PLAINVIEW, NEW YORK – Long Island Veterinary Specialists (LIVS) and The New York Veterinary Foundation (NYVF) will donate more than $5,000 to perform urgently needed cruciate surgery, hospitalization and physical rehabilitation for Rocco, a 3 year old Doberman. Rocco is the faithful companion of Robbie Lettieri, a 16 year old Long Island boy who has been suffering for six years with a severe and very rare case of Tourette’s Syndrome.
“When Robbie’s mom called to tell us their story and how much Robbie’s dog means to him we just felt we had to donate our services,” said Dr. Dominic Marino - Chief of Staff at LIVS “The family has been through so much and we wanted to do what we could to ease their burden.”
Rocco, a 3 year old Doberman had been on medication since 1 year of age because he had exhibited difficulty getting up. Two weeks before being brought to LIVS, he became lame in the right rear limb. After a careful assessment, it was found that Rocco had torn a ligament in his knee joint and it would require a special surgical procedure to repair.
Not unlike football players, he had an anterior cruciate ligament tear.
The knee joint is composed of three bones that are held together by tough tissues called ligaments; they connect bone to bone. The cruciate ligaments in the joint are called such because they cross over (Latin: crux) from front to back and are located beneath the patella or “knee cap”. The bones involved are the femur, the largest bone in the body, the tibia, the main bone in the lower leg and the patella or knee cap. Rocco tore the ligament going from the front (anterior) part of the upper tibia to the back (posterior) part of the lower femur, and it needs to be repaired.
A right Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) procedure is planned for Wednesday December 8, 2010. Because of his size and the severity of the injury, a less complex procedure done in smaller dogs would not be as effective. The surgery consists in cutting a portion of the upper tibial bone which is then rotated and fixed in place using a plate. This procedure changes the conformation of the joint, effectively stabilizing it. If not treated, severe degenerative joint disease develops and because the animal tends to favor the painful side, the other leg joint becomes involved in the degenerative process.
Robbie has had a very difficult journey struggling with this very serious disorder and his parents have exhausted all of the options available to them. Now, their only option for Robbie to have any chance of living a normal life is a very radical surgical procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) which costs in excess of $200,000. His team of doctors now concurs that this is Robbie’s only hope for a future without the debilitating suffering he now endures on a daily basis.
We encourage anyone who wants to help the Lettieri family to visit the “Hope for Robbie” facebook page and make a donation to help cover the costs of Robbie’s much needed surgery http://www.facebook.com/HopeForRobbie
Long Island Veterinary Specialists is a nationally recognized veterinary specialty center located in Plainview, Long Island, New York. LIVS treats 35,000 pets a year, making it one of the busiest specialty animal hospitals in the United States. The Center has an active Neurology/Neurosurgery department and the only “electronic brachytherapy” treatment facility for pet cancer of any veterinary hospital in the world.
An interesting fact - LIVS has been working with researchers from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine to study the very same Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery that Robbie Lettieri will undergo, for use in veterinary medicine.
The New York Veterinary Foundation (NYVF), established in 2008, is comprised of dedicated professionals who are committed to furthering the foundation’s mission to help bridge the knowledge divide between the worlds of human and veterinary medicine. NYVF accomplishes its goals through research, education and service. NYVF was created to support critical research on medical conditions affecting both humans and animals, educating the public and medical communities about these findings and assisting the field of service animals that contribute to our safety and quality of life. Simply put, NYVF’s mission is to advance the collective knowledge base of human and veterinary medicine, through research and clinical studies that benefit both worlds. The foundation also supports service dogs in homeland security, law enforcement and the special needs communities, through funding for research and studies that maintain the health and fitness of these dogs and health related training for the handlers and officers.
People and organizations interested in supporting the foundation’s work should contact us at NYVF 516 501-0955
Update: Rocco is out of Surgery and doing wonderfully!
The procedure took barely an hour and Rocco was already sitting up 30 minutes after the completion of the repair. He will undergo physical therapy at the Pet Wellness Center to hasten his recovery. Because the family is burdened with funding the surgery for their son Robbie, whose insurance will not cover the expense of his much needed brain surgery, family finances did not allow for Rocco to undergo surgery. Dr. Marino has waived his surgery fee and will cover the costs of the surgery and associated rehabilitation. “It’s a very difficult time for many families, however this family and Robbie in particular are facing challenges that we all cant imagine. I’m glad we can help get Robbie his friend back to him and wish him well with the procedures he will be facing. He has a great family and circle of friends supporting him and a courageous mom. I wish them all the very best this holiday season.”