ACCESS – Deep In the Heart of Texas…

The International Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Symposium, or IVECCS, was held in Texas this year, and boy did we have a blast!

For those who are unfamiliar with the event, IVECCS is a lot like Comic-Con, only instead of movies, comics, and pop culture, thousands of people attend to learn more about and celebrate emergency and critical care for animals!

Our doctors and staff enjoyed attending lectures and hands-on labs, while our Marketing and Admin teams rocked the job fair in an effort to recruit some stellar doctors, specialists, RVTs, and VTS’s to join our team. We all loved being able to meet new people and see old friends.

We had a great time and can’t wait until next year!










Tails from the Road – Lectures Edition!

ACCESS had a busy week bringing our doctors and staff to speak at different events. Here is a glimpse into what we were up to:

Platt College in Alhambra invited ACCESS back again to talk to techs in training. Gabe Esparza spoke about life as an ACCESS RVT, and his background leading up to where he is now at our South Bay hospital. Gabe said has not had a dull moment in the ER and he shared his insights with the group of 15 students. They asked what he looks for in employees that he works with, and how he studied for the VTNE. He also spoke about the ACCESS Academy that new hires go through during their first 90 days to succeed in their department. Maybe they will work for ACCESS one day!


Dr. Karen Schachterle, from our Avian & Exotics Department, spoke about surviving exotics emergencies at the DVM2k dinner held at City of Angels. The event is aimed as “the youthful veterinary community” although there were people of all ages there, ranging from doctors, to techs, to students. Everyone was genuinely interested in learning what they could from Dr. Schachterle to apply in their own practice, and attendees who already work with her were able to ask questions of her to build on their relationship so exotic emergencies don’t have to be so scary.

Leah Basinais, Director of Operations at ACCESS, gave a lunch and learn for staff at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital in Thousand Oaks on compliance and estimate acceptance. It was a condensed version of a Continuing Education lecture she gave recently at our Woodland Hills hospital, and fear not if you missed it and think it would benefit your practice, she is going on tour! For now, Leah will be giving this same talk in Cerritos and Bakersfield in September, the South Bay in November, and Culver City in December so stay tuned for more info.


The North Bay/Westside VMA chapter had their monthly dinner meeting and Dr. Mike Becker, from our Emergency and Critical Care Department in Culver City gave a lecture on antimicrobial use in emergency situations. It was a huge turnout with the hotel running out of chairs at one point, so it must be because word got out that ACCESS was sponsoring and Dr. Becker had an interesting topic. We look forward to him giving the lecture at ACCESS Culver City sometime next year!



How is a Pitbull Not a Pitbull?

Pitbull is actually a common name for several types of dogs!

Formal breeds that are often considered to be Pitbulls include the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Here, our Client Care Supervisor, Airami, snuggles his Pitbull Hazel before her Internal Medicine exam.




How Does an Ultrasound Work?

In an ultrasound examination, a probe sends sound waves to the body and receives the echoing waves, creating an image on the screen. It’s a great way to examine the inside of the body in a painless, non-invasive way.

Here Dr. Gideon Daniel, one of our Internal Medicine specialists, demonstrates some of his techniques on a mango! He showed us how to perform an ultrasound as well as how to collect a sample—we commonly take urine and fluid samples during an ultrasound to run further diagnostics.




Danny: Animal Lover, RVT, Veteran



Danny has worked for ACCESS since June 2013, starting out at our Los Angeles location and currently working in the ER at ACCESS – San Fernando Valley. His sweet, stoic demeanor is paired with sharp wit and a set of skills necessary for success in a busy emergency and critical care department. We’ve worked alongside him for quite some time and wanted to learn more about what makes Danny tick!

How did Danny decide to work in veterinary medicine?
Danny grew up surrounded by animals and wanted to “pay them back for all they had given [him].”

Why did he choose the emergency room?
Danny likes that he gets to experience everything—different medical issues, procedures, and treatments! He enjoys being able to interact with all of the other specialties in the hospital and widening his field of knowledge.

What brought Danny to ACCESS?
He worked in general practice for two years and felt as though he hit a ceiling. Danny then decided it was time to go to a hospital that offered emergency and specialty medicine so he could learn more.

What is his favorite animal and why?
Danny loves all animals, but prefers dogs—he loves being able to play with them!

What would Danny be doing if he weren’t an RVT?
He would be a helicopter mechanic! Danny was a Marine for eight years, where he trained at Pendleton, then Edwards Airforce Base. Danny enjoyed his time as a Marine and even became a Sergeant!

What is his favorite meal and the best thing he cooks?
Danny loves sushi and anything Italian, though his best dish is pork chops—stuffed with sundried cranberries and bleu cheese!

What is Danny’s favorite procedure to see or do?
Danny likes to observe a PDA, or patent ductus arteriosus, correction. This procedure is performed by board-certified cardiologists and simply put, is when a hole in the heart is filled to prolong the life of an animal (or human)! Danny truly loves being able to assist in surgeries, as he’s very hands-on and thrives on the experience.

What is one thing he wishes pet owners would start doing?
“Learn more about the animals you are interested in before getting one as a pet and stop putting so much faith in medical advice offered on Google. Although it’s a great resource, there is a lot of misinformation there. Speak with a vet if you have questions!”

Outside of the hospital, you can catch this fluent Spanish speaker at the gym with friends, playing video games, or indulging his wanderlust with plans to see Asia and Australia! We appreciate Danny’s passion, knowledge, and skillset and are honored to have him on our team!


Andre: Navy Veteran and Client Care Supervisor

Andre has been with ACCESS since September 2014 and immediately excelled in his position with our Client Care department, earning him a promotion to supervisor! Prior to joining ACCESS, Andre was in the Navy for eight years, with a tour in Iraq where he worked Humvee duty, providing security for supply trucks and worked as a Detainee Operative. We absolutely adore Andre and his kind, sensitive nature and wanted to talk about what brought him to ACCESS!

How did Andre decide to work in veterinary medicine?
Andre already had a full-time job and was looking for a part-time position to supplement his income when his friend, an ACCESS employee, mentioned our San Fernando Valley location was hiring. He “fell into” veterinary medicine and hasn’t looked back!

Why did he choose Client Care?
Andre was in the Navy for eight years. He was stationed in Virginia, Florida, Oregon, and Seattle, in addition to a two year tour in Iraq and an additional two years in Bahrain. He had worked with the Ordinance Men until he broke his hand and was placed in the office with the administrative team and found that he really enjoyed it! He became a Yeoman, or Office Supervisor and is able to apply the skills he learned there to his current role at ACCESS.

What is his favorite animal and why?
Andre grew up around animals, always having pets at home and loves cats even though he’s allergic to them. He also has a soft spot for dogs, especially his black Chihuahua, Star, who he found four years ago on the streets—they’ve been inseparable ever since!

Does Andre collect anything?
Andre saves all of his movie and concert tickets!

What is his favorite meal and the best thing that he cooks?
Surprisingly, with all of his experience in the Navy, Andre found time to attend culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu! He likes to apply the skills he acquired there to whip up eggs benedict with homemade hollandaise!

What is the most challenging case Andre has ever dealt with?
Andre is very empathetic toward pet owners who have to say goodbye to their pets and finds euthanasia to be emotionally challenging. Andre had to make the difficult decision to put his own pet to sleep several years ago and understands how hard the process is, though he takes comfort in knowing he was able to be there for both the pet and their family.

What is his favorite procedure to see or do?
Andre enjoys observing frontal sinus trephinations—a procedure in which a doctor will temporarily remove the front part of an animal’s skull to gain access to an infected part of the sinuses. From there, they administer a strong anti-fungal cream to the entire sinus cavity. The entire procedure can last hours, with great results! Andre is fascinated by this, as when left untreated, the fungus can eat through the bone and eventually corrode the brain. With this treatment however, the patient has a better chance at survival.



From South Central to South Bay


Gabe (pictured above with Dr. Sarah Zimmerman) is an RVT who grew up in South Central and started working with ACCESS in September 2013. Since then, he has used hard work, skill, and determination to become the Technician and Purchasing Manager for ACCESS – South Bay. We’ve known Gabe for quite a while, but wanted to learn more about him!

How did Gabe decide to work in veterinary medicine?
Gabe used to be the IT Manager for an elementary school. One day, while he was creating barcodes for new textbooks, one of the teachers asked if he knew of anyone who would want to pick up overnight shifts at a local veterinary hospital.

Gabe started out there part-time and within a year became a full-time employee who was managing all of the supply purchases.

Why did he choose the emergency room?
The general practice Gabe started out with functioned as an emergency room overnight, which is where he developed a passion for emergency medicine! “I thrive on controlled chaos and love the caseload of the ER, so this was a natural choice for me.”

What brought Gabe to ACCESS?
After the initial practice, Gabe had moved on to general practice. After about six years there, he realized he missed caring for critically-ill patients and being exposed to unique and specialized surgical procedures, so he came to ACCESS – Los Angeles!

What is his favorite animal and why?
Gabe adores Pitbulls! He loves their loyalty, the bonds they have with their owners, and their goofy demeanors.

Does Gabe collect anything?
Gabe has over 1,000 football cards, including rookie cards for some of his favorite players, Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning, and Penny Hardaway!

What would he be doing if he weren’t an RVT?
Outside of veterinary medicine, Gabe had dreams of owning a body shop and working on cars.

What is Gabe’s favorite meal and the best thing he cooks?
He loves to grill, but don’t ask this connoisseur for his favorite dish—he can’t narrow it down!

What is his favorite procedure to see or do?
Gabe generally likes orthopedic surgeries, but really enjoys SUB placements, and thoracotomy procedures.

What is one thing Gabe wishes pet owners would start doing?
“Become properly educated on pet ownership before you get a pet. Most families see animals as a source of protection or income instead of a new addition to the family and don’t know about the proper medical care needed for a pet.”

What does he consider to be his greatest achievement?
Gabe prides himself on his hard work, so it’s no surprise that he’s most proud of becoming the Technician and Purchasing Manager for our South Bay location! Gabe is happy to be able to start the hospital from the ground up and really see it grow.

Outside of the hospital, Gabe enjoys spending time with friends and family and listening to music. We’re thrilled to have been able to see him grow into a management position and we’re even more excited to see what the future holds for him.

Pictured below from left to right: Gabe, Greg and Raul.