Veterinary Neurology of the Chesapeake | Jay McDonnell, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM | Annapolis & Towson, MD


Welcome to VNoC's "Happy Tails" section!  We would love to add more happy tails and encourage you to email us to submit your update, story or just tell us how your pet is doing.


For a young dog, Rusty has had more than his share of trials and tribulations.


Jerry, his owner, explains: "When Rusty was 4 or 5 months old, he fell off a utility vehicle in Montana and broke one of his back legs. The vets there put in a plate, and Rusty healed quickly-at least for a week and a half he did. Then he didn't want to walk or move, so we took him back to the vet who told us that sometimes dogs can get an embolism on the spine, but they're generally absorbed. He suggested doing an MRI, but the nearest place was 6 hours from us and couldn't be scheduled for 6 weeks. So we decided to bring him back to our home in Maryland."

If you’ve ever been in the Paws Pet Boutique on State Circle next to the Governor Calvert House Hotel in downtown Annapolis, you’ve probably met Davis. 
 “We call him the Great One after Wayne Gretsky,” says Larry Kownacki, who owns the store with his wife, Michelle. “He’s the greatest dog ever, a real people dog.” 

The photo of Amy shown at left is a bit unusual because you rarely see Amy without her brother and littermate, Alex.


"We got them from a vet when they were not yet a year old," explains Bill, who owns the duo with his best friend, Dehart. "We could have taken just one, but they'd been together their whole lives, and we didn't want to separate them. They're typical boxers, full of energy. Then about a year and a half ago Amy started having seizures. Even with medication, the seizures kept getting closer together, so our vet recommended we see Dr. McDonnell."

Elvis was all shook up.  


The nine-year-old male Pekingese had a history of chronic neck and back pain that wasn't responding to activity restriction, anti-inflammatories and steroids after 18 months of treatment. Even after restricting his jumping, running and playing, and seeing some improvement, Elvis's mom Wendy noticed that he would lift his leg as if he was in pain. During a play session with his younger brother, Elvis yelped in pain and began arching his back. His head drooped and he became non-weight bearing on his leg. 


"Ollie has always been super-active," says Mary, his owner. "He loves to play hard. Thanks to Dr. McDonnell, he's back to his active self."


Mary isn't sure how Ollie hurt himself. "Ollie was in such pain; he had no quality of life. At first our vet thought he'd hurt his lower back, or possibly his neck. With no clear diagnosis, he referred to us to Dr. McDonnell."

In April 2015, VNoC announced that it is participating in two brain research projects that, long-term, could have implications for humans. One research project is a canine vaccine trial at the University of Minnesota, that is studying malignant gliomas and meningiomas and has shown extended survival with both tumor types.


This is the story of one of VNoC's patients, an 8 1/2 year-old Pug named Houligan, who is participating in this trial, as told by his owner, Amy S.

It all started with a crooked tail.


"Rudy was born 10 years ago last December, the month that I retired," says Kathy Corry. "My sister was the breeder, and because he was born with a crooked tail, she gave him to me. One of 12 puppies in the litter, he was named after one of Santa's reindeer: Rudolph, because he was the different one!"

Her Story As Told By Her Owner & Dr. McDonnell


Diamond actually belongs to Rose's son, but it's easy to see how much Rose loves the 13-year-old Pitt Bull. When Dr. McDonnell diagnosed Diamond as having a ruptured disk that was causing compression on the spinal cord, Rose never hesitated: Diamond would have the ventral slot decompressive surgery to repair the damage.

One look at Beefcake and you know: This is one unique bulldog.


Whether dressed up as a convict or a flashy pimp (with two girl bulldogs in tow), Beefie is quite a character. He's known far and wide for his sartorial style, and for marching down the aisle to wedded bliss with his girlfriend, Penelope, while paparazzi snapped their pics. (It was all for a good cause as the event raised funds for the local dog park.) 

Amy W., Lewi's owner, tells us the moving story of Lewis, a two-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever.


In October 2011, when he was just over a year old, Lewis and I passed our evaluation with National Capital Therapy Dogs, Inc. to become a therapy dog team. We began visiting at The Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins Hospital shortly thereafter.

Hi, my name is Cody. I'd like to tell you what I've been through and how I met Dr. Jay McDonnell and his staff at Veterinary Neurology of the Chesapeake. My story starts last summer when I took a spill down the stairs and hurt my back. 

Recently Dr. McDonnell received an email from Victoria R. whose harlequin Great Dane, Baba Booey, underwent surgery for Wobbler's Syndrome in March. She sent along links to several YouTube videos.

"You'd never know that Quincy had major surgery 9 months ago," says Rebecca H., the owner of the six-year-old tri-colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. "He is the same high energy boy he was when we got him, with tons of personality and real charisma."

When Peggy M. and her husband, Bob, saw the their eight-year-old German Shepherd, JoJo, was dragging his backend and having trouble going up and down stairs, they were immediately concerned. "JoJo is such a devoted dog, and not high maintenance at all. We knew something must be very wrong." 

People in Bethany Beach, Delaware, often know Cynthia and Michael's 11-year-old Standard Schnauzer, even if they don't know the couple. "You're Jersey's owners!" is a common greeting.

We want to thank Dr.McDonnell for taking such good care of our precious cat, Tuna. Tuna, at 18 1/2, experienced some strange circling/urinating episodes that culminated in a major seizure.  Since she had never had such issues, we were extremely worried.



I am Cody Kipper Cannon. Nearly everyone calls me Cody. Some people call me such endearing names as “The Code Man” and “Fluffball.” I am a four- year old Bi-Black Sheltie. I am a happy boy and a very good boy.

In the span of two days, without warning us, Pete, our six-year-old adopted cattle dog mutt, lost the use of his hind legs. It started on Sunday evening: a slight limp on the right side, trouble jumping onto furniture. By Tuesday evening, Pete could not walk. By then he had been seen twice by our family vet.

When my Emerald awakened, early one morning, unable to move her hind legs, I felt a sense of impending doom.  Emerald finally seemed to be recovering mentally from the unspeakable neglect that had left her too weak even to move aside for bypassers, on the hot Baltimore sidewalk where I had found her just a year ago; but she was still far from strong, and never seemed to be free of some as-yet unlocated chronic pain, and so paralysis looked like an insurmountable last obstacle, at that moment.

Izak was 5 years old and in severe pain; he had difficulty walking and even standing. We were introduced to Dr. McDonnell by our regular vet, Carol Lundquist, DVM.  We were very impressed that he would personally be there for Izak’s MRI.  Not only was he able to explain the results right away, but we were also able to schedule surgery with very little delay.

In April 2011, Buddha had a seizure at my home and we rushed him to Falls Road Animal Hospital in Baltimore.  We were referred to Veterinary Neurology of the Chesapeake and upon consulting with Dr. McDonnell, who performed an MRI, it was determined that Buddha had an inoperable brain tumor.

It struck me this morning that this February 29 "Leap Day" adds an extra day to the life of our 9-year-old blond Lab rescue, Murphy. Just 15 months ago, we weren't at all sure that Murphy had many days left. However, thanks to Dr. Jay McDonnell and a number of other great folks there at Chesapeake Veterinary, Murphy continues to enjoy life to the fullest—and to daily enrich ours!

Molson is 5 years old. Molson was adopted from the Humane Society of Harford County at about 4 months of age. He was found wandering on a busy road in Havre De Grace and was picked up by animal control and taken to the shelter. 

Frodo is an American Staffordshire Terrier that I rescued.  He has always been my best bud. Before being diagnosed with a tumor in his head at the age of 2 1/2, he had completed his CGC (Canine Good Citizen Certification) and had gotten his Rally Novice title.

Hi Dr. McDonnell,


I am sending you this email as an update about Scooby's (the dog with the bilateral vestibular disease and facial nerve paralysis) condition after almost a month without antibiotic.

"Titian has a mission," says Christina Temelini of Titian, her blue merle Australian Shepherd. Not only is Titan helping to raise awareness about canine cancer and the need for research; he is bringing comfort and hope to children and adults who are inspired by the story of this remarkable dog's own battle with cancer.

Board Certified Veterinary Neurologist Dr. Jay McDonnell | Annapolis & Towson, MD