Larchmont Animal Clinic still purring after 42 years on Boulevard

| June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
DR. CIGANEK with Keeper, one of his many rescue pets.

It’s all dogs and cats and high-tech equipment at Larchmont Animal Clinic.

Since Dr. Jan Ciganek opened his clinic in 1973, his services have grown to include X-ray and blood chemistry machines alongside a dedicated surgery suite.

“Everything’s changed. It’s more sophisticated. The quality of care has gone way up,” he said last month at the clinic, which celebrates its 42nd year at 316 N. Larchmont Blvd.

Dental care, injuries, growth removal, spays and neuters and skin issues are all treated at the full-service clinic, which accepts walk-ins, appointments and emergencies.

“When I first got out of school there weren’t any emergency clinics, so you had emergencies at odd hours and in the middle of the night,” Ciganek recalled.

While emergency hospitals are prevalent today and veterinary care has grown on par with modern medicine, what hasn’t changed at the local clinic is old-fashioned care.

Dr. Ciganek is happiest when he can help others, and especially bring an ailing pet back to its former wagging-tail or purring self.

Sadly, he can’t fix every case.

“They’re just like people,” he says of his dog and cat patients. “They get old… kidneys fail, livers fail, they get cancer,” he says, as his dog Keeper, 16, sleeps nearby. He brings the dapple-colored mutt to work with him every day.

Office expansion

Ciganek opened his local clinic out of a then-small home on the site. The home has been renovated and expanded to a spacious 3,800 square feet; scented candles belie the dog and cat patients visiting.

Ciganek found his calling in college while working part-time for a vet and going on farm calls to treat cows and horses.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he came to Los Angeles to visit a friend, and the sunny weather lured him to stay.

He remembers when Larchmont Blvd. had plenty of parking and zero parking meter cops, he says.

As the boulevard got busier and parking became more scarce, he purchased a property two lots up the street and opened a pet shop.

“We call it the Barking Lot. It’s our parking lot,” he smiles at his rhyme, with traces of his Mid-West Milwaukee drawl still intact.

Dr. Jessica Coote

NEW VET Dr. Jessica Coote at the Clinic’s X-ray machine.

His practice has grown to include a full- and part-time staff of 20. Newest to the group is Dr. Jessica Coote, who specializes in preventative medicine as well as pet travel requests.

Ciganek shares his Hancock Park home with several dog and cat rescues. Keeper was found as a puppy in South Central Los Angeles, skinny and with mange.

DR. COOTE treating a cat.

Another of his dogs, a golden retriever mix, was left as a puppy in a paper bag on the clinic’s doorstep. Also suffering from mange and having a bad eye, her prospects looked slim, but living with a vet has had its pluses, as she has had a full recovery.

“Sometimes you never know what you’re going to find,” Ciganek said of his work day.

When not at the clinic, which is most of the time, he enjoys working on his classic cars: a ’57 Chevy convertible and ’69 Volkswagen. And he helps his wife, Robyn, work a cattle ranch in Redlands that she inherited from her grandfather. The cattle are gone, but there’s still plenty to do; he purchased a tracked loader, a bulldozer-type piece of equipment, to work the land.

He tried to persuade his son into the family veterinary business, but the younger Ciganek opted for law school.

Retirement has crossed the elder Ciganek’s mind. But not for long.

“I’m still enjoying myself. How do you separate work and pleasure when work is pleasure?” he said, as one of his patients, a dog, howled in the background.

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Category: People

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