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Come and get it…

It’s Friday, May 15th, and we’re having freshly made cotton candy as a treat!

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We had a blast…

We had a blast celebrating our 10 year anniversary! Thank you to all of our sponsors and everyone who attended.

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Chloe: Vet Tech, Animal Lover, Cancer Survivor…

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Chloe Thum is one of the many talented Registered Veterinary Technicians who works in our interventional radiology department at ACCESS Los Angeles. This bilingual California native brightens our workday with an ever-present smile, constant optimism, and total adoration for her patients. We wanted to find out more about what led Chloe to ACCESS, so we spoke with her about her interest in veterinary medicine, her battle with cancer, and her “Beast Master” skills.

What brought Chloe to ACCESS?
She is from Northern California and decided to come to Los Angeles when her sister, then a veterinary student, came to ACCESS for an externship. Chloe ended up working with us as a veterinary assistant, saying “this hospital trained me as a tech, I owe a lot to this place.” After leaving to work in an oncology practice (and later a general one) she completed her RVT and, returned to ACCESS to work in our interventional radiology department.

Why veterinary medicine?
Chloe was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and was in renal failure at just 18 years of age. Against all odds and after two years of chemotherapy and radiation, Chloe beat cancer and came out of the ordeal with a new best friend, her Samoyed named Jenner. Jenner is a recovery dog and went to all of Chloe’s college classes with her. After graduating from UC Berkeley with degrees in Spanish and Anthropology, Chloe fell in love with dogs and felt it was time to take care of others – in this case, animals.

Why did Chloe become an RVT?
“It opens doors. With a certification you can do rehab work, and even work in many facilities in South America.”

What is her favorite place to visit?
“I loved the Peruvian jungle! It was beautiful and filled with awesome birds and animals.”

What is Chloe’s favorite animal?
This was a tough one for Chloe, but she narrowed it down to birds (specifically raptors and parrots) and dogs. Though she says all dogs are amazing, she prefers the big, wooly breeds.

What is her favorite thing to do at the hospital?
Although Chloe works in our interventional radiology department, which utilizes fluoroscopy to do minimally invasive lifesaving procedures, she loves the basics! She really enjoys caring for patients, making sure they’re comfortable, well fed, and loved. She also really enjoys anything with abscesses. There’s a satisfaction to providing immediate relief for a patient and cleaning out an infected area.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
“Getting my RVT license. I was working full time in the veterinary field during the day and coming home to work on my license at night. It’s no joke—it’s medical boards! …oh, and I beat cancer!” Luckily, Chloe has been cancer free for ten years, and we couldn’t be more thankful for that!

What is the most challenging case she’s ever had?
Chloe’s most emotionally challenging case involved one of our beloved patients, a yellow lab who was anemic and had kidney disease. Chloe became very close with the family and was one of many staff members who fell in love with the sweet dog. It was very difficult to watch the dog’s health decline.

Chloe, a self-proclaimed Beast Master, has raised wildlife in the past! This was one of the most challenging yet rewarding times in her veterinary career, as young raccoons and crows require great attention and care.

What are her tips for pet owners?
Chloe tells pet owners to “pay attention, animals will tell you when something is wrong. Spay and neuter for the love of God!” She also wants to advise owners to speak with their primary veterinarian before changing their diet.

Does she have any advice for me?
Chloe’s best advice to anyone is to “laugh loudly and work hard” and we couldn’t agree more!

“She is amazing. She’s so talented and intelligent” says coworker Krystle. Always willing to lend a hand to those who need help, Chloe’s caring, devoted, happy demeanor is absolutely contagious. You can catch Chloe nurturing her patients at ACCESS, Los Angeles working alongside Dr. Erinne Branter and her skilled team. Outside of work Chloe likes to read, collect original contemporary art pieces, and sing folk music.

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We’ve gone blue…

We’ve gone blue in support of ‪#‎WorldAutismAwarenessDay!

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Dr. Annie Lo: A Cut Above the Rest…

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We are thrilled to announce that Annie Lo, DVM, DACVS is now a board-certified veterinary surgeon. Dr. Lo, a California native who grew up in San Francisco, received an undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000, after which she extended her studies with research in human hematology.

In 2009, Annie completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Illinois, going on to complete a small animal surgical and medical internship at the University of Pennsylvania, where she stayed on as a Small Animal Surgical resident.

Today, fully entrenched in the Department of Surgery at ACCESS Animal Specialty Hospital in Los Angeles, she is a highly regarded doctor, with interests in minimally invasive procedures (laparoscopy, thoracoscopy, and arthroscopy), surgical oncology, reconstructive wound surgery, emergency surgery, urinary tract surgery, and various orthopedic procedures. Dr. Lo enjoys reading, gardening, and crafting. She has a special interest in origami, and utilizes her penchant for precision to create beautiful paper flowers.

We want to congratulate Dr. Lo on such an impressive accomplishment!

Go Suzy and Jamie…

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We at ACCESS like to highlight the accomplishments of our employees outside of the hospital every so often, and boy do Jamie and Suzy deserve the recognition!

Two of our super sweet, always helpful ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital, San Fernando Valley, team members completed the LA marathon yesterday.The record-high heat was so intense that many people were hospitalized, but that didn’t slow down with this fabulous duo!

Jamie finished the 26.2 mile race in seven hours with Suzy close behind at seven hours, fifteen minutes. This was not the first race for either runner—it was Jamie’s sixth year and Suzy’s 13th!

When they aren’t gearing up for a race, you can find Suzy and Jamie applying the same dedication and care to their positions at ACCESS, and we couldn’t feel luckier!

The Dog who was Set on Fire | Eight Years Later

Looking at Abigail today, you would never know that she was a victim of heinous animal abuse. This nine-year-old Staffordshire terrier currently resides in Southern California with her loving and dedicated family. However, life was not this easy for her a few years ago.

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At about one year old, Abigail was found near a vacant house in Lancaster, CA by a neighbor when she was running in circles, on fire. The neighbor quickly put clothing and water on the pup to douse the flames, but it was apparent that severe damage had already been done. Despite the pain, this sweet, battered dog was still trying to wag her tail and even licked her rescuers. Luckily enough, the folks at Karma Rescue sprang into action, ensuring that Abigail would have the funds and medical attention she needed to survive and recover.

Her rescuers took her to a local veterinarian, who then referred them to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital, Los Angeles a few hours after she had been soaked in accelerant and purposely lit on fire.

Abigail would receive advanced medical care from several board-certified veterinary specialists as well as human burn specialists from UCLA. Over fifty percent of her small body was covered in severe burns and her initial treatment included plenty of fluids and pain medication. Her injuries were so bad that she was put into a medically induced coma for the first few days to relieve her pain.

She was hospitalized in our ICU from May to December of 2008, where she would be put under daily anesthesia to debride and clean her horrendous injuries, with our specialists ensuring she was comfortable and relatively pain free with the help of medication. Eventually, she was well enough to have several skin grafts performed to help close her wounds. Abigail’s road to recovery was long and treacherous; with the torture she endured being so incredibly inhumane, it forced some of her caregivers to tears in our hospital. Dr. Patty Paravicini, who is now an emergency and critical care resident at ACCESS LA, worked here as a veterinary assistant then; and recalls the lengthy process “she was very bad off at first, the burns covered almost sixty percent of her body. Dr. Carey had to basically re-do her skin. Luckily, she’s had a great life for 8 years now because she was adopted by a great person.”

Abigail was able to leave the hospital with her new parents and go right into her forever home thanks to the hard work done by Karma Rescue; and has been living the sweet life for the past few years, sunbathing with her family and eating to her hearts content—two of her favorite hobbies! Unfortunately, the damage done to her body still affects her today. Since Abigail’s injury, her skin is much thinner and more delicate than it would have been had she not been burned. Her mom puts veterinarian recommended sunscreen every day, but Abby’s skin has still succumb to sun damage.

We want Abigail’s story to show prospective pet owners that there is life after rescue, and that many rescued dogs can live a full, happy life when given a chance; and for anyone who suspects animal abuse to report it immediately. Your information could save the life of a voiceless creature.

Please report any suspected animal abuse to your local taskforce.

LA County | ANIMAL CRUELTY TASK FORCE

24-hour notification hotline 213-486-0450

“Animal cruelty includes any activity that causes injury, disability, or death. Examples of animal cruelty are kicking, hitting, choking, punching, hanging, stabbing, shooting, setting on fire, or electrocuting.” lapdonline.org/actf

Shannon Brown
Marketing Coordinator | ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals

Interventional Cardiology at ACCESS | San Fernando Valley!

Charlie, a Labrador Retriever puppy, was found by her owners at a local animal shelter in Woodland Hills. From the moment they laid eyes on her, they were in love! This energetic young pup had stolen the hearts of everyone she encountered. Unfortunately, a visit to their primary veterinarian’s office revealed that they may be something wrong with her three-month-old heart. Her doctor detected a loud heart murmur; so Charlie and her new family were referred to see Dr. Steven Cole, a board-certified veterinary cardiologist and criticalist at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital in the San Fernando Valley.

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Dr. Cole confirmed that Charlie had a PDA, or patent ductus arteriosus, which is a congenital vascular communication between the aorta and pulmonary artery. This is normal for humans and animals in the womb, however in some cases, this vessel fails to close normally at the time of birth. If left untreated, a PDA can cause severe cardiac enlargement, and eventual congestive heart failure (fluid in the lungs), or pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs). In fact, most dogs with an untreated PDA do not survive the first few years of life.

Although Charlie’s happy go lucky puppy personality didn’t show any signs of the PDA affecting her, she had significant heart enlargement, and it was likely that she would develop more serious complications if her condition went untreated. While a PDA was once only treatable with open-chest surgery, newer catheter-based procedures have been developed that allow cardiologists to close the abnormal vessel with specially-designed devices. These techniques generally result in an excellent outcome with few complications. Charlie’s parents decided to proceed with the minimally-invasive procedure and to save her life. While these procedures have routinely been performed at ACCESS Los Angeles, 2015, Charlie was the very first patient to be treated in the interventional radiology suite at ACCESS in the San Fernando Valley on February 5, 2015. Dr. Cole set up an additional video screen outside of the suite so that staff members could watch the surgery and learn more about interventional cardiology procedures. About 20 staff members came to view the procedure; all of them blown away by the capabilities of our cardiologists and new equipment.

Using fluoroscopy, Dr. Cole worked with Dr. Jason Arndt, a board-certified cardiologist from ACCESS Los Angeles, to see Charlie’s heart in real time. After being placed under anesthesia, Dr. Cole and Dr. Arndt made an incision that was only a few centimeters long in her hind leg. From there they were able to insert a catheter into the femoral artery and to use a contrast agent to identify and precisely measure the PDA. They were then able to implant a canine ductal occluder device directly into the PDA, effectively sealing the abnormal blood vessel and preventing excess blood flow into the lungs. While similar devices are used in humans, the ductal occlude device used by Dr. Cole is designed specifically for use in canine patients. These devices range in size from three to fourteen millimeters, and this allows for a wide variety of patients to be treated. Drs. Cole and Arndt are also able to use vascular coils to close PDAs in exceedingly small dogs that could otherwise only be treated with open-chest surgery.

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Once the device was placed, complete closure of the PDA was confirmed, and the doctors retracted the catheters, sutured the incision, and began Charlie’s recovery process. The entire procedure took about an hour, and with three technicians and two specialists it went very smoothly. Charlie was up, running around, and she was able to go home to her family the next day.

Charlie’s mom and dad were so happy with the outcome and want everyone to know that there are options to what sounds like a bleak prognosis. They were very thankful for Dr. Cole’s help, but more importantly their primary veterinarian, who noticed an irregularity and referred them to a veterinary specialist.

Shannon Brown
Marketing Coordinator | ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals

From Dino Doc to Exotics Doc…

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Olivia Petritz, DVM, DACZM, joined ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital, Los Angeles, in the fall of 2013 to head up our new Avian and Exotics department. Although her future was fairly clear cut, Dr. Olivia Petritz has had a few very exciting moments along the way. We sat down with Olivia to find out what led her to veterinary medicine and learn more about her.

How did Dr. Petritz decide she wanted to work with animals?
She has always loved animals and science. Since childhood, Olivia was certain she wanted to be a paleontologist. “I wrote letters to Paleontologists all over the world from the time I was five to about eighth grade. I have big manila envelopes full of letters from about 40 countries.” Once in high school, Olivia went to visit paleontologists in several museums and realized she wanted to work with living animals. Despite her change in occupation, the Brontosaurus still has a place in her heart.

What is her favorite animal?
Great Danes and Guinea Pigs. Why? “They have great personalities!”

Why exotic animals?
Dr. Petritz’s first job was at the Columbian Park Zoo in Lafayette, Indiana, which housed several species of big cats, primates, birds, lizards, and more. At 18 years old, Olivia Petritz was simply cleaning cages and assisting staff to make sure the animals were happy and properly cared for; but she fell in love with the idea of being an exotics/zoo veterinarian and having the knowledge to treat all species. This job inspired her to become the avian and exotics specialist she is today!

What is the coolest procedure Dr. Petritz has ever done?
As a resident, Dr. Petritz treated an electric eel that had swallowed a plastic bag. “It swallowed not only the food in the bag but the whole bag as well! The bag got stuck in its mouth, and the eel couldn’t spit it out. We anesthetized the eel, removed the bag with an endoscope, and the eel did great!”

What is her favorite procedure to do?
Abscess surgery on any species. Dr. Petritz likes being able to fix, clean, and help heal patients with these infections.

Does Dr. Petritz collect anything?
“Masks. I have some from about nine different countries!”

Where is her favorite place to visit?
Dr. Petritz went to South Africa as a veterinary student. There, she helped dart and anesthetize rhinos, wildebeest and giraffe, and learned about conservation medicine. She fell in love with the country and was even able to extend her trip to see more of the area.

What’s her favorite dish?
“Anything with mashed potatoes—I’m still Midwest at heart!”

What about the Norman Rockwell painting?
Dr. Petritz’s father has been a Normal Rockwell historian for over 30 years, and has interviewed numerous people who modeled for the famous artist. Through her father’s hobby, she was able to meet the man who was the subject of Rockwell’s 1961 “The Veterinarian.” She even has a signed copy framed and hanging in her office.

What does she consider to be her greatest achievement?
“Becoming boarded in zoo and exotic medicine.” Dr. Petritz happens to be the first American and the second person in the world to become a board-certified veterinarian under the sub-specialty ZCA (Zoologic Companion Animal) in the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM).

What is one thing Dr. Petritz would like to tell pet owners?
Become knowledgeable about your pet before purchasing or adopting. It is so important to know about their diet, husbandry, life expectancy, and more before bringing your new family member home!

Dr. Olivia Petritz is one of over a dozen skilled and interesting doctors at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals, but one of less than 200 to be board-certified in her specialty worldwide. She brings cheery optimism, fierce knowledge, and passionate dedication to each patient she works with, and we are thrilled to call her part of our team. Dr. Petritz is available by appointment Monday through Friday, but is on-call 24×7 for emergencies with the assistance of our emergency department.

 

Happy national ‪#‎LoveYourPetDay!

Although we celebrate animals every day, we’re giving our patients and pets a little extra love today. Be sure to celebrate safely with your little loved one!
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Locations

South Bay

2551 W. 190th St., Torrance, CA 90504

Tel: (310) 320-8300 - Fax: (424) 293-7254

Los Angeles

9599 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

Tel: (310) 558-6100 - Fax: (310) 558-6199

San Fernando Valley

20051 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Tel: (818) 887-2262 - Fax: (818) 704-0323

Central Valley

4300 Easton Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93309

Tel: (661) 281-1320 - Fax: (661) 302-4193

Click here for maps (and to find directions)