New chapter for local vet Dr. Ciganek

| June 27, 2024 | 0 Comments

NEARLY 50 YEARS after setting up shop on Larchmont, Dr. Jan Ciganek plans to retire.

It’s the end of an era for Dr. Jan Ciganek, but not necessarily for his practice, the Larchmont Animal Clinic, 316 N. Larchmont Blvd. It’s for sale.

After almost half a century on Larchmont, Ciganek will retire on June 30.

“It’s the end of a chapter,” said Ciganek, 77.

“I have mixed feelings about it. I’m not getting any younger. I’ve done this for so long,” he said last month in the lobby of the clinic. “I’ve enjoyed being in the Larchmont community.”

He hadn’t found a buyer as of mid-June, but he remains hopeful.

While there was little interest before, once the word got out, “people have been coming out of the woodwork.”

Most veterinarian practices are corporate run, he explained, similar to medical practices. If a large firm stepped in, it would require him to stay on for many years and involve more veterinarians than the few now working part-time at the clinic.

It’s hard to find vets, Ciganek explained. Most gravitate toward specialty practices.

His staff of 15, which includes techs and receptionists, has been trimmed back in recent months to prepare for the closure.

He plans to continue to own the clinic property as well as the Barking Lot pet store a few addresses north, which he opened many years ago.

Besides a bevy of dogs and cats, in his earlier years, he treated birds and a few reptiles.

“I enjoy working with birds; they are magnificent creatures,” he said.

He worked with turkeys and hawks and other raptors in his college years, where he found his calling while working part-time for a vet and going on farm calls.

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

As Larchmont Boulevard got busier and parking became scarcer, he purchased a property two lots up the street and opened the Barking Lot.

He’s looking forward to having more time to himself, which includes spending time with his wife, three dogs and three cats, alternating between their Hancock Park home and a ranch in Redlands.

Ciganek also plans to continue to work in the veterinarian field as a volunteer, perhaps, and to work more on his classic cars.

When we met Dr. Ciganek in June 2019 — his 42nd year at the clinic — his services had grown to include X-ray and blood chemistry machines and a dedicated surgery suite.

“Everything’s changed. It’s more sophisticated. The quality of care has gone way up,” he told us at the time.

“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 a par with modern medicine, what hasn’t changed at the local clinic is old-fashioned care.

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