Small Animal Surgery Services at OSU

posted May 27th, 2012 by
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OSU

by Derinda Blakeney

Photos courtesy OSU

Meet Dr. Mark Rochat, a veterinary surgeon at Oklahoma State University’s Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, where he has worked for 17 years.  He performs and oversees (with the surgery residents) approximately 550-600 surgeries per year, is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, and holds the Cohn Family Chair for Small Animal Care.

In addition to his surgical responsibilities in the hospital, he spends time teaching.  Rochat works with pre-veterinary through fourth year veterinary students in the classroom, laboratories and clinics.  He also supervises interns and surgical residents.  Currently he is mentoring three small animal surgery residents.  As the residents progress in their training, they are able to do more and more on their own under Rochat’s watchful eye.

“Owners don’t come here because it is a teaching hospital,” explains Rochat.  “They come here because their animals are in need of the equipment we have and the surgical expertise.  I keep a close eye on every case, in surgery and out, to make sure the balance of good patient care and proper training occurs.”

Dr Mark Rochat in surgery Christmas Eve 09

The veterinary hospital is equipped with three surgical suites where Rochat performs a wide array of surgical procedures.

“You name it, we do it,” he smiles.  “We perform soft tissue surgeries (general, head and neck, cardiothoracic, urologic, endocrine, reconstructive, oncologic, etc.).  We do neurosurgeries such as disk rupture, tumors, various acquired and congenital deformities, brain tumors, hydrocephalic shunts and trauma.”

Dr. Rochat is probably most known among veterinary colleagues for his orthopedic surgical expertise.  To keep those skills current, he recently took total knee replacement and total elbow replacement courses.  He hopes to be able to soon add those total joint replacement procedures to total hip replacement surgery, which he has been doing since arriving at OSU.  Other orthopedic surgery options available at OSU include managing trauma, such as fractures and dislocations; congenital/developmental conditions (hip dysplasia, elbow conditions, growth deformities); arthroscopy, cranial cruciate ligament disease, orthopedic oncologic surgery, and more.

When asked why he decided to become a veterinarian, he replies “I liked animals, medicine, and being outdoors…I thought I would be a general practitioner in a mixed practice,” he adds.

So how did he wind up as a veterinary surgeon?

“I’m very visual and like the ‘see the problem, fix the problem and move on’ concept.  I also like ’tools’ and anatomy.”

Dr Mark Rochat views radiographs of a dog with a dislocated elbow.

Some of the specialized equipment at Dr. Rochat’s disposal is an array of arthroscopic equipment, total joint replacement systems, fracture management systems including plating, external fixators, and interlocking nails, ring fixator systems, surgical stapling devices, laparoscopic and thoracoscopic systems, and operating microscopes.   He typically operates on mainly dogs with some cats and a decent amount of zoo animals.  He rarely performs surgery on food animals, especially since OSU’s veterinary hospital has both food animal and equine surgeons on faculty.

Throughout his career at OSU, Rochat has had a lot of memorable cases, too many to list.

“Some you remember because of the complexity of the case and others stand out because of the amazing power of the body to heal.  And then there are cases where the animal or the owner was just special and you were glad you could help them achieve a positive outcome from a particular situation.  We do a lot of amazing things.  Small animal surgery wise, just about anything you can do for a human, you can do for an animal.”

The veterinary hospital must generate much of its budget through revenues from referral cases as well as from local clientele.  Therefore, the hospital fees for referral cases are very similar to those of a private surgical specialty practice.

And Dr. Mark Rochat is available to perform that surgery when it benefits your companion animal.

The Oklahoma State University Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital is open to the public 365 days a year.  Routine and specialized care for small and large animals are available at this facility as well as 24-hour emergency care.  The veterinary hospital is certified by the American Animal Hospital Association.

The Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences is one of 28 veterinary colleges in the United States and is fully accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  For more information, visit www.cvhs.okstate.edu or call (405) 744-7000.

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