ACCESS visits IVECCS in Washington, D.C.

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In September of 2015, many of our team members made the trek to Washington, D.C. to attend IVECCS, the International Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Symposium. There, we were able to attend lectures, host a booth at the job fair, and see old friends as well as make new ones! The ACE crew — Aubrey the cat, Carleigh the dog, and Eric the bird — enjoyed seeing everything D.C. had to offer!

The Gaylord National Convention Center was the perfect setting for such an impressive gathering of the best of the best in veterinary emergency and critical care! The Gaylord was centrally located and a truly remarkable venue for such an event. We were able to go sightseeing and were so thankful for the chance to see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the White House.

Later, at the job fair, we had the opportunity to meet dozens of technicians, doctors, residents, and specialists, all of whom were happy to learn more about what ACCESS and Southern California had to offer.

Our trip was wonderful and we were truly grateful for the experience. We can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us!

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The Hot Facts About Heat Stroke and Your Dog

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It’s summertime— the sun is bright and the days are long. You’d like to go for a jog with your best friend and there’s a nice breeze, so you suspect that it is not too hot… Fido should be fine!  What you don’t know is that serious injury could be lurking right outside your door, for you and your pet.

Did you know that when dogs pant it helps cool their bodies much like sweating cools us down? Panting is their main cooling mechanism; without the ability to pant, they overheat.

If you put a muzzle on your dog, or any other device that prevents the mouth from opening wide enough to pant, you could cause your dog to overheat.
Sometimes, even if a dog is able to pant, the body can get so hot that the heat buildup overwhelms the panting mechanism and heat stroke can ensue. Imagine that your dog is a car—if your car isn’t able to run properly, it can overheat and breakdown. Unfortunately, if your dog overheats, he or she could die.

It is important to note that the temperature outside doesn’t matter. It could be 70 degrees with a breeze and your dog could still get heat exhaustion or worse. Dogs particularly susceptible to overheating on walks are brachycephalic breeds (dogs with a short snout) like Bulldogs, Pugs, Brussels, and Griffons; overweight dogs; and thick coated dogs such as Huskies, German Shepherds, and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Please, never leave your pet in a car. On a 78 degree day, the temperature in a car, even with windows cracked, can elevate to 120 degrees within minutes.

Signs indicating that your pet is overheating and has potential for heat stroke include: lethargy, vomiting, shallow breaths, seizures, and confusion. If you note any of these signs, you must immediately remove your pet from the heat source, give your pet water to drink, fan your pet,and allow him or her to rest. In severe cases of heat stroke, you may wet the dog’s body with room temperature to slightly cool water. However, please be careful because if the water is too cold, it could shock the system. It is important to see a veterinarian right away if mild or severe signs of heat injury appear.

Summer should be full of time outside and fun with family, friends, and your pooch. Please be safe and play outside on cooler days, as well as earlier or later in the day for short amounts of time on warmer days. Always be sure there is plenty of water for Fido, and if there are any signs of overheating, rest your dog and seek veterinary advice immediately. Also, be sure to report any animals inside of a car to the proper authorities. You could save a voiceless creature’s life.

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Is peanut butter poisonous for pups?

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Peanut butter is a delight for dogs and dog lovers – what better to coat the inside of Kong toys or hide those yucky pills? But dog lovers beware!”
A new peanut butter on the market is actually toxic to dogs. The problem is a sweetener called xylitol, which is used in some Nuts ‘N More products. Xylitol exists naturally in small amounts in some fruits and vegetables. For people, it is thought to have benefits over sugar including fewer calories, less tooth decay and fewer problems for diabetics. It’s a common ingredient in sugar-free gum, candy, toothpaste, and baked goods. Unfortunately, what’s safe for humans isn’t always safe for dogs.

So what happens when a dog eats xylitol?

Xylitol is extremely dangerous for dogs – even in small amounts. In low doses (0.1 grams per kilogram of body weight) it causes insulin release and low blood sugar. If blood sugar drops low enough, your dog can experience seizures or even a coma. In slightly higher doses (0.5 grams per kilogram) xylitol can cause liver failure. The amount of xylitol is proprietary information in most food products, so we often have to assume that a patient who ingested any food containing xylitol received a toxic dose. In this case, we typically recommend hospitalizing the dog with a constant infusion of sugar in an IV line, and we give medications to protect the liver. We monitor sugar and liver values on bloodwork for 2-3 days so that we can be proactive in treating liver disease if it develops. Once present, liver failure is a very difficult-and sometimes deadly – condition.

Needless to say, a few days in the hospital with frequently monitored bloodwork makes for a rough time for dogs and their people. Prevention is the best strategy; so read those labels, dog lovers! And be careful about human foods in general – did you know that grapes, macadamia nuts, and bread dough are also toxic for dogs?

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Thanks to Rebecca McQuitty, DVM for this interesting and valuable information.

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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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Rex, the dog with nine lives.

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In November 2014, Rex, a nine year old Chihuahua mix, was rushed by his family into the Los Angeles ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital after collapsing at home. “Triage to the front, STAT!” rang out over the intercom as his lifeless body was brought up to our front desk. Veterinary technicians and assistants promptly dashed to the lobby to get the little guy back to the emergency room, as our triage team prepped the area so that the doctor, Dr. Nicole Skilling, was able to immediately begin chest compressions.

Dr. Skilling and her team were able to revive Rex, though suction was needed to clear the airway and due to low oxygen levels, he was intubated, which means his breathing could be done for him. Now safely on oxygen, Rex was given cardiac medication to help stabilize him. Things started to look better for the pup but when he went into cardiac arrest for the second time Dr. Skilling and her team leapt to his side once again to begin chest compressions. They were able to revive and stabilize Rex, keeping him comfortable until he was able to see our specialists the following day for further work up.

The following morning, Rex was transferred to the care of Dr. Tina Son, one of our board-certified Critical Care specialists, who kept Rex intubated on full oxygen support and medications. Board-certified veterinary cardiologist, Dr. Steven Cole then saw Rex to check his heart.

Eventually he was weaned out of the oxygen unit and allowed to eat on his own, with as much vigor as his “big heart” could muster!

Although Rex’s prognosis remained guarded and his care critical, his owners remained hopeful that their boy would make it. Slowly and almost as if by will, Rex began to recover. He was able to be extubated, which means the breathing tube was removed from his trachea, and Rex was doing well in his oxygen unit. He was sitting up, and even able to drink water on his own! Despite Rex’s exuberance, his owners and doctors insisted on taking things slowly. Eventually he was weaned out of the oxygen unit and allowed to eat on his own, with as much vigor as his “big heart” could muster!

Miraculously, Rex was discharged just three days after entering the emergency room dead on arrival; with what some may have thought was little chance of survival. No one was happier to have Rex reunited with his family more than our wonderful team of doctors and support staff….except maybe Rex and his parents.

Although Rex’s story is inspiring and resulted in a happy ending, it is important to remember that not all pets are this fortunate. That’s why it is important for pet owners to plan for emergencies. Simply knowing where the nearest 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital is can mean all the difference; because every second counts.

We wish Rex and his family all the best and look forward to following his recovery progress.

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Shannon Brown
Marketing Coordinator | ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals

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Congratulations are in order…STAT!

Having completed veterinary school, an internship, a residency in emergency and critical care, and a written examination with a required publication accepted by peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Lee has achieved board certification. All of this requires years of hard work, long, late hours, and an unyielding commitment to get the job done!

We want to offer hearty congratulations to Joyce Lee, MS, DVM, DACVECC who has been with us since the opening of our San Fernando Valley location. She will continue to be a source of knowledge, positivity, and compassion in our Emergency and Critical Care department.

Dr.-Joyce-Lee

 

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Say hello to Kelly and PeeWee!

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Kelly has been with ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals for two and a half years, and is an integral part of our Emergency and Critical Care department. She has been in the field for fifteen years, and brings unwavering positivity and compassion to each day she works. Originally hailing from Long Beach, Kelly has explored interests outside of veterinary medicine, going to Joe Blasco Cosmetics School for special effects make up and puppetry, and has recently hung up her skates after doing Roller Derby for five years.

She loves the doctors here at ACCESS, saying they’re “top notch” and she only works where she would trust the staff with her own pets. She has been called “The Cat Whisperer”, and especially likes mischievous kitties, pets with special needs and older animals. Kelly is happy to be a part of our team, where she is not alone in talking to our patients and is appreciated for her skills. Kelly is quite the pet Mom, having two cats, two dogs, three beta fish, and a tarantula at home. We look forward to her shifts, as she comes prepared with a huge smile on her face, ready to care for our hospitalized patients and emergency cases. Kelly is a huge fan of PeeWee Herman, and is pictured with her dog named… you guessed it, PeeWee!

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Introducing Dr. Danielle Sawyer…

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Danielle Sawyer DVM, is currently a first year resident in emergency and critical care at ACCESS – Los Angeles. Her energy, determination, and adaptivity helps her excel in practice and in life.

Being raised in an Air Force family traveling from Japan, to Belgium to the US, and growing up with small animals and exotics, instilled in Danielle a deep respect and call to care for all living beings no matter where she was. Upon moving back to the States in her teenage years, Danielle first embarked upon her mission to become a veterinarian in Chelsea, MI as a vet assistant in a small general practice.

As a Michigan State Spartan, Danielle completed a BS in Zoology with a concentration in Animal Behavior and Neuroscience. Electing to attend an off-shore veterinary school in the Caribbean, Danielle earned her DVM degree as a Rossie in 2011. She developed her love of emergency and critical care in an internship at Animal Specialty Group in LA, followed by two years as an overnight emergency veterinarian in Thousand Oaks, CA prior to starting at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals.

From her collegiate varsity swimming years, Danielle continues to enjoy swimming and coaching swimming on her spare time. She also has fun taking her three happy dogs to the dog park and relaxing at home with her other pets including her loving Kittitian cat and her gorgeous rescued leopard gecko.

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Critical Care – It’s in our DNA

Did you know that in 2005 we launched a small specialty practice to provide Emergency and Critical Care services for animals?

Today we have two leading animal hospitals offering 24 hour Emergency and Critical Care Services – supported by a variety of specialty departments.

Staffed with Criticalists, highly qualified doctors, dedicated medical technicians and compassionate receptionists, the team at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals is driven to provide referring veterinarians and their clients the best possible Emergency Services and Critical Care for animals in Southern California.

Services include: Advanced CPR, Mechanical ventilation and ‘life support’, Blood transfusions, Management of high-risk anesthesia and post-operative critical patients, Cardiac emergencies, Metabolic emergencies, Kidney failure and Liver failure, Advanced pain management, Neurologic emergencies.

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This Thursday: Learn how to protect animals from Rat Poison.

Rodenticide, colloquially known as ‘Rat Poison’, injures or kills thousands of family pets and wildlife each year, and is among the most common cases we treat in our Emergency rooms.

Dr-Lisa-Mahlum-San-Fernando-ValleyNow we’re delighted to announce that Lisa Mahlum, MS, DVM, DACVECC (of our San Fernando Valley Specialty Animal Hospital) will be speaking on behalf of the veterinary community to help educate pet owners about its dangers, what symptoms to look for, and how pets can be treated.

So please join Dr. Mahlum at the Calabasas Public Library Founders Hall this Thursday, March 13, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm to learn how to protect your pet (and local wildlife) from this silent and deadly killer.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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