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?
Thanks to Rebecca McQuitty, DVM for this interesting and valuable information.
ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital is looking for new team members to join our Client Care Department.
The department is comprised of four main roles:
1. Client Care Representatives:
The face of ACCESS; a CCR is responsible for the first and last interactions with our clients. They prepare paperwork for patient arrival, care for the client/patient during check in process, maintain patient records, and guide the client through the discharge/check out process including handling financial transactions. They are also responsible for maintaining our lobby space and exam rooms to serve our clients.
2. Doctor’s Assistants/Departmental Liaisons
Guide clients through their pet’s appointment, procedure, or hospitalization. Assist the doctor with patient/appointment in take; organize/track patient diagnostics; coordinate hospitalize patient treatment; prepare patient discharge reports/in-hospital updates; and communicate with clients, pDVMs, and pharmacies as needed regarding appointments, medical concerns, patient updates, referrals, and prescriptions.
3. Charge Coordinators
Responsible for appropriate invoicing of in-house patients, coordinates financial updates during hospitalization, and performs financial transaction auditing
4. Phone Operators (Phone Operator is a sub role of our Client Care Representatives)
Responsible for directing calls to the appropriate person. Our phones are answered 24hrs a day by a live person. Responsibilities may include answering patient emergency calls, making appointments, taking messages, prescription refills, and handling general client inquiries.
We look forward to applicants interested in any of the above roles.
ACCESS is a multi-specialty veterinary hospital which includes avian & exotics (zoological companion animal medicine), cardiology, emergency/critical care, internal medicine, interventional radiology/endoscopy, neurology, and surgery departments. We combine advanced medical treatment with cutting-edge technology to provide compassionate comprehensive advanced medical care for our patients — 24hrs, 365 days a year. We strive to care for every patient as if they were our own pet.
All interested applicants should show a commitment to Quality in all of that they do, conduct themselves with the utmost Integrity, have Compassion for animals and humans alike, and be able to provide the best Service possible for our clients and patients. These attributes ensure the candidate will be an efficient, effective, professional, and positive team member.
- Minimum two year experience in a customer service role
- Experience in a medical setting preferred, veterinary is ideal
- Must be able to multi-task and think fast
- Must exhibit a high level of customer service in stressful situations
- Must be able to read, write, and speak English fluently in a clear and audible voice
- Must be comfortable working with business related computer software as well as Microsoft Office Programs (Word and Excel)
- Schedule Flexibility is needed due to the 24 hours, 365 day operation of the hospital
Additional Preferred Job Specifications for Phone Operators
- Minimum one year experience handling a large volume of telephone calls
- Experience in a call center
- Experience discerning incoming caller’s needs and routing appropriately
- Medical (human or animal) call routing is a plus
Additional Preferred Job Specifications for Doctor’s Assistants/Departmental Liaisons
- Familiar with standard medical abbreviations
- Ability to use proper medical terminology when speaking and writing
- Adept at prioritizing tasks given from multiple sources
Additional Preferred Job Specifications for Charge Coordinators
- Experience in medical billing/coding
- Should be methodical and meticulous adhering to procedures/policies
- Familiarity with medications (human or animal) and dosage calculation is a plus
- May need to stand and walk around the hospital for an extended period of time to facilitate client care
- Must be able to sit for an extended period of time
- Must be able to lift objects up to 10-15lbs, such as office materials, patient files, and small animals
- Excellent hearing and listening skills required
- Continuous typing is required
- Must be able to bed, kneel, and reach in order to troubleshoot computer, phone, and multi-functional device problems
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume (email@example.com) detailing experience specifically as it would correlate to the position you are applying for.
Shea Heagle is one of the many amazing people in our client care team at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles. Shea is bright, funny, and compassionate; and we wanted to know what brought her to her current position at ACCESS.
Why veterinary medicine?
Shea never intended to work in veterinary medicine per se, but during a job search she found a description that fit her-customer service, love of people, and working around animals. When she was in high school, Shea hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do just yet…until she met her English teacher who inspired her to work with others.
What brought Shea to ACCESS?
This Pasadena native earned her Master’s degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Laverne and wanted to apply those skills in a new setting. Shea genuinely loves people and has always “worked in the people business.” We think her knowledge and experience is crucial to her position and Client Care is something she excels at.
Where is her favorite place to visit?
Shea loves the beach-Miami, Florida to be exact. This West Coast gal loves to vacation where the water is always warm and the people are super friendly.
What is Shea’s favorite animal and why?
Shea has absolutely no idea where her love of Polar Bears came from, but she adores them! She also has a fondness for Golden Retrievers because “they’re adorable and precious.”
What would she be doing if she weren’t working at ACCESS?
“Working in a school.”
What is her favorite meal?
“Mexican food for sure! I could eat chips and salsa all day, every day.”
Does Shea collect anything?
Shea loves bottle openers and has between 10 and 15 that she has collected over the years as souvenirs.
What is the most challenging case Shea has had?
The life of an emergency room Client Care Representative can be trying both physically and emotionally, so it is no surprise that Shea’s most challenging and most rewarding case involved an ER patient. A client had brought in his cat on emergency-the poor kitty was in critical condition. After much thought, discussion, and time spent with his pet, the owner made the difficult decision to euthanize. Shea was with the client and his pet from the very start and spent time speaking with him about his cat’s long, fulfilling life and the love that he had for his dear pet. Shea was emotionally invested in the case and it saddened her deeply to see this client so heartbroken. Before leaving, he told Shea he was going home feeling better because of her.
What is Shea’s advice for pet owners?
Do not procrastinate in seeking medical attention for you pets, because some things can worsen while you wait.
What does she consider to be her greatest achievement?
“Getting my Masters.” We can’t agree enough with that! Shea has achieved an amazing degree in a field that she is passionate about. We are proud to work with someone that is so dedicated to counseling and caring for others.
We are lucky to see Shea’s talents utilized every day that she’s at ACCESS. Outside of work, Shea loves to try out new Pinterest recipes, her latest being a steak roll-up! From working closely with clients and doctors, to speaking with admin and connecting with her peers, Shea oozes compassion, integrity, intelligence, and a great sense of humor. We are grateful to have found such a great team member, coworker, and friend.
Piston is a young male rabbit that is believed to be about one year old. The little bunny came to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital, Los Angeles, after a long ride from Nevada to Manhattan Beach—inside the engine of a Toyota Sienna! Luckily, technicians at the Manhattan Beach Toyota Dealership were able to remove Piston from the engine. Avian and exotics specialist, Dr. Olivia Petritz, examined Piston and found no injuries. Miraculously, this wild little guy was in great condition! He is still doing well and has plans to be released by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
It is important to note that only licensed wildlife rehabilitators are legally allowed to care for wild animals. Please contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center if you find a sick or injured wild animal.
It’s Friday, May 15th, and we’re having freshly made cotton candy as a treat!