Hermes came to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital on emergency with heat stroke and was diagnosed with bruised skin, an irregular heartbeat, a blood clotting disorder, GI bleeding, kidney injuries, lameness, and severe paw pad abrasions. Hermes was started on fluids, and IV medications to stabilize him and reduce his pain, and had his paws cleaned and bandaged. He continued his medication and fluids, as well as a plasma transfusion to help reverse the damage caused by the heat.
Hermes is now more alert, eating, and drinking water. He is still being treated for all of the injuries from his heat stroke as well as the burns to his paws. Most of his day is spent quietly resting while being monitored and snuggled by doctors and staff. Hermes will continue to be monitored for changes and treated for his condition.
Chili Dog is an 11-year-old chinchilla who lives the pampered life at home with his dad and mom in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Chili Dog was at home without air conditioning during the recent heatwave, causing him to suffer heat stroke.
Heat stroke happens when the body is no longer able to get rid of excess heat, causing overheating and resulting in seizures, organ failure, brain damage, and eventually death. Chinchillas are very intolerant of warm temperatures because they come from high in the Andes Mountains of South America. They are at risk of heatstroke in temperatures above the mid-70s.
Chili Dog’s owners knew something was wrong when they watched him collapse and begin breathing heavily. They did the right thing and wet him with water to cool him down before immediately bringing him to see Dr. Karen Schachterle at ACCESS LA on emergency.
When he arrived, Chili Dog was still collapsed on his side and was minimally responsive. Dr. Schachterle confirmed that Chili Dog did have heat stroke and that his small body was also in shock. Due to the severity of his condition, Dr. Schachterle and her team had to move quickly. They began to stabilize him with fluids and medication, making sure to include gastroprotectants as heat stroke can cause major damage to the stomach and GI tract. They also ran bloodwork to check for organ damage and began an intensive care and monitoring protocol.
It took almost twelve hours to get Chili Dog to the point where he was sitting up properly and able to eat on his own. Small mammals like chinchillas need to eat frequently, as even a short fast can cause severe disease.
Luckily, Chili Dog survived and was able to go home with his loving family, where he was closely monitored for any further issues, as complications from heat stroke can continue to develop hours after it is diagnosed.
Although summer is winding down, here in Southern California the heat can still cause problems for our furry friends. It is a common misconception that the pads of a dog’s feet don’t feel pain or heat. Au contraire! The pads are very sensitive and important organs. When we walk our dogs on hot pavement the pads heat up and blistering can occur under the pad. This is especially common when walking on blacktops. If the dog walks on these hot surfaces frequently, the blister forming under the pad will separate the outer pad from the underlying tissues and one day part of the pad may rip off. These cases often take a long time to heal with multiple bandage changes. In general, if the pavement is too hot for you to walk on barefoot, it’s probably too hot for your dog. Grass is a MUCH safer alternative.
Another interesting point about dog feet is that they not only provide cushioning during walking, but they can dissipate a very small amount of heat from the body. There are specialized sweat glands around the pads of the feet and on the nose. Compare these two small areas with the 4 million pores all over the human body and you’ll realize that dogs heat up MUCH quicker than we do. Because of this, dogs heavily rely on panting to cool themselves and it takes longer for them to cool than it takes us. It’s very important to protect your dog from overheating by not going on long walks in the heat of the day, always having water available and not over exerting him or her. Next time you go out with Fido, try to run, hike and play outside in the cooler morning or evening and stay away from the middle of the day. By doing this you are not only protecting the foot pads from injury, but also protecting from overheating and deadly heat stroke.
Danielle Sawyer, DVM
Emergency and Critical Care Resident
ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles
Dr. Danielle Sawyer, a resident in our Emergency and Critical Care department at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles, spoke to both a Kindergarten class and a 1st grade class on ‘Career Day’ at Will Rogers Elementary School in Santa Monica about being a veterinarian!
There was a short PowerPoint presentation that covered things such as what they do every day, what it takes to be a veterinarian, and what kinds of pets they treat and care for. The kids had plenty of questions (“Do you see dragons?” “How about dinosaurs?”) and were very interested in learning about being an animal doctor when they grow up.
Some 5th graders also got the chance to listen in and got some tips from Dr. Sawyer outside the classroom afterwards. Hopefully we planted a seed and they will be future ACCESS employees one day!
Jillian Kassel Director of Community Relations | ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals
This gorgeous guy is Tank, a Flemish Giant rabbit.
Flemish Giants are known for their large size and are typically very docile if handled correctly. Tank is from Too Many Bunnies, a foundation that rescues and rehomes rabbits, as well as educates the public on the proper treatment of animals.
He visited us as moral support for his friend Squirt who came for an exam with Dr. Olivia Petritz. He made a big impression on us and we are so grateful for the opportunity to see and treat so many species every day!
Dr. Lindsay Porter works in our LA emergency room, treating dogs and cats who need immediate assistance, but she also has a passion for exotics! Dr. Porter owns three Red-Footed Tortoises. These tortoises can live more than 50 years and are noted for their curious personalities. The Porter tortoises came in for a wellness check with Dr. Olivia Petritz which included an exam and x-rays. X-ray imaging is a great diagnostic tool that typically does not involve sedation or much restraint. After their checkup, the three friends enjoyed a salad for lunch and hung out until it was time to go home.
If you ever have any questions about the care of your pet, be sure to call your primary veterinarian.
Meet Lucas! He’s a very unique six-year-old cat who is polydactyl on his front and hind limbs, meaning he has extra digits, or thumbs, on each paw!
Lucas was acting strange when his mom Christy, an ACCESS Los Angeles employee noticed his symptoms and suspected he was blocked. A blocked cat is one with a urinary obstruction which is dangerous and can lead to a ruptured bladder or even death.
Luckily, Lucas was examined by emergency doctor, Dr. Danielle Sawyer, who determined he simply had an inflamed bladder. He was treated with antibiotics and fluids and was able to go home the same day. Lucas is now resting comfortably at home with his feline and canine brothers and sisters.
Signs of blocking can include straining to urinate, crying out, urinating outside of the litter box, blood in the urine, and frequent urination. If you suspect your cat may be blocked, call your veterinarian immediately.
We first met Allyza in 2015 when Dr. Olivia Petritzspoke at her elementary school in South Central. In addition to bringing along several species of exotic animals, Dr. Petritz talked to the kids about conservation, how to treat animals, and what it’s like to be a vet.
After the presentation, Allyza introduced herself to Dr. Petritz and her love for animals was made immediately clear. Allyza was star struck and even asked Dr. Petritz to autograph her veterinary Lego set guidebook and her veterinarian Barbie doll!
In March 2016, we invited Allyza to join our Los Angeles hospital as a “doctor” for the day to encourage her love of animals and furthering her education. Upon arrival, Allyza was greeted by Hospital Manager Jason Bitting, who gave Allyza her very own white lab coat complete with her name embroidered on the front.
She and her mother were then taken on a tour of the hospital, finally landing in our Exotics department, where she was reunited with Dr. Petritz, her assistant Rosa, and Dr. Karen Schachterle. There, Dr. Allyza listened to the heartbeats of a tortoise and bird and had many of her questions about our patients, school, and veterinary medicine answered. We also traveled to some of our other departments and learned about endoscopy in Internal Medicine, MRI in Neurology, and made our way back to Exotics to check the expiration dates on food for our patients and look at some of the tools used in surgeries. She then had pizza for lunch and was presented with a year-long membership for her family to the LA Zoo and ended her day by saying goodbye to all of the patients.
We are so lucky to have been able to spend quality time with Allyza and help foster her love for veterinary medicine. We hope she continues to pursue her passion and can’t wait to see what the future holds for her!
Dr. Olivia Petritzgave a hit lecture on the common diseases of backyard poultry twice in April, once in our Los Angeles and once in Woodland Hills. In addition to preparing a very interesting lecture, Dr. Petritz was also able to set up a microscope under which our guests were able to look at different species of chicken lice! The biggest surprise came from her lecture in Woodland Hills though, where Dr. Martin Dinnes was one of our attendees.
Dr. Dinnes has an incredibly impressive veterinary career that spans over 50 years, including creating innovative medical protocols for zoological animals. He invented and developed the Telinject system for remotely injecting reptiles, mammals, and birds, making for a quick and safe method to deliver medication to exotic animals. Dr. Dinnes was also one of the eight veterinarians chosen by the American Veterinary Medical Association to form the American College of Zoological Medicine.
We were so very honored to have such a prestigious veterinarian in our audience that night, not to mention the very reason zoo and exotic medicine exists! We would like to thank Dr. Dinnes for all of his contributions to veterinary medicine and for attending our continuing education lecture.
If you would like to attend a lecture at our hospital, please contact Jillian Kassel at email@example.com more information.