By: Park East Staff
Last Sunday, Park East Animal Hospital was pleased to take part in the annual Halloween Howl at Carl Schurz Park. This is a great event that supports dog runs in the park - and is also a lot of fun! There were adoptable dogs to meet and a costume contest that everyone enjoyed. The Park East table was well stocked with trick-or-treat goodies for all the costumed pups, as well as information and friendly smiles for their human friends. We hope you enjoy the slideshow below as much as we enjoyed taking part in the Howl!
Leptospirosis is in the news today, with three people confirmed infected in the Bronx. "Lepto" is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can spread to humans, and it also poses a risk to dogs. In humans and pets, leptospirosis is contracted via contact with the urine of infected animals, especially rodents.
This contact most commonly occurs either by direct exposure to areas where rodents nest or in areas of standing water such as lakes, ponds, pools, or fountains. Once a pet is infected, its urine also becomes a vector for the disease. In a dense city environment, this makes the prompt recognition and treatment of leptospirosis extremely important.
Know how your dog normally behaves, and be alert to any of the following signs:
If your pet is exhibiting these symptoms, or if you feel that your pet's lifestyle might increase their risk of exposure, please contact us at Park East to speak with a veterinarian.
Show your pets that you love them by keeping them safe on Valentine’s Day! As with many holidays, Valentine’s Day brings its own risks for your furry loved ones at home. Follow these tips to avoid any unanticipated pet emergencies:
Park East is open 24/7, so if your dog or cat does have an emergency, please call us as soon as possible and talk to the doctor who will advise you regarding what treatment is recommended.
Help your pet enjoy a happy and safe Valentine’s Day with lots of hugs - and maybe an extra of his or her favorite treat - or two!
The groundhog promised us six more weeks of winter, and it seems like we may get it all in one day! While we can all hope that spring is right around the corner, we know that temperatures in the city can drop even faster than the snow can pile up. The doctors and staff of Park East Animal Hospital would like to offer the following advice to help your pet stay safe, warm, and healthy this winter.
Be Aware Indoors
When it's cold outside, all too often it is also cold inside. A space heater or - if you're lucky - a fireplace is a great way to stay warm when temperatures plunge, but can also pose a risk for pets. Be sure not to leave fires or heaters unattended. If using a fireplace, be sure that the flue is open, allowing smoke to escape through the chimney. Clear out the charred remains after the fire has burnt out to prevent curious pets from ingesting ashes. And don't leave pets alone with any heat source, especially the elderly or those with impaired ambulation, to minimize the risk of burns.
Some dogs, especially larger breeds, find the cold air invigorating. However, jackets and sweaters are advisable for short-haired or hairless breeds and smaller dogs who may not be fully equipped to deal with outdoor winter temperatures. The best dog sweaters cover the chest and end at the tail. Outerwear for dogs is available in a variety of materials, although wool and fleece are the most common. If you live in a snowy area, water-resistant materials, such as the ones used for human parkas, may be better, so research alternatives before deciding on the right type of sweater or coat for your dog.
Protect Pets’ Feet
Pets that move about on sidewalks, driveways or streets run the risk of picking up rock salt, ice and other chemicals in their foot pads. To prevent irritation to your dog’s feet, consider getting him a set of boots. If you choose not to have your dog wear shoes, make certain to wash all four feet thoroughly after every walk. There is a tendency for dogs to lick the salt off their feet, which can cause an inflammation of the digestive tract. An alternative to boots is called Musher’s Secret, which is a wax that was developed in Canada to protect the feet of sledding dogs. Musher's Secret is made of natural non-toxic materials and forms a breathable bond with your dog's paws to protect them from the elements. It can also be used in the summer to protect feet from hot pavement.
Antifreeze smells and tastes sweet and delicious to pets, but is very toxic. Be sure to keep antifreeze in sealed containers out of reach of curious dogs and cats, and clean up any spills immediately. Be careful when walking dogs on city streets as antifreeze may leak from parked cars and pool up along the curb or in driveways. If your pet has ingested antifreeze, please call Park East Animal Hospital immediately.
Watch Out For Ice
Be particularly careful when escorting elderly or arthritic pets outside. They will become stiff and tender quickly in the cold air and may find it difficult to move about in the snow or ice. Keep them close to your side if your path is icy. A bad slip can cause a ruptured disc, broken leg or other major injury.
If your pet is showing signs of injury, toxic exposure, or hypothermia, please remember that the doctors at Park East Animal Hospital are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide the best possible care for you and your pets.
The doctors and staff at Park East Animal Hospital would like to remind all pet owners of the importance of oral hygiene for their dogs and cats. Regular brushing and professional cleaning can keep your pet’s teeth healthy and his breath smelling fresh.
If a pet’s dental needs are neglected, plaque and tartar can build up on the gums and teeth. Bacteria accumulate around tartar deposits, often leading to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, which affects the gums, bones and connective tissues around the teeth, can cause tooth loss. The same bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream and cause or aggravate lung, kidney, liver, and heart problems.
In order to prevent dental disease, it is important to have your veterinarian perform regular oral checkups. At Park East, every visit includes an oral exam, performed as part of your pet's complete physical examination. If your veterinarian finds any buildup of tartar, also called calculus, a full dental cleaning may be recommended. While your pet is under general anesthesia, his teeth are cleaned with an ultrasonic dental scaler, much like the one your own dentist uses, and then polished. Polishing smooths the surface of the teeth to help discourage future tartar formation. Your pet may then receive a fluoride treatment to help strengthen the teeth and prevent tartar buildup.
At Park East Animal Hospital we also offer dental radiographs, which are an essential tool in the maintenance of your pets’ oral health. Two thirds of dogs’ and cats’ teeth are under the gingiva (gums) and are not visible. Detailed radiographic and physical examination of the teeth, gums, and jaws are performed. Dental radiographs allow assessment of the teeth (fractures or internal disease), the surrounding soft tissues (periodontal disease, tumors, etc.), the joints, and bones.
It is also necessary to take preventative measures at home through daily teeth brushing and formulated food selections. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing at home, so it is very important to begin your routine of at-home dental care after your pet’s teeth have been professionally cleaned. If your pet is still young, it is a good time to begin training so that he will tolerate having things in his mouth without biting or snapping. Simply running your finger gently over your pet’s gums and teeth will prepare him for brushing in the future.
Dry food can also help in the fight against dental disease; whenever your pet crunches on the food, the scraping cleans his teeth, acting like an edible toothbrush. Ask your veterinarian about the different types of pet food and treats which are effective in keeping your pet's breath fresh and teeth clean. Hill’s t/d prescription diet food and Purina DH, which are formulated for the nutritional management of dogs and cats with dental disease, help prevent bad breath, gingivitis, and plaque and tartar buildup. Treats that are great tasting and help keep your pet’s teeth clean, such as VOHC approved Veterinary Formula Greenies for dogs and cats, are also available.
Good dental hygiene promotes good health. Call today to schedule a dental assessment and help increase the length and improve the quality of your pet's life.
The holidays are upon us - and as we celebrate with friends and familiy it is important to keep our four-footed family members in mind. These tips, from your friends at Park East Animal Hospital, will help make the holidays safe and fun not just for you, but for your furry friends as well.
Decorate safely. Some decorations, while festive, can be dangerous to curious dogs and cats. Ribbons and tinsel are attractive to pets but can cause serious harm when ingested - they can lead to intestinal blockages which may require emergency surgery. If your pet has eaten tinsel or ribbon, it is important to have him evaluated by a veterinarian right away. Snow globes, while fun to look at, can contain a highly toxic compound similar to antifreeze. The liquid is attractive to pets because it is sweet, but highly poisonous. Keep all decorative items at a safe distance from your dog or cat to prevent an unwanted emergency.
Use caution with electrical cords. As we decorate our homes for the festive season, extra power and extension cords are often used. When chewed or frayed, these cords can cause severe burns, electrocution, and even death. Prevent these disasters by keeping electrical cords out of reach or covered.
Batteries are highly toxic to pets. Both holiday decorations and many gifts contain batteries, which if chewed on by an animal can cause severe chemical ulceration and burns of the oral cavity and intestines. If you suspect that your pet has chewed on a battery, even if he is not showing signs of discomfort, it is imperative that he be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible .
Keep poisonous and dangerous plants away. Although poinsettias are often thought of as the hallmark poisonous holiday plant, other plants are actually much more toxic to both dogs and cats, including mistletoe and holly. In addition, lilies are extremely toxic to cats and if your cat comes into contact with one, he must be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian. Pine needles from the Christmas tree can cause digestive tract perforation and blockage if ingested in large quantities. We at Park East partner with the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control center, which provides excellent resources for learning which flowers and plants are harmful to dogs or cats.
Chocolate can cause illness and even death in dogs, and should be avoided completely. Darker chocolate causes more severe reactions than white or milk chocolate - but all can be dangerous, even in small quantities. Chocolate contains theobromine, a potent cardiovascular and central nervous system stimulant that is eliminated very slowly in dogs and can have serious side effects.
Grapes, raisins and currants can be highly toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. Remember that they can often be hidden in baked goods including fruit cakes and other holiday treats. It is better to be safe than sorry and to avoid baked goods altogether as we do not always know each and every ingredient. If you suspect your dog has ingested grapes, raisins or currants - please bring him in immediately for treatment.
Table scraps may seem like a tasty treat for your cat or dog and often during the holidays we like to indulge them as we indulge ourselves! Unfortunately, rich human foods can often lead to vomiting, diarrhea or possibly inflammation of the pancreas resulting in a severe disorder called pancreatitis.
As friends and family visit us to celebrate the holiday season, changes in our daily routines can often be stressful for both you and your pets. It is important to provide your pets with a safe space where they can retreat and have peace and quiet.
The doctors and staff at Park East Animal Hospital are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide the best possible care for you and your pets.
We wish you and your pets a happy and healthy holiday season and all the best in the new year!
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it is important to keep the safety of our pets in mind as we prepare for the holiday season. Thanksgiving is a special time for family and friends – the following tips can help keep you and your pets happy and healthy.
House rules – please be sure to establish clear expectations for guests and children. Ideally, your pets will not be fed any items without asking your permission first. Guests should also be encouraged to avoid leaving unattended food on easy to access areas such as a coffee table. The trash should always be hard to access!
As a general rule, even though turkey, plain green beans, a small amount of plain cranberry sauce, or plain macaroni are unlikely to cause GI upset, by introducing too many new foods at once, there is a higher risk for gastrointestinal upset.
Keep pets away from the oven and other hot surfaces. Strings, foil, and other packaging items can be harmful if swallowed. Please make sure all of these materials are disposed of properly.
Below is a list of specific foods to avoid:
Raisins or grapes - these have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs.
Turkey bones - they can become lodged in your pet's esophagus and can splinter, leading to perforations of the intestinal tract.
Fruit pits (including avocados) - can cause intestinal blockage; some contain cyanide, a potent toxin.
Onions or garlic - in large amounts, alliums can cause toxic anemia.
Nutmeg - can cause seizures in large amounts.
Nuts (especially walnuts and macadamia nuts) - can cause neurological and cardiovascular deficits.
Alcohol - pets are highly susceptible to alcohol poisoning.
Desserts - even very small amounts of dark, semi-sweet, or baker's chocolate can be toxic to your pets. Chocolate contains theobromine, a toxic stimulant. Additionally, artificial sweeteners such as xylitol can cause acute hypoglycemia.
Decorative plants or flowers - remember that countless numbers of plants can be toxic to dogs and cats. Please be sure to keep new plants out of reach - especially lilies, which cause acute kidney failure in cats.
If you believe your pet has ingested any of the above items, please call Park East Animal Hospital at 212-832-8417. Park East is open 24 hours a day, including Thanksgiving Day, and a doctor is always on call. From all of us at Park East, we wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!
Did you know that there is a National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day? There is, and this year it was celebrated on Monday, August 22nd! At Park East Animal Hospital, we understand the importance of regular veterinary care for our feline friends as well as some of the unique challenges that are associated with providing that care.
In the United States, roughly 42.9 million households collectively own more than 86 million domestic cats - even more than the number of dogs owned in the country. However, recent studies have shown that felines account for only 32% of veterinary visits, and the gross number of feline visits per year is decreasing even as pet ownership is increasing. Cat owners cite travel concerns and in-office stress as two primary reasons to neglect non-emergency care. Cats are just like dogs in that they can develop chronic or acute medical conditions, but they often don’t receive the care they need, or don’t receive it as soon as it is needed. Cats are genetically designed to hide illness; therefore, when an illness becomes apparent at home it is often quite advanced.
A cat’s experience with the veterinarian begins long before he or she enters the hospital, so preparing your cat for the visit at home is an important aspect of feline care. It is best practice to expose your cat to the carrier a few days before your visit. You may place some of his or her favorite toys in the carrier and potentially some catnip if they like it. Pheromones such as Feliway may be sprayed at home in order to give your cat a sense of calm.
When you arrive at the hospital, choose a quiet place to sit, away from any large or imposing animals. At Park East, we do our absolute best to maintain a low-stress environment for cats. We have a room designated for cat visits that includes Feliway dispensers and a clean, carpeted exam table. Our veterinarians and technicians are trained in low-stress handling for cats, with an emphasis placed on the cat’s comfort and using the minimum level of safe restraint. For especially fractious cats, your veterinarian can discuss the safe use of medications that can be given before leaving the house to calm your pet. When necessary, mild sedation administered in the office can minimize stress.
During a 30-45 minute appointment at Park East, your cat will be examined from head to paws. A detailed history, including a discussion of your cat’s behavior, is an important part of every exam. If changes are noted at home, it may be a symptom of an underlying treatable medical condition. Parasite prevention may be discussed, depending on your cat's lifestyle, and an annual fecal test is recommended. We will record your cat’s weight, temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate. The skin and coat are also thoroughly examined. Significant changes or abnormalities in physical exam findings can be early signs of disease.
An examination of the eyes, ears, and mouth is performed during which your veterinarian assesses corneal, lens, and retinal health and looks for ear infections. The mouth is examined for dental disease and possible oral masses. Dental disease can be quite painful for your cat, and they may eat in spite of it. Periodic professional dental cleanings are essential to keeping your cat healthy and comfortable. Many owners report a significant behavior change and increased liveliness just a few days after a dental procedure.
Auscultation of the heart and lungs is essential. The neck is examined for a thyroid nodule, which may be a sign of hyperthyroidism, a common disease process in cats. The abdomen is palpated to assess for any intra-abdominal masses. All external lymph nodes are also palpated, as enlargement can be a sign of cancer, infectious disease, or inflammation.
Blood work is usually indicated in middle-aged and older cats. Common conditions that affect cats include hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and kidney disease. Routine blood work will allow your veterinarian to intervene before a minor condition turns into a major one. Even if your cat does not have any abnormalities, establishing trends and a baseline for lab values can be extremely important as issues arise. The chronology of conditions - whether an acute change or a slow chronic change - will help your veterinarian give a more accurate prognosis.
If your cat appears to be in good health, vaccinations will be part of the annual exam. Rabies vaccination is required by law, and immunization against upper respiratory infections and distemper is also routine. If your cat goes outdoors, further vaccination may be recommended.
Let’s be better for our cats, together. Regular veterinary care aids in the prevention and early detection of disease, improving your cat’s health, happiness, and longevity. To schedule an appointment, or if you ever have any concerns about your cat’s well being, call our office at 212-832-8417 and speak with one of our veterinarians.
As the days get warmer, we naturally look forward to bringing our pets outdoors with us for social activities. Our dogs enjoy frolicking in the ocean and running through the grass just as much as we do. When pets are well socialized, the world is more fun for them and their human companions. However, before taking our pets to the beach or park, it is important to remember a few rules of safety and courtesy.
In New York State, the law requires that dogs be leashed unless otherwise posted. Check your beach or park for signs indicating places and times where dogs are allowed to be off-leash, and restrict untethered play to these areas. It is essential that your dog is well-identified should she become lost. Dog tags that include your pet’s name and your phone number should be attached to their collar at all times. Microchips are a permanent, highly effective way to identify missing pets and return them safely to their owners.
The law isn’t the only reason to keep your dog on a leash. Unpredictable environmental factors such as traffic or wild animals can be hazardous to your pet. And while your dog may be friendly and enjoy playing with everyone it meets, not all dogs will respond well to this attention. If your dog wants to play with others, be sure to ask the owner if it is ok and carefully supervise.
State law also requires that all dogs have current rabies vaccination. Be sure that your pet is up to date and wearing his most recent rabies tag. Immunization against other communicable diseases such as lyme, leptospirosis, and bordetella may also be appropriate, depending upon your pet’s location and lifestyle. It is also always a good idea to be vigilant about flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. In addition to topicals and collars, there are now chewable flea and tick prevention tablets that do not restrict your dog’s water activities. Ask your veterinarian for more information and recommendations tailored to your pet.
When visiting the beach, find some ‘personal space’ for swimming. There’s nothing quite as fun for all of us as watching a Labrador Retriever riding the waves back in with her favorite frisbee in tow. Even dogs that can swim well can panic in rough water; therefore it’s best to never leave your dog unattended around water. Consider a life vest for your dog whether you are at the beach, a lake or around a pool. High-quality life jackets are available for dogs. Make sure to acclimate your dog to wearing the life vest prior to your outing. Dogs with thin hair coats are prone to sunburns, just like us. Use a quick-drying, spray-on sunscreen without ingestion warnings for your pets. There are also specialized outfits that provide protection from the sun as well as fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and biting flies.
When walking your dog on the beach, keep an eye out for washed-up sea creatures and other hazards that should be avoided. It is a good idea to bring fresh water and a clean bowl wherever you go with your dog. Collapsible bowls are a good option for travel. Also bring a small bag with some of your pet’s favorite treats. Dogs should be cleansed with fresh water when they are finished swimming. With long exposure, salt from the ocean or chlorine from the pool can irritate the skin. Rinse with a hose or give a quick bath before heading home.
And always remember the number one rule of dog courtesy - bring plenty of poop bags, and be sure to clean up after your dog and dispose of them properly!
As we enter the ‘dog days’ of summer, people and their pets are likely to spend more time outside. When people go out in the hot weather, there are a lot of options to mitigate the potentially harmful effects that the bright sun and high temperatures can have on us. These risk factors can harm our pets too - and they rely on us to keep them safe.
Heatstroke in dogs can be a life-threatening condition which occurs when elevated temperatures and high humidity cause an increase in a dog’s body temperature, preventing normal thermoregulation. Heatstroke can affect many of the organ systems in the dog, causing bleeding abnormalities, kidney and liver damage, gastrointestinal distress, and even seizures. Park East Animal Hospital is here to help you keep your four-legged friends cool, comfortable, and healthy during the hot summer months.
While dogs do have a limited ability to perspire, their sweat glands are limited to the pawpads and constitute a very small percentage of the surface are of their bodies. Dogs rely heavily on panting to release heat, and are much more dependent cool surfaces and shade for thermoregulation.
Certain factors can predispose dogs to heat exhaustion and increase the risk of heatstroke. These factors include brachycephaly (short-nosed, flat-faced dogs such as Frenchies and Pugs), obesity, long hair, and dark-colored dogs. Medical conditions such as larygneal paralysis, cardiovascular disease, and others can also increase a dog’s risk of developing heatstroke.
Signs of heatstroke can vary. The most common symptoms include:
▸ Excessive panting
▸ Excessive salivation
▸ Bright red tongue or gums
▸ Thick, sticky saliva
▸ Depression or lethargy
▸ Weakness, decreased coordination, or muscle tremors
▸ Vomiting (possibly including blood)
▸ Diarrhea (possibly including darker or tarry stools)
Any dog that cannot cool itself properly is at risk for heatstroke. Below are some suggestions to help prevent heatstroke and the medical emergencies it may cause:
If you notice any signs of heatstroke or are concerned that your dog is at increased risk, Park East Animal Hospital is here to help! Our doctors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help keep your pets cool and comfortable throughout the summer. Please call 212-832-8417 with any questions or concerns.
Welcome to the Park East blog! Contributions from our doctors and staff will be archived and organized here for your reading pleasure. Timely advice and reliable information from your trusted veterinary team.