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‘The Extra Mile’: Mathews Honored for Extraordinary Care

When Todd and Carla Baker’s English bulldog Chancho started experiencing breathing problems, they knew just where to go.

“We always bring our dogs to NC State,” said Carla Baker. “They go above and beyond.”

Waiting for them at the hospital was clinician Kyle Mathews, professor of soft tissue and oncologic surgery. Chancho, 10, was diagnosed with brachycephalic syndrome, common in flat-faced canine breeds such as bulldogs and pugs. It’s a condition that worsens with age and can be life-threatening. It was becoming difficult for Chancho, one of two rescued bulldogs the Bakers adopted from a shelter near Charlotte, to run and play.

Mathews performed the surgery to shorten Chancho’s soft palate and widen his nostrils, improving the flow of his upper airway. He also received dental surgery and ophthalmology services. Following a two-day stay in the hospital, Chancho is breathing easily and playing tug of war like his old self.

It’s a relatively routine procedure, but the Bakers said working with Mathews was far from ordinary.

Todd and Carla Baker with along with Chancho present Dr. Mathews with the White Coat of Excellence. Photo by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine

“Dr. Mathews went the extra mile to keep us informed,” said Carla Baker, who lives in Wake Forest. “I’m kind of a helicopter mom and had a lot of questions, and he was very patient and answered them all.”

At the end of September, the Bakers, along with Chancho and their other bulldog, Brutus, returned to the hospital to present Mathews with a Coat of Excellence. For a $10,000 contribution to the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation, honorees are presented with a white lab coat emblazoned with their name and the name of the pet they treated. It honors extraordinary veterinarians, but also helps fund the extraordinary care animals receive every day at NC State.

It’s the second Coat of Excellence for Mathews. He received the first after he successfully removed a cancerous right lung lobe in a cat named Fluffy.

To the Bakers, compassionate care includes not just skill in the operating room, but thoughtful and thorough communication with those being entrusted with beloved pets’ care.

“They’re not just clinical,” Todd Baker said of the NC State Veterinary Hospital, “but human.”

For more information on the Coat of Excellence program and other giving opportunities, go here.