Archive for the Patients Category

Big Love for a Big Dog…

Our lover boy, Eddie, is back! He’s seen here snuggling Erika, an RVT in surgery, but he’s been getting kisses and pets from everyone!

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Labradoodles Have an Interesting History

Did you know that Labradoodles came about when an Australian breeder successfully crossed the Labrador retriever and standard poodle? They wanted to create a guide dog for the blind that would be compatible for those allergic to fur and dander!

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Potential Problems for Pup!

Dr. Alex Barnes saw Kobe today after some typical puppy trouble–eating out of the trash can! Luckily, Dr. Barnes determined Kobe is perfectly fine.

If your pet gets into something potentially dangerous, be sure to call your veterinarian right away!

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Lynx Love

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Miko is a Lynx kitten who came to see Dr. Annie Lo at ACCESS – Los Angeles for an orthopedic issue. In addition to a snazzy new bandage, he received many hugs and snuggles from our staff, namely Jessica, one of the RVTs in our surgery department!

 

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Chili Dog the Chinchilla Survives Heat Stroke

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Chili Dog is an 11-year-old chinchilla who lives the pampered life at home with his dad and mom in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Chili Dog was at home without air conditioning during the recent heatwave, causing him to suffer heat stroke.

Heat stroke happens when the body is no longer able to get rid of excess heat, causing overheating and resulting in seizures, organ failure, brain damage, and eventually death. Chinchillas are very intolerant of warm temperatures because they come from high in the Andes Mountains of South America. They are at risk of heatstroke in temperatures above the mid-70s.
Chili Dog’s owners knew something was wrong when they watched him collapse and begin breathing heavily. They did the right thing and wet him with water to cool him down before immediately bringing him to see Dr. Karen Schachterle at ACCESS LA on emergency.

When he arrived, Chili Dog was still collapsed on his side and was minimally responsive. Dr. Schachterle confirmed that Chili Dog did have heat stroke and that his small body was also in shock. Due to the severity of his condition, Dr. Schachterle and her team had to move quickly. They began to stabilize him with fluids and medication, making sure to include gastroprotectants as heat stroke can cause major damage to the stomach and GI tract. They also ran bloodwork to check for organ damage and began an intensive care and monitoring protocol.

It took almost twelve hours to get Chili Dog to the point where he was sitting up properly and able to eat on his own. Small mammals like chinchillas need to eat frequently, as even a short fast can cause severe disease.

Luckily, Chili Dog survived and was able to go home with his loving family, where he was closely monitored for any further issues, as complications from heat stroke can continue to develop hours after it is diagnosed.

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Sarah’s Survivor Party

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“If she makes it two years, I’ll throw her a party!” said Dr. Jana Norris.

Two years ago, Dr. Norris, the head board-certified surgeon at ACCESS, San Fernando Valley, performed a triple ventral slot procedure on Sarah, a procedure which would prevent this adult dog from becoming fully paralyzed. During the procedure, Dr. Norris found that she also had a thyroid anaplastic acinar carcinoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

This was tough news for the then ten-year-old dog and her family, but her owners were determined. They faced each challenge head on, not willing to give up on their furry family member. Sarah was able to be treated for her cancer by the Veterinary Cancer Group, and was eventually pushed through to remission by the wonderful specialists there.

Then, in August of 2015, we threw a party for Sarah the dog.

Sarah’s battle and recovery are truly amazing and it’s a case like this that reminds each of us why we are here and keep us grateful for the advances in veterinary medicine that make it possible for us to treat beloved animals. “Her prognosis with aggressive high grade and high stage cancer was poor all along, so it is amazing that she made it to two years post-op. That is a very good response to therapy and survival time after this diagnosis.” says Dr. Jana Norris.

We were happy to see Sarah back at our hospital, but this time, in our conference room! Dr. Norris provided a super-dog costume for super Sarah, who dined on gourmet dog treats; while the humans snacked on pizza. Sarah and her family brought a beautiful cake for the staff, and we all spent time talking about Sarah’s initial visit, her diagnosis, subsequent surgeries, and treatments.

We celebrate our patients each and every day, but it was nice to set aside special time for Sarah and her family.

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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

Rex, the dog with nine lives.

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In November 2014, Rex, a nine year old Chihuahua mix, was rushed by his family into the Los Angeles ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital after collapsing at home. “Triage to the front, STAT!” rang out over the intercom as his lifeless body was brought up to our front desk. Veterinary technicians and assistants promptly dashed to the lobby to get the little guy back to the emergency room, as our triage team prepped the area so that the doctor, Dr. Nicole Skilling, was able to immediately begin chest compressions.

Dr. Skilling and her team were able to revive Rex, though suction was needed to clear the airway and due to low oxygen levels, he was intubated, which means his breathing could be done for him. Now safely on oxygen, Rex was given cardiac medication to help stabilize him. Things started to look better for the pup but when he went into cardiac arrest for the second time Dr. Skilling and her team leapt to his side once again to begin chest compressions. They were able to revive and stabilize Rex, keeping him comfortable until he was able to see our specialists the following day for further work up.

The following morning, Rex was transferred to the care of Dr. Tina Son, one of our board-certified Critical Care specialists, who kept Rex intubated on full oxygen support and medications. Board-certified veterinary cardiologist, Dr. Steven Cole then saw Rex to check his heart.

Eventually he was weaned out of the oxygen unit and allowed to eat on his own, with as much vigor as his “big heart” could muster!

Although Rex’s prognosis remained guarded and his care critical, his owners remained hopeful that their boy would make it. Slowly and almost as if by will, Rex began to recover. He was able to be extubated, which means the breathing tube was removed from his trachea, and Rex was doing well in his oxygen unit. He was sitting up, and even able to drink water on his own! Despite Rex’s exuberance, his owners and doctors insisted on taking things slowly. Eventually he was weaned out of the oxygen unit and allowed to eat on his own, with as much vigor as his “big heart” could muster!

Miraculously, Rex was discharged just three days after entering the emergency room dead on arrival; with what some may have thought was little chance of survival. No one was happier to have Rex reunited with his family more than our wonderful team of doctors and support staff….except maybe Rex and his parents.

Although Rex’s story is inspiring and resulted in a happy ending, it is important to remember that not all pets are this fortunate. That’s why it is important for pet owners to plan for emergencies. Simply knowing where the nearest 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital is can mean all the difference; because every second counts.

We wish Rex and his family all the best and look forward to following his recovery progress.

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Shannon Brown
Marketing Coordinator | ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals

Gordo up and outside…

09/19/2014 – 4:15pm

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Following surgery yesterday afternoon to repair his leg, ‘Gordo’ is doing well. So much so, he was able to catch a little time outside today with Bonnie Riehl, a Veterinary Technician at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles.

According to Dr. Kim Carey and Dr. Annie Lo, the surgery went very well. Gordo had an FHO (femoral head ostectomy) which is where the ball of the ball and socket of the femur is removed and scar tissue forms in place of the ball. Patients that undergo this type of surgery are typically able to recover well, and with good post-operative care and management are soon able to run, jump, and play like normal. Gordo who manged a good meal after his operation, remained affable and very affectionate, capturing the hearts of many the doctors and technicians. Yes, he’s one tough little guy!

Dr. Carey and Dr. Lo are optimistic about Gordo’s recovery, and look forward to seeing him during his recheck appointments.

Stay tuned for updates…

#gordo #savethewhitedog

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Locations

South Bay

2325 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90501

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)