Thomas is a five-month-old Hamster who belongs to one of our Avian & Exotic Pet department team members who drove 80 miles to go rescue him!
This week, we partnered up with two chapters of the SCVMA to provide continuing education lectures for their members. The SCVMA (which stands for Southern California Veterinary Medical Association) is basically a club for those in the veterinary field. Members meet about once a month to have dinner while a guest speaker comes to talk about something pertaining to veterinary medicine and in exchange, attendees get credits they need to maintain their license.
Later in the week, we brought Dr. Amelia Sinkin to the 94th Aero Squadron to talk about Pulmonary Hypertension to the San Fernando Valley chapter. Dr. Sinkin is the newest cardiologist to join our cardio team at the San Fernando Valley hospital, and those in attendance couldn’t stop talking about how great her presentation and lecture style was.
We had a great time and we can’t wait to get back out there on the lecture circuit!
Salmon is a beautiful snake that belongs to one of our Registered Veterinary Technicians, Bonnie! Salmon came in to visit everyone and quickly made friends with our team.
Baleine is a beautiful one-year-old giant breed French Lop rabbit who came to see Dr. Karen Schachterle as an emergency transfer from her primary veterinarian. She had been lethargic and had no appetite for several days, which in rabbits can be life threatening.
Once Dr. Schachterle examined Baleine, it was determined that she had a liver lobe torsion, which means one of the lobes of her liver twisted inside of her, cutting off its own blood supply. This is an emergency, as this condition can become deadly if not treated immediately.
Because the affected portion of the liver had been bleeding into her abdomen, Baleine required a blood transfusion to be stable enough for surgery. Linda Bailey from Too Many Bunnies (a rabbit rescue organization) volunteered four giant breed rabbits as possible blood donors. Colorado, a handsome Flemish giant, was selected and donated blood to Baleine. Once the blood transfusion had started, our surgeon Dr. Annie Lo and the exotics team took Baleine to surgery to address the torsion.
Baleine stayed at ACCESS for a few days following surgery. Once she had recovered, Baleine was able to go home to her loving family, where she is a service animal for a little girl.
If you suspect your pet may be having an emergency, do not hesitate to contact your regular veterinarian or nearest emergency room.
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.
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.
This gorgeous guy is Tank, a Flemish Giant rabbit.
Flemish Giants are known for their large size and are typically very docile if handled correctly. Tank is from Too Many Bunnies, a foundation that rescues and rehomes rabbits, as well as educates the public on the proper treatment of animals.
He visited us as moral support for his friend Squirt who came for an exam with Dr. Olivia Petritz. He made a big impression on us and we are so grateful for the opportunity to see and treat so many species every day!
Dr. Lindsay Porter works in our LA emergency room, treating dogs and cats who need immediate assistance, but she also has a passion for exotics! Dr. Porter owns three Red-Footed Tortoises. These tortoises can live more than 50 years and are noted for their curious personalities. The Porter tortoises came in for a wellness check with Dr. Olivia Petritz which included an exam and x-rays. X-ray imaging is a great diagnostic tool that typically does not involve sedation or much restraint. After their checkup, the three friends enjoyed a salad for lunch and hung out until it was time to go home.
If you ever have any questions about the care of your pet, be sure to call your primary veterinarian.
We first met Allyza in 2015 when Dr. Olivia Petritz spoke at her elementary school in South Central. In addition to bringing along several species of exotic animals, Dr. Petritz talked to the kids about conservation, how to treat animals, and what it’s like to be a vet.
After the presentation, Allyza introduced herself to Dr. Petritz and her love for animals was made immediately clear. Allyza was star struck and even asked Dr. Petritz to autograph her veterinary Lego set guidebook and her veterinarian Barbie doll!
In March 2016, we invited Allyza to join our Los Angeles hospital as a “doctor” for the day to encourage her love of animals and furthering her education. Upon arrival, Allyza was greeted by Hospital Manager Jason Bitting, who gave Allyza her very own white lab coat complete with her name embroidered on the front.
She and her mother were then taken on a tour of the hospital, finally landing in our Exotics department, where she was reunited with Dr. Petritz, her assistant Rosa, and Dr. Karen Schachterle. There, Dr. Allyza listened to the heartbeats of a tortoise and bird and had many of her questions about our patients, school, and veterinary medicine answered. We also traveled to some of our other departments and learned about endoscopy in Internal Medicine, MRI in Neurology, and made our way back to Exotics to check the expiration dates on food for our patients and look at some of the tools used in surgeries. She then had pizza for lunch and was presented with a year-long membership for her family to the LA Zoo and ended her day by saying goodbye to all of the patients.
We are so lucky to have been able to spend quality time with Allyza and help foster her love for veterinary medicine. We hope she continues to pursue her passion and can’t wait to see what the future holds for her!