Stolen Dogs On the Rise | University Animal Hospital NYC

Did you ever think your dog would be stolen from you? It’s a frightening thought. Imagine you run out to the corner deli to grab some ice cream. You decide to bring your fuzzy child along with you for the walk. You tie your pooch up to the street sign directly outside the door to the deli. He seems happy enough to wait a few minutes while you grab some supplies. You emerge with a bag of goodies, in under five minutes, and you’re greeted with just an empty leash.

This is a frightening thought…

This scenario isn’t such a rarity, unfortunately. It isn’t just an amusing plot device in a Woody Harrelson movie, either.

The Shih-tzu did not make it onto the list of top 10 most stolen dog breeds

It’s a pet-owner nightmare that is becoming more and more common with each passing year.
Animal theft is a growing concern among pet owners and New York City is no exception. According to the American Kennel Club there has been a rise in stolen dogs since 2008 each and every year. 2015 looks to be no different. In 2012 there were 444 reported crimes, nationally, which is up significantly from the 255 cases reported in 2010. It is worth noting that these are just the cases reported. Some estimates have the number of stolen dogs climbing as high as one million.

Why is you leave me tied up outside?

That terrifying experience at the deli is exactly what happened to a 7-year-old Pomeranian named Suki when he was left unattended outside of a city deli. Security cameras show a woman snatching little Suki and driving off with him in her car. In a surprising turn of events Suki was returned to his owners after the story blew up on social media. This is a lucky situation for Suki and his owners. It is certainly not the norm. In most situations the dogs are often never seen again by their owners.
In some cases the stolen dogs are listed for sale on craigslist or through the black market by people hoping to make a quick buck. Other times they’re held for ransom as the dog-nappers await a reward from the pet owner hoping to be reunited with his or her fuzzy child. They are sometimes given away as gifts to family or friends of the dog-napper.  In the worst situations the animals are harmed physically or are used as bait in dog-fighting rings (another issues plaguing the dog community). Pure bred dogs are particularly at risk as thieves often steal them intending to resell at a high price. Manhattan has quite a few pure-bred dogs so it makes this city a prime target for thieves.


Here are some tips for dog owners hoping to avoid this nightmare:
1. Do not leave your dog unattended in your car or yard. Never tie them up outside of a restaurant or shop. This is just asking for trouble. If you know you need to stop in somewhere just leave your dog at home. It isn’t worth the risk.
2. Do not tell people how much your dog cost. This is just flashing to potential thieves how much your dog is worth.
3. License and microchip your dog. This can increase the likelihood that your lost or stolen pet might someday be returned to you. I recently read a story about a woman who responded to a craigslist posting from someone trying to sell a dog that looked suspiciously like her stolen pooch. She showed up armed with a microchip scanner and confirmed that the dog was hers.
4. File a police report. Besides alerting to the authorities to your stolen dog this can help with any criminal charges filed if the situation escalates to a court hearing. If the police are apprehensive about making a report remind that pets are legally considered “property” and their theft is either a felony or misdemeanor under all state laws. Do not let them talk you out of it because they might not want to mess with some additional paperwork.
5. When posting signs avoid mentioning “stolen” as the potential dog-nappers or good-Samaritans might avoid coming forward out of fear of criminal charges.

Lost and, hopefully, found

The best thing you can do is be aware. Keep an eye on your pets and don’t create a situation for something bad to happen. Most property theft is opportunity based. Don’t give someone that opportunity and you can do your best to keep your pet safe. Next time you’re meeting with Dr. Zola or one of our amazing veterinarians ask about getting your pet micro-chipped if you haven’t already.


International Health Certificate | University Animal Hospital NYC

Pet Travel 7

Every destination has different requirements to go along with your international health certificate

Pet Travel 3

“I has packed all of my things!”

So you have plans to travel to another country with your pet. You looked up the information but it seems confusing and complicated. Depending on where you plan to travel there are specific requirements and they’re all time-sensitive and overly specific. You’re feeling anxious because it seems like there are too many steps and you aren’t sure if you’ve completed them all.

At this moment you’re probably thinking “Great! He’s going to tell us exactly what we need to do! We should buy him a present!”

Pet Travel 5

For me!? You shouldn’t have…

You can lower your enthusiasm a tiny bit because this entry is not going to give you a breakdown of the exact protocol and procedure for traveling out of the country with your pet. You can feel free to still get me a present, though. I like presents.

“Why!? Why wouldn’t you want to tell us this information and just be done with it? Our tickets are booked and we just need some answers! Fluffy wants to see the Eiffel Tower! There’s no way you’re getting a gift now! We’d sooner toss it in the trash!”

Pet Travel 6

This is a sad image

Okay, that seems a little excessive. I like gifts. I’d love nothing more than to help you with this situation but the reason I can’t give you a simple list is because such a thing doesn’t really exist. Unfortunately pet travel is not simple.

Pet Travel 4

Step 1: Find and obtain treats Step 2: Pack treats Step 3: Obtain International Health Certificate Step 4: Eat Treats

The fact of the matter is that pet travel (out of the country, at least) is complicated. In order to fly outside of the country with your pet you aren’t so much following protocol from the USA — you’re following the protocol of the country you’re flying into. This means that different countries have different requirements. In some cases your pet might need to have seen a vet within ten days of arrival at your destination. In some cases it’s three days.

Pet Travel 2

If only this were doable. Would be so much easier.

Some countries require proof of de-worming at a certain point before travel. Other countries require your pet have a microchip implanted within a specific time-frame prior to your trip. There’s no easy answer for exactly what you’ll need but when you come in for an appointment to get your certificate the doctors will make sure everything you need to travel is in order. What I can guarantee is that in almost every situation you will require an international health certificate. That much I do know. So haul that present out of the garbage and send it on over.

The USDA maintains an online database for each country which breaks down specific requirements and provides the exact paperwork for that nation. Even these documents and requirements can change from time to time as individual countries update their standards, etc. The paperwork is essentially a legal document stating that a USDA accredited veterinarian examined your pet on a specific day and has deemed them fit for travel. All of our staff veterinarians are USDA accredited and are highly experienced filling out these forms. They know how to make the process as simple and stress free as possible for you.

Pet Travel 8

Our vets can handle all of this

I realize it’s a daunting task reading up on all the requirements and it can seem overwhelming. That is why our vets are here. Let them do all the work. These papers seem complicated and overly specific but our vets are used to filling them out and know what is required for wherever you are traveling to. We will find the necessary paperwork and handle everything we can

Pet Travel 1

There must be an easier way to pack…

5 Facts About Animal Teeth Cleaning

When pets have a chipped tooth, a loose tooth or a toothache, they have no way of telling their owners. Consequently, animal teeth cleaning is sometimes overlooked during pet grooming sessions. Just like humans suffer from oral diseases because they neglect to visit a dentist, animals may also suffer tooth decay, gum disease and extensive tooth loss if they don’t receive regular dental cleanings. We’ve put together 5 simple facts that pet

Animal Teeth Cleaning  Facts Vets Want You to Know  animal teeth cleaning

  1. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, drooling while holding food in the mouth or dropping food already in the mouth may indicate oral disease. Any pressure exerted on painful, decayed teeth or inflamed gums will cause an animal to release whatever is causing the pressure. Other symptoms of oral disease in pets that owners often fail to recognize include chronic eye infections, frequent sneezing, nasal discharge and chewing on one side of the mouth.
  2. A research paper published in Veterinary World reports a positive correlation between dogs suffering periodontal disease and instances of chronic kidney disease. This correlation was attributed to the presence of inflammatory bacteria in the bloodstream caused by untreated periodontitis.
  3. Root canal therapy is applicable to dogs suffering dental pulp infections, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. A pet dentist performs a root canal procedure on canine teeth similar to how it is performed on human teeth, by cleaning out the infected pulp, filling the hole with amalgam or composite filling and capping the tooth.
  4. Pets develop oral diseases when biofilms composed of proteins, dead cells and food debris accumulate on dental enamel and harden into plaque. Unless removed by an animal teeth cleaning specialist, plaque develops into an even harder substance called calculus that cannot be removed by brushing.
  5. The American Veterinary Dental College warns against using human toothpaste to brush your pet’s teeth because of detergents and abrasives found in human toothpastes that should not be inhaled or swallowed by pets. Pet-specific toothpastes containing safe ingredients are available in meat flavors palatable to dogs and cats.

How Does a Pet Dentist Clean Animal Teeth?

Following a physical examination and blood testing to thoroughly assess an animal’s health, your pet’s mouth is then x-rayed using cutting-edge dental technology that detects problems not readily visible by just looking at the animal’s teeth and gums. For example, oral x-rays allow a pet dentist to see decayed areas between teeth, jawbone damage caused by infections or cysts and tumors developing within the gums. By finding dental issues in their earliest stages, veterinarians can initiate preventive care so that your pet doesn’t suffer from periodontitis or other chronic health conditions.

Pets Getting Their Teeth Cleaned Will Need to Spend a Day in an Animal Hospital

Cleaning an animal’s teeth requires putting the animal to sleep so that it can be done properly while reducing stress for the animal.  Following completion of a dental cleaning procedure, pets are kept for observation for a short time until the vet releases them to their owners.

Things to Consider When Visiting an Animal Hospital

You take your pet to your veterinarian to keep him or her healthy. You need to make sure that your keep your furry family member safe while traveling and during your visit. Follow a few simple tips to make the trip to an animal hospital easier for you and your pet.

Regular Veterinarian Visits

Begin your trip the right way with your pet secure on the trip to your veterinarian’s office. Cats should always be in a carrier. While cardboard carriers are fine for kittens or temporary transport, this type may not be secure enough for a full-grown cat. A loose pet can become injured in a sudden stop or interfere with your driving.

If your dog is used to car travel, he or she can ride without restraint. However, unless you have someone to assist you, a cage is recommended. Cats and dogs can often become startled by noises and run away when you open the door. Place one of your pet’s favorite toys or a blanket in the cage or next to them for extra comfort.

Unless you go to a specialist, the office you visit will likely be seeing several other pets at the same time. Pets that are transported in a carrier should be left in it until you are in a secure exam room. Dogs should be kept on a leash in the waiting area. Unless you know that other pets in the area are healthy, keep your furry friend away from them for safety.

If you are going in for a pet grooming appointment, have a clean towel ready to line the cage or vehicle seat when you leave. This will keep your pet cleaner after your visit.

Emergency Animal Hospital Trips

If you are making an emergency trip to a pet hospital, you may not have the usual preparation time. You still need to keep your pet secure and as comfortable as possible. Keep in mind that an injured animal may lash out in pain, so do warn anyone assisting you. If you do not have a comfortable carrier readily available, use a blanket or large, soft towel to cushion your pet.

Remember that you know your pet best, but under unusual situations you furry friend can become startled. Calming vests are available for both dogs and cats if your pet is especially anxious going to an animal hospital. If you have concerns about getting safely to our office, talk to us. We can offer you ideas or medications if necessary.

Distemper and Parvovirus | University Animal Hospital NYC


(the puppy vaccines) ARE IMPORTANT

So you’ve got a new puppy. Besides the cuddly new furry being you now have sharing your home and demanding 98% of your attention you have an assortment of information flooding your brain, from various sources, on how to properly care for your critter. Tips on feeding, leash training, potty training and vaccine information is becoming overwhelming you and you can’t be sure what is important.


There’s too much! Too much I tell you!

Why does your fuzzy child require vaccinations? Isn’t your new pet just a cute and cuddly little stuffed animal?

Scamps Stuffed

Who DIDN’T have one of these?

Not exactly.

Your fuzzy friend is alive. This means he or she is susceptible to all of the health complications we deal with as humans. They can have allergies. They can get diseases and they can become sick just like we do. One of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid the most common illnesses is to have your pet routinely vaccinated.


A vaccinated dog is a prepared dog

If you purchased your dog from a pet store or a breeder you may be overwhelmed by the amount of vet visits and puppy vaccinations you’re told you must go through with your new puppy. It seems like you’re back at the vet almost every month. Fear not. After the first round of puppy shots are done you only have to do it once a year going forward. These initial shots, however, need to be given every 3-4 weeks (usually starting with week 8) in puppies to build up their immunity. Expect around three visits for these vaccines alone.


It’s a lot of vet visits the first year

The canine distemper vaccine is usually a combination of vaccines in a single injection that protects against an assortment of serious and potentially lethal diseases.
Have you ever read “Canine Distemper,” DHPP, DA2PP, DHPPV or DA2PPV on your pet’s paperwork and wondered what exactly all those random letters meant? I’ll do my best to break it down for you.
D = Canine Distemper Virus. A highly contagious disease with a high (nearly 50%) mortality rate in untreated dogs and puppies (80%). This virus targets the digestive, respiratory, brain and nervous system of your pup.
H and A2 = Hepatitis. Often referred to as A2 (it protects against canine adenovirus-1 and adenovirus-2) Adenovirus-1 protects against hepatitis which affects the liver. Adenovirus-2 protects against respiratory disease.
P = Parvovirus. Highly contagious (with a mortality rate near 90% in untreated dogs) – attacks the digestive and immune system in unvaccinated dogs.
P = Parainfluenza. Protects against respiratory disease in dogs.


“Why you need poke me with tiny pointy stick?”

So why are these so important to protect against?

Besides the already mentioned high mortality rates in pets that contract these contagious diseases it’s important to note that many of these diseases have no effective treatment beyond supportive care. Vaccinating is the most effective and healthy way to protect your pet.

How Might My Dog Contract Parvovirus / Distemper?

Direct contact with the Parvovirus is the most common way it is spread. It’s usually shed in the stool of an infected dog. The virus can survive in grass and on other surfaces for multiple years. Distemper is an airborne virus and just being around other dogs can spread it. It can also spread through infected urine and feces. Even during the recovery period dogs can still shed the virus despite showing no symptoms.


“Do you guys think one of us has Distemper or Parvovirus right now?”

If you have questions or concerns the best course of action is to consult with one of our staff veterinarians and discuss with them how to best proceed with your furry child.

Pet Grooming and Pet Health Can Go Hand in Hand

An all-inclusive pet hospital also takes care of many things that help keep your dog healthy.  In addition to checkups, vaccinations and emergency care animal hospitals often offer pet grooming as well. Getting a checkup for your pet is a good excuse to get your pet groomed at the same time.

Pet Grooming is Important

Cat grooming and dog grooming is not only a matter of making your pet look his best. Being well groomed can also prevent some minor health issues. A dog with long hair often has eyebrows, if you will, that can touch and scratch sensitive eyes and lead to eye infections, irritations, or actually damage his sight. Pet grooming includes trimming the hair near your dog’s eyes to avoid the health problems associated with it. You can examine your pet’s eyes to determine if he needs to go to the animal hospital for eye care. The ASPCA has a check list of things to look for in your pet. If you gently pull the lower eyelid down, you should see pink in the bottom of the eyelid. If the color of the lining is red or white, your pet should be examined by a veterinarian. Other items to watch for are watery eyes, a colored discharge, eyes that are closed, a visible third eyelid, cloudy eyes or a change in eye color. Any of these items warrant a visit to your vet for a diagnosis and treatment.

Clipping or plucking ear hair from the inside of your pets ears not only makes his grooming look professional, but it protects him from ear infections. Dogs with flop ears or lots of ear hair are the most prone to ear infections due to the lack of air to the inside of the ear. According to Dr. Henry Cerny, DVM who writes articles for Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer, the signs to look for include a dog pawing at his ear, rubbing his head on the floor or ground and head shaking. You may notice a bad odor in your dog’s ear or see redness and swelling that indicates an ear infection. If your dog or cat has these symptoms he will need a veterinarian visit including a culture from his ear to examine under a microscope and determine which type of ear infection he has, bacterial or fungal for the proper medication.

According to Dr. Debora Lichtenburg, VDM, cats are more prone to having ingrown dew claws when they are not trimmed appropriately by grooming them. An ingrown claw grows in a circle and enters the paw pad to cause great pain to an animal. Regular pet grooming can avoid this type of incident that requires medical attention.

Animal Teeth Cleaning Promotes Good Pet Health

A pet dentist doesn’t only keep your dog or cat’s teeth pearly white, but it has many other benefits. According to Dr. Brett Beckham, DVM “More than 80% of dogs have periodontal disease by the time they reach the age of 3 years.” This is a progressive dental disease because dog’s have a more alkaline mouth and usually don’t get their teeth brushed on a daily routine. This all leads to thick tartar buildup on your pet’s teeth that can infect gums and cause pain when he eats. Many dog’s end up loosing teeth and then can only eat a soft diet. Routine teeth cleaning is generally done under anesthesia so your pet is comfortable. The benefits of animal teeth cleaning along with x-rays and an oral examine can detect dental abnormalities at an early stage to take care of them.

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…)


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!”


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!


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.


Tick feasting on Fido


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.


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.

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…

Puppy Care: What to Expect at First Visit to the Veterinarian

Puppy Care: What to Expect at the Veterinarian

Congratulations! You have a brand new adorable little puppy. There is a lot to providing proper puppy care;  including health wellness check-ups, training, house training, and numerous other things will need to be done to make your new puppy feel at home. The first and most important thing you need to do is call your veterinarian and schedule a vaccination and wellness check-up. Your puppy’s first visit to the animal hospital will set the groundwork for a lifetime of excellent health.

When to Take Your New Puppy for Their First Wellness Check-Uppuppy care

The first and most important thing you need to do is call your veterinarian and schedule a wellness check-up. Your puppy’s first visit to the animal hospital will set the groundwork for a lifetime of excellent health. Most puppies are removed from their mother’s care between six and eight weeks old. This is the ideal time to take your puppy for their first check-up.

If your puppy is a purebred or had a previous owner be sure, you bring all their medical records to the pet hospital with you. The veterinarian will need to see if your puppy has had any of their vaccinations or any health problems.

Your Puppy’s First Visit to the Vet

Your puppy will most likely be nervous because he/she may be surrounded by domestic household pets. It is normal for your new puppy to be nervous. To help calm their nerves, you can place a favorite toy in the carrier with them and even bring a lightweight blanket (such as a baby’s receiving blanket) and place it over the top of the carrier if your puppy gets to nervous. In addition, you can hold the carrier on your lap or place it on the floor facing a way from the other animals and talk to your new puppy. The sound of your voice can be very comforting to your puppy.
After you fill out all the paperwork, you and your puppy will be called into an exam room. A vet technician may weigh and measure your puppy before the vet comes in the room.

You may have also been asked to bring in a fecal sample. This is to check for worms. A lot of puppies are born with roundworms and medication may be administered as part of their check-up or they may have you take home the medication and administer it there. During the exam, the vet will also check your puppy for fleas and ticks, then explain how important it is to protect him/her from them and discuss preventive medications.

The vet will do a complete exam including checking your puppy’s – level of alertness, hearing, vision, coat, skin, body, eyes, ears and mouth. The vet will also check you puppy’s teeth to see if he/she needs to see the pet dentist or have an animal teeth cleaning done. Keeping your puppy’s teeth in good condition is a high priority. Your puppy will also begin their round of vaccinations, which include hepatitis, distemper, rabies, and Parvovirus. There are more vaccinations that are safe and beneficial for your new puppy’s health, ask the vet for more information about the other vaccines and about the intervals for the vaccinations and booster shots.

The vet will also inform you about the advantages of microchips, pet grooming, (dog grooming/cat grooming) and pet boarding. To setup a first visit to the vet for your puppy call University Animal Hospital at (212) 288-8884 today!

Does your Dog need a Pet Dentist?

While dental care is an essential part of your dog’s healthcare routine throughout his life, oral care becomes even more important as dogs age. Older dogs may have other health concerns that affect their teeth, such as diabetes, and will need to visit a pet dentist. They may be less active, as well, which can slow their circulation and affect the health of their teeth and gums. Older pets can also be more at risk for infections as their immune systems age.

Why animal teeth cleaning matters pet dentist

Clean teeth do more than give your dog a bright smile and sweet-smelling breath. A comprehensive veterinary dental cleaning removes plague and stains below the gum line. Preformed under anesthesia, this procedure removes the bacteria that causes dental plague. Left unchecked, this bacteria can damage your dog’s teeth, inflame his gums and lead to serious infections. These infections are not only painful, they can affect your dog’s overall health, as well. The pain of infected teeth can be stressful and hamper your dog’s ability to eat. Bacteria from gum disease can also enter your dog’s bloodstream and affect his heart and other organs. This is particularly hard on older dogs who might not be able to fight off such an infection.

Signs that it’s time for your dog to see the pet dentist

When you take your older dog to the animal hospital for his annual wellness exam, your veterinarian will check his teeth and gums. If there are signs of tartar build up or gingivitis, your veterinarian will most likely recommend a comprehensive dental cleaning. In between checkups, however, there are signs you can watch for that may indicate a problem with your dog’s teeth and gums. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, these signs include:

  • Teeth that look brown or stained
  • Teeth that appear to be loose
  • Bad breath that doesn’t clear up after a bath (sometimes doggy bad breath is caused by a dirty muzzle)
  • Tenderness in and around the mouth
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Shying away when you try to touch his mouth
  • Blood that shows up on pull toys or chew toys after your dog has played with them
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained loss of weight

Concerns about anesthesia

Anesthesia is not without risks, especially for older dogs. For a comprehensive dental cleaning, however, anesthesia must be used. There are two ways that the risk to your pet can be kept at a minimum. At the pet hospital, your veterinarian will most likely recommend a blood panel before your dog’s dental procedure. This will tell the doctor whether or not your pet has underlying medical conditions that might adversely affect how well he tolerates anesthesia. Your pet’s doctor will also use the least amount of anesthesia needed to ensure the safety of his staff and the comfort of your pet.

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.



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.


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.


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.


“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.


“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.

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