Pet owners have an inexplicable bond with their fuzzy companions. And because pets play such an important part in the lives of their owners, when their furry friend gets sick, it can be a very traumatic experience.
Trying to eliminate the owners' trauma and cure Spike, Fluffy or Fido has been the goal of the Bellerose Animal Hospital at 242-01 Jamaica Ave. on the Queens side of the border since 1946.
"The basic philosophy of the hospital is to be the best general medical hospital that we can be," said Dr. Andrew Karmin, director of the Bellerose facility. "We want to be the veterinarian for the family pet from start to finish. Our doctors and nurses want to treat the animals from birth to death."
According to Karmin, the hospital's staff of 22 - five doctors, eight nurses and nine technicians and office staff - work toward making Bellerose a full-service veterinary hospital. But he and the staff do not want the hospital to become large and impersonal.
"We are a family hospital," he said.
Ann Karmin, the hospital's office manager and wife of Dr. Karmin, said the doctors and nurses will sit with pets' owners and walk them step by step through the procedure being performed on their animals. And the hospital also provides all owners with information pamphlets that explain what the doctors are doing to the pet.
"There is a tremendous sense of patient care," she said. "We do as much as possible to make the owners feel as secure as possible."
Karmin said the hospital, which was started more than 50 years ago by his father, Leo Karmin, takes care of more than 10,000 pets a year. He said the goal is to be at the forefront of veterinary medicine, a philosophy espoused by his father who, according to Karmin, was on the leading edge of veterinary surgery.
The treatment area in the hospital looks like a smaller version of an emergency room, with an isolation room, X-ray room, operating room, lab and dog runs jutting off the main room.
Upstairs is the hospital's newest toy, the Toshiba Referral Vision Telemedicine System, which allows the hospital to capture an animal's image and download it onto the Internet. The hospital can then send the information via the Internet to veterinarians all over the world for consultations.
The Bellerose Animal Hospital is the only veterinarian center in the area to use this type of innovative equipment.
"Since the hospital's inception in 1946, it has always strived to be at the forefront of small animal veterinary medicine in the metropolitan area," Karmin said. "This new capability continues the hospital's dedication to expanding the new frontiers of veterinary medicine in the new millennium."
Karmin said the doctors and hospital treat the animals much the same way a doctor treats a pediatric patient because both are non- verbal. The staff wants to treat the animals as humans, he said.
In a marked departure from standard veterinary practice, the hospital uses many sophisticated instruments that are designed for the treatment of human beings.
"We use these instruments because we choose to do what we feel is right," he said.
The hospital has prided itself on trying to meet and be responsive to the needs of the community, said Karmin.
"People have been coming her for over 50 years," he said. "We have taken care of over three generations of family pets."
©2000 Community News Group
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