Friday, February 27, 2015

February Patient of the Month- Lucky!!!!

This month’s Patient of the Month shines a light on a serious diagnosis that effects both cats and dogs. This disease has a very high mortality rate yet in nearly 60% of cases the cause of the condition is largely unknown.

Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) is a condition where the body no longer recognizes its own red blood cells and therefore begins to attack them.  While studies indicate various reasons for this condition- ranging from drug reactions, blood parasites, even cancer -most cases have no known cause yet the trajectory of the diagnosis is often life threatening. 

Lucky, a 5 year old mixed breed dog has been a regular client of VCA HAH since he was first brought home.  From his adoption to neuter to wellness checkups we have seen this little guy grow up. However, earlier this year, his family noticed his energy level decreasing and when he suddenly collapsed; they immediately brought him to see Dr. Patterson. 

Upon her exam, Dr. Patterson observed the fatigue and weakness noticed by his owners in addition to the pale tone of his gums- all signs of anemia; a condition in which the blood doesn't have enough healthy red blood cells to function properly. Lucky was immediately admitted to the hospital and after running the necessary blood and diagnostic testing, anemia was confirmed.   

Lucky’s bloodwork showed a packed cell volume (PCV) of 20%- a normal PCV in a dog being 37-55%.   

For eleven days Lucky was hospitalized. He was treated with immune suppressing medication to stop his body from attacking itself. He was given multiple blood transfusions to fortify his body as it shredding his RBC supply. It was a race to get ahead of this self mutilating disease.

Throughout his treatment, Lucky was a fighter.  His blood volume fluctuated. His energy and interest waned daily. Through daily blood test and regular medication updates, Dr. Patterson successfully slowed the slicing of his cells, Finally when his PCV began to hold at 25% he was on the mend.   

Now, after weeks of homecare and regular bloodwork rechecks, Lucky has a PCV of  35%. He is well on his way to long-term recovery and we are pleased to be able to share his success story.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February Team Member of the Month Kyle!!!

This month we recognize another night team member as our Team Member of the Month! Kyle simply hits the mark when is comes to being a team player. Starting his VCA HAH career as a Veterinary Assistant he soon moved through the ranks to become a valued night technician. In many ways we hope few people ever meet him or our ER band of technicians but if you do you can trust that you are in great hands.

Kyle cares about our patients. He is always willing to go the extra mile for both them and his teammates. He pays attention to the details and makes each pet his top priority.
"It seems I see him when I leave work and when I arrive" says Nancy French,our Hospital Manager. "I can always count on him!" 
Kyle is an example of the wonderful team we count on each and every night to care for your loved ones and we are proud to recognize him as our February Team Member of the Month!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Rescued pit bulls fight stigma by guiding people in need!!!

Rescued pit bulls fight stigma by guiding people in need

Feb 11, 4:55 PM EST

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- When former Marine Joe Bonfiglio starts thrashing in his sleep, his pit bull service dog jumps on the bed, climbs on top of him and wakes him up to end the flashback. dog named Zen has allowed Bonfiglio, 24, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from a five-month tour in Afghanistan, to get back to everyday activities. He can now do things such as shop at malls in Poughkeepsie, New York, because Zen helps calm Bonfiglio when crowds trigger a panic attack.

"I used to go to bars with my friends. And war movies. I am not going to see `American Sniper,'" he said. "It would bring me back to a place I don't want to be."

Pit bulls aren't the typical choice for a service dog. They are feared, banned in hundreds of cities and blamed for sometimes deadly attacks. The Animal Farm Foundation in Dutchess County, New York, wants to change that stigma through a program that trains and donates rescued pit bulls to push wheelchairs or help people regain their mobility and avoid falls.

The effort faces opposition from those who believe the breed is dangerous.

The Assistance Dog Training Program is believed to be the only U.S. training school exclusively for service dogs that uses pit bulls from shelters, said Apryl Lea, the foundation's certified trainer. It's placed five dogs that require two years to socialize, train and acquaint with handlers.

A smaller group, Pits for Patriots, trains rescued pit bulls as comfort, therapy and support dogs for veterans, police officers and firefighters but has yet to place any service dogs. Comfort dogs are pets that get a few weeks of training, while therapy animals receive at least six months of training to help calm people who haven't received a diagnosis as severe as PTSD.

"Veterans and first responders can identify with pit bulls because they either have seen a lot of trauma or been through a lot of trauma," said Kelly Yearwood, co-founder Pits for Patriots in Chicago, whose group started the same year as the Animal Farm Foundation's program, in 2011.

The handful of major training schools and a few smaller ones all typically breed German shepherds, Labradors and golden retrievers for the lengthy, costly process to become a service dog.

Shelters nationwide watch for canine candidates for the foundation's program, which trains dogs based on Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, Lea said. With pit bull breeds making up a huge percentage of dogs in shelters, she has to carefully decide which dogs are accepted. They must have the right build, aptitude and focus to help a person get through life with disabilities or injuries.

"My job is not just to train the dog but to help the handler be a good trainer, too," she said.
But the program faces pushback.

"There are over 100 dog breeds that are far more suitable to perform tasks for persons with disabilities than pit bulls, especially rescued pit bulls with unknown backgrounds," said Colleen Lynn, founder and president of, a national group that tracks bites and works to reduce attacks through bans and other laws.
Pit bulls can be unpredictable and kill or maim when they attack, she said.

From 2005 to 2014, dog attacks killed 326 people in the United States, according to data compiled by, which blames pit bull breeds for 62 percent of the deaths.

"There is simply no need for pit bulls, rescued or otherwise, to be utilized as service dogs for people with disabilities," Lynn said.

Pit bulls have helped people like Bonfiglio get back to their normal lives. The former Marine has made such progress with Zen that he's now taking cybersecurity classes at Mercy College in New York.

"Zen is a fantastic dog; the best thing that's happened to me since I've been home," said Bonfiglio, whose other family dogs also provide comfort. "They are all great supporters. They don't talk back, just put a smile on your face."


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

VCA HAH/Police Canine Partnership

Police Canine Partnership

Pride and Service through partnership with our local Police.

For over 25 years, the Hollywood Animal Hospital has proudly provided veterinary care for a multitude of law enforcement K9 Units.

Our strongly rooted commitment to the care of our animal community has ensured the trust of these organizations that their K9 officers will be cared for and ready to serve.

Our commitment to provide the finest in veterinary care to all of our patients is renewed everyday with the trust instilled in us by these brave officers.