A Little About Case

Case Veterinary Hospital Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

“When people talk about Case Veterinary Hospital, they aren’t just talking
about a building. They are talking about my family.” Coming from anybody else,
this statement would be a bit dramatic. However, for Carla Case-McCorvey, it is the
only way to accurately describe the 100-year veterinary practice started by her great-
grandfather, Dr. Erle Glenwood Case, at the turn of the century.
The year was 1909. After graduating from the Veterinary College of the
University of Ontario and accepting a job through correspondence, the optimistic young
man packed his belongings and bought a one-way steamship ticket to Savannah. On
arrival, however, he discovered that his plans had gone south, too.
There was no job waiting. The veterinarian who had extended the offer decided
he couldn’t afford to hire anyone after all, and Case didn’t have the money to return
home.

He approached the town’s only other veterinarian, who couldn’t take on an associate, either, but did offer Case a single stall (in the building where he treated large animals) if Case would handle the growing number of small-animal patients coming his
way.

“The vet thought the dogs and cats that farmers’ wives were bringing him were a bother, so here was a chance to pawn that business off on the new guy,” says Carla Case- McCorvey, DVM, in recounting the story of how her great-grandfather started his career and then founded Case Veterinary Hospital that she and her father, Dr. Jerry L. Case, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, still own and operate today – almost 100 years later. “I’m the fourth generation. We’ve been investigating and haven’t been able to find any practices in the country or even worldwide that have been operated continuously for that long in the same family,” Case-McCorvey states.

In the early years, the Case practice was paid with chickens, provided treatments before the discovery of antibiotics and boasted the only degreed veterinarian in town. The
facility now performs digital dental x-ray, laser surgery, ultrasonography, endoscopy and laparoscopic surgery and the entire industry requires tough educational rigors.
The front halls of Case Veterinary Hospital are a virtual animal medicine time
machine. Walking through those halls with Carla brings the history alive. While she
has no memory of her great-grandfather, recollections passed on through the generations
are very vivid. As she speaks of the various antique medical pieces, she could very well
be showing you old family photos. When she gets to the picture of Grandpa Erle’s old
animal ambulance with the stained glass windows, her face lights up with the warmth
reserved for a grandmother’s quilt. Incidentally, those very stained glass windows hang
on the wall in the hospital today and Carla’s face often beams.

It is also not difficult to get Carla to talk about her family. She is anxious to share
those stories she knows by heart. Some she has in her own memories while others have
been passed to her by her father, Jerry Case. Listening to his daughter tell stories and
recite lineage seems to bring a sense of ease to Jerry. In the office that they share, Jerry
tries to remain in the background while Carla begins the process of taking over the helm.
“I am just so proud of her.”

However, Jerry insists that he never pushed Carla to take over the practice. “I
just grew up doing it. It never occurred to me to do anything else. But, I never pressured Carla to go this way. I never encouraged her to do it. Of course, I never discouraged it either.”

Carla is continuing to push Case Veterinary Hospital to the forefront of veterinary
medicine. By investing in continued education and training for not only herself but all
veterinarians she employs, Carla has positioned Case Veterinary Hospital as one of the
only hospitals in the region to routinely offer endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures
to its patients. This technology is comparable to what is expected in the human
medical field, enabling less invasive procedures with faster recovery time and fewer
complications.

“Obviously, I learned as much from Dad as I did from the Veterinary College at
UGA, but I learned a lot from Papa, too.” Carla references her grandfather, Dr. Francis
Case, Sr. when she states, “He had retired by the time I began working with Dad in
1999, but he lived right around the corner from the hospital and he and my grandmother,
Christine Case, had me over for lunch more than once a week. I’d tell them all about
what surgeries I had done that day and they’d tell me stories about how it used to be.”
Perhaps that is why Case Veterinary Hospital has not only survived but thrived
in Savannah for the past 100 years. “When you work with family in a business begun by
your family, the quality of your work reflects on them,” Carla smiles. “Our clients trust
us to care for their pets with the best that is available and we take that trust seriously. If
Grandpa Erle could look down and see how we are practicing veterinary medicine today,
I think he’d be impressed, but I know he’d be proud.”

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