Center for Veterinary Care
236 East 75th Street (212-734-7480)
In practice for more than 35 years, Richard Greene trained most
of the other surgeons on New York's list during his fifteen years
at the AMC. He's one of the few board-certified surgeons who also
see general cases, at the cheery Center for Veterinary Care as well
as at the ASPCA on Thursdays and in Park Slope at Animal Kind Veterinary
Hospital on Fridays.
At the ASPCA, he performs as many as fifteen spay-neuters a day.
Lately, he's been doing a lot of colectomies on a referral basis
for cats with chronic constipation. "In New York, we spend so much
intimate time in close confinement with our animals," says Greene.
"People will come in with pages and pages of notes on their cat's
defecation. It's nice to be able to tell them that you can help."
As for dogs, Greene explains that as different breeds become more
popular, "we start seeing more of the diseases that dogs get." Currently,
that means a lot of Labs with orthopedic (elbow and knee) problems
and cocker spaniels -- "they seem to be back" in vogue, he notes
-- with skin and ear troubles.
Orthopedic soft-tissue surgeon
West Chelsea Veterinary Hospital
203 Tenth Avenue, at 22nd Street (212-645-2767)
In West Chelsea's immaculate surgery room, Amy Kantor talks
about how familiar she is with the horrible things people do to
their animals. On the wall are X-rays of a six-month-old pit bull
who had been brought in earlier in the week. Its owner claimed the
puppy had fallen off a table. The X-rays showed that it had a fractured
hip and two violently broken hind femurs.
Kantor repaired her hip and fixed the femurs with pins. "Now she
needs a home," says Kantor. She believes the dog could not have
sustained such injuries from a simple fall.
Because West Chelsea is not a hospital with many specialists,
Kantor performs general (as well as orthopedic) surgery -- from
spaying and neutering to removing tumors to reconstructing the nostrils
of pugs and bulldogs. Joint problems dominate the orthopedic sector
of her practice, including at least one anterior-cruciate-ligament-tear
(ACL) surgery a week (the widespread knee operation that also puts
humans under the knife).
Kantor, who has been practicing in the city for three years, says
that she'll treat "anything with fur but nothing with feathers."
She's up for cold-blooded challenges, however. "It's tough to monitor
a reptile under anesthesia," she says. "You think it's dead."
(Unpublished phone number; ask your GP to call her. Most
vets in the city know how to reach Kosovsky.)
"All I do is surgery, and many of them every day," says the
brisk Jane Kosovsky, whose unconventionally structured practice
-- she's essentially a freelancer -- means that she performs surgery
in a dozen different clinics in Manhattan. "Some call me in once
a week, some when they need me. But I only work at the ones I feel
best about. If I were sick, I'd want to be at one of these hospitals."
Most of Kosovsky's work comes from general practitioners who call
her in for surgeries that they don't perform. "As veterinary medicine
becomes more specialized," Kosovsky says, "GPs are not doing as
much surgery. We do know that the skill of the surgeon is important
in the outcome, so people have gotten a lot smarter in choosing
someone who operates five days a week."
Board-certified orthopedic surgeon
220 East Jericho Turnpike
Mineola, New York (516-294-6680)
Animal Emergency Service
280 Middle Country Road
Selden, New York (631-698-2225)
"Large-breed dogs tend to have problems with hips and joints
and also growth deformities," says Long Island veterinary surgeon
Arnold Lesser, one of a dozen vets in the country specializing in
such deformities. He works mainly on dogs and cats, and credits
human tinkering with keeping him in business. "Cat size hasn't changed,"
he explains. "Domestic cats are all about the same size as a wild
cat. But we've made dogs into Pomeranians and Yorkies and 150-pound
Newfoundlands. Genetically changing them causes a lot of deformities."
Lesser performs a complicated reconstructive surgery, used mainly
on people, to help dogs with growth-plate problems, which cause
one leg to be shorter than the others. The arduous process, developed
by a doctor in Siberia during World War II, involves cutting the
bone and then slowly lengthening it, a millimeter per day.
Total hip replacement and arthroscopic surgery -- another procedure
developed for humans and newly available for dogs and cats -- are
also specialties of Lesser's. "These areas are blossoming within
orthopedics," Lesser says. And his next new interest is in physical
therapy, which may include putting animals on treadmills immersed
Garden State Veterinary Specialists
1 Pine Street, Tinton Falls, New Jersey
Thomas Scavelli supervises a staff of 65 at Garden State Veterinary
Specialists, a referral service he started eight years ago. His
stable of pros includes three full-time surgeons, an ophthalmologist,
a critical-care doctor, a dermatologist, and a neurologist.
"Every patient we see comes in from another vet, so they're all
high-risk, intense cases," says Scavelli, who used to run a surgical
unit at the Animal Medical Center. The most common procedure he
performs is knee reconstruction for ACL tears in dogs. "One thing
that's specific to the city is the syndrome of high-rise cats,"
Scavelli says -- cats that have fallen from windows or balconies,
fracturing legs or hips. Scavelli also does a lot of hip replacements
for dogs. "We've had dogs in here that were dead lame or chronically
in pain. We did an artificial joint, added a titanium implant, and
they were using that leg a week or two after surgery."