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

HELP! WHAT CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY DOG!

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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…

corndog Critter_TummyTime

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!

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.

Fourth Of July Safety For Your Pets

Fireworks and the Fourth of July go together like … well, fireworks and the Fourth of July. While you may already have safeguards in place for people and children, there are additional things to consider for pet owners. Here are a few tips on helping your pets remain safe and happy while dealing with fireworks.

Always keep fireworks out of reach of your pet. While this may seem obvious for lit fireworks, it’s important to keep unlit fireworks away from your pets as well. Ingesting fireworks could be lethal for your pet. If your pet does get into your fireworks, contact your veterinarian right away.

Be aware of projectiles. Roman candles, for example, have projectile capabilities. If used incorrectly, an ejected shell can hit a pet, causing burning. If your pet gets burned, contact your veterinarian right away.

Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier. Never let your pets run free in an area where fireworks are going off.

Know what do to in case of a seizure. For some animals, being in the presence of fireworks can trigger a seizure. If your pet is prone to seizures, he or she should never be around fireworks, but most pet owners won’t know if their dog is prone to seizures until he or she experiences one. If this happens, stay calm and remove any objects in the area that might hurt your pet. Do not attempt to move your pet, as they may bite without knowing it. When the seizure is over, move him or her into an area clear of the firework’s sights and sounds. Call your veterinarian right away.

Ease your pet’s fear. Many pets are frightened of fireworks, and may exhibit fear by whimpering, crying, or otherwise displaying uneasiness. Create a safe space for these animals before the event. During the fireworks, use the radio, television, fan or air conditioner to create white noise that will drown out the sound of the fireworks.

By planning ahead and keeping key information in mind, your pet can have a happy, stress-free Fourth of July – and so can you!

The veterinarians and staff at University Animal Hospital wish you and your pets a happy Fourth of July.

Ice Water Is Not Dangerous For Your Dog

Concerned pet owners may have come across a Facebook post warning against giving dogs ice water. The post claims that giving dogs ice water can cause bloat, which can lead to a life-threatening condition called gastric dilation and volvulus, or GDV. It’s often accompanied by a seemingly true story of a well-meaning pet owner trying to keep their dog cool on a hot day only to find they must rush their pet to the emergency veterinarian.

 

It sounds scary, but it’s absolutely false. Veterinarians across the country have been addressing this myth for years, but the misinformation continues to spread thanks to social media. In an blog article addressing the myth, Dr. Patty Khuly says that “frigid gastric cramping is a falsehood akin to those that inform you that your hair will grow back coarser if you shave it (myth), or that you shouldn’t go swimming for 30 minutes after eating lest you drown in a fit of cramps (myth).”

Bloat may be caused when your dog drinks and eats too much too quickly, but the temperature has nothing to do with this. In fact, putting ice cubes in your dog’s water can sometimes slow your dog’s water consumption, keeping the risk of bloat at bay.

If you have a large dog and are worried about bloat, the veterinarians at University Animal Hospital recommend feeding a few small meals per day instead of one large meal and avoiding exercise for an hour or so after eating. But if your pup is thirsty on a hot day, there’s nothing dangerous about helping them cool off with ice water.

Vaccinate Your Dog Against Lyme Disease

Last week while lavishing my dog with some behind-the-ear scratches after a walk together in the woods, I found a tick.

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This was alarming for a couple of reasons. Not much larger than a freckle, the critter nearly escaped my notice. Even when I did see it, I almost dismissed it as a speck of dirt. Then I remembered: it’s summer, the weather is warm, and here are the ticks. Especially the tiny, easily-overlooked deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.

Ticks Reaching Unprecedented Levels in 2014

Tick populations are increasing and are poised to reach unprecedented levels in 2014, due to a number of factors including warmer winters, decreased insecticide usage, and the white-tailed deer population, which has swelled as a result of successful conservation efforts. White-tailed deer are ticks’ primary mode of travel and the main reason they are so widespread, although other migratory animals such as birds and coyotes transport ticks as well.

Vaccinate Your Dog Against Lyme Disease

When it comes to illnesses, prevention is generally the least costly and most successful option, and Lyme disease is no exception. Given the statistics about tick population and increase in Lyme disease, prevention should be considered a standard part of pet care, as important as wellness exams, vaccinations and even fresh water and food.

Ticks are generally found in wooded or grassy locations. If your dog never visits these areas, he or she is not at high risk for Lyme disease. However, if you take your dog for occasional visits in the country, there is a strong possibility that a tick will attach itself to his or her skin. Under these circumstances, even if you and your canine companion live in NYC, there is a good chance that he or she can contract Lyme disease.

Talk To a Staff Member at University Animal Hospital

Talk to a veterinarian or staff member at University Animal Hospital about vaccinating your dog against Lyme disease and implementing an effective protection plan against ticks.

Regardless of the method or combination of methods you choose, it is a good idea to always thoroughly check your dog after being outside, especially in woodsy, grassy or brushy areas. If a tick is attached to your dog’s skin, remove it carefully and wash the affected area and your hands with soap and water.

For more information or to schedule a Lyme disease vaccination for your dog, please call University Animal Hospital today.

Introducing NexGard for Dogs!

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From the makers of Frontline Plus comes a new oral alternative to the topical formulation. NexGard is the first flea and tick killer in a beef flavored chew! It contains an ingredient, afoxolaner, that helps treat and control fleas and ticks and keeps killing for a full 30 days. So it helps provide protection you can feel good about.

University Animal Hospital is proud to offer an exclusive deal: buy 6 doses of NexGard and receive 2 free doses! For more information, give us a call at 212-288-8884 or stop by the office.

 

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