VCA Desert Animal Hospital

Our Amazing Berta Mae

By Shara Killeen, Veterinary Assistant
Published: January 25, 2012

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I would like to share with you the story of “Berta Mae”, my newest rescue. Three months ago I came to work and like any other day, started taking care of our hospitalized patients. One patient in particular caught my attention in a BIG way. There laying in a kennel was a gray-faced, 3-legged, extremely obese Chihuahua. She came to our hospital through the Palm Springs Animal Shelter as she was unable to walk. Everyone knows my love of Chihuahua’s (I already have three!) so I decided to contact the Shelter and find out her history and inquire if I could foster her. To my surprise she was actually the product of a hoarder and had been relinquished to the Shelter with her 15 siblings. After her physical exam done by Dr. Young, it was determined that she was missing her right front leg due to a birth defect, she had severe dental disease, and also was extremely overweight. She should have been a 8-9 pound dog but weighted in at 17 pounds! Not many people would take on a handicapped senior pet, but I wanted her last years to be in a loving home and not a shelter. To rule out medical reasons for her obesity, X-rays and bloodwork were done. A dentistry was also performed to remove decaying teeth. We were now ready to begin the Big D (diet). She came home with me that night and was so excited when she got into the car. She barked and wagged her tail at me. I knew that she was grateful for her new start at life.

More often than not some owners feel that rewarding their pets with food, treats or table scraps is fare more rewarding than throwing a ball, taking a walk or even just some ‘ol fashioned behind the ear scratching. What some owners don’t realize is what the unfortunate results of over indulging with an improper diet and/or lack of exercise can be. For Berta, her obesity was caused by owner neglect and not a medical condition. This is something that we can improve. With the assistance of a good weight reduction diet; we chose Hills Science Diet R/D, Berta is on her way to a better and healthier life. Berta now weighs 9 pounds, follows me everywhere and is the newest addition to our family.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


See all VCA Animal Hospitals >


Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours,

please contact either:

VCA Valley Animal Medical Hospital and Emergency Hospital

46920 Jefferson Street

Indio,  CA  92201               Phone: 760-342-4711

Website: VCA Valley Animal Medical Hospital and Emergency Hospital


VCA Central Animal Hospital

281 North Central Avenue

Upland,  CA  91786           Phone: 909-981-2855