Archive for the Our Staff Category

No Stone Left Unturned…

Ozzie-IR

Ozzie is a beautiful 12 year old Himalayan cat who was referred to Dr. Erinne Branter at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital, Los Angeles, after being hospitalized for several days at his primary veterinarian’s office with a right ureteral obstruction. Ureteral obstructions are blockages that prohibit urine to drain from the bladder and can be caused by blood clots, mucus, crystals, strictures, tumors, or in Ozzie’s case, stones. Blockages are no walk in the park for any patient—animal or human— but can be deadly to dogs and cats. Untreated, a blockage can cause death due to complete kidney shut down.

Typically, a stent (tube that links the kidney to the bladder) can be placed to help a patient’s body pass the urine and stones. Ozzie had a stent implanted previously, which worked well for him for some time. Unfortunately, some patients are simply prone to re-obstruction, and in Ozzie’s case this called for a different approach.

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Dr. Branter, the head of our Interventional Radiology Department, consulted with Ozzie’s owners, and it was decided that a subcutaneous ureteral bypass, or SUB, would be placed to help Ozzie pass urine.

(Click on image for larger view.)

The SUB works as a secondary ureter, having one end of a small catheter implanted into the kidney and leading to the port, which rests under the skin, and connects to the end of the catheter which leads to the bladder. The port makes it possible for a veterinarian to flush the catheters to obtain urine samples for testing; while the catheter acts as a filter for the urine, making it possible for the fluid to pass through successfully.

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Dr. Branter performed the SUB placement alongside Dr. Kim Carey, an ACCESS surgeon. With two veterinary technicians to assist and another to monitor the anesthesia, Ozzie was in good hands. The sub was placed successfully and they also were able to extract fat cells to culture stem cells. Ozzie’s stem cells will be used to help his kidney function in the future. It is not uncommon for cats to stop eating while they are under stress from being out of their normal environment, so Ozzie also had an esophageal feeding tube, or e-tube, temporarily placed to help him during his recovery process. After recovering well from anesthesia, Ozzie stayed in our hospital for a few days to be monitored after his surgery. It’s safe to say that Ozzie stole all of our hearts here during his stay, and we are so happy to have been able to help him.

Ozzie’s case is not uncommon, though it may be hard for some owners to recognize the signs of an emergency with their cat. Symptoms of ureteral blockages may include change in appetite and general signs of lethargy, vomiting, or reduced appetite. These are not typical “urinary” signs as seen with bladder or urethral issues, but they should be evaluated by a doctor.

If you think your cat may be blocked, call your primary veterinarian immediately. Additionally, if your cat has elevated kidney values, please have him or her checked with an ultrasound of the kidneys. This is very important as you can significantly improve kidney function by addressing ureteral obstructions.

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Shannon Brown
Marketing Coordinator | ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals

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Check out our new video!

Ever want to know what it’s like to work at one of our hospitals?

If you are interested in working with us, please send your resume and cover letter to careers@accessvetmed.com

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Is peanut butter poisonous for pups?

Peanut-Butter-danger

Peanut butter is a delight for dogs and dog lovers – what better to coat the inside of Kong toys or hide those yucky pills? But dog lovers beware!”
A new peanut butter on the market is actually toxic to dogs. The problem is a sweetener called xylitol, which is used in some Nuts ‘N More products. Xylitol exists naturally in small amounts in some fruits and vegetables. For people, it is thought to have benefits over sugar including fewer calories, less tooth decay and fewer problems for diabetics. It’s a common ingredient in sugar-free gum, candy, toothpaste, and baked goods. Unfortunately, what’s safe for humans isn’t always safe for dogs.

So what happens when a dog eats xylitol?

Xylitol is extremely dangerous for dogs – even in small amounts. In low doses (0.1 grams per kilogram of body weight) it causes insulin release and low blood sugar. If blood sugar drops low enough, your dog can experience seizures or even a coma. In slightly higher doses (0.5 grams per kilogram) xylitol can cause liver failure. The amount of xylitol is proprietary information in most food products, so we often have to assume that a patient who ingested any food containing xylitol received a toxic dose. In this case, we typically recommend hospitalizing the dog with a constant infusion of sugar in an IV line, and we give medications to protect the liver. We monitor sugar and liver values on bloodwork for 2-3 days so that we can be proactive in treating liver disease if it develops. Once present, liver failure is a very difficult-and sometimes deadly – condition.

Needless to say, a few days in the hospital with frequently monitored bloodwork makes for a rough time for dogs and their people. Prevention is the best strategy; so read those labels, dog lovers! And be careful about human foods in general – did you know that grapes, macadamia nuts, and bread dough are also toxic for dogs?

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Thanks to Rebecca McQuitty, DVM for this interesting and valuable information.

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Open House in The Valley…

We had an awesome time with pet owners, members of the veterinary community, and our team!

Thank you to everyone who came for and helped with our tours, sponsor booths, food truck, pet owner seminar, family fun, and more!

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Come work with us!

ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital is looking for new team members to join our Client Care Department.

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The department is comprised of four main roles:

1. Client Care Representatives:
The face of ACCESS; a CCR is responsible for the first and last interactions with our clients. They prepare paperwork for patient arrival, care for the client/patient during check in process, maintain patient records, and guide the client through the discharge/check out process including handling financial transactions. They are also responsible for maintaining our lobby space and exam rooms to serve our clients.

2. Doctor’s Assistants/Departmental Liaisons
Guide clients through their pet’s appointment, procedure, or hospitalization. Assist the doctor with patient/appointment in take; organize/track patient diagnostics; coordinate hospitalize patient treatment; prepare patient discharge reports/in-hospital updates; and communicate with clients, pDVMs, and pharmacies as needed regarding appointments, medical concerns, patient updates, referrals, and prescriptions.

3. Charge Coordinators
Responsible for appropriate invoicing of in-house patients, coordinates financial updates during hospitalization, and performs financial transaction auditing

4. Phone Operators (Phone Operator is a sub role of our Client Care Representatives)
Responsible for directing calls to the appropriate person. Our phones are answered 24hrs a day by a live person. Responsibilities may include answering patient emergency calls, making appointments, taking messages, prescription refills, and handling general client inquiries.

We look forward to applicants interested in any of the above roles.

About ACCESS:
ACCESS is a multi-specialty veterinary hospital which includes avian & exotics (zoological companion animal medicine), cardiology, emergency/critical care, internal medicine, interventional radiology/endoscopy, neurology, and surgery departments. We combine advanced medical treatment with cutting-edge technology to provide compassionate comprehensive advanced medical care for our patients — 24hrs, 365 days a year. We strive to care for every patient as if they were our own pet.

Job Specifications:
All interested applicants should show a commitment to Quality in all of that they do, conduct themselves with the utmost Integrity, have Compassion for animals and humans alike, and be able to provide the best Service possible for our clients and patients. These attributes ensure the candidate will be an efficient, effective, professional, and positive team member.

    • Minimum two year experience in a customer service role
    • Experience in a medical setting preferred, veterinary is ideal
    • Must be able to multi-task and think fast
    • Must exhibit a high level of customer service in stressful situations
    • Must be able to read, write, and speak English fluently in a clear and audible voice
    • Must be comfortable working with business related computer software as well as Microsoft Office Programs (Word and Excel)
    • Schedule Flexibility is needed due to the 24 hours, 365 day operation of the hospital

Additional Preferred Job Specifications for Phone Operators

    • Minimum one year experience handling a large volume of telephone calls
    • Experience in a call center
    • Experience discerning incoming caller’s needs and routing appropriately
    • Medical (human or animal) call routing is a plus

Additional Preferred Job Specifications for Doctor’s Assistants/Departmental Liaisons

    • Familiar with standard medical abbreviations
    • Ability to use proper medical terminology when speaking and writing
    • Adept at prioritizing tasks given from multiple sources

Additional Preferred Job Specifications for Charge Coordinators

    • Experience in medical billing/coding
    • Should be methodical and meticulous adhering to procedures/policies
    • Familiarity with medications (human or animal) and dosage calculation is a plus

Physical Requirements

    • May need to stand and walk around the hospital for an extended period of time to facilitate client care
    • Must be able to sit for an extended period of time
    • Must be able to lift objects up to 10-15lbs, such as office materials, patient files, and small animals
    • Excellent hearing and listening skills required
    • Continuous typing is required
    • Must be able to bed, kneel, and reach in order to troubleshoot computer, phone, and multi-functional device problems

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume (careers@accessvetmed.com) detailing experience specifically as it would correlate to the position you are applying for.

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Yum…

We’re celebrating #NationalDonutDay with our awesome staff!

ACCESS-donut-day

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Shea: Client Care Extraordinaire…

Shea

Shea Heagle is one of the many amazing people in our client care team at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles. Shea is bright, funny, and compassionate; and we wanted to know what brought her to her current position at ACCESS.

Why veterinary medicine?

Shea never intended to work in veterinary medicine per se, but during a job search she found a description that fit her-customer service, love of people, and working around animals. When she was in high school, Shea hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do just yet…until she met her English teacher who inspired her to work with others.

What brought Shea to ACCESS?

This Pasadena native earned her Master’s degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Laverne and wanted to apply those skills in a new setting. Shea genuinely loves people and has always “worked in the people business.” We think her knowledge and experience is crucial to her position and Client Care is something she excels at.

Where is her favorite place to visit?

Shea loves the beach-Miami, Florida to be exact. This West Coast gal loves to vacation where the water is always warm and the people are super friendly.

What is Shea’s favorite animal and why?

Shea has absolutely no idea where her love of Polar Bears came from, but she adores them! She also has a fondness for Golden Retrievers because “they’re adorable and precious.”

What would she be doing if she weren’t working at ACCESS?

“Working in a school.”

What is her favorite meal?

“Mexican food for sure! I could eat chips and salsa all day, every day.”

Does Shea collect anything?

Shea loves bottle openers and has between 10 and 15 that she has collected over the years as souvenirs.

What is the most challenging case Shea has had?

The life of an emergency room Client Care Representative can be trying both physically and emotionally, so it is no surprise that Shea’s most challenging and most rewarding case involved an ER patient. A client had brought in his cat on emergency-the poor kitty was in critical condition. After much thought, discussion, and time spent with his pet, the owner made the difficult decision to euthanize. Shea was with the client and his pet from the very start and spent time speaking with him about his cat’s long, fulfilling life and the love that he had for his dear pet. Shea was emotionally invested in the case and it saddened her deeply to see this client so heartbroken. Before leaving, he told Shea he was going home feeling better because of her.

What is Shea’s advice for pet owners?

Do not procrastinate in seeking medical attention for you pets, because some things can worsen while you wait.

What does she consider to be her greatest achievement?

“Getting my Masters.” We can’t agree enough with that! Shea has achieved an amazing degree in a field that she is passionate about. We are proud to work with someone that is so dedicated to counseling and caring for others.

We are lucky to see Shea’s talents utilized every day that she’s at ACCESS. Outside of work, Shea loves to try out new Pinterest recipes, her latest being a steak roll-up!  From working closely with clients and doctors, to speaking with admin and connecting with her peers, Shea oozes compassion, integrity, intelligence, and a great sense of humor. We are grateful to have found such a great team member, coworker, and friend.

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Come and get it…

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

ACCESS-Candy-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.

ACCESS-ten-year-anniversary-party

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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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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)