Archive for the ACCESS South Bay Category

Five signs it’s time to take your pet to the ER


If only pets could talk! Even if pets can’t necessarily voice their problems, there are signs that you should watch out for that can point to injury or illness:

  • Bleeding: Even minor cuts, bleeding masses, or bite wounds have the potential of getting infected.
  • Difficulty breathing: Increased respiratory rate or effort while your pet is at rest could indicate major problems within the thorax, such as issues with the heart and/or lungs 
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea: Because both of these signs can cause dehydration, it is always better to bring your pet in for evaluation rather than let the illness persist 
  • Seizures: These may present as full body convulsions, or even just a “fly-biting” facial twitch. Although the brain is commonly the culprit for this, there are other disease processes that could cause this type of behavior.
  • Lameness: A limping/lame pet is a painful pet. It is always warranted to have a veterinarian evaluate if this sign is noted.

By catching the signs early and getting your pet evaluated as soon as possible, you are being the best advocate for your pet that you can be! Although we’re showcasing these five signs, please also keep in mind that there are many other signs that may indicate need for a veterinarian’s evaluation. Pets that have hives, possible toxin ingestion, cats or dogs that are straining to urinate, or any animal who is severely lethargic or not eating may also be in danger. If you are considering whether or not to bring your pet to the emergency room, it is always best to just take him or her and know that you are doing all you can to “speak” for your pet.

A big thank you to Danielle Sawyer DVM, Practice Limited to Emergency and Critical Care, for helping us with this list…


6 Things to Consider When Getting a Pet

1. Cost
Your new little family member is going to require a lot – food, licensing, routine vaccinations and exams, a spay/neuter, emergency room visits, and in some cases they may need specialty care or even lifelong medication. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, cat, or exotic pet, make sure you have a little bit of savings to care for them.

2. Lifespan
There are many, many different species of animals and they all have a different life expectancy. It’s preferred to give your pet a great forever home, so if you’re not ready to care for a Macaw for 50 years, consider a dog. If you think you won’t be able to live with a Golden for 12 years, consider a hamster!

3. Husbandry
Do you know what you’re actually supposed to feed your bunny, dog, pig, duck, or rat? Make sure you know what your pet needs to stay healthy. That means speaking with veterinarians—don’t just trust what you’ve read online!

4. Toxins
Are you ready to pet-proof your home? Things that we consider safe can sometimes be fatal to our pets! Make sure you research common toxins for your pet and speak with a veterinary professional if you have any questions. Just because your Aunt told you her dog ate chocolate and was fine does not mean that chocolate isn’t a toxin—don’t accept anecdotal evidence!

5. Adjustment Period
It’s going to take some time for your new best friend to get used to their new home, family, and schedule—take it easy! Just like people, each animal has their own likes and dislikes and certain things can make them nervous. Know that they may have an adjustment period as they get settle in with their new forever family. (

6. Illness
Not many people know that animals can get sick and they don’t always show it right away. Brush up on the ways your pet can show that they’re in pain as well as other abnormal symptoms. Illness can range from vomiting and diarrhea to asthma and heart failure to kidney failure, and certain species or breeds are predisposed to some serious conditions. Always call your primary veterinarian if you’re concerned about your pet.

Always remember, adopt don’t shop!


Dr. Zimmerman visits Costa Rica…

During a recent trip to Costa Rica, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Jaguar Rescue Center and donate much needed medical supplies on behalf of ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital — South Bay.

The Jaguar Rescue Center (JRC) is a temporary or permanent home for ill, injured and orphaned animals in southern Costa Rica, just outside of Puerto Viejo. With a focus on birds, reptiles, amphibians and small primates, the JRC provides veterinary services, round-the-clock care and comfort to animals that would otherwise be unable to survive in the rainforest or the sea of the Caribbean.

The JRC has a full-service hospital where injured or ill animals receive medications, special diets, physical therapy, and even surgery! The primary goal of the JRC is rehabilitation and return to the wild. In this, the JRC has an amazing track record. The La Ceiba Primary Forest serves as a release point for animals which will be returned to the wild. Even animals who cannot be released due to injury can be taken on “day excursions” into the primary forest. An amazing example I witnessed was an anteater who had suffered brain damage after being struck by a vehicle. He would not survive alone in the wild. He does, however, get the opportunity daily to experience the wild of the primary forest with a chaperone.

The JRC finds space and rehabilitates any and all animals native to the area, even full grown crocodiles! One of the more recognizable animals in Costa Rica is the sloth. Many sloth babies are orphaned when the mother is electrocuted grabbing an electrical wire rather than a tree or vine. The rehabilitation of an orphan is an extensive process. If a sloth cannot be returned to the wild, they can live up to 40 years, a big commitment! The permanent residents are given proper food, exercise, and access to the beach or jungle to maintain the best quality of life.

If you would like to donate or visit the Jaguar Rescue Center, please find them at

Click on the below pics to enjoy ‘bigger’ cuteness…
Discover more about Dr. Zimmerman


Meet Duckie with her fashionable vest…

Meet Duckie! She is sporting a fashionable vest that holds a Holter monitor. Holter monitors are used to diagnose arrhythmias by continuously recording an animal’s heart rate and rhythm over a period of 24 hours.

Pets with intermittent episodes of weakness or collapse may have a Holter monitor placed by the ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital’s Cardiology team to determine if an abnormal heart rhythm is the underlying cause of signs seen at home. The vests protect the monitoring device while pets go about their daily activities. If your pet’s cardiologist recommends a Holter monitor, your pet can also strut their stuff for a day in their very own form fitting black vest.


Tails from the road – Doctor Edition!

We love it when our specialists take the time to visit local primary veterinary hospitals. Whether it’s because our doctors are new to ACCESS, are bringing holiday cheer, or simply want to check-in and say hello, you never know where and when you might spot them on the road!


Quality Control K9

Dr. Timothy Krebs brought his very own pup, Buddy, to check out the hospital. Buddy became the self-appointed Quality Control Supervisor. When asked about his new position, Buddy said “It’s ruff, but doggone it, I love it!”


Feeding Tubes Save Lives!

Flower is a young, cuddly rescue cat who was hospitalized at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – South Bay for intensive care for treatment of upper respiratory issues including sneezing, nasal discharge, and anorexia from severe ulcerations on her tongue.

The ulcers were caused by a calicivirus (ka-lee-see virus) infection which is common in the upper respiratory disease complex of cats. Unlike the Mother of Dragons, this calici is a nasty infection affecting only cats.

The ulcers caused such severe pain in poor Flower’s mouth that she would drool profusely, refusing to eat anything offered. We also tried to feed her with a syringe, which means her food was liquefied and then gently squirted into her mouth, which was also a very negative experience.

Needing to find a way to treat Flower, she had a feeding tube placed in her esophagus to help make sure she was getting all of the food and water she needed. The feeding tube also helps with giving medications that would normally be given orally. This way, our team can make sure Flower gets everything she needs to get better without struggling to swallow.

There are several types of feeding tubes, but to insert this specific feeding tube, also known as an E-tube, Flower was placed under anesthesia so she wouldn’t feel a thing. Next, her doctor made a small incision and placed the feeding tube in her esophagus with part of it exposed so that medical staff can complete treatments and feed her. Feeding tubes are typically temporary and are kept clean with a fashionable cloth collar to protect the incision site.

The recovery from Flower’s infection took several weeks, but after three weeks of care, she began to eat on her own again! Once she was eating on her own regularly, the feeding tube was removed and she was ready to leave the hospital.

If you are interested in fostering or adopting this precious little girl, please contact the Stray Cat Alliance Rescue of Los Angeles.


Take a 360° tour of ACCESS – South Bay.



Paweseome Animal Ambassadors

Charlie and Dink belong to Krys, the assistant to Cardiologist, Dr. Sarah Zimmerman. In addition to snuggling and looking cute, they love to rep ACCESS Speciality Animal Hospitals with their snazzy bandanas!


Dr. Townsell Scopes Out the Issues…

Dr. Marlene Townsell is an Internal Medicine Specialist at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – South Bay. She’s seen here performing an endoscopy on her patient, an adorable tabby! Endoscopy is a tool doctors use to see inside the digestive system.

To learn more about how endoscopy works, click here!

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South Bay

2551 W. 190th St., Torrance, CA 90504

Tel: (310) 320-8300 - Fax: (424) 293-7254

Los Angeles

9599 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

Tel: (310) 558-6100 - Fax: (310) 558-6199

San Fernando Valley

20051 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Tel: (818) 887-2262 - Fax: (818) 704-0323

Click here for maps (and to find directions)