Praise Outranks Treats For Dogs | University Animal Hospital NYC

According to ScienceMag a recent study strongly indicated that dogs might actually prefer the praise of their owners over treats. Despite the long-standing use of treats and food by us ‘Hoomans’ to help train our canine companions it would appear that the positive reinforcement of a belly rub or a pat on the head is actually more effective in melting most of your fuzzy children’s hearts.

In the first half of the study (soon to be published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience) the brain activity of fifteen canines was monitored by researchers. After being shown a toy car the canines were then praised by their respective owners. Later, they were each given toy horses with a piece of hot dog. Of the fifteen dogs in the study thirteen exhibited a greater or equal response in the area of the brain associated with reward and decision-making when the reinforcement was praise from their owner vs. food/treats.

The second half of the experiment positioned the dogs at the start of a maze that forked in two directions. One led to a bowl of food and the other led the dog to his or her owner. Most of the dogs chose their owner over the food bowl. The dogs who chose the food were the same subjects who favored treats in the first half of the study indicating that some dogs are just food motivated.

Of course fifteen is not a large enough sample size to reach absolute conclusions but it gives us further understanding of the nature of the dog/owner relationship. The affection does appear to go both ways.

There are always skeptics who question the ability of our furry children to truly reciprocate the feelings of love we have for them but anyone who has returned to their dog from a long absence knows the reaction of their furry child. It’s pure excitement and joy. Watch this dog after he is reunited with his owner after being stolen from him two years before.

So dogs prefer praise. What about Cats?

Are cats on the same level as the canine companions we love so dearly or do they merely tolerate our existence in exchange for food? The latter is apparently much more likely if another recent study is any indication.

In February of 2016 BBC2 broadcast Cats V. Dogs, a television documentary that explored this question by measuring the level of oxytocin in cats and dogs. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain when we feel an attachment to someone or something. Oxytocin levels in humans rise by up to 60% when we see someone we love.

Researchers tested saliva samples from ten cats and ten dogs before and after playing with their owners for a ten minute period. The dogs showed an increase of 57.2% after the playful interaction with their owners. For cats it was just 12%. In fact, only 50% of the cats tested showed any rise in their oxytocin levels at all. Moo (from the video below) appears to be the exception to the rule.

Again, these small sample sizes can’t back up definitive conclusions but they do seem to support the notion that most of our cats view us as food dispensers above anything else. Compared to dogs they appear to be fairly indifferent to us. As someone who has had multiple cats and multiple dogs I don’t think these theories are too far from the truth. Do I think my cats have loved me on the same level that my dogs have? Maybe — but who can be sure? Look at those glares…

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This doesn’t look like satisfaction…

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Maggie’s ‘friendliest’ expression. Seriously.

 

 

 

 

Summer Heat Solutions for Cats and Dogs| University Animal Hospital NYC

The summer heat in New York City is really kicking into high gear. With record heat waves scorching the city and making all of us reconsider even stepping outside there are some that feel the effects of the harsh sun’s rays far worse than we do — our furry children. Both cats and dogs are at risk of overheating as our city roasts like a rotisserie chicken. Cats typically because they’re confined inside baking apartments or homes that often lack suitable air-conditioning when owners are not present and dogs because they’re walking in the intense heat — lacking a sufficient way of naturally cooling themselves.

Dogs are particularly susceptible to the effects of the heat. Heatstroke for canines is dangerous and likely when dealing with temperatures over 100 degrees. Dogs do not sweat through their skin like we do so the heat is much more uncomfortable and dangerous for them. I just read an article this morning about a police dog in Texas that died in the line of duty from heatstroke while pursuing a suspect. It’s a real threat and something people sometimes overlook or forget about. Signs of heatstroke to look out for include: excessive panting (a natural way dogs cool themselves down), drooling, increased salivation, restlessness and other signs of agitation. There are, fortunately, actions pet owners can take in order to help with the dangerous heat that might make these summer months a bit safer for your fuzzy child.

Many people have taken to carrying around a spray bottle when they walk their dog in order to give a relieving cool mist on the face or belly. Consider carrying a collapsible water cup and water to decrease the risk of potential dehydration. Look into obtaining booties to protect his or her pads on the hot pavement and sidewalks. It may seem odd to look at but have you wondered what it might feel like to go barefoot on the Manhattan streets in the blazing heat? Your dog isn’t too concerned with how he looks to strangers (you shouldn’t be either) and avoiding discomfort is probably much higher on his list of priorities.

ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS FOR STAVING OFF THE SUMMER HEAT?

If your dog is pad/paper trained you should think about foregoing outside walks until the heat has died down. If outside walks are necessary take shorter relief walks as opposed to the usual jog or hour-long strolls. Pay close attention to your dog’s behavior when out and about so you can be aware of significant discomfort or distress. If your dog lays down in the shade or grass perhaps it’s time to head back inside. Take frequent breaks and try to walk in shaded areas or on grass whenever possible.

Keep your home at a reasonable temperature even if you’re not there with your pet. People are often apprehensive about leaving the air-conditioner on when they aren’t home for fear of extreme electric bills. Keep the air conditioning at a level that’s safe for your stay-at-home pets but that won’t kill your energy bill. Make sure the water you leave out is cool and that the bowl is full. Consider dropping an ice cube in from time to time when you are home with them. Do not ever leave your dog in an unattended car for any period of time even if you think you’ll only be gone for a moment. In under ten minutes the inside of your car can reach temperatures of over 102 degrees so no amount of time in a car alone is acceptable or excusable.

The most important thing to remember is that your dogs and cats can’t verbalize the discomfort that the summer heat bestows upon them. It is up to you to keep your eyes and ears open and look for the signs of distress or overheating. Be alert and present when you’re taking your walks and pay attention to the tiny details that your dog is giving you. The dangers of the heat are too great to risk and you know your fuzzy child is worth it.

 

Cost Effective Heartworm Products | University Animal Hospital NYC

If you have or have ever had a dog then chances are you have heard about heartworm disease before. What exactly is this disease and how can I keep your dog from getting it? Preventative care is your best solution to fight heartworm disease. There are a handful of reputable products currently available to protect your furry child from this potentially fatal disease. Between Sentinel, Heartgard and Interceptor and the cost effective pricing available at University Animal Hospital for these “once a month” medications there is no reason your pet should not be kept safe from these parasites.

Parasites!? What are we talking about here?

First let’s discuss what exactly heartworm disease is.

For dogs the disease is caused by long worms that reside in the lungs, associated blood vessels and the heart of affected pets. This can lead to severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other internal organs in your dog. These monsters can affect the quality of your dog’s life and his or her overall health even after the parasites are gone. Therefore prevention is the best option for maintaining your dog’s healthy status.

Dogs can develop heartworm disease by getting bit by a mosquito that has had contact with a heartworm infected mammal (which includes a large assortment of wild animals besides just dogs). Once bitten by an infected mosquito the larvae are deposited into the bite wound of the mosquito and over time mature into adult heartworms. These unwelcome intruders can live anywhere from five to seven years in dogs.

 

What might happen to your dog if he or she becomes infected?

Many dogs are asymptomatic at first but as time goes on they may develop lethargy, a mild but persistent cough, fatigue, weight loss and decreased appetite and heart failure. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse.

Your dog should be tested annually for heartworm infection. This is a routine blood test that is necessary even if your pet is on preventative medication. Heartworm medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of a monthly medication—or give it late—it can leave your dog unprotected.

What about those cost effective heartworm products?

At University Animal Hospital we have a few different products we recommend to protect against heartworm disease.

1. Sentinel

This is a beef flavored pill you give your pet once a month. In addition to heartworm protection it also guards against hookworms, whipworms and roundworms. It controls fleas by preventing the development of flea eggs (it does not kill adult fleas, however). If you purchase twelve doses from University Animal Hospital you receive a rebate for $12.

$12 dollars off a pack of 12

$20 off a pack of 12, or $7 off a pack of 6

2. Heartgard

This is a flavored chew-able treat that is given once every month. Like Sentinel it guards against heartworm disease. It also protects against hookworms and roundworms. If your purchase from University Animal Hospital you receive a rebate for $12 off a pack of 12.

$12 off a pack of 12

$12 off a pack of 12

3. Interceptor

This is a once per month pill that protects against heartworm disease. It also treats and controls hookworms, roundworms and whipworms.

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All of these protections are cost effective when factoring in how much they cover

If you have questions about heartworm disease or any of these products reach out to the staff of University Animal Hospital and we will help any way we can.

Cost Effective Flea and Tick Products | University Animal Hospital NYC

Do not let the recent cold temperatures fool you. Spring is right around the corner. Any day now people will be wearing sandals and tank tops and the heat wave will soon be upon us. With that comes an increased risk that your dog or cat might be interacting with the dreaded parasites. The flea and tick problem.

These little monsters are actually a year-round presence but they are far more prevalent in the warmer months of the year.

That is why it’s so important for your pet to be on monthly flea and tick preventative all year round.

Some of our clients at University Animal Hospital have downplayed the need for their pet to be on the flea and tick preventative. I’ve heard people say that fleas and ticks aren’t really an issue in Manhattan. This is simply not true.

Fleas can live up to a year without feeding. Ticks 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 creeps. You can find them in plenty of places in New York City. I’ve run into ticks in a few of my apartments in Queens over the last several years. Twice in the month of December.

The health concerns of your pet getting bit by a tick far outweighs any apprehension you should have about the medications. The products are very safe and very effective. It just depends where you get it from.

Many pet stores and online pharmacies sell generic flea and tick medication that can be very harmful to your pet. In the cases where they have the actual product and not a cheap knock-off they are getting them through third party suppliers and not the manufacturer or a licensed distributor. Since this product is coming from a third party seller there is a risk that it is not being shipped and stored based on the manufacturers recommendations. This can leave the product ineffective and potentially harmful to your pet. You don’t really know what you’re getting.

Fake Frontline Plus found on ebay can be very dangerous

Fake Frontline Plus found online

These online pharmacies also do not offer some of the rebates and freebies you get from buying the product from a licensed distributor (like University Animal Hospital.) In our case we’re able to offer two free additional doses of Frontline Plus when a client purchases a pack of six. In the case of Nexgard we’re able to offer a free month worth of the medication. With Bravecto there are rebate coupons available that helps keep the cost of the medication manageable. The net down price of the free goods we’re able to offer our clients often-times makes our product considerably less expensive than one you’re buying online.
There are three fantastic options for flea/tick preventative available at University Animal Hospital.

Frontline Plus

Topical options are effective.

What kind of flea and tick products are there?

1. Frontline Plus. 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

Chew-ables are growing in popularity.

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

Nexgard - Chew

It’ s a chew-able 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 chew-able but it only needs to be given every three months. That’s just four doses a year. If you buy multiple doses the rebate amounts increase.

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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 don’t have to. 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 time

Traveling Tips for Cats and Dogs | University Animal Hospital NYC

If you have ever traveled with your cat or dog you must know that it isn’t the easiest endeavor. Besides finding an airline that is pet friendly there is often paperwork and several hoops that must be jumped through that are necessary in order to board the plane without issue. If you are flying internationally then there’s a whole assortment of steps you have to take in order to cover your bases. If you have not traveled with your pet before then hopefully these dog and cat traveling tips will prepare you for any potential issues that can arise.

The first thing to consider is if it is worth the effort to take your pet on your trip with you. Factor in the length of your trip and what will be required in order to bring your fuzzy child along. Most importantly consider the effect it will have on your pet. Does he/she travel well? Will the three days apart be easier than going through all the motions? If it’s a long trip maybe it would be worth it to bring them along for the adventure.

If you’re traveling domestically with your pet you should immediately contact your airline and ask what their specific requirements are. Most often the airline has rules specific to them. Almost every major airline will require a domestic health certificate, signed by your veterinarian, that states that your pet has been examined within a certain period (usually 30 days) and is fit for travel.

Many of them require your pet be in a certain sized carrier. They have to be certain that your pet, in the carrier, will fit under the seat. I learned the hard way that the size of this space can alter depending on the size of the plane your flight is scheduled for. I spent at least an hour on the phone with Delta Airlines customer care team having my flight changed to ensure that the plane I would be flying on would have the appropriate sized space under the seat to fit my cat (Maggie Rooneymara Nilbog-Ackerman IV) in her carrier.

Should I get my pet micro-chipped before I travel?

Consider the possibility that your pet could be lost at some point during your trip and make sure that your pet has a collar and ID tag with your contact information (address and phone number) clearly visible. It’s also a very good idea to have a microchip implanted into your pet (if you haven’t already) which can help locate your pet if he/she is lost at any point during your trip. It’s a quick injection, non-invasive, that can be done when your pet is awake.

If your pet is a nervous traveler discuss with your veterinarian any supplements or medications they might suggest to help keep your pet calm during travel. There are calming supplements that can help your pet without actually having to medicate them. In some cases your pet might need a sedative but this should always be something you discuss with your veterinarian first. Do not attempt to administer medications without discussing with your vet beforehand.

Pack some water if it’s a long flight. You don’t want your dog or cat to get dehydrated. A few treats to reward good behavior couldn’t hurt either. A chew toy or something to keep him or her distracted is always helpful. Don’t forget to pack a leash, some toys, extra water/food bowls, poopy bags, any necessary medications, etc.

If you’re staying at a hotel make sure it is a pet-friendly establishment. A little bit of research goes a long way and you’d rather have things set up in advance than be scrambling to figure them out in a crisis.

Remember that emergencies can happen so it’s also very important to do some research on emergency veterinary hospitals where you’ll be staying just in case your pet begins experiencing symptoms of illness. It’s a good idea to have a copy of your pet’s medical history on hand for this very reason. Save it to your e-mail as a PDF file so it can be easily accessed in an emergency.

How hard is it to traveling internationally?

If you are traveling internationally things get a little more complicated. The rules for international travel are not standard. They vary from country to country and change on a semi-regular basis. In almost every case you will need an international health certificate issued by a USDA certified veterinarian that proves your pet was examined and found fit for travel. Most often this needs to be done within ten days of arrival in your destination country. The vets at University Animal Hospital are USDA certified and fully capable of filling out any documentation required to travel. They are familiar with paperwork necessary and can inform you what you’ll need when trying to get into the country of your destination.

If you are planning on traveling with your pet set up an appointment with one of our doctors to get the process moving and to answer any questions you might have. Let them handle the details and the nightmare of paperwork so you can focus on your trip and the fun things you plan to do, with your dog or cat in tow.

Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Despite what you might believe or have heard – IT IS IMPORTANT to spay and neuter your pets.

There are quite a few reasons why this is true. First and foremost there are the obvious health reasons that one should consider. Neutered dogs live an average of 18% longer than un-neutered dogs. Spayed dogs lives 23% longer than un-spayed dogs. The reduced lifespan for these unaltered pets often has to do with an increased urge in unfixed animals to roam. This leads to increased likelihood of being struck by cars, fighting with other animals and a wealth of other potential mishaps.

Another major factor is the decreased risk of certain types of cancers. Female cats and dogs who are unspayed run a greater chance of developing uterine cancer and other cancers of the reproductive system, as well as pyrometra, a potentially fatal uterine infection.

Male cats and dogs who are not neutered have a greater chance of getting testicular cancer and it’s believed they have higher rates of prostate cancer as well.

The most absurd justification for choosing to not neuter male dogs is the owner’s concern that their male dog will feel less “masculine” if neutered. Animals do not have any concept of sexual identity or ego. These are human constructs. Neutered male dogs do not feel lesser than their un-neutered counterparts. They are, however, less assertive and less prone to “marking” than unneutered dogs. Would you prefer your pet urinate everywhere that he smells another dog’s scent? Fixing animals solves 90% of marking issues — even in cats that have been doing it for a while. In cats it can also minimize howling, fighting with other males, and the urge to roam.

While getting your pets spayed/neutered can help curb undesirable behaviors, it will not change their fundamental personality. Their protective instinct, for example, will remain intact.

Beyond the health concerns there is the matter of homeless animals. The United States is overrun with them. There are estimated to be anywhere from 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Less than half of these animals are adopted — the rest of them are euthanized. These are healthy and lovable pets who are put to sleep primarily because of a lack of resources. These are not all “street” animals. Many of these pets are puppies/kittens (some even purebreds) who have been abandoned or lost. Healthy and loving pets that simply do not have homes.

 

I’m amazed that many people are completely unaware that more than 2.7 million healthy and adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters every year. I have known about this since I was a pre-teen and considered it to be common knowledge. Still, again and again, I find myself explaining this fact to people only to be met with wide-eyed surprise. Few seem to be aware just how big of a problem this is. Even people who do not intend to breed their pets often don’t consider the possibility that their pet could be lost at some point. Suppose your male or female dog/cat got loose and came across another unfixed dog or cat in the wild. Their interaction could very easily result in a litter of unwanted pets. It happens every day and it’s a big part of why shelters are overrun with unwanted animals.

Believe it or not it is also more cost-effective to care for a spayed or neutered animal. When weighed against the potential medical costs that are common in unfixed pets, spaying and neutering procedures are far less expensive in the long-run. Do you know how expensive it is to treat a dog or cat with cancer? Even the cost of a renewing a pet license is cheaper for fixed animals. The reality is that it’s just less expensive to have your pet fixed.

If you’re still not sure this is the best thing you can do for your pet you should discuss this with one of our amazing veterinarians who can discuss all of the options and help you to make an informed decision about your pet and his or her health.

 

 

Distemper and Parvovirus | University Animal Hospital NYC

DISTEMPER AND PARVOVIRUS

(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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

 

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.

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.

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.”

I dodge out of the way of coughing pedestrians 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

New 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.

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.

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.

Parvovirus Outbreak Kills Dogs In Illinois and Pennsylvania

Outbreaks of canine Parvovirus has killed 15 dogs in Massachusetts and dogs in Illinois. The highly contagious virus is spread through vomit, feces or contaminated environment and is fatal if not treated early. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Very often, young puppies die suddenly from heart failure. This sudden death occurs before any gastrointestinal symptoms of Parvovirus appear.

Bloody diarrhea is the most common symptom of Parvovirus infection. Pet owners should contact their veterinarian immediately if their dog exhibits these symptoms.

Parvovirus is preventable through vaccinations. Contact University Animal Hospital to make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations.

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