Helping Those in Need During a Pandemic

Disasters can strike at any time, and the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF) is ready at all times to assist veterinarians who provide medical care to the animal victims during and after any disaster with Disaster Relief Grants. When we think of disasters, we typically think of hurricanes, floods and fires; rarely does it come to mind that we could be in the midst of fighting a “threat” we cannot see. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is an event unlike anything any of us have experienced. Over the past six months, many veterinary practices have faced dilemmas in their practices: supply shortages, maintaining the safety and health of staff and clients, the effect of ‘stay at home’ orders on business, how to handle the gradual reopening of the state, and more. 

Many pet owners are still experiencing financial uncertainty as businesses closed and laid off staff because of COVID-19 related shutdowns. One such pet owner was Ms. Aman, a client of Dr. Kathryn Sarpong, co-owner and medical director of Metro Paws Animal Hospital in Dallas, TX.

Ms. Aman took her Maine Coon cat Edoin in for an appointment when he started acting very uncomfortable, and she was worried that something serious was going on. When Edoin was diagnosed with a possible intestinal foreign body and surgery was recommended, Ms. Aman was at a loss. She wanted to do everything in her power to help her beloved cat, but she had lost her job due to COVID-19 and put her house on the market in order to continue to pay her bills, so Ms. Aman did not have the extra funds to proceed with the surgery. Hoping for an alternative treatment plan, Ms. Aman decided to seek a second opinion, and a friend suggested she take Edoin to see Dr. Sarpong at Metro Paws Animal Hospital. 

On presentation, Dr. Sarpong was not certain if Edoin’s care would require immediate surgery or if Edoin would respond to more conservative therapies. Trey Knowles, CVA, director of operations at Metro Paws, had filled Dr. Sarpong in on Edoin’s initial diagnosis and Ms. Aman’s financial situation. Unfortunately, as the day progressed, Edoin’s condition worsened, and emergency surgery to explore and evaluate for the intestinal obstruction was required.

Because Metro Paws Animal Hospital believes in trying to help clients and patients in need, especially in unplanned emergency situations when clients do not always have time to prepare financially, Trey and Dr. Sarpong decided to help Ms. Aman in any way they could, including applying for a COVID-19 Disaster Grant from TVMF.

During surgery, Dr. Sarpong found an intestinal obstruction due to a hairball. Edoin’s recovery was touch and go, but after three days in the hospital, he turned the corner and left the hospital eating well, grooming and being affectionate to the Metro Paws staff. Ms. Aman is thrilled to have her loving companion healthy and well again, and TVMF is happy to have helped these two stay together during this tough time.

TVMF Medical Expenses Disaster Grants are available to TVMA members whose clients are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Please contact Leah Ann Tibbitts at for more information on these grants.