Compassionate care for two cats receiving dialysis

Michael with his cat Zachary

Michael Wernimont’s experience with The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) began when his two cats, Zachary and Jacob, were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.  Zachary had a series of tests and procedures at a local veterinary office where he was diagnosed with stage three chronic kidney disease. At that time, Michael was told to take Zachary to the VMC for a consult regarding dialysis. After several hours of consultation, new blood work and scans, it was decided that Zachary would start dialysis treatment. 

Meanwhile Zachary’s litter mate Jacob was not doing well. Michael thought this might be due to the fact that his brother had not been home in days. After a visit to their regular veterinarian, it was confirmed Jacob had stage four chronic kidney disease, the most advanced stage. Jacob would be joining Zachary at the VMC for various treatments. 

Michael shared that what impacted him the most during the time his cats were receiving care at the VMC was the hospitality he received at each visit and how much they truly cared for Zachary and Jacob.  

“My experience with Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center has been exceptional as was the care Zachary and Jacob received. Things were well explained to me throughout the process and questions were answered honestly, including risks with any procedure they may need,” said Michael. “I always felt I was given information, pros and cons and whatever I needed to make the best decision.”

Michael expressed that there were so many little things that were done along the way that exemplified the caring attitude of the faculty and staff. From guidance with payment options, to the extra care provided based on the unique  needs and personalities of his cats, to the staff greeting him by name and offering coffee during each appointment – Michael had built a comradery with the faculty and staff over the seven plus months that he was bringing his cats for treatment. 

“I was told there are only about 22 facilities that offer animal dialysis in the country and I was so fortunate to be ten minutes away from one of them,” said Michael. “During Zachary’s treatment I met another client with a very similar situation. He was driving daily from Cleveland to try and save his cat. Then I started realizing people were driving hours to Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center for the exceptional care that was in my backyard. What a wonderful resource for Columbus and Ohio. I want it to be here for a very long time,” Michael said. 

Knowing how much people care about their pets and realizing how lucky he was to be so close to such a sought-after facility, Michael was inspired to find ways to support the VMC. He does what he can both financially and emotionally by making annual contributions and by doing things like stopping by every so often to provide treats for the faculty and staff. 

Zachary and Jacob at the VMC

“I want them to know they are appreciated for what they do even if they don’t always get the recognition. I want those student doctors to know they are doing something important and that they will impact people,” said Michael. 

“Personally, Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center gave me more time with my cats that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. Had I not been directed there for the dialysis treatments; I would have likely lost Zachary and Jacob within a week from their initial diagnosis,” Michael said. 


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