the team at the VNIoC Towson location.

Dr. McDonnell’s neurological exam found that Evey was suffering from significant neck pain, and her previous episodes were likely related to pain or spasm in her neck when she moved in certain directions. He recommended an MRI to diagnose the specific cause of her pain, which turned out to be a herniated disk at C4-5. Dr. McDonnell reviewed these findings with Sommer, who agreed to pursue a ventral slot surgery to remove the herniated disk material in Evey’s neck and decompress the spinal cord.

Evey had surgery in mid-August and is now completely returned to her normal, happy self. We recently received this letter from Sommer and wanted to share her experience. We understand that pursuing advanced imaging and neurosurgery is a daunting and fearful concept, but the outcome can be worth it!

“Thanks to you my dog is walking again without pain and is so much happier. I could not have asked for better care. From the knowledge and expertise of Dr. McDonnell to the compassionate and competent nursing care. It was hard, as a technician myself, to be on the other side of things but you all made the process so much easier for me. Most of all I have a have a happy dog who is back out and enjoying the care free life of being a dog again. And for the first time in a while she is not on any pain medication right now.

It’s an honor to work across the hall from you all everyday and see the care you give first hand and know that you all are there if needed. Evey went out on her first camping trip with us in quite a while and she did amazing. She loves being out in the woods camping with us and thanks to you all she was able to do that again.

Thank you,

Sommer and Evey”


Photo Courtesy of Sommer Troisi-Hollock