Lynx Love



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!



Meet Esmeralda…


Esmeralda is one of our incredible RVTs at ACCESS – Los Angeles. Her calm, unusual, and collected demeanor perfectly accompanies her great sense of humor and awesome art skills! Esmeralda has been with us since April 2014 and we wanted to learn more about her.

How did Esmeralda decide to work in veterinary medicine?
Preferring pets to people, it was an easy choice for Esmeralda! She has always bonded easily with animals, so caring for them was an obvious choice when picking her career.

Why did she choose the emergency room?
When she was in school, Esmeralda learned about all of the types of places a Registered Veterinary Technician could work and one stood out—she was drawn to emergencies. During her externships, her passion was confirmed! Esmeralda really enjoys caring for patients after the initial triage and loves being able to nurse them back to health, especially getting patients to eat! She also takes a liking to creating the best environment for her patients, whether it be by intricate bandage designs, or crafts, and is known around the hospital for it!

What brought Esmeralda to ACCESS?
After school, she started working at a specialty hospital, but wanted more. She then found ACCESS and was happy with her placement in our Emergency & Critical Care Department.

What is her favorite animal and why?
Esmeralda loves cats and rats! She likes that they’re quirky and social in their own way.

What would Esmeralda be doing if she weren’t a tech?
An embalmer or pathology assistant! Esmeralda enjoys learning and caring for those in need and these professions help provide important insight for the loved ones of the departed.

What is her favorite meal and what is the best thing she cooks?
Esmeralda loves pizza and can whip up a great vegan cupcake (though it has been a while), or simple serving of French fries!

What is the most challenging case Esmeralda has ever had?
“Table patients,” from a personal, and observational perspective. Esmeralda finds table patients, animals who are severely injured or sick and on life support, to be very challenging given their advanced illnesses and intensity of their treatments.

What is her favorite procedure to see or do?
Necropsies! Esmeralda loves the science, and sometimes, mystery behind it.
Esmeralda is also fond of observing pacemaker implantations done by our board-certified cardiologists. The technology, process, and life-saving ability is awe-inspiring!

What is one thing Esmeralda wishes pet owners would start doing?
Be more understanding, trust the knowledge of the veterinarians and technicians, and go in with an open mind. The staff’s goal is not only to save your pet and nurse them to health, but to also educate pet owners.

What does she consider to be her greatest achievement?
“Raising a wild son and becoming an RVT.” Esmeralda is close with her family and finds fulfillment in watching her young son grow up and setting an example for him in becoming a licensed professional in her field.

Outside of the hospital, Esmeralda enjoys making candles and photography, specifically, black and white shots of plants and animals! Esmeralda is loved by her coworkers for her knowledge, compassion, and care and we consider ourselves lucky to be able to work with her!

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Nina, the Pup in a Cup’s Plasma Exchange!

Nina is a six-year-old German Shepherd who was referred to Dr. Adam Eatroff, head of Nephrology & Hemodialysis at ACCESS Los Angeles, for advanced treatment of myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune condition that affects the connection of the nerves to the muscles.

When Nina first came into the hospital, she was unable to walk, stand, or even support herself and we knew we had to help.

Myasthenia gravis occurs in humans and animals and not only affects the muscles of the leg, but also weakens the esophagus, a condition called megaesophagus (because the esophagus enlarges, like an empty bag). Without the ability to contract the muscles in her esophagus, Nina was unable to keep food or water down, resulting in food being regurgitated into her lungs (a life threatening problem called aspiration pneumonia). She was also facing the possibility of starvation! Animals who have megaesophagus typically have to use a Bailey Chair (a device similar to a high chair) when they eat to keep them upright, making it easier for them to swallow. Nina’s family found that a large tub with pillows inside was the best fit for their beloved Nina. She happily sits inside during mealtime and enjoys the one-on-one experience with her family and caregivers!

To treat myasthenia gravis, Dr. Eatroff used our hemodialysis machine to perform plasma exchange, a procedure that separates the portion of the blood that contains a disease-causing substance, in this case antibodies. The red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are then put back into the patient, along with a fluid that replaces the plasma.

Nina spent about nine days in our hospital where she received treatments, went through daily exams to measure progress, and had many snuggle sessions. She was kept comfortable in the hospital and made many friends with our staff members—most notably Precious, Dr. Eatroff’s assistant, and Sheridan (see below), an RVT.

Nina regained her strength and was able to go home to continue recovering with her family, most importantly walking out the front door with no assistance needed! Hemodialysis can be used to treat many diseases, not just kidney failure, but also diseases that have nothing to do with the kidney, like myasthenia gravis and immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). We are so happy we were able to help sweet Nina and get her back to her loving family! You can also follow Nina’s journey on Instagram at pup_in_a_cup_Nina!

If you have any questions about hemodialysis or plasma exchange, don’t hesitate to ask your primary veterinarian or Dr. Adam Eatroff!



Puppy Love!

Victor from our LA surgery team is pictured here snuggling Harper, another employee’s pet. We love being able to treat animals like family, and Harper is no exception!



Meet Molly…


Molly is one of the many friendly faces you meet at our front desk at ACCESS – San Fernando Valley. She’s been with us from the start, has a passion for Client Care, and loves meeting new people, and we wanted to learn more about her!

How did she decide she wanted to work in veterinary medicine?
Molly loves animals and has wanted to work with them since she was four-years-old! She finds it exciting to work in the field and loves being able to see the healing process.

Why did Molly choose Client Care?
She loves meeting new people and seeing all of the different types of cases that come to the hospital. Molly also like being able to apply her well-honed skills in her work. She works tirelessly to ensure that our clients and staff members are cared for. Molly always tries to put herself in the other person’s shoes, allowing her the perspective needed to assist and comfort those around her.

What brought her to ACCESS?
Molly worked at the veterinary practice that used to be in the Valley before ACCESS purchased and renovated it. She had read a lot about Dr. Mills prior to making the decision to stay on and transition to ACCESS and was moved by what he had to say. Molly was excited to work for someone who stressed treating all of our patients and clients like family and to create a space for people to come and receive care while feeling safe and warm. Years later, she’s still excited to come in for each shift!

Where is Molly’s favorite place to visit?
Although her family is originally from California, Molly loves to visit her Mom in Portland. Together, they take in all the area has to offer as well as spend time with their beloved family dog. Molly also enjoys her visits because it takes her back to her childhood—she returned from her most recent trip with two homemade lasagnas!

What is her favorite animal and why?
Molly is a dog lover at heart and grew up with at least one always in her home. She also likes foxes for their sweet, innocent look and intelligence!

What would she be doing if she weren’t in Client Care?
She would be in vet school! That’s right, Molly can’t see herself in any other field, but she does take great joy in being able to help the families of the animals we treat.

What is Molly’s favorite meal and what is the best thing she cooks?
She loves breakfast, specifically pancakes! Molly even found a recipe for green tea pancakes that she swears by, though her wienerschnitzel is the best dish she cooks!

Does she collect anything?
Molly has been collecting smashed pennies since she was born! These quick and compact souvenirs take up two full jars at home, each commemorating a fond memory with family and friends. Molly estimates she has over 200 smashed pennies, including some from Portland, New York, every Southern California zoo, and the border of Canada!

What is one thing she wishes pet owners would start doing?
“Be more aware and don’t wait until the last minute to seek veterinary care. Many major issues can be prevented if they’re caught early enough.”

Molly’s greatest achievement is being able to save the lives of rescue dogs, even the ones she has adopted! Her huge heart shows in everything she does and we are so thankful for the opportunity to work with her every day.

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Removing Stones from Strawberry


Strawberry, a three-year-old female guinea pig, was seen by Dr. Olivia Petritz, our board-certified exotics specialist. Strawberry presented for an evaluation of a bladder stone, which had been diagnosed by her primary veterinarian. After consulting with Dr. Branter, the head of Interventional Radiology/Endoscopy and Urology, Strawberry’s family decided to try to remove the stone without surgery.

Using a small, rigid cystoscope and basket specialized for stone removal, Dr. Branter was able to retrieve the stone and avoid an invasive surgical procedure. The stone was analyzed and the results showed that it was composed of calcium carbonate, which is the most common type of stone in guinea pigs.

Strawberry recovered much more quickly than if she had undergone surgery. She was sent home soon after the scope with antibiotics and pain medication to recover with her family. She will have periodic x-rays to check for the formation of new stones, which will allow us to find any future stones early enough to remove them with an even less invasive method called voiding urethral hydropulsion, or flushing out of stones.


Update on Hermes. (See previous post.)

Hermes Recovering from Heat Stroke and Paw Burns.

Hermes came to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital on emergency with heat stroke and was diagnosed with bruised skin, an irregular heartbeat, a blood clotting disorder, GI bleeding, kidney injuries, lameness, and severe paw pad abrasions. Hermes was started on fluids, and IV medications to stabilize him and reduce his pain, and had his paws cleaned and bandaged. He continued his medication and fluids, as well as a plasma transfusion to help reverse the damage caused by the heat.

Hermes is now more alert, eating, and drinking water. He is still being treated for all of the injuries from his heat stroke as well as the burns to his paws. Most of his day is spent quietly resting while being monitored and snuggled by doctors and staff. Hermes will continue to be monitored for changes and treated for his condition.

Chili Dog the Chinchilla Survives Heat Stroke


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.