A dog’s journey from a bush to the Cardiology dept.

Roscoe is a three year old male terrier mix who was found as a stray. He was hiding in a bush behind a Good Samaritan’s house, where he sought shelter from the cold spring rain. He was scared, hungry, and guarded. After quite some time, though, the homeowner was able to lure Roscoe out from behind the bush and began looking for his original owner.

This proved unsuccessful, and she took Roscoe to the shelter in the hopes that his owners would look there for him. When his time was up at the shelter, it became apparent that no one was coming for Roscoe. The Good Samaritan—Clarice— adopted Roscoe and took him to the neighborhood veterinarian, who detected a very large heart murmur. Clarice and Roscoe were then referred to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital in the San Fernando Valley to see Dr. Steve Cole in the cardiology department.

Roscoe was diagnosed with patent ductus ateriosus (PDA), which is a congenital vascular communication between the aorta and pulmonary artery. If left untreated, a PDA can cause severe cardiac enlargement, fluid in the lungs, or high blood pressure. In fact, most dogs with a PDA do not survive the first few years of life.

After presenting Roscoe’s owner with all of the information, she opted for a minimally invasive surgery to correct the PDA. Dr. Cole performed the procedure with Dr. Jason Arndt from ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles cardiology department in our interventional radiology suite in Los Angeles, which happens to be the first purpose-built interventional radiology suite for animals on the West Coast! Here, the doctors were able to utilize fluoroscopy and angiography to perform the procedure with minimally invasive tools. This allowed them to see in real time exactly where the necessary catheters were to be placed. A small incision was made on Roscoe’s leg, and from there Dr. Cole and Dr. Arndt were able to close the opening with a small device through the femoral artery. Roscoe recovered well and was discharged from the hospital the next day.

His prognosis is excellent since the device successfully closed the abnormal blood vessel. Roscoe’s family was able to proceed with the surgery with funding from The Big Hearts Fund, a wonderful 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for pets diagnosed with heart disease.

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(Top left photo Credit for Roscoe goes to the The Big Hearts Fund.)

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ACCESS scared up some fun this Halloween!

Over a dozen pumpkins, a few bales of hay, and a ton of candy helped make another memorable Halloween at our hospitals! We kicked off our Halloween celebrations with a party for our staff and their families at our San Fernando Valley hospital in our conference center. Here, we saw super heroes, witches, and… you guessed it…doctors!

Kids enjoyed painting pumpkins and watching Hocus Pocus, while everyone enjoyed our DIY photo booth, our pot-luck dinner, and of course, lots of candy! We had a ghoulishly good time and enjoyed spending time with one another.

The fun continued with our annual pumpkin carving contest at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles. Each department received one pumpkin to carve into a creepy creation and once it was finished, it was placed in the lobby for staff and clients to vote. Our team had an opportunity to showcase their creativity.

As a result ,we had some amazing entries for the pumpkin carving contest this year! The winner of the 2014 ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital Pumpkin Carve-Off was…Surgery with 24 votes! With the skilled hand of Dr. Annie Lo, surgery was sure to be fierce competition. We enjoy spending the holidays with fun activities as well as being here to serve our communities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Halloween can be scary for pets. Tips on how to care for them…

It’s spooky time again.

But did you know Halloween can be scary for pets? However, with a little planning and information, you and your pets can celebrate safely.

Click on the images below to download our Halloween Pet Safety tips. These ‘free printables’ can be printed with ease! Stick one on your fridge as a reminder, then share them with your friends, at school, or at your place of work.

Be safe and have fun…

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Thank you Greg…

This week is Veterinary Technician and Veterinary Assistant week, and we would like to highlight a few of our many inspiring Technicians and Assistants at ACCESS Speciality Animal Hospitals.

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Greg Zamora (pictured above with Dr. Rich Mills, Chief of Staff at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals) is the Technician Supervisor and Purchasing Manager for ACCESS Los Angeles. He grew up in Southern California, and followed his first dream of becoming a welder by completing his AWS with LA Certification. He shortly realized that his love for animals would be his passion and jumped all hands in to developing a career in animal care. Starting his new career as a Kennel Assistant, Greg focused on developing his skills and knowledge in the Emergency field.

Greg has been with the ACCESS family since 2003, first working in Tustin, California at ACCIM. He then helped establish the Los Angeles location, working here from day one in 2005. Bringing all that he has learned in the emergency field both as an animal care attendant and equipment/purchasing manager, Greg has continued to be a valued asset as we transitioned to ACCESS Specialty Hospital Group with the successful opening of our Woodland Hills facility. Maintaining strong ties to the veterinary community and dedication to animals, when not at ACCESS – Los Angeles, he can be found working with a mobile orthopedic veterinarian.

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We have a new Medical Director…

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Kathryn Gates, BVSc, DACVECC, who has been with us since 2010, has been named Medical Director at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital in Los Angeles. She grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, and received her veterinary degree from Massey University in 2002. Dr. Gates became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 2009 and has published articles in the fields of ventilation and plasmapheresis. She has special interests in trauma management, sepsis, and mechanical ventilation.

In addition to other duties, Kathryn will be charged with continuing to foster our positive culture and helping to maintain policies with all staff. She will continue to be a leader and role model for our hospital principles: Compassion, Integrity, Quality, and Service. Kathryn has been a positive, kindhearted, and crucial member of our team, and we are thrilled to welcome her to the position.

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Very rare in dogs…

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Blondie is a two year old mixed breed dog who was rescued off of the streets by the Hope for Paws Rescue. Blondie had been surviving between two lanes of a main highway and it took hours to rescue her. Soon after, she was taken to a neighborhood veterinarian for an exam and to be spayed. During her spay, the doctor found something unusual. Blondie seemed to have two vaginal openings. Her veterinarian, Dr. Erin Wilson from the Veterinary Care Center referred her to Dr. Erinne Branter, (below) the head of our Interventional Radiology department, who performed a cystoscopy in our interventional radiology suite. A cystoscopy is a diagnostic tool used to see inside lower urinary tract (urethra and bladder). Unlike many other imaging tools, the cystoscope is placed directly inside the body, allowing the doctor to see inside the organ with a small camera.

Blondie was placed under anesthesia, with one technician assigned to monitor her vitals, and another to assist the doctor. Dr. Branter used the cystoscopy to examine and confirm that Blondie does in fact have dual vaginal openings. Blondie has one opening that is normal from the outside (vulva is normal) but houses a blind ended sac. She also has a second opening that is abnormal from the outside but once the scope evaluated the orifice the rest of the anatomy (urethra and vagina) was completely normal. She is urinating like a normal dog and does not seem to have any adverse consequences to her abnormal anatomy (given she is now spayed and will not be reproducing). Blondie is in good health, and does not need any medical intervention for her condition. This case was an interesting one for Dr. Branter, as dual vagina openings are very rare in dogs, and not previously documented in veterinary medicine.

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Well wishes for our Administrative Director, Amy Graham

Amy Graham is leaving ACCESS LA after nine wonderful years.

We wish Amy the best of luck in her future ventures, and would like to take this time to thank her for all of her passion, knowledge, expertise, and effort. She has been a vital member of our administrative team, and a huge part of our family for many years, and we will miss her.

Amy

Pictured below, left to right:
Rich Mills (Chief of Staff), Howard Liberson (CEO), Amy, Chris Barreda (Data Manager)

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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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