The Tick Problem | University Animal Hospital NYC

Everyone has a tick story. Several years ago I was on a cleaning frenzy tackling the nightmare that had become my apartment. Okay, nightmare might be a bit of an overstatement. It wasn’t like my place had become an un-filmed episode of Hoarders (though the bathroom did slightly resemble a set from the SAW franchise…)

SAW BATHROOM

Believe it or not this might have been cleaner than my bathroom. It’s too close to call.

I mean, there weren’t piles of newspapers from the 1950s littering the floors nor did I have a collection of old coffee cans making towers to the ceilings. I had limited my collection of doll heads to just three shoe-boxes and I’d thrown out all nine of my old tire swings. There was, however, a fine layer of dust on nearly every item that wasn’t my coffee maker. It was time to vacuum, mop and possibly even clean under the stove and refrigerator — activities I had read about and was curious to try. I set about getting to work and soon found myself on a chair wiping down the walls because if I’m going to do a total clean then I’m going to do it right.

Pet Cleaning Supplies

“Let us HALP!!! PLEESE!”

 

THE MONSTER ARRIVES
So there I was balancing on a chair and using a washcloth on my walls when my eyes focused on a tiny monster crawling slowly down from the ceiling toward the floor. At first I thought it was a spider but a closer glance revealed the creature to be something far worse = A TICK!

Tick

A tick — striking fear in the heart of anyone with eyes

How could this be? I was living in Queens (Elmhurst, to be exact) and there wasn’t much in the way of grass or trees around. Where had this little monster come from and why was he in my apartment? I asked him but he kept silent for fear of further incriminating himself. I already had him on home invasion and attempted blood-suckery. There he was, slowly moving down the white wall on a path for the hardwood floor and I knew his destination was likely the flesh of my adorable cocker spaniel, Emeril.

ticks-on-dogs

Tick feasting on Fido

AmerDogTickGroup

See how the ticks can grow?

The first thing I did was “take care of” this invader but fearing he had accomplices I immediately inspected my dog and, thankfully, found him to be free of any other parasites. I was still nervous though. There are over a dozen diseases that can be transmitted by ticks to our fuzzy kids. The big one: Lyme disease and many more (Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, ehrlichiosis, ect.) so I was obviously concerned.

Tick on Grass

Just waiting for an unsuspecting passerby…

I’m often asked by clients at University Animal Hospital if it’s important for their pet to be on Nexgard or Frontline. The common belief is that because their pet resides in Manhattan and they don’t travel to Connecticut or upstate their pet is not at risk for flea and tick exposure. These pests, however, can easily be found in Upper East Side dwellings as easily as any other neighborhood or borough surrounding Manhattan. They can live up to a year without feeding and like to hang out on the tops of blades of grass waiting to grab onto unsuspecting warm-blooded beings. You don’t need to leave the city to encounter these creepers.

2015 Lyme Forecast

Companion Animal Parasite Council 2015 Lyme Disease Prevalence Forecast

Your fuzzy child should be on flea/tick preventative year round. Fleas and ticks might not be able to survive in cold weather but there are plenty of warm places around this city they can survive in during the winter months so that doesn’t really matter much. It was February when I found that tick crawling down my wall.
There are two fantastic options for flea/tick preventative available at University Animal Hospital.

Frontline Plus

Topical options are effective.

1. Frontline. Chances are you’ve tried this before or have at least heard of it. It’s a topical that is placed on the skin of your pet (between the shoulder blades) once every month. This is a highly effective treatment. If purchased from University Animal Hospital you can get 8 months for the price of 6.

Nexgard

Chewables are growing in popularity.

2. Nexgard. This is a once-a-month chewable from the makers of Frontline that is just as effective — if not more.

Nexgard - Chew

It’ s a chewable treat and thus there is no chance the medication will rub off on your hands or come off if your pet gets wet. It’s also beef flavored so dogs tend to love them. If purchased from University Animal Hospital you can get 7 months for the price of 6.

3. Braveco. Like Nexgard this is a chewable but it only needs to be given every three months. That’s just four doses a year.

Group_Packs-22_RGB-medium_tcm102-154707
These items are also available for purchase through the University Animal Hospital Online Store. There’s really no reason you shouldn’t take measures to protect your dog or cat from these creatures. The cost of the medications is minor and the peace-of-mind they provide should be more than worth it. Trust me when I say you don’t want to have to treat your pet for Lyme disease if you can avoid it. Not to mention dealing with fleas is a burden I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (okay, maybe I would but only because I have firsthand knowledge of how terrible it is). You’ll get that story next week…

Tune in next time for Part II: The Fleas of Bushwick…

Kennel Cough, Winter, and Rene Russo | University Animal Hospital NYC

Kennel Cough

by Myles Tomczak, Client Services

This winter will never end. I’m calling it now. The cold has come and it isn’t going to leave. HBO’s “Winter is Coming” ad campaign for Game of Thrones wasn’t being facetious. It was a warning we should have taken very seriously (four years ago).

... and then it's never going to leave

… and then it’s never going to leave

This situation is either some kind of “The Day After Tomorrow” shift in permanence or we’re stuck in some February 2nd time-loop that’ll have us all waking up to “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher every 6am for the next thousand years.

groundhog-day-alarm-clock

CLICK THIS FOR HILARITY!

Bill Murray was right, as usual.

 

Every week I hear the same comments from my fellow New York residents: “It’s supposed to be in the 50s next week!” “They say this is the last snowfall.” My personal favorite was “It can’t last much longer. This is the first day of Spring!” As if our changing climate cares about the dates humans (or Hoo-Mons as dogs call us) chose a long time ago for seasonal transitions.

Dog-Cough

This makes sense these days…

The reality is that every week this cold has not ended it has gifted us with elevators, streets and trains packed with commuters seemingly incapable of coughing into their sleeves or managing to avoid the impulse to grip the handrails after wiping the discharge from their faces with the palms of their hands. After ten years in this city I’m starting to understand the people I sometimes see wearing face-masks walking down the block toward me.

Seriously, the sales of facial tissue and cough medicine during these months must have executives at Nyquil and Kleenex doing back-flips at the thought of their Quarter 1 2015 numbers.

Profits from boogers! Woo-hoo!

Profits from boogers! Woo-hoo!

For the rest of us, however, this mess of dripping noses and sore throats isn’t just a gross visual. It’s the potential for a dreaded infection. The Common Cold, The Flu or The Upper Respiratory Infection all share one thing — they’re awful.

Nobody wants to be sick. Nobody wants to have to miss work or to spend weeks on end “kicking this bug I caught…” looking like Rene Russo in “Outbreak.”

"There are no words. This is just bad all around."

“There are no words. This is just bad all around.”

I dodge out of the way of coughers passing me on the street like they’re extras from “The Walking Dead,” to avoid a potential illness because missing work is a luxury I can’t afford.

“Get to the point, man! What does this have to do with our canine friends!?”

 

Thing is, they’re not just cute stuffed animals. They’re alive. Just like us they are capable of getting sick. The scary “Upper Respiratory Infection” is just one of the potential dangers. Unfortunately, like with us “Hoo-Mons,” this virus can spread through the air. That makes it an issue for any dog that has even the smallest of interactions with other dogs.

kennel_coughdogs

Sometimes this is all it takes.

I hear all the reasons from our clients as to why their dog doesn’t need to receive the Kennel Cough vaccine. I’m waiting for someone to suggest it could cause Autism in their dog but nobody has said that — yet.

"This is not as safe as it looks, for them"

“This is not as safe as it looks, for them”

The excuses range from “my dog doesn’t go to day-care,” to “our groomer comes to the house,”or the most frustrating “we don’t kennel our dog so he doesn’t need the ‘Kennel Cough’ vaccine.” This one is the most maddening because I can’t blame people for being confused. The terminology leads one to believe this is an infection only dangerous for dogs being kenneled but this isn’t the case.

The truth is that even the most minor interaction with another pooch can transmit this infection to your fuzzy child. Even a brief encounter on the city street during a relief walk or a short time in an elevator with an infected dog can lead to transmission.

bulldogs-dog-flu-Steve-Dale-canine-influenza-virus

“Why we can’t has kissing?”

Kennel Cough (Tracheobronchitis, Bordetellosis, or Bordetella) is basically a highly contagious bacterial infection that often results in a dry hacking cough/retching. Sometimes there’s a watery nasal discharge. When it’s more severe you’ll notice lethargic behavior, lack of appetite and fever. In very severe cases (usually with unvaccinated puppies) even death is possible. Contact us immediately if your pet is exhibiting these symptoms. Treatment is often very effective and most pet owners (myself included – love you, Bebe) have or will experience this at some point in time.

"My boy "Bebe" was treated for Kennel Cough in 2007"

“My boy “Bebe” was treated for Kennel Cough in 2007″

Where does this leave our New York City dogs?

Between growing day-care options, the dog runs and the occasional grooming/boarding appointment our tiny beasts of New York are in a very unique situation. This city is cramped unlike any city in the country and even pets who rarely leave the family home are at great risk for interaction with unfamiliar dogs.

veterinarian-springfield4New York City law actually requires any business operating grooming/boarding facilities (such as University Animal Hospital) to provide proof of vaccines for any dog in-house. Should the health department make a surprise inspection (I have been present for this. Twice. It happens.) the facility must prove vaccines are current or they run the risk of being shut down. In the case of Bordetella the vaccine must have been administered in the past six months. This is a good thing. It keeps the dogs from getting sick and it keeps them from spreading the virus to other dogs. That’s a Win/Win in my book.

cachorro-engasgado-saude-cachorros-primeiros-socorros

“Why is sick!?”

Outside of New York city this vaccine is often given just once a year. If you’re bi-coastal or you have a vacation home outside of the city you might be surprised at the “Six Month Rule” because your out-of-state veterinarian had previously informed you the vaccine was an annual. It is relevant to note, however, that the actual vials of the vaccine have a “6 month” label attached.

The most effective way to handle Bordetella infection is to avoid having your pet contract it. It’s an oral vaccine (no needle, just drops in the mouth) that takes just a few days to begin protecting. It’s much easier and less expensive than having to treat kennel cough down the road with pricey antibiotics and additional doctor visits. Your furry child will appreciate you for it as well.

The Myth of Cats vs Dogs

by Myles Tomczak, Client Services

A widespread belief among us “humans” is that our canine and feline companions are always at odds with one another. It isn’t an absurd notion. We’ve all seen a dog go “Cujo” when a cat casually saunters by. You may have been present to see a seemingly mild-mannered cat barrel out from underneath the mattress to land a few solid wallops on the snout of an oblivious pooch. Whether it’s animated films, television commercials or even just our own experiences in life the general opinion is that cats and dogs do not get along. Mortal enemies. Destined to play out an age-old battle that would have Tolkien saying “Hey, that’s a little much, guys.” This legendary war has been the subject of at least two Warner Bros. films (unseen by me) as well as countless media depictions. You’d be hard-pressed to find a moment in popular culture in which a set of cats and dogs are cuddly and warm with each other or where their endless battle isn’t referenced. Cats vs dogs is just a widespread acceptance.

I’ll let Bill Murray spell it out for you…

Ghostbusters

Then again, Bill Murray also voiced the CGI Garfield in two feature film adaptations of the classic comic-strip and we all know Garfield (cat) and Odie (dog) were best pals so perhaps my whole point is moot. Perhaps Bill Murray doesn’t have all the answers. I never thought I’d see that phrase typed out.

This happened. Twice.

This happened. Twice.

Regardless, the cat and dog war has always surprised me. Growing up I saw plenty of households (my own included) in which cats and dogs coexisted in harmony and in the years I’ve spent behind the scenes of the pet-care industry I’ve seen more than my share of instances where this myth of the cat and dog war doesn’t hold much weight. Take, for instance the two fearless house-cats of University Animal Hospital…

critterbkg

KRISPY KREME

corndog

KORNFLAKE

 

 

 

 

 

These gorgeous babes have grown up among thousands of dogs and often don’t bat an eyelash when they’re confronted by a Golden Retriever whose head is bigger than both of them (or bigger than Kornflake and half of Krispy Kreme.)

I’m no scientist but being that I have a Master’s Degree in dog/cat psychoanalysis from a University I can’t remember the name of I think this is clearly enough to prove that this belief is outdated and should probably be put to rest. Truthfully, cats and dogs can very easily get along if the right steps are taken to ensure they acclimate to one-another.

No expert would suggest tossing them into a room together to “see what happens” but many would likely advise a slow introduction that allows both to adjust to the change in the normal routine. The key factor to remember is that like “humans,” cats and dogs have their own eccentricities and traits. No two cats or dogs are exactly the same and any change in their regular lifestyle can cause stress or anxiety. Talk to your trainer or the next time you’re meeting with one of our amazing University Animal Hospital staff veterinarians ask how to best introduce any new addition to your household. They’re happy to provide any advice that pertains to your situation.

Despite popular culture’s attempts to sell us this ongoing battle of the beasts the truth is that cats and dogs can be friends if we’re willing to take the time to help them out a bit.

Check out this video that depicts a cat being reunited with his dog friend after a mere ten days apart and tell me that’s not love.

Watch on YouTube: Not Always Archenemies!

Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Weekend!

Cases of Kennel Cough being Reported In Manahattan!

Recently an outbreak of kennel cough, and canine influenza has hit Manhattaan. Many boarding facilities, daycare and grooming salons in the area have reported cases of these highly contagious diseases.

Although these diseases are extremely contagious, and potentially deadly, they are preventable by keeping your pet current on his or her vaccines and staying vigilant about your pet’s environment. Even pets who have been vaccinated for Bordetella or Canine Influenza may still be susceptible to other strains of the same disease.

The most common symptom is a dry hacking cough sometimes followed by retching. Many owners describe the cough as having a ‘honking sound.’ A watery nasal discharge may also be present. With mild

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cases, dogs continue to eat and be alert and active. In more severe cases, the symptoms may progress and include lethargy, fever, lack of appetite, pneumonia, and in very severe cases, even death. The majority of severe cases occur in immunocompromised animals, or young unvaccinated puppies.

World’s Oldest Penguin Returns To Colorado Zoo After Successful Radiation Therapy

A 40-year old African penguin is returning home a southern Colorado zoo after undergoing treatment for skin cancer. Tess, who resides at the Pueblo Zoo, is the oldest penguin of her kind, according to officials at the zoo. She was treated for sarcoma at the Colorado State University veterinary hospital in early December. After two weeks of isolation, she was welcomed home to the zoo, where she was reunited with her mate, Mongo, and the rest of her friends in the habitat.

 

African penguins rarely live past 20 years, and experts at the Pueblo Zoo say that the breed has declined 90 percent in the last 100 years. Some people would ask, “why are you putting all of these resources into an individual animal?” But, if this individual animal can tell a story that helps globally with the African penguin, then it’s all worth it, said Dr. Matthew Johnston, a veterinarian at Colorado State University. “If we can make people aware of these endangered species, with awareness comes action, and with action comes change. And, ultimately, we help.”

Overweight Pets Are In The Majority

Study Says 57% of Cats and 52% of Dogs Are Obese

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has revealed that pet obesity rates has held steady in the past year, with 57.6% of cats and 52.6% of dogs recorded as overweight or obese, despite efforts by the Association to spread awareness of the dangers of pet obesity. Pet obesity, like obesity in humans, can lead to osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint injury, cancer and decreased life expectancy.

Overweight Dogs

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention also found most owners of overweight pets do not realize their pet is considered overweight. 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners believed their overweight pets were in the normal weight range.  “There’s an entire nation of pet owners who are loving their pets to death with too many calories and not enough exercise,”said Joe Bartges, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist and internist. “They are in the dark that their pets are overweight and that a host of diseases can arise as a result.”

Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe in the Winter

It’s official: winter and all of its trappings have arrived. That means snow, ice, and freezing cold temperatures. Just because your pet is covered in fur doesn’t mean they’re comfortable in the cold. In fact, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures can be just as deadly for pets as it can be for humans. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help keep your pets warm and toasty this winter.

Just like a hot car in the summer, a cold car in the winter can be deadly. Never leave your pet alone in a cold car. Save a warm spot off the floor and away from drafts for your pet to sleep at night. For kittens and older cats, try a heated pad or bed. Be sure to keep a close eye on small, short-haired, very young, or very old dogs when they’re out in the cold. When taking them on a walk, keep them warm with a sweater or a doggy coat. Long haired dogs or breeds that tolerate the cold may be better equipped for snow, but they should also still be supervised. Adjust your animal’s food intake based on the amount of exercise he or she is getting in the winter. (You might consider adjusting your own, too.) Matted fur won’t protect your dog or cat from the cold, so keep their coats well groomed. After taking your dog for a walk, wipe down their feet, legs, and stomach area to prevent ingestion of salt or dangerous chemicals. And always use a pet-friendly ice melt product for your own home. Never let dogs off leash on snow or ice. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that attracts animals, but is a deadly poison. Wipe up any antifreeze spills immediately, or better yet, use pet-safe antifrieeze.


Outdoor cats often nap on or around car engines to keep warm. If there are outdoor cats in your neighborhood, honk the horn before starting your car to make sure any cats hiding next to your tires get out safely. If your dog is let out in your yard, make sure snow drifts near your fence haven’t made it easy for your dog to escape. Keep water available for your dog while he’s outside. Use a tip-resistant, ceramic or hard plastic water bowl rather than a metal bowl. If you have questions about caring for your pet during the winter months, please call University Animal Hospital at (212) 288-8884. Our veterinarians and knowledgeable technicians are available to help you and your pet at all times.

Dog Rescued After Falling Off 200-Foot Cliff

Michelle Simmons thought her dog had passed away after Gracie, a Labradoodle, fell off a cliff during a hiking trip. But during a memorial service for the dog held on the cliff, a hiker heard a familiar sound – a barking dog, coming from the bottom of the cliff.

The hikers called the Oregon Humane Society, who assembled a 10 person volunteer rescue team. After hiking to the cliff, a member was lowered down and found Gracie, scratched and bruised, but otherwise in good health.

Dr. Lawrence Zola and the staff at University Animal Hospital emphasize keeping your dog on a leash at all times. “Your dog’s leash can save your pet’s life.”

Study Suggests Some Pet Foods Have Misleading Packaging

A new study published in the Food Control journal found that many brands of pet food do not contain the types of meat they claim to on the packaging. Researches from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. tested 52 pet-food products and found that 20 were mislabeled and 16 contained meat not indicated on the packaging.

The study found that pork was the most common meat found in the food but not the packaging. “Although regulations exist for pet foods, increase in international trade and globalization of the food supply have amplified the potential for food fraud to occur,” wrote Rosalle Helberg, the co-author of the study. It was not clear to researchers whether or not the mislabeling was intentional, or at which points in production it occurred.

The veterinarians and staff at University Animal Hospital offer nutrition counseling and food recommendations for your pet. Our recommendations include information on food brands, proper serving size and other feeding strategies to maintain optimal body weight and nutritional health. We also help you wade through the claims made by pet food producers so you can make the most informed choice.

Call us today or stop by the hospital to discuss your pet’s nutritional needs with one of our knowledgeable staff members.

More Apartments Charging Extra Rent For Pets

It’s not always easy finding pet-friendly apartments, and the Associated Press says it’s getting harder as many apartment managers are now charging tenants extra rent. While extra security deposits for pets have been commonplace in many apartment complexes, the AP says that monthly rental payments anywhere from $10 to $50 are becoming increasingly common.

According to Apartments.com, 78% of renters surveyed paid a pet deposit this year. Of those, 29% also paid additional pet rent. Some apartment managers use the extra rent to pay for expenses related to the animals, but some simply charge more because they can. In an interview with the AP, apartment manager Stacy Leighty said she added the fee after her financial adviser recommended it.

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