If you're looking for a one-stop shop for pet care, you might find it at the Village Veterinarian Hospital, 7527 Draper Ave., La Jolla. Not only does the hospital have advanced technology for surgical and medical needs, it also offers grooming services, boarding, vaccines, and even a pet taxi to pick up and drop off animals at their homes.
Owner Sue Morizi, Ph.D., VMD, opened the center in 2015. She said she needed a new space after finding out that she and her ex-husband were being evicted from the leased building at La Jolla Animal Hospital, on the corner of Draper Avenue and Silver Street. They operated La Jolla Animal Hospital from 1989, until the owner sold it to a developer to build condos on the site.
Dr. Morizi decided to go solo and made a critical decision when she moved into the new space. "I invested in all new equipment and upgraded everything," she explained. "It's kind of a flaw in my personality — I love instant gratification — but it's a positive attribute when it comes to being a doctor. Now I have digital X-rays — they're immediate — you put a patient on the table, you hit a button, and the image immediately appears on the screen."
She invested in blood machines that bring results within 15 minutes. She can test for pancreatitis at half the price a lab charges. The hospital has a heated surgery table and a monitor that records and prints EKGs. She has two anesthesia machines. "All this equipment enhances what I'm able to do and the quality of medicine I provide because I can do things fast. Biopsies in people take two weeks. We get biopsies back in three to four days."
Three weeks ago, she explained, a dog was brought in with a distended abdomen and in acute pain: "In this emergency situation, we were able to immediately identify that it was a tumor that had ruptured. Our equipment is life-saving."
Client Iraj Allam said he comes from Carmel Valley to bring his dog to the Village Veterinarian Hospital because: "Sue's a great veterinarian and she takes great care with my dog and is very concerned about the animal's health."
Dr. Morizi said she's been around animals all her life. Growing up in New York, her parents bred Irish Setters and had a dog training school. She had five Irish Setters as pets. Since she left for college, she's had two Shelties, four Labs, three mutts, one Labradoodle and seven cats.
One of the most common problems she sees in pets these days is allergies — food-related or seasonal. She also sees a lot of flea allergies. Parasites are another common problem. "We've had an epidemic of giardia (a microscopic parasite that infects the small intestine) recently. It's very contagious to humans from their pets," she said. "People usually get it from contaminated water, but it can be transmitted by animals."
She pointed out that the biggest change in pet care is insurance. There used to be only one company that offered pet insurance, but now there's a lot of competition and many companies cover 80- to 90-percent of care costs.
Dr. Morizi likened being a veterinarian to being a pediatrician because like children, "animals can't tell you they don't feel well. If an animal is holding a leg up, that means it hurts. They don't have to be crying. If I can figure out what's wrong, I can save a life. The whole diagnostic challenge is so appealing to me. I love medicine and animals and their unconditional love. I'm lucky to have a job I love."
At La Jolla Village Veterinary Hospital, new patients get a free diagnostic exam and discounts on vaccines and other services. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Early drop-off by appointment, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, 7527 Draper Ave., La Jolla. (858) 412-4776. villagevetlj.com
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