Veterinarians start nonprofit to buy animal dialysis machine

Veterinarians start nonprofit to buy animal dialysis machine

Brentwood veterinarians Margaret and Jim Phillips still grieve over Sandee, their beloved German shepherd who died of heat stroke after a hike in the Tennessee wilderness.

But now the Phillipses and Frankie’s Friends, a 501c3 nonprofit, have launched an ambitious effort to save the lives of other dogs like Sandee.

They’re working to raise money for a dialysis machine, a sophisticated piece of equipment which help dogs and cats survive a variety of emergencies. The machine can become a lifesaver for pets who have kidney failure secondary to heat stroke, blockages of the urinary tract, and numerous poisonings (antifreeze, grapes/raisins, lilies, certain drugs and more).  Hemodialysis can also be used to treat patients suffering kidney damage from infections like Leptospirosis and Lyme Disease.  Certain patients in heart failure or even some types of immune-mediated diseases can potentially benefit from hemodialysis treatments.

“This is a really important machine that can be used to treat a variety of illnesses,” said Dr. Margaret Phillips. “And it can be used to treat heat stroke, which is what makes it personal to us.”

Organizers have raised $30,000 so far and they are continuing their efforts to raise more donations for the $60,000 machine.

Donations can be made by visiting Dialysis for Pets, Frankies Friends, Tennessee Campaign Facebook page at on the web at Frankie’s Friends

This would be the only dialysis machine for pets in Tennessee, Kentucky and Northern Alabama.  At this time, critically ill pets and their families must travel 5-6 hours away for such therapy. The machine would be owned by Frankie’s Friends, a non-profit that raises money for lifesaving care for pets.  It would be housed at the BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Franklin. Pet owners would pay no equipment cost if their dogs or cats needed dialysis, although other veterinary costs would apply.

Dr. Marc Bercovitch, a BluePearl veterinarian who is board-certified in internal medicine, said, “The dialysis machine would be an important tool for the Middle Tennessee veterinary community, as well as for pets and pet owners.”

Margaret Phillips is a retired Nashville veterinarian, specializing in veterinary dermatology, and her husband, Dr. Jim Phillips, is a primary care veterinarian in the Brentwood/Franklin area. They were hiking at Rock Island State Park with their two dogs, Sandee, 4, and Tate, a 12-year-old Labrador retriever when Sandee was seriously injured and suffered heat stroke. “We knew she would need critical care and advanced life support, including dialysis, if she was to survive” said Margaret.  Although every effort was made to save Sandee, she succumbed to the effects of her injuries. Dialysis therapy would have offered a powerful tool that might have reversed the process.

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