Tails from the road… Ponies, K9s, and snakes, oh my!

Car-showJillians-car

ACCESS was a part of the Ponies at the Pike Mustang and Ford Car Show in Long Beach where lots of car enthusiasts stopped by to check out our booth to learn about the specialties we offer.

We also collected donations for Kerry’s K9 Fund, which raises money to get bulletproof vests for police dogs! Plus, since we love all creatures at ACCESS, the Reptile Adventures booth let Jillian and Yolie from ACCESS get close with Cuddles the python.

Thanks to everyone who said vroom vroom (hello hello) to us.

Jillian-and-snakesnake

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Sarah’s Survivor Party

Sara's-Anniversary-Party-with-Dr-Norris
 
“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.

Sara's-Anniversary-Party-with-Dr-Norris-B

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“Tails from the road… mixing it up.

A wonderful time was had by staff and primary veterinarians at a small and cozy ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital ‘Mixer’ in Culver City. Thanks to all who attended, and we look forward to seeing more of you next time. Stay tuned…

Below are four ACCESS ladies who always help to make things rock. (From left to right: Sheena Rai, Shannon Brown, Jillian Kassel and Leah Basinais)

ACCESS-gang

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Tails from the road… The Hippest Joint!

The Hippest Joint for Surgery Lectures is Western U!

We were asked to lecture at Western University in Pomona on surgery and Annie Lo, DVM, DACVS stepped up to the plate! She discussed the ins and outs of cranial cruciate ligament disease for almost 60 veterinary students. This was a surgery topic the students requested and we were more than happy to oblige. Thanks for having us, Western!

ACCESS-Western-University

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Tails from the road… Shake your tail feather!

Dr. Karen Schachterle and Jillian, our Director of Community Relations, hit the road and braved the heat to bring a lecture on Avian Physical Exams & Clinical Techniques to Bakersfield Veterinary Hospital.

The seven doctors in attendance loved having a Lunch and Learn so they can work with us to provide the best care for all the different types of birds they may encounter and the clients who love them. Thanks BVH for having ACCESS at your beautiful practice!

Dr-Karen-Schachterle-lunch-and-learn

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Snuggle Break…

All of our patients are not only medically cared for, but mentally and emotionally cared for as well! We are so fortunate to have such loving coworkers and staff that interact with our patients each day and were lucky enough to catch Kristen and Fancy during a snuggle session.

Kristen

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Belly full of metal…

Dr.-Erinne-Branter-and-Koda

Dr. Erinne Branter and Koda

 
Belly Full Of Metal Leads To Diagnosis Of A Congenital Liver Shunt.
Koda’s Second Chance!

Koda Taylor, a striking, young Siberian Husky, was living in a local shelter when his new mom found him, hours before he was scheduled to be euthanized. After being adopted, Koda was taken to a primary veterinarian for an examination, as his history was unknown and his new family wanted to make sure he was getting the best start to his new life.

During the exam, the doctor noticed something wasn’t right. After some x-rays were done, it was revealed that Koda had a ton of metal in his belly! A buckle, a bolt, some pins, parts of leashes—it was apparent that this pup need help and quick! Koda had surgery done with his primary veterinarian to remove the foreign objects and the surgery was successful, but something still wasn’t right. Koda went on to see several primary care veterinarians, a few told his mom to euthanize because something was wrong with him mentally.

A buckle, a bolt, some pins, parts of leashes—it was apparent that this pup need help and quick!
Koda’s mom had a hunch that this pup had something else going on, so she continued on, and found a neurologist to evaluate his abnormal behavior. The neurologist referred them to an internal medicine specialist who finally saw what was causing the trouble, this time, it was Koda’s liver.

Koda’s liver was small and his bloodwork revealed his liver values were very high. His internist diagnosed him with liver shunt, an intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, to be exact. A liver shunt is a blood vessel that carries blood around the liver instead of through it. In some animals, they are born with a liver shunt (congenital) though in others, multiple small shunts can form because of severe liver disease. If left untreated, a liver shunt can cause toxins to build up in the bloodstream or kidneys as well as abnormal behavior, and eventually liver failure. Koda was prescribed a strict diet and medications to help him through the time between the diagnosis and his next appointment and was referred to Dr. Erinne Branter, an internal medicine specialist and the head of the Interventional Radiology and Endoscopy Department at ACCESS LA.

Dr. Branter recommended a contrast CT angiogram and this found that young Koda had one large right sided shunt. Options were discussed with Koda’s family such as; surgery and medical management vs. a minimally invasive approach via a percutaneous transjugular coil embolization, or PTCE. They agreed that the best choice for their family and Koda would be the PTCE, which is a minimally invasive procedure that would correct the intrahepatic portosystemic shunt in Koda’s liver with much less risk than traditional surgery.

Dr.-Erinne-Branter-Internal-Medicine

Between the adoption fees, foreign body removal, examinations, medications, CT scans, and more, the bills were starting to pile up. Wanting to provide her sweet pup with the best care possible, Koda’s mom looked for help with a group of local Husky lovers. They helped her create social networking pages to raise money and awareness for Koda, who was suffering from a congenital liver shunt. So began Koda’s Hope. Relying on the kindness and generosity of others, the Taylor family began their fundraising journey. Little by little, donations came in and Koda’s family was able to pay for his surgery.

Then, in July of 2015, Koda and Dr. Branter met again. Koda was placed under anesthesia and brought into the very first purpose-built interventional radiology suite for animals on the West Coast. From there, Dr. Branter used fluoroscopy, a live video x-ray, to perform the PTCE, where a catheter is inserted into the jugular and is guided it all the way down to the liver. Dr. Branter then used an angiogram, which is an x-ray test that uses a special dye and fluoroscopy to take pictures of the blood flow in an artery or a vein, to confirm the size and location of the shunt.

Once the location was confirmed, Dr. Branter placed a caval stent, then brought six embolic coils down to Koda’s liver and placed them at the location of the shunt entry into the cava to increase the pressure around it and divert blood flow back into the liver.

Koda had very little recovery time as opposed to a traditional surgery.
In just a few hours, Dr. Branter had successfully corrected the liver shunt and Koda was waking up from surgery. Being that the PTCE is a minimally invasive procedure, Koda had very little recovery time as opposed to a traditional surgery, and was able to go home in just two days. Of course, with any surgery, there are precautions one needs to take—Koda wasn’t allowed to have any leashes or collars around his neck and was ordered to kick back and relax for the first few days home to ensure his body healed properly.

Everything went well and Koda healed beautifully. He now has a long, bright future full of loving his family and raising awareness for liver shunt in dogs like himself.

Keywords: liver shunt, congenital liver shunt, percutaneous transjugular coil embolization, minimally invasive treatment of liver shunts, caval stent, liver failure, elevated liver enzymes

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Tails from the road… (Yum. Pies.)

jillian_Kassel_ACCESS_Director_Community_Relations

Jillian, our Director of Community Relations, is a busy bee. Visiting primary veterinarians, scooting around organizing community events, and chatting with folks about animal specialty care is hard work – particularly in a southern Californian summer.

It’s also, apparently, hungry work. But no, these pies aren’t for her. Being her usual generous and considerate self, she decided to share a piece of pie with primary veterinarians she’ll meet today. (She tells us, “it didn’t take long before all I had left were empty boxes and crumbs on the back seat of my car.”)

Keep an eye out for Jillian in her ACCESS car which you just can’t miss, be sure to say hi, and stay tuned for more ‘tails from the road.’

ACCESS_tails_from_the_road_pizza_delivery

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