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Vets Team Up To Bring Life-Saving Machine To TN

Posted at 11:05 PM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-05 00:10:41-04

For dog lover and veterinarian Dr. Midge Phillips, her 4-year-old German Shepherd was part of the family.

"We nicknamed her Hurricane Sandee before we had actually given her a name because she was a whirlwind of energy and activity," Phillips said with a smile.

The name stuck.  And Sandee was a regular on family trips. One of her favorites was hiking.

"We knew it was going to get hot so we were just going to go for a short hike," Phillips said about one trip last June.

But that day everything started to go wrong. On the hike Sandee fell into a ravine. The Phillips' spent hours looking for her.

"She returned to the campsite injured, she had injured her back when she fell, and got heat stroke climbing out of the ravine," Phillips said.

Heat stroke is common in dogs over the summer, but as a vet Midge knew she needed help to save her.

"On the way here she became comatose," Phillips recalled, tearing up at the memory, "I knew if there was any chance of her to survive she would need dialysis."

When the family got to the emergency clinic they got heartbreaking news. There isn't a single animal dialysis machine in the state of Tennessee.

"The terminating factor for Sandee was that the kidneys completely shut down," said emergency veterinarian Dr. Marc Bercovitch.

Bercovitch is trained on the machine but doesn't have one. At $60,000 they're too pricey for most animal ER's. But Bercovitch said he treated three patients in the past month that could've used one.

"To know it's out there, to know it's been out there, and that we are losing animals strictly because of logistics is very disheartening," he said.

Now he and Dr. Phillips are teaming up to try to raise money for a machine. It would be housed at Bercovitch's emergency clinic, BluePearl, in Franklin.

"Taking her (Sandee's) pain and turning it into something that could help so many is a driving force," Phillips said.

She doesn't want other families to go through the same heartache of losing their best friend and a member of the family.

You can help their fundraising efforts here.