Posts Tagged ‘veterinary internal medicine’

Today’s patient story features CheChe, a little guy with big courage and a huge heart. CheChe has IMHA, short for immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. Below, his human companion Tricia shares his story.

From Tricia:

CheChe came into our life over nine years ago. He’s a smart little buddy who enjoys eating, first and foremost. He’s fiercely loyal to his family and feels strongly about order and will give you a loud bark to remind you if you’re breaking one of his house rules.

don't break any of cheche's house rules!

don’t break any of cheche’s house rules!

Over three years ago, CheChe was diagnosed with IMHA, a difficult-to-treat blood disease. Miraculously our little guy survived a difficult round of blood transfusions, numerous drug combinations and many nights in the hospital.

Sadly CheChe was hit with another hemolytic episode in the summer of 2014. Our regular vet told us that this time we should see a specialist and was very concerned that CheChe could not beat the odds, not this time.

Luckily we met Dr. Winnie Ybarra at VCA SFVS. Dr. Ybarra immediately changed Chech’s drug treatment and we started the long process.

Dr. Ybarra’s instincts, experience and ability to communicate the various options clearly to us no doubt saved CheChe’s life. We learned how to check his heart rate from home and became pros at detecting a possible turn of events. She was sensitive to CheChe’s 6-pound size, managing drugs amounts to fit his tiny frame.

cheche with hiro, his loyal partner in crime

cheche with hiro, his loyal partner in crime

Today Chech is still on drugs and may continue for the rest of his life, but he’s strong and happy, eating as fiercely as ever and showing no signs of drug reactions.

IMHA is a difficult disease, but VCA SFVS has given us the best shot possible.


cutest reindeer

Many thanks to Tricia for sharing these photos and CheChe’s story with us. Dr. Ybarra and the staff here are honored to be on sweet CheChe’s care team!

Related resource:

Would you like your dog or cat to be featured in our Patient Stories series? Please email us for information. We look forward to hearing from you.


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We’re happy to announce that Dr. Laura West has joined our hospital on a full-time basis! An internal medicine specialist, Dr. West received her DVM from the University of Georgia and completed her residency training at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego.


She sees internal medicine patients at SFVS on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Welcome, Dr. West!

More About Laura West, DVM, DACVIM

Dr. Laura West received her DVM from the University of Georgia in 2007. She went on to complete a rotating internship at VCA Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Norwalk, Connecticut, and a specialty internship in internal medicine at Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles.

Dr. West completed her residency training at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego in 2012, and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2013. Her special interests include feline medicine, immune-mediated disease and endocrinology.

Outside her veterinary practice, she greatly values spending time with her husband and their two cats, Kitten and Gypsy. She also enjoys yoga, running and hiking in the great outdoors.

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Today on the blog, we feature Charlie! Charlie has made a few trips to our hospital, most recently to see Dr. Diana Bowen, one of our internal medicine specialists, for gastrointestinal issues.



As you can see, Charlie is quite the handsome orange kitty, and we are honored to be on his veterinary care team. Below, Charlie’s human companion Si Si shares a little more about him.

From Si Si:

We rescued Charlie when he was about 4 weeks old in front of our house on 08/24/99. He liked to sleep and play with the toys when he was young.


He always liked to sit on Daddy’s shoulder like a parrot.


I believed that Charlie was reincarnated by my first orange tiger boy named “Sweetie” from SFSPCA (1979 to 1994). That was why he is very special to me.

We rescued Miss Lucky (Charlie’s half sister) in front of our house on 11/30/00. We rescued Pouncer on 08/26/06, Blackie on 10/16/07, and Jolly on 07/16/08.




Charlie used to play with all his brothers and sister and was very happy. Lately, he tries to hide from them. Dr. Bowen saved both Charlie (three times) and Lucky (one time).

I am totally blessed that Charlie is in Dr. Bowen’s hands because of her professionalism, knowledge, compassion and patience.

Many thanks to Si Si for sharing these fabulous pictures (we especially love the pigeon-watching kitties) and for trusting us with her “orange tiger’s” veterinary care.

Would you like your dog or cat to be featured in our Patient Stories series? Please email us for information. We look forward to hearing from you.

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VCA SFVS is pleased to announce that Winnie Ybarra, DVM, DACVIM, has joined our internal medicine department. Her first day at our hospital is tomorrow, July 2. We are very happy to have her on the team!

Dr. Winnie Ybarra

dr. winnie ybarra

Here’s a little more about our newest veterinarian: Dr. Winnie Low Ybarra was born in Rangoon, Burma, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She worked as a veterinary technician prior to obtaining her veterinary degree from the University of California, Davis in 2008, and went on to complete a medical and surgical internship at North Carolina State University. Dr. Ybarra moved back to the Bay Area and worked as a general practitioner, emergency veterinarian and shelter veterinarian. She then completed an internal medicine residency at UC Davis in 2013.

Dr. Ybarra’s professional interests include immune-mediated, endocrine, renal, urinary and respiratory disorders, as well as endoscopic procedures and laparoscopy. Dr. Ybarra has always been an advocate for animal welfare and rescue. She shares her home with three four-legged dogs, one three-legged dog, and several cats that rule the household (all rescues). In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking and trying out new restaurants. She speaks fluent Burmese.

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We are pleased to welcome Dr. Jennifer Babineaux to the VCA SFVS‪ veterinary‬ team! Dr. Babineaux is residency trained in internal medicine and sees patients at our hospital on Fridays and Saturdays.


More about Dr. Babineaux:

Dr. Jennifer Babineaux graduated with honors from UCLA in 1985 with a degree in economics, and then obtained an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 1989. After working in the field of finance for 10 years, she changed careers to pursue her love of veterinary medicine. She graduated with honors from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2005.

Dr. Babineaux completed a three-year residency in internal medicine in 2009 at East Bay Veterinary Specialists in Walnut Creek, and she then worked at the SFSPCA from 2009 to 2013, where she focused on internal medicine cases. Her professional interests include intestinal disease, endocrinology, immune-mediated disease and feline medicine.

Dr. Babineaux lives in the East Bay with her husband, two cats and a dog. She enjoys hiking, gardening, and sampling good food and wine.

Related resource:
Veterinary internal medicine at VCA SFVS

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