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Heather Elliott

Heather Elliott
Medical Director/Emergency Veterinarian
Emergency Care
Heather Elliott

Dr. Heather Elliott received her Veterinary Degree from Western University of Health Sciences in 2008. Following graduation, she completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Advanced Veterinary Care Center. After successfully completing her internship, she worked for Crossroads Animal Emergency Center in Norwalk, CA. She returned to AVCC in 2010 and became the Director of Emergency Services in 2013.

Dr. Elliott has worked in the animal industry for 20 years. Even though veterinary school was intensely demanding, she was able to work at a busy specialty practice concurrently. Through her many years in the animal industry she has built strong ties within the veterinary community. She currently serves as one of the board members for our local chapter of the SCVMA.

Dr. Elliott enjoys the unpredictable aspect as well as the fast pace of emergency medicine. Her philosophy is to provide compassionate care to clients and patients, especially during stressful emergency situations. While Dr. Elliott's first love will always be clinical emergency medicine she has also discovered a passion for hospital management. In September 2015 she was promoted to Medical Director of VCA-AVCC. She is committed to ensuring that VCA-AVCC continues providing high quality compassionate care, as well as the highest standard of veterinary medical service available.

See our departments

Emergency Care

What Is An Emergency Care Specialist?

  An emergency care specialist can help in the following kinds of cases, among others:

  • Traumatic injury (including fractures, bite wounds, burns, lacerations)
  • Respiratory emergencies (including cases in which the use of ventilators is needed)
  • Animals in need of blood transfusions
  • Animals that are in shock
  • Animals with life threatening neurologic disease, such as coma or severe seizures

While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems and handle many routine emergencies, certain situations may require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in handling emergency and critical care for your pet. An emergency care specialist typically works in tandem with your general practitioner veterinarian on a referral basis, as well as with any other needed specialists, until the emergency is resolved.

How Can I Find A Specialist in Emergency for My Pet?

If your veterinarian does not handle after hours emergencies, then he or she probably already has a referral relationship in place with a local or regional emergency hospital. You can also look for emergency specialists in your area on the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC) website. In addition, you can also check with any veterinary schools in your area to see if they have a fully staffed and equipped emergency room. You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when and where to refer you and your pet for emergency or critical care is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of care for his or her problem.

When Does My Pet Need Emergency Care?

Any of the following situations can be considered an emergency:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Ingestion of a foreign object or unknown substance
  • Bleeding
  • Vomiting blood
  • Blood in the feces or urine
  • Swollen, hard abdomen that is painful to the touch
  • Serious wound
  • Suspected broken limb
  • Any injury to the eye
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Inability to move or sudden weakness
  • Unusual or erratic behavior
  • Signs of extreme pain, such as whining or shaking
  • Straining to urinate (especially a male cat)
  • Labor that does not progress
  • Signs of heatstroke

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?

Many emergency hospitals work on a referral basis with general practitioners. In some cases, your pet will only be referred to the emergency service for after hours care. In other cases, your pet may be in the care of the emergency and critical care specialist for the duration of the emergency and recovery, but then referred back to your general practitioner veterinarian for follow up and routine care.

Did You Know?

There are more than 125 board-certified veterinary emergency and critical care specialists in the U.S. today and it is the fastest growing specialty in the profession.

Our Emergency Care Team

Emergency Veterinarian
Staff Veterinarian
Staff Veterinarian
VCA Advanced Veterinary Care Center

15926 Hawthorne Boulevard

Lawndale, CA 90260

Main: 310-542-8018

Fax: 310-542-8098

Hospital Hours:

    Mon-Sun: Open 24 hours

Department Hours:

Cardiology: Mon - Sat 9:00am - 5:00pm
Dermatology: Mon - Thur 9:00am - 5:00pm
Integrative Medicine: Wed 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm &
Sat 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Internal Medicine: Mon - Thurs 10:00am - 5:00pm,
every other Fri & Sat 9:00am - 5:00pm
Ophthalmology: Mon - Thur 9:00am to 5:00pm
Surgery: Wed - Sat 9:00am - 5:00pm

Are you a Primary Care Veterinarian? We have dedicated resources for you.

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