Archives of What’s Been Happening at LBAH

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Check out this extensive list of people, pets, medical and surgical problems, and staff that we have been involved with over the last 25 years.

Shark surgery with laser

We did some laser surgery on a small shark at the Long Beach Aquarium

Baby Finch Fracture

This 14 day old chick broke his leg. He should heal just fine and be good-to-go in a few weeks.

Baby Finch

Pelican Visitor

We did some laser treatments on some of the penguins at the Long Beach Aquarium. Looks like Harmony made a friend!

Japanese Technicians Visit

Its time for our annual visit from our visitors from Japan


Digital Radiography

We recently completed the purchase of a state-of-the-art Digital Radiography unit. This computerized system will give us greater detail than ever in making a diagnosis.

Digital Radiography


Here is an example of the detail from a peregrine falcon that was presented to our wildlife program


Terry’s 20 years!

Terry has been with the Long Beach Animal Hospital for 20 years. She started as a kennel assistant and moved up to one of our nurses. Congratulations Terry!
Terry with her reward

Hawk Photo by Ailie

Our own budding wildlife photographer Ailie took this nice hawk photo at Eldorado Park

Birthday Girl

Dr. Seto had a big birthday recently. We are not allowed to say which one though!

New Mascot

His name is Sheriff, and as you can see he took no time making himself home. Next time you come in you will see him roaming around. He is quite friendly and petable!

Tribute to Billie Scheaffer

Dave Thraen of AWRE arranged a well-deserved award to Billie Scheaffer for her tireless work and enthusiasm working with our local wildlife. Present are Dr. P, Dave, Tom Hennessey, Dr. R,BG James Combs, and of course, Billie.

In Feb of 2008 Dr. P went to Antarctica with a group of veterinarians

It was a fascinating trip. Click on the picture below to learn all the details.

Masai Mara 2007 Photography Workshop

Dr P took 25 people to the Masai Mara in October 2007 to photograph the wildebeest migration. Join us in the adventure– click on the wildebeest picture below.

Dr. Ridgeway Neuters a Sea Lion

Follow this link if you want to see the surgery- Sea Lion Neuter

Dr. R’s Gorilla Trip

Dr. Ridgeway just returned from a trip to Uganda and Rwanda to observe the mountain gorillas. Check out this awesome photo he took of the “chairman”.

Aflac Duck

We had a famous TV visitor this week.

Easter Parade

Sandra and Andrew were at the Haute Dog Easter parade in Long Beach this weekend. They answered lots of questions, and by the smiles on their face their tummies were full and they were having just too much fun.

New Extern

Our new extern is Lisa Hsuan. She is very enthusiastic about her training and has learned many things in her month with us. You can learn much more about Lisa and her work with wildlife at our hospital by clicking here

Terri Gets Hitched

Yeah Terri!

Happy Halloween

Time for a little fun break in between clients

Joy Meets Jane

Joy Schneider, volunteer extraordinaire, got to meet Jane Goodall at the Los Angeles Zoo!

Injured Owl

An owl came into our wildlife program with an injured eye. It does not seem the worse for wear otherwise, so we will send it off to one of our rehabilitators after we start medical therapy.

Good Job Lisa!

Lisa is now a certified veterinary technician


Too Much Fun (at work)


Hurricane Katrina Rescue

Daisy was rescued from Beaumont, Texas. For more information on rescuing pets in our local area contact Cathy’s K-9 rescue in Bellflower. They are up for adoption at Petco in Lakewood.

Daisy with her proud new momma!

Lions of Tsavo National Park trip

Dr. P went to Africa in October of 2005 to help an Earthwatch team research lions. Follow me……


Remodeling Project

The first two phases are completed, the third and final phase will be completed in 2007

Bear Viewing in Alaska with Dr. P

Dr. P went to Alaska the summer of 2005. Most of his time was spent with the bears of Katmai National Park. We have an informative page on his trip.

Our Biggest Bladder Stone Yet

No doubt about it, this one is a record

Dr. R did the surgery this week, and so far so good! If you would like to see the complete surgery on a different tortoise follow me…….

Tribute to Paul Jackson, D.V.M.

One of our mentors, and one of the finest persons we know, passed away this week from cancer. He was a great human being, and taught how to give to our clients, their pets, and our community.

This is Paul doing what he did best- teaching. He is explaining to one of our rehabilitators the medical problem of a hawk with an eye problem that we sent to him from our Wildlife Program.

Birthday Girl

It was another milestone for Sandra this week, although we don’t dare ask exactly which one it is.

Wonder what she is wishing for…….probably a personal assistant or something foolish like that!


We love this picture of a Water Dragon that came in this week

Baby Time (or should we say “feeding time”)!

Anybody got any chocolate covered flies for dinner? I like them best when they are nice and crunchy!

Chocolate covered flies? How reptilian! We prefer our chocolate over almonds.

Lyme Disease Diagnosis

At the beginning of March we made a diagnosis of Lyme Disease in a dog that spent time back East. Its a beautiful dog named Natasha, that was brought to us because of a limping problem on her right front leg. Her exam revealed no abnormalities to indicate a cause to her limp. Dogs of this breed and age can have numerous causes to a lameness. A complete set of radiographs were normal, eliminating many of these potential causes.

Since Natasha was adopted back East Dr. P recommended an in house heartworm test. This test also includes a test for Borrelia, the organism that causes Lyme disease. He did this also because Lyme disease can cause limping. It came back positive for Borrelia. We ran the test twice to make sure there was no mistake. The two vertical blue dots are a positive response to Borrelia antibodies. The picture on the bottom is from the manufacturer and explains the interpretation when two vertical dots are blue.

Natasha is being treated with doxycycline for one month. Natasha recovered uneventfully and is back East doing her “Natasha” thing.

Look what I did ma!

How would you like to come home to this, your lovely little Jack Russell (why are we not surprised it is a Jack Russell?) on the wrong end of a bone.

The swelling on the front part of the lower jaw is obvious in this photo, and will require sedation of our little friend because we need to cut it off.


After a touch of the old “happy juice” she was relaxed enough to allow us to get to work. We had to use the dremel to make our initial cut in the bone.


Once we had one side partially cut we are able to cut through the remainder with our heavy duty cutters. You can see Dr. P’s hands supporting the jaw firmly because it took all of our strength to cut the bone, and we did not want to injure the jaw in the process.


The bone was stuck so severely, and the jaw so swollen, that we had to cut the bone again in order to get it off.


Gee, I wonder what I can get into next to drive my mom crazy!


Japanese Technicians Visitors

A group of young Japanese animal technicians paid us a visit. They were on a 5 day whirlwind tour of animal related venues in Los angeles, and came by to learn about exotic animal medicine.

Their teacher was present also. In this picture they are learning proper restraint of a large bird, in this case, a Canada goose.

Lisa and Dr. Ridgeway demonstrated how to take a blood sample on a bird

Chuck Henry in the news

Our own Chuck Henry (actually Chuck belongs to Rita Minnell) made it in the November 18th, 2004 issue of Beach Week. Way to go Chuck!


Dr. R’s africa trip

This summer Dr. Ridgeway went to africa with his family. He took some fantastic pictures….Can you guess this bird?


Dental Unit

We have a new dental unit that gives us the opportunity to provide optimum dental care for pets. Its basically the same unit used for humanoids, and yes, it slices, it dices, and it even washes your car! Well, at least it does a great job on teeth. You can learn much more about dental care on pets.


Dental Seminar

Our nurses and doctors attended a dental seminar this week updating us on the latest information and techniques in this important health measure.


Assistant Surgeon

Dr. R had some family visiting from Illinois. They came to visit us at the clinic and helped us in surgery.


Defibrillator Class

Dr. P and Dr. R became certified in the AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) this week. Our nice instructor, Diane, stayed after her training and assisted us in laser surgery on a poodle’s foot.


Extern Program

Our current extern is from the Philippines. Her name is April, and she comes from a family of doctors. Here she is helping us with our Wildlife Program by examining an acorn woodpecker.


Foxy Lady

One of the local humane groups brought a fox to our Wildlife Program that was injured in the Grand Prix fire. Its feet were mildly burned, but otherwise it was no worse for wear. Once a suitable habitat is found for release she will be on her way.


Way Too Cute!

I go by various names- cutie pie, chick magnet, etc., etc. Either way, aren’t I the most adorable thing you’ve seen this side of the Mississippi? My mom says you can rent me out for $25 per hour- hey, where’s my cut in all this action!


One Hour Pup

We call this little guy the “one hour pup” because he was born only one hour ago! Dr. R did a C-section on his mom, and all are doing fine, thank you.


Peregrine falcon

A peregrine falcon from the South Bay Wildlife Center was brought to us this week for a wing problem.


You can see the lesion on its wing. There are several causes to this lesion. We will be handling this conservatively for the time being.


Recreational Dog Park Pet Fair

Wendy and Sandra represented us at the Long Beach Recreational Dog Park Association’s third annual dog walk and pet fair-Thanks ladies!

Be sure to stop by and see us at the Friends of the Long Beach Animal’s Walk for the Animals 2003 on September 28th. If you come by our booth you will get some free goodies, and we can take your picture and put it on our web site for your friends to see.


Lecture Presentation

Dr. P just returned from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s annual meeting in Denver. He gave several presentations to the doctors on informatics- using the internet and business practices to provide better care for clients.

Junior Veterinarian

One of our junior veterinarians came in recently to supervise one of our surgical procedures. He made sure everything went as planned!


Yea Donatello!

Donatella, the black sea turtle Dr. Ridgeway performed surgery on a few weeks ago, (see picture later in this page) is doing fine.


Here Piggy Piggy…

If you have never worked on a 250 pound pig then count yourself one of the luckier inhabitants of this planet. They are louder than a jet aircraft engine, more uncooperative than a teenager, and eat just like, well, a pig!

This one was sedated so that we could trim its overgrown nails.


Baby Bird Season

Its springtime, which means baby bird season. This little hummer is getting a tank of jet fuel in his tummy. Please remember that we only care for injured wildlife. If you find baby birds on the ground there is a good chance their mother is watching them. If you know what nest they come from, place them back in it. In general, its just best to leave nature alone. Remember to go to our Wildlife Page to learn more about our program.


Baby Season Again

Its still springtime, so now we have a baby skunk and a very hungry kitten



Job Shadows

Dr. Ridgeway had a few students follow him for the day. They took notes on everything they saw as part of a school project. We now have some future veterinarians to hire!


Fishy Story

We had a fish come in this week that was swimming erratically and had a growth on its side. He was easy to catch because of his illness and the fact that his buoyancy was affected.

We aspirated the growth and found it only contained air. Removing this air did help his buoyancy.


A radiograph revealed possible liver disease with secondary fluid buildup in the abdomen (called a coelomic cavity in fish), or a tumor.


The prognosis is not good. After weighing we sent the little guy home with some medication and will be rechecking him in a few days.


Sea Turtle Surgery

Dr. Ridgeway did surgery on a sea turtle at the Long Beach Aquarium on January 15th, 2003. The turtle had an abscess on its flipper, and was removed with the Laser.


Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (V.O.M.)

We recently started a new treatment modality that has been a huge benefit to many of our patients. It has allowed us to alleviate pain and suffering without having to resort to drugs all the time. We have a page on VOM that describes it in more detail.

Mystery Dinner

Our staff party this year was a “Mystery Dinner” cruise in Long Beach Harbor. Some of us even figured who dunnit, while the rest of us didn’t care who dunnit, we were there to have fun.

Here we are before the fun ( and drinking) begins


Dr. P got pulled out of the audience to be part of the play. Here he is memorizing the script.

His role was to propose to one of the actors. It turns out she was hiding some important secrets…..

The CAN-CAN girl was the hit of the night (at least with all the guys)

Ian was speechless!

Jesus couldn’t get the smile off his face!

Dr. R seemed to have the most fun with her!

Claudia got a chance to show her CAN-CAN abilities

In the end, it was Corey who figured out the murderer- NOT!

Dr. R and Dr. P were just glad that nobody fell off the boat.

Pregnant Marmoset

It is amazing how similar this fetus looks to a human baby.

If you don’t know what a Marmoset is, follow the yellow brick road…

Butterfly Wing Injury

An interesting patient brought to our wildlife program recently was a butterfly.


Its wing injury prevented it from flying


We fixed the wing with special tissue glue


After an appropriate amount of rest we filled up his tank with high octane jet fuel….


……and sent him on his way


Elk Heaven

On a recent vacation to visit family in Colorado the Ridgeway’s visited the small town of Estes Park near Boulder. Just walking down the street they saw lots of Elk and heard them bugeling. The elk in this area are protected and wear identification ear tags. They even saw one female elk with a satellite tracking collar around her neck.


Alaska Adventure

Dr. P went to Alaska this summer. We have a slide show on his trip.


Easy Reading

We added a new page recently on heart disease. It is a very detailed page, and will require a little time on your part to get through it all. Like all of our pages, if the detail is too much there is a summary page for your reading pleasure.


Baby Hawk with Fractured Wing

Our Wildlife Program took in a baby hawk with a fractured wing


After examining the chick we took a radiograph that revealed a severely fractured humerus (upper arm)


A nice whiff of our gas and off we go to surgery


Dr. Ridgeway performed the surgery during his lunch hour


He put a pin in the bone, called an IM pin, for stability


This postoperative radiograph shows the placement of the pin before its final adjustment


Recent Patients

We had an interesting character visit us this week. We call him a “Pac Man” frog.


TB Test

One of our wildlife groups needed at TB test on a Marmoset. If you look at the left eyelid you will see a reddish area that is swollen. This is how we do the test. We look at it daily over the next several days to see if there is a more extensive reaction, an indication of TB (tuberculosis)

Laser Seminar

Dr. P just came back from an advanced laser seminar at the veterinary school at Davis. He will be sharing this information with the other doctors this week.

You can learn more about laser surgery by visiting our Laser page.

Mountain Bikers

Dr. P and one of his friends took Dr. Baccaro (she’s the one on the left) mountain biking in Laguna Beach. After her experience Dr. B was asked if she wants to go again. Her answer was “I’ll think about it”

Lab Seminar

On March 13th we hosted a lab seminar on reptiles and birds. We invited technicians from other animal hospitals and gave them a chance to get some hands-on experience obtaining blood. We have a short Quicktime video in this section- it will take a few minutes to download, depending on your connection. If you do not have Quicktime you can get it from

Terri and Dan are demonstrating the proper method to find the beating heart of a snake.


Dr. Petersen does it the easy way with our Doppler blood pressure monitor. Double click on the picture when it is finished downloading and you will hear the beating heart. You need QuickTime from to view it.


Dr. Ridgeway is giving instructions on how to obtain blood from a snake


Martin is supervising as we take blood from an iguana


Lisa is showing the proper way to hold a tortoise prior to obtaining the sample. Watch your fingers Lisa….


Cassandra graduates another successful student


A job well done!


Alma and Wendy decided they would rather play with the horse in back


A special thank you to Squishee for his assistance!


Kangaroo Visit

A travelling circus brought us a kangaroo for a routine exam this week. He was quite friendly, and loved to pose. His cataracts were not posing any significant problems.


Rooster Brothers

Hard to find better look alikes than these two!

Canada Goose Fracture

Wendy is caring for one of our wildlife patients recently. Its a Canada goose with a broken leg.


It had a fractured tibiotarsal bone (equivalent to our shinbone). This is called a midshaft transverse fracture


Dr. Petersen did his magic and put a pin in the bone called an intramedullary pin


The pin will stay in for up to 2 months. The goose just has to be a little careful when he goes through the metal dectector at the airport when he flies back to Canada


Five days after surgery he was walking around the hospital giving orders to everyone


Job Shadow

Some of the students from our local schools came in recently to follow our doctors as they cared for sick pets. This student is learning how to read a radiograph.


Wildlife Award

Dr. Ridgeway and the staff received recognition for all their efforts in helping the wildife in our area.


Red Tail Hawk Eye Problem

Our Wildlife Program received a red tailed hawk with an injured right eye this week. It seemed to be in good shape, but we did not want to release it back to the wild until we were sure it would survive well on its own. Billie Scheaffer, by far our best wildlife volunteer, met Dr. Palazzolo at Dr. Paul Jackson’s office in Newport Beach. Dr. Jackson is an animal eye specialist, and generously donated his time to our Wildlife Program by giving the hawk a thorough ophthalmic exam using his expertise and specialized equipment. This picture shows Dr. Jackson using an instrument to check for glaucoma.


After the exam Dr. Jackson explained the problem. There was probably some penetrating foreign object (plant material, prey animal’s nail, etc) that penetrated the eye and injured the lens. Even though the lens was still present, it was only working at marginal capacity. Fortunately, this hawk has done well with minimal vision in its right eye.


Foot Radiograph

This is a radiograph of a dog with a mild, chronic discharge near its toenail. Dr. R sent a sample of the discharge to the lab and found out it was a cancer called Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). We took an x-ray of the foot- the arrow points to the cancerous area. You can see how the bone has been destroyed, and it is surrounded by swollen tissue.


This is a picture, through the bandage, right after we amputated the cancerous toe. This dog is doing fine–he certainly feels much better. You can learn more about Squamous Cell Carcinoma, especially in cats.


Overgrown Rat Teeth

This poor little rat had such overgrown teeth that it was literally stunted from a lack of nutrition.


A quick sedative and we were able to start the process of trimming them back to normal


Rabbit Blood Sample

Ever wonder how we obtain a blood sample from a rabbit? This is the front leg of a rabbit, with the hair spayed gently with rubbing alcohol. It is much easier to see the blue vein running horizontally when the skin is wet, although, many times we cannot see the veins of the animals we obtain blood from, we can only feel them.


We use a very small needle (25-27 gauge) to gently aspirate a small amount of blood


These are the tubes we send to the lab for analysis. Each one holds 1-2 cc’s. For comparison purposes, a teaspoon holds 5 cc’s. On this small amount of blood our lab can perform an extensive number of tests

We have a nice section on Rabbit Diseases.


Gall Bladder Stone

This ultrasound picture depicts a stone (calculi) in the gall bladder of a cat. The stone is labeled “calc” in the picture, and it is 1.1 cm in size

We have an extensive page on liver disease that will show you more pictures like these.


Baby Bird Stomach

This picture shows the crop (not the stomach) of a very young bird. The crop is the storage organ of a bird just before the stomach. As you can see, they know how to fill it up! If these babies are not fed in the right amount, and at the right temperature, they can get diseases in this organ.

Don’t forget, we have an Avian Section to learn more about bird diseases.


Goose Abdominal Distention

This is Fred the goose getting fluid removed from his abdomen. We knew he had a problem because he was not acting normally, his abdomen was distended, and his radiograph showed fluid in his abdomen.


This closeup reveals what the fluid looked like. We removed the equivalent of 500 cc from Fred, which is an extensive amount. Unfortunately, this is probably a sign of severe disease, possibly the liver disease.


Sugar Glider Neuter

This cute little guy (he’s cute because he is sedated!) is a sugar glider from one of the wildlife organizations we donate our time to (Wildlife on Wheels- WOW). You will see their van in front of our hospital on occasion.


He came in for a neuter, so neuter we did. This picture shows Dr. Ridgeway using the laser to very gently neuter him (his boy parts were very small). He woke up as ornery as ever and went home fine that night.


Aquarium Award

One of our nurses, Lisa Welch, received an award from the Long Beach Aquarium for volunteering her expertise. Yea Lisa!

Long Beach Dog Walk September 23, 2001

On Sunday the Friends of the Long Beach Animal Shelter had their 2nd annual dog walk


There were several dignitaries on hand – the “Frasier” dog, the “As Good as it Gets” dog, the Ice Dogs mascot, the L.B. Aquarium mascot, and the mayor!


Sandra and Cassandra set up a nice booth for our hospital. They answered lots of questions, gave out lots of Capstar, and put up with Dr. P taking pictures!


Dr. P embarassed Sandra by making her take a picture with the Ice Dogs mascot!


Barium Series

One of our dog patients had a chronic vomiting problem. This radiograph was taken immediately after barium was given orally. You can see how it has filled the stomach and has made its way into the small intestines. Did you notice the small microchip also?


Magic Mountain

Our staff and their friends recently spent a very relaxing Sunday (not!) at Magic Mountain. No wonder why they were so tired at work the next day!


California Desert Tortoise egg

This is a picture of a developing egg from a desert tortoise. We will let you know when it hatches!

We have a section on diseases of reptiles you might want to visit.


This week we welcomed one of our local schools on a field trip. Thank God their teachers were with them!



Our Wildlife Program was busy this week. We had several injured pelicans brought to us along with this baby hummingbird.


We also had a baby sparrow that was stuck in a glue trap


As it turns out we got the glue off without any major damage


Behavior Section

We recently added a large section on behavior training in puppies. If you just got a puppy this is must reading for the summer.


Long Beach Aquarium Sea Lion

On Sunday May 20th Dr. P and our current extern, Leo, went to the Aquarium to help with a California Sea Lion. She had problems with her eyes, flippers, and nasal passages.

She had to be anesthetized before we could do anything with her. She was kept in a warm water blanket to maintain normal body temperature

Several specialists were called in to help. This is a humanoid ophthalmologist, Dr. Art Giebel, examining her eye with the aid of our veterinary ophthalmologist, Dr. Paul Jackson

She has several problems with her eyes, the worst of which was a lens that had moved out of its normal position, making vision virtually impossible

While the eye specialists were working on her eyes, Dr. P was using the laser to help heal her flipper lesions. We have a detailed section on laser surgery


Tortoise Transfusion

On May 10th Dr. R gave a tortoise a blood transfusion. We have a detailed section on tortoise diseases.


Rabbit Fracture

This rabbit caught his leg in his cage and thrashed so much he broke his radius and ulna.

We put a splint on it and it should heal just fine, as long as he stays quiet! We have a detailed section on rabbit diseases.



On Sunday May 6th several of our staff members participated in the Long Beach AIDS walk


Peregrine Falcon

The Long Beach Animal Control brought a male Peregrine falcon to us as part of our Wildlife Program. It was found on Cerritos street.


We know its history from its leg bands. This bird was hatched at Fashion Island in Newport Beach last year. Maybe his mother likes to shop at Neiman-Marcus!


Baby Barn Owl

The wildlife program also received a female Barn owl with 5 babies. This one is only a few days old!


Guess the Species

Can you tell what animal this radiograph is from? We’ll give you a hint- they are great pets for kids. Send us an e-mail if you want to know if you got it right.



This little meeser was from one of our local grade schools. He was so tiny he easily fit into our hands. Its not a good idea to put an owl and a mouse on the same web page though!



We treated a dog for Heartworm recently. The drug we use is very potent and can cause side effects if not used carefully. This stresses the importance of prevention over treatment.

Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. The heavy rains we had this past winter will bring a bumper crop of mosquitoes this summer. To prevent our local dogs from being infected we are having a special on heartworm testing and treatment in the months of April and May. Here is a copy of the letter we mailed out to all our dog owning clients:

Dear LBAH Client,

For the past decade the doctors of the Long Beach Animal Hospital have been tracking the occurrence of heartworm in Southern California. Even though this disease occurs throughout the country, the incidence of heartworm in our native dogs during this time has been minimal. The situation has changed to the point you need to be aware of this disease. Numerous local veterinarians are diagnosing heartworm in their patients, and with the advent of the rain we had in February, there will be more mosquitoes than usual. Since mosquitoes spread heartworm we expect the number of cases to increase.

Heartworm is a parasite that literally causes worms in the heart, leading to heart failure. Unfortunately, the treatment for heartworm involves the injection of a potent medication that can make a dog ill. Dead heartworms can cause an inflammatory reaction that can also make a dog very ill. Prevention is obviously better than treating. To learn more about heartworm please go to the following web site:

Prevention is easily accomplished with oral medications that are given monthly. The medication we use is called Sentinel, by Novartis. Sentinel also control fleas and internal parasites, so you are helping your pet with other common problems. Our web site at /canine/worms-internal-parasites/has parasite information.

Before any dog is started on Sentinel it must test negative for heartworm. During the months of April and May our laboratory is performing this test for only $12.50, a 50% discount, courtesy of Novartis,. Novartis also offers a 100% guarantee- if you are not completely satisfied with any Novartis Animal Health Product, Novartis will solve the problem, replace the product, or refund your full purchase price. Please take advantage of this offer and call our office for an appointment to have one of our nurses perform your dogs heartworm test before May 31st.


Bone Tumor X-ray

This radiograph is from an older cat with a limping problem. Many outdoor cats with this type of problem have fractures, dislocations, or fight wounds as the cause. In this case we found a tumor, most likely caused by a tumor of the bone called osteosarcoma.



This 3 month old pup came in on an emergency this week in a comatose state. We immediately instituted IV fluidsand ran a blood glucose (sugar) test. It came back so low it did not register on the machine. We corrected the problem with IV dextrose, and within 5 minutes (picture below) he was feeling much better. It turns out he had Coccidia parasites, which could have been an initiating cause of the problem. All pups should be wormed and checked for internal parasites. Our Worms page has more details.

Turtle Shell Damage

Its the time of year when the hibernating reptiles are waking up from their long nap. They are quite vulnerable now, especially to dog attacks. Please supervise you animals when they are left alone so we don’t encounter this type of damage.



Luther Sheaffer, the husband of one of our most ardent supporters, Billy, passed away recently. His tribute in the Press Telegram is a heartwarming story of how they met and fell in love.


Doppler Blood Pressure

We have a new piece of equipment to check blood pressure. This is very important in older pets, especially cats with kidney and thyroid disease.


Frog Fracture

This little one broke his leg. You can see his temporary splint on his rear leg.


His radiograph illustrates his fractured tibia (shinbone)


Look ma, I swallowed a needle!

Hard to believe this cute little guy could actually swallow a needle.


Well here it is, plain as day on the radiograph just after after ingestion. In many dogs a needle of this size can pass harmlessly, especially when fed a meal of bulky type food. We can follow the progress of the needle with x-rays and intervene if there is a problem.


When we took a radiograph from a different view it was obvious just how large the needle was, and that surgery was a better option, especially since it was still in the stomach. In addition, there was the potential for string to be attached to the needle, which is an immediate reason to remove the needle. String can cause serious trauma to the intestines as it passes, so we want to remove it before it leaves the stomach.


So, off we went to surgery. After a few minutes of palpating the stomach the needle was localized. This close-up of the actual surgery shows Dr. P literally poking the needle through the stomach wall without having to make an incision.


Once the needle is sticking our far enough he can grab it and pull it all of the way out


The string behind the needle was knotted in a ball, so a tiny incision was made in the stomach to allow just enough room to remove the knot. You can see the needle at the left. The hemostat at the left is putting tension on the string so Dr. P can pull it though the stomach incision.


Pot Bellied Pig

This is a picture of Cassandra our nurse and Bailey, a Vietnamese Pot-Bellied pig. Bailey is here to make sure he is ready for his neuter next week.


Our nurse Terry is taking a blood sample from Bailey prior to his surgery.


This is the action end of Bailey!


Bailey gets neutered– check out the action!

Baby Desert Tortoise

Dr. Ridgeway put a feeding tube in a baby desert tortoise that was ill and not eating well. We have a page on feeding tubes to help you understand their use.


Sea Turtle Radiograph

The Long Beach Aquarium needed to take a radiograph of one of their sea turtles. Our nurse Terry is taking the x-ray. The turtle weighs almost 100 pounds, so this is no easy job (then why is Terri smiling so much?).


Wildlife Case

This little guy was presented to our wildlife program recently. Can you guess what it is ? (hint- its a famous cartoon character that goes “beep-beep”).


New Mascot

You might see our new mascot cruising (sometimes speeding) around the front office and exam rooms. His name is Tikki, and he has a magnetic personality. When you see him say hello!

Here is Tikki doing what he does best- get into mischief!



On Saturday December 3rd we walked the parade route for the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade. Of course we had to bring our 4 legged friends.


If you have never been to this parade you would be shocked at the number of people present. As you can imagine, the dogs were the hit of the parade.


Case of the Week

One of our surgical patients recently was a Serval. It came in for a declaw. In this picture it is under anesthesia and ready for surgery. If you know anything about how feisty Servals are you understand how we enjoyed this moment of relative quiet.


We perform all of our declaws with laser due to its tremendous advantages


Case of the Week 11/7/00

A good samaritan rescued this little guy from Eldorado park. In this picture our nurse Denise is holding him just prior to his treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids.


We took radiographs and ran a blood panel to determine why he was not eating. The underlined tests are all elevated. This is a sign of kidney disease.


Case of the Week 10-23-00

This is a picture of Michael recovering from his surgery. We removed several of his molars because the roots were elongated and causing significant pain in chewing.


This radiograph shows the extent of Michael’s problem. The white arrow on the bottom points to the elongated and rotting roots. This problem was caused by a lack of fiber in his diet. Rabbits need high fiber to prevent this- feeding only pelleted rabbit food can cause this root problem.

We have more information on rabbit teeth.

Case of the Week 9-22-00

This nice little guy is name Tubby. As you can see, the right side of his face is swollen. His eye is also swollen partially shut. This is because he has a tooth abscess. Our dental page explains this abscess in more detail. He got this abscess because his teeth were never cleaned professionally. Tuffy is scheduled for surgery this week.


It turns out Tubby had a rotten canine tooth, which of course we removed. You can see the infection at the root (at the left).


Case of the Week 9-18-00

This is a picture of Callie waking up from anesthesia. She is a little groggy, mostly because of her pain medication. She just had surgery for a broken femur (thigh bone) caused by falling out of a 2 story window. Callie is being comforted by Kelly (you may not recognize her because she has different colored hair every week).


The seriousness of her fracture is obvious. A splint won’t correct this, surgery is needed.



Several intramedullary pins (IM pins) were put into the femur for stability. She will need to be under strict rest for the next 2 months. We will keep you posted on her progress…

Baby Raccoon

This past week somebody brought us a baby raccoon with a serious skin condition. We performed a skin scraping and found out it had mange. After we gave him an injection to cure the mange one of our nurses gave it a special bath to make him feel better. We will probably keep him for a few more weeks and treat him again until his skin has fully healed. You can learn more about how we provide care for wildlife by going to our Wildlife Program page.

Here is our little friend getting a bath from Amber.


All suds upped and no place to go!


On September 18th we successfully released the little guy. Here he is giving us a parting mug shot before he leaves.


Technician Seminar

In conjunction with our laboratory we recently put on a seminar for the technicians of other animal hospitals in the area. The seminar was a lecture and wet lab format, teaching these technicians and nurses how to obtain blood samples from birds and reptiles. Thanks to our hard working staff everyone had a very enjoyable time and the seminar attendees had plenty of hands on experience.

The presentation started out with Dr. P giving a slide presentation on proper techniques.


After we learned (and ate) we broke down into small groups and got down to the nitty gritty. Here is Terri explaining the proper way to obtain blood from an Iguana.


Amber is holding while one of the nurses successfully obtains blood from the tail vein.


Kim is making sure that this cockatiel is being held properly before any attempt is made to take blood.


This is John from our lab. He is not too keen on blood, but his curiosity got the best of him. We didn’t see him for quite a while after this…


Here are a few slides from the presentation…

Safety is always of great concern when working with reptiles. This list shows the ways in which they can harm a person. Salmonella is the bacteria that we are referring to in the list. The bottle of beer is our tongue-in-cheek way of warning everyone not to put anything in their mouths when working around reptiles because of the danger of Salmonella. If somebody does put something in their mouth the have to purchase a 6 pack for the rest of the team.


With birds most of the danger is from their beaks. The shore birds have very pointed beaks that can cause injury to face or eyes.


There is a bacteria in birds that has the potential to cause disease in people. It is called Psittacosis. If we hospitalize a bird with this disease we take special precautions.


Patient safety is also a concern. Reptiles can easily have weak bones due to metabolic bone disease, and are susceptible to fracturing during the handling process.


From this radiograph it is easy to understand their susceptibility to fracturing while trying to obtain blood.


Ill birds are highly susceptible to problems while obtaining blood. They are usually weak and having a difficult time breathing. Some of the signs of difficult breathing (called dyspnea) are obvious. Most of the time they are subtle.


This bird has subtle signs of respiratory disease as evidenced by the brown stain on the feathers from discharge around the nostrils (called nares).


Many birds have to be stabilized prior to blood sampling. They might need warmth, fluids, or even 100% oxygen like this bird.


Restraint in birds is just as important as in reptiles. This bird’s leg was fractured when someone at a pet store that was performing a nail trim did not use proper restraint.


Small birds do not contain much blood. In birds the size of parakeets (budgies) we can only obtain 0.25 cc’s in some cases. This is not enough blood for the lab to run a full panel, so we have to prioritize the tests. Sometimes we obtain such a small amount of blood that we run a PCV/TP in our hospital’s lab. This checks for anemia and gives us an idea of the protein level in the bloodstream. This protein level is a good prognostic indicator.


There are specific veins in each species that will yield blood. This slide shows some of those areas. How would you like to obtain blood from this 120 pound python?


In many reptiles we use the tail vein or jugular vein. Snakes are unique in their reptilian anatomy, and make it realistic to take a blood sample directly from the heart.


In addition to jugular veins found in reptiles we use a leg vein and a wing vein in birds. Toenails are never used because they not reliable indicators of what is going on in the bloodstream.


In the larger birds the leg vein will yield enough blood.


Diagnosis Seminar

On Sunday September 10th at 2 PM our own doctor Petersen put on a presentation at the Long Beach Public Library at Bayshore and 2nd street in Belmont Shore. Don showed us the thought process and actual diagnosis and treatment of a cat with an intestinal problem. We have his presentation on our web site.

We will have more presentations at the library this fall, so call them for times.