When Zoe began having compulsive licking episodes, her owner – who is a primary care veterinarian – partnered with the specialty team at BluePearl to perform diagnostics and reveal the underlying cause.

Play Youtube Video

Zoe is a 6-year-old Australian shepherd living in Maitland, Florida. She likes to spend her days poolside with her close-knit family, splashing in the water and basking in the sunshine.

One day, her owner Tatiana noticed Zoe was having a series of unusual episodes that involved compulsive licking followed by a hard swallow.

As a primary care veterinarian with Banfield Pet Hospital, Tatiana grew concerned because she had never seen anything quite like this. She ran some tests on Zoe, which unfortunately did not reveal a diagnosis.

She was stumped.

She knew her next step was to refer Zoe to the specialists at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Maitland to continue unraveling the mystery of her compulsive licking episodes.

An Australian shepherd dog nuzzles her owner as they sit by the side of a pool.

“We need their expertise because I’m not a specialist. I trust BluePearl more than anywhere,” Tatiana said. “I’ve been there and experienced excellent treatments and nice staff. They explain everything to us, and they listen.”

Dr. Kristin Olsen, who is board certified in veterinary internal medicine, examined Zoe and took into consideration the diagnostics that Tatiana performed thus far. She was able to pinpoint the likely internal source of Zoe’s episodes:

“Zoe was uncomfortable and showing signs of restlessness and kind of not being able to settle down, and she was hyper salivating,” said Dr. Olsen. “Generally, that points towards problems in the esophagus or down in the stomach.”

Understanding Zoe’s symptoms, Dr. Olsen recommended a diagnostic procedure to take a closer look and hopefully reveal the specific cause of Zoe’s discomfort.

“When we have heartburn, it’s something that’s really super uncomfortable,” said Dr. Olsen. “I think she was having the same thing happen and ended up ultimately having an endoscopy to try to figure out if maybe she had some kind of microscopic gastrointestinal disease.”

From pre-op preparations to post-op recovery, Zoe had the love and support of her BluePearl team. Dr. Olsen’s veterinary assistant Vanessa Frias was by her side and provided hands-on care through the entire process.

The endoscopy revealed the culprit.

Zoe had a little ulcer at the end of her esophagus, which caused the reflux and burning sensation in the area.

Now equipped with a diagnosis, Dr. Olsen provided a personalized treatment plan with the goal of relieving Zoe’s discomfort and preventing any more episodes. Her treatment included a prescription medication and a new diet.

An Australian shepherd dog floats on a raft in a pool while her delighted owner gives her a playful splash of water.

Zoe hasn’t had an episode since.

“I’m really relieved that she hasn’t had it anymore,” said Tatiana. “I just wanted to thank BluePearl so much for being so helpful and always being there.”

Zoe quickly went back to her normal routine – which includes plenty of snuggles from her family and lots of time to splash in the pool.

“Zoe is a very, very, very happy and joyous little dog. So we always love visiting with her,” said Dr. Olsen, reflecting on the case. “Her family is very special. Her moms are really incredible people and are always very kind and fun to work with. So that kind of combination always makes a case like this stand out.”