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!

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Go Suzy and Jamie…

ACCESS-SFV-Suzy-Jamie

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!

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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

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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

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