COLLEGE STATION, Texas— The wait is the hardest part.
Ten year-old Duke is under the care of the Texas A&M Veterinary Teaching Hospital, receiving radiation treatment for cancer.
Pet owner, Andrew Brodbeck, travels from League City to College Station weekly to bring Duke in for treatment.
His wife is working and can't make the trip.
“We're the ones that are an emotional wreck. Duke has taken it day to day and being a trooper about it,” said Brodbeck.
While Duke is receiving treatments, Brodbeck waits around the hospital or works from a hotel, waiting on word to see how Duke is doing after radiation.
But, recently the A&M Veterinary Teaching Hospital adopted a new innovation, so Brodbeck and his wife, don't have to wait too long.
It's called Ease. It's an app that allows veterinarians and other hospital staff to communicate with pet owners offering current, up-to-date reports through videos, text messages, and photos.
Brodbeck said that Ease has really helped relieve the stress of waiting during Duke's treatment process.
“I can see sometimes he's hooked up to machines, and that's kind of tough to look at,” said Brodbeck.
“Then, seeing the follow up picture of him awake, looking at the camera, sometimes happy, sometimes sleepy…it's nice to know just kind of where we are,” he added.
The Ease app has been used in hospitals for some time, but this is a first for Texas A&M.
“Texas A&M is the first veterinary teaching hospital in the country to offer this service to our clients,” said Bo Connell, Assistant Dean of Hospital Operations.
“We think that it not only shows the way that we are moving forward to create more trust and build communication and build relationships with our clients, but it also is an indication of how Texas A&M is leading the way in innovation and innovative medicine and digital medicine,” added Connell.
From the clinical side, the app shows how much the hospital truly cares about their patients.
“We can't change the fact that their pet has been diagnosed with cancer, and we can't take away the fear that comes with that word,” said Jaci Christensen, Oncology Technician Supervisor.
“But we can provide the best quality medicine that we can and we can also make sure that owners are supported emotionally and I think this app really helps with that,” she added.
Something that means the world to Brodbeck before he can take Duke home for Christmas.
“He's our child. He pretty much means everything to us,” said Brodbeck.