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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