This article appears in the December edition of 400 Life Magazine
For more than 30 years Crestview Animal Hospital has been one of North Georgia’s most trusted and reliable veterinary clinics. Crestview was founded by Dr. John P. McGruder in 1988 as a rural area practice caring for Forsyth County’s animals both large and small. Three decades later, it has grown into a sizeable practice with more than 50 employees, providing high-quality progressive care to the area’s small animals.
In 2011, Dr. McGruder was joined by Dr. David Sewell who brought many years of veterinary experience to the practice. Throughout the last decade, the Crestview team of now eight doctors and highly-trained support staff have added cutting edge technology to their expected level of veterinary care to thousands of pets in North Georgia.
“There is no standing still in the world of medicine,” Sewell said. “If you’re not constantly striving to improve, you will very quickly fall behind and your patients will suffer.”
Today, Crestview Animal Hospital offers a wide variety of veterinary services ranging from routine care and vaccinations to emergency care, advanced orthopedic and soft tissue surgeries, internal medicine and boarding and grooming. This service menu, their carefully curated customer care, and expert medical training continue to make them a top choice among North Georgia’s pet owners.
Making Pets a Priority
In addition to routine veterinary care practices, Crestview Animal Hospital has made dentistry services a priority, heavily investing in state-of-the-art technology to provide the highest quality veterinary dental care. Crestview boasts a surgical suite dedicated solely to dentistry, fully equipped with digital dental radiography, that allows Crestview’s doctors to gather detailed imagery before, during, and after dental surgeries. This ensures that no infected teeth or painful tooth roots are left behind in your pet’s mouth after a dental procedure.
“Digital dental radiography is relatively new to the veterinary industry,” Sewell said. “Unfortunately, many practices still don’t routinely utilize dental radiology. Once you perform dental radiography on all your dental procedures and get to see all of the painful disease and infection you would otherwise miss under the gum line, you will never practice without it. All of our doctors involved in dentistry receive training by a board-certified veterinary dentists to perform surgical extractions on abscessed and broken teeth, very much like a human dentist or dental specialists.”
Crestview has also brought the latest in regenerative medicine, including platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapy to pet owners in the area. This innovative treatment helps restore function by using an animal’s own cells to regenerate or replace injured, diseased, or defective cells and tissues, which helps to treat common issues like hip dysplasia or chronic arthritis in cats and dogs. This advanced, alternative treatment gives pets a chance to run, jump, and play more with their owners and enjoy a better quality of life as they age.
“Since introducing regenerative therapy into the practice we have seen some amazing results,” Sewell said. “These potent but natural treatments have allowed us to go beyond merely using medications or surgery for chronic pain. We are able to address the problem at its source by using the body’s own healing mechanism to rebuild damaged or missing tissue.”
While technology is leading the charge to make Crestview a sought-after clinic in North Georgia, the Crestview team maintains expertise in blending those traditional therapies with high-tech solutions to help treat and improve surgical outcomes for their patients.
With more than 1,300 surgeries performed each year, they now offer Crestview Rehabilitation and Fitness Center, complete with a sophisticated underwater treadmill. Physical therapy is a normal and expected part of recovery and treatment for humans, so providing that same level of care to pets is paramount to the staff at Crestview.
“It is unlikely that a person would undergo a major orthopedic surgery or suffer from a chronic painful condition without some form of physical therapy being highly recommended by their doctor,” Sewell said. “It was a natural addition to our highly progressive practice and it has yielded great results for our clients and their pets.”
Crestview also added laser therapy, massage, and stretching exercises to its post-surgery protocols. Incorporating these measures has dramatically improved recovery times and healing, according to Sewell.
“Laser therapy offers benefits of accelerated healing while reducing pain and inflammation,” added Tina Johnson, Crestview’s on-staff veterinary physical therapist. “And the underwater treadmill reduces the weight on bones and joints while the warm water and motion help decrease swelling and improve circulation. All of this reduces recovery time after surgery and gets your pet back to their normal activities sooner.”
Beyond Fur Babies
In the past year Crestview has worked to focus its efforts beyond the confines of its hospital to help their clients via The Vetted Pet, a retail store adjacent to their main practice. The retail space features a curated offering of veterinarian-researched and approved foods, toys, and accessories. Sewell said they created The Vetted Pet to alleviate the confusion and misinformation many of his clients experience at large chain pet stores.
Sewell said the idea of opening a pet retail store with strictly veterinary recommended items has been on his mind for many years, but he more recently has been compelled to address what he calls a “nutritional catastrophe.” Sewell said fads like grain-free diets popularized by marketers and pushed by big-box pet stores have yielded life threatening results for some of his patients.
“Our profession has seen a significant increase in cases of cardiomyopathy, a condition that has been linked to grain-free and many boutique-nutritionally deficient diets that make it hard for the heart to deliver blood to the body and can lead to heart failure and death.
“Time and time again I see people trusting uninformed pet store employees with their pet’s diet choices,” Sewell added. “Veterinarians should be a pet owner’s primary source for nutritional and pet-item recommendations for their pet, not a random employee from a pet store that has little to no input and education from the veterinary professionals.”
The ability to be an advocate for pets and educate pet owners on proper diets and lifestyles that ultimately lead to healthier and happier animals is what drives the Crestview staff. It makes for healthier pets and happier pet owners.
Likewise, keeping pets (and their parents) healthy and happy has been at the forefront of Crestview’s mission since opening, although Sewell said the last 18 months have been some of the most challenging of his career. These difficulties have been felt across the veterinary industry both locally and nationally, as clinics have struggled with the difficulties of adjusting to COVID-19.
As many pet owners have experienced, veterinary hospitals in our community and nationwide have struggled to keep up with the number of patients we are faced with seeing on a daily basis. Clients are experiencing extended wait times at many large referral centers and university hospitals. Many hospitals, small and large, are having to turn away emergencies at an alarming rate during this time.
“We at Crestview Animal Hospital are grateful for the support, understanding and grace from our loyal and trusting clients during these difficult times,” Sewell said. “Please continue to be patient and kind to your veterinarians and our amazing support staff as we work together to care for you and your pets. We are all in this together and working together we will get through this stronger.”
That’s a pretty good way to define man’s best friend.