06/23/2009Provided by Citysearch -
1. Doctors and staff: Compassionate staff and doctors are conscientious, professional, highly skilled ? this is a teaching hospital --the UCLA (or maybe LA County Hospital) of vet hospitals. My golden retriever needed major emergency surgery --he had inhaled a foxtail which formed an abscess between his lungs that attached to the lining of his heart. He was in pain, had fluid in his lungs -- the abscess had to be removed. Dr. Tina Owen performed the surgery -- she is a Diplomate, Board Certified DVM --I couldn't have asked for a better surgeon anywhere -- she was skilled, professional, compassionate, an A+. Dr. Owen's assistant, Tina Martinez is also an A+ --she was extremely knowledgeable, professional and warm. Dr. Cabrerra -also excellent -- - professional and compassionate ? she provided some of the post-op care. Further, the front office staff was always extremely courteous, as were the surgery techs that were taking care of the hospitalized animals.
Be aware, however that the night staff for hospitalized pets are veterinary interns (have finished vet school, but are still in training) and vet techs -- there is a supervising DVM on call but not on the premises. While they all seemed quite competent, however, my mind was not completely at ease after hours in the post-surgical area.
2. The Facility: This is the downside, and why I gave VCA WLA three stars instead of 5. This facility is in desperate need of remodeling - old and run down -- the front waiting area is kept very clean -- however, the hallways upstairs and the back elevators (used to visit the hospitalized pets) didn't feel clean -- white power in elevator and in hallways from construction to create an office for a veterinary cardiologist. Post surgical area is small and cramped, Small cages for large animals: my golden had just enough room to stand up, lie down (without stretching out). There is no place close by to take the sickest animals to relieve themselves. The techs walk them up and down the hallways --my golden is not used to relieving himself in the house so on some days he held his urine and bowel movement -- was leaking urine into his cage. Very depressing.
3. The cost -- This facility is expensive -- my total charge was $13,000 for major surgery + 5 1/2 days of hospitalization -- However ? they do have a plan which allows you to pay the bill in one year without interest. I don?t know what other hospitals charge, and at the end of the day: THEY SAVED MY DOG! This experience is a great argument for pet insurance -- which I will surely investigate in the next few weeks.
*** Highly recommend that if your pet is hospitalized at this (or any!) facility for any length of time, that you have your regular veterinarian stay in close touch with the supervising DVMs. I was in constant communication with my wonderful vet, Dr. Phil Caldwell, from Szanto Vet Center in Sherman Oaks -- Dr. Caldwell spoke several times with the surgeons, and even went to visit my golden one evening to check medications and his condition....I do feel (they may dispute this, but it is my strong instinct ) that an intervention from a qualified professional (DVM) willonly enhance the quality of care you receive for your pet.