Otis at the Teaching Hospital

Otis Howell


Meet Otis, the 3-year-old basset hound. In March of 2022, Otis’s owner, Cori, had a gut feeling something was wrong when Otis began acting different.

“I could tell something was off – just a really big gut feeling. He was just not acting himself,” Cori said.

Otis’s demeanor had changed, he was limping on and off and struggled to eat.  Come April, Otis’s limping had worsened drastically and one afternoon, he vomited unexpectedly. Cori rushed Otis to their local veterinarian where he was examined and sent home with medication for contact allergies and a possible stomach ulcer. Over the next few days, Otis showed some improvement but his condition ultimately took a turn for the worse.

“His eyes were sinking in, he was not moving as much, not very stable on his feet, and easily startled, he showed signs of his muscles caving in – not only on his legs, but his skull as well,” Cori described.

Suddenly, Otis began vomiting and urinating blood. It was then that Cori knew something was seriously wrong. She rushed Otis back to the vet where, unfortunately, tests and exams continued to come back inconclusive. Otis’s doctors worked tirelessly to figure out what was mysteriously ailing him. At this point, Otis was so weak and unstable that his primary veterinarian suggested seeing a specialist for more advanced care.

That’s when Cori brought Otis to the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where he was immediately admitted and examined. “The doctor was extremely thorough and kind and I appreciated that, but more importantly I appreciated that they were taking my worries and concerns seriously and keeping Otis to help him,” Cori shared about the Internal Medicine team.

Finally, there was a breakthrough in Otis’s case when a CT scan revealed an abnormal obstruction in his abdomen that had been causing the complications. Otis soon underwent surgery to remove a rare abscess which had grown from his pancreas and surrounded the blood vessels of the spleen. The next few days after surgery were touch-and-go, but with some rest and care, Otis turned a corner. After 14 scary days spent at the hospital, Otis was finally able to go home to his family.

Today, Otis is a happy and healthy dog who enjoys laying in the sun, snuggling, and begging for attention.

“He has so much vibrance and passion for the day. He is excited to see you, he’s excited to play, he loves his naps in the sun and he’s absolutely LOVING life. He is truly a different dog,” Cori says about the new-and-improved Otis.  “His 14 days at UGA VTH were scary and trying, but if it were not for Dr Riffe, the surgeons, the medical students and amazing nursing staff, Otis wouldn’t be here. Their ability to think outside the box, never give up, consistently question every aspect of his case truly and 100% saved his life. We are forever indebted to them.”


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