Newsletter The veterinarians and staff at Veterinary Center of East Northport are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Rules of Thumb for Pets

Here are some Rules of Thumb for our animal friends. Remember, Rules of Thumb do not have a scientific basis.

Rules of Thumb for Pets

FYI: Rule of Thumb n. A method or procedure derived entirely from practice or experience, without any basis in scientific knowledge. A roughly practical method.


Anything over 45 minutes seems like forever to your dog. You will be greeted as enthusiastically coming back from a two-hour shopping trip as you will coming back from a two-day vacation.

A stray dog that is afraid of people will trust the people associated with the dogs it plays with.

If you give your dog a fancy name, it's not for your dog but for your pride. You'll end up using a nickname.

Owning two dogs is no more work than owning one, but three dogs is hard work.

Pay no more then half of the retail price for a used kennel.

Figure on a pound of dry dog food for every 30 pounds of dogs. In a suburb of medium density, a dog's bark can be heard in 200 surrounding houses - or by 800 people.

The old rule - multiplying a dog's age by 7 to find the equivalent human age - is fallacious. Most dogs are able to reproduce at one year old and have reached full growth by two years. To calculate a dog's age in human terms, count the first year at 15, the second year as 10, and each year after that as five.

If a dog tolerates gentle handling between its toes, it probably is suited for children.

If two dogs are headed for a fight and they appear about evenly matched, the dog on his home turf will win easily.

If you want to be friends with somebody else's dog, let the dog make the first move, and don't be too quick to respond.

A kennel should be two times the length of the dog you are building it for. Measure the dog from its nose to the tip of its tail.

The best time for taking a puppy from its litter - psychologically and physically - is when it is 49 days old.

The first musher to reach the town of Iditarod - the halfway point - in the Alaska Iditarod sled race will not win the race.


If you don't want a cat to jump in your lap, don't make eye contact with it.

Generally speaking, if your cat nudges your feet in the morning, it wants to stay inside. If it nudges your face, it wants to go out.

Feed your cat as much as it will eat in 30 minutes, twice a day.

There should be one more litter pan than the number of cats in your household. Sharing litter pans is probably the leading cause of house soiling problems in cats. If you only have one cat, and it isn't reliably using the litter pan, give it two litter pans and clean them frequently.


When the bird and the bird book disagree, believe the bird.

The smaller the bird, the closer it will allow you to approach.

Birdcalls are mostly adjectives with few verbs. They don't tell you what they are going to do - only how well they are going to do it.

The single best clue to a bird's identity is the shape of its bill.

If a flock of geese is in a close V formation, it is almost certainly Canada geese. If it is a looser V, rippling and waving, or if it is a long line like one leg of a V, it is more likely the less common snow geese.

The inside of a pigeon loft should be low enough so that a pigeon can't fly over your head and small enough so that you can touch all four walls while standing in the middle.

Among birds of prey, females are about one-third larger than males.

The way you can usually tell whether a chicken will lay white eggs or dark eggs: If the chicken has white ear lobes, she will lay white eggs. If the chicken has red ear lobes, she will lay brown eggs.

Senior Pets - Maintaining Good Health

In general, pets over the age of seven are considered "senior" pets. The following are a few suggestions to help ensure good health to your faithful companion.

As your pet approaches senior status, your veterinarian may recommend basic blood and urine tests as a baseline for measuring future changes. Regular blood testing can help identify diseases in their earliest and most treatable stages.

Note changes in your pet’s behavior or appearance. Treat simple medical problems, such as incessant ear scratching, immediately. A trip to the veterinarian can get problems under control early, before they become major problems requiring more extensive treatment.

Switch to a quality senior food that provides enhanced levels of key nutrients

Ask your veterinarian about a dental checkup and teeth cleaning. Follow the cleaning with recommended dental care at home.

Provide moderate exercise. This will deter anxiety-related behavior problems, help with weight control and keep muscles toned.

Talk with your veterinarian if your dog or cat tires easily or has trouble breathing.

Groom your senior pet at least once a week. Check for lumps, sores, parasites and foul-smelling ears or discharge. Older pets may need to he bathed with medicated or moisturizing shampoo.

Maintain a familiar routine and environment to minimize stress.

If your pet has not been spayed or neutered, ask your veterinarian about having this done. These procedures reduce the likelihood of mammary or prostate gland tumors.

As your veterinarian about a Senior Pet Health Examination. He or she will examine your pet and offer suggestions for maintaining an excellent quality of life.

The Competitive World of Canine Freestyle Dancing

Admit it—you've danced around your living room with your dog more than once. You're not the only one, either. There's growing consensus that cutting a rug is a hobby Fido may truly enjoy.

The World Canine Freestyle Organization (WCFO) and the Musical Dog Sport Association (MDSA) were founded in the early 2000s to advance the sport and enjoyment of canine freestyle, which is a sport that involves a choreographed musical program performed by dogs and their handlers.

"The object of musical freestyle is to display the dog and handler in a creative, innovative and original dance, using music and intricate movements to showcase teamwork, artistry, costuming, athleticism and style in interpreting the theme of the music," according to the WCFO website. The sport is basically the marriage of human interpretive dance to dog obedience. It is considered "a showcase that truly demonstrates the joys and fun of bonding with your pet."

Although fun, canine freestyle competitive events aren't without rules. For example, you can typically use verbal and visual cues for your pet, but they must be subtle/quiet and not detract from the performance. As the events are kid-friendly, your musical selection cannot be obscene. There is no prejudice when it comes to breed, age or ability - mixes and purebreds can participate.

How to Get Started:

1. Pick a Tail-Wagging Tune

2. Choreograph a Rover-Ready Routine

3. Get Your Paws on Coordinating Costumes

4. Sniff Out Local Events and Learn Their Rules

Common dance moves include creative heelwork, such as left and right side heels, circles, spins, serpentines, switches, pivots, recalls, weaves, zigzags, and of course rollovers, jumps and bows.

If your pup has a particular aptitude for freestyle, there are several classes to advance through – from beginner to advanced. Titles can also be achieved in some cases. If you're not looking to compete, however, everything goes in your living room.

Til Death Do Us Part: Caring for a Beloved Pet After You’re Gone

The elderly and pets are common companions. Easing loneliness that can sometimes accompany the twilight season of life, pets offer elderly adults friendship and loyalty. But to truly embrace pet owner responsibility, one should consider how best to care for a pet after the human companion’s death. Pet trusts are quickly becoming a legal remedy that offers pet owners comfort and peace of mind- and guarantees their beloved pets a secure future.

Three Legal Pet Protections

When planning for your future and the future of your pet, there are three legal documents to keep in mind: wills, pet protection agreements, and pet trusts. All three can provide a valuable level of pet security.

To fully understand the advantages of a pet trust, it helps to first define all three options:

  • Wills: a will takes effect only upon your death, and it will not be probated and formally recognized by a court for days or even weeks later. In other words, it may take a long time before your instructions regarding your pet’s long-term care can be carried out nor are any included instructions enforceable.
  • Pet Protection Agreement (PPA): a PPA is a comprehensive set of (legally-enforceable) instructions for your appointed pet guardian to follow, which ensures that your pets receive the standard of care to which they’ve become accustomed.
  • Pet Trust: a legal arrangement that stipulates care for a pet after an owner dies. Pet trusts state that, in the event of a grantor’s disability or death, a trustee will hold property (i.e., cash) “in trust” for the benefit of the grantor’s pets.

  • Old Man Holding Dog

    Pet Trusts are the Cat’s Pajamas

    Unlike a will, a pet trust can provide for your pet immediately and can apply not only if you die, but also if you become ill or mentally incapacitated. You determine when your trust becomes effective.

    Money (i.e., “property”) is held “in trust” by a trustee for your pet or pets. Most trusts are enforceable by law, thereby providing you, the pet owner, great peace of mind.

    No one knows your pet like you do. A pet trust offers you the ability to provide detailed care instructions (even including food brands, dietary restrictions, playful preferences, and habitual tendencies) and to provide the name(s) of a person(s) who would be willing to assume your pet’s care upon your passing. It also allows you to leave directions for your pet’s burial or cremation upon his/her death.

    Terms of Trust

    To know and fully understand the advantages of a pet trust and prior to meeting with an attorney, it is helpful to become familiar with the main descriptive terms:

    • Pet owner- the individual who has control and custody of the pet. (Pets are legally classified as property and can sometimes be battling fodder in divorce disputes.)
    • Pet guardian- this can be a person or an organization. This individual will keep the pet in his/her home and carry out the pet owner’s instructions.
    • Funding- this is an option that should be strongly considered. To leave a pet to a family member or friend is essentially asking the ultimate favor. Leaving him/her money to care for your pet is not only a helpful gift for the guardian but helps ensure your pet receives the care you desire.

    Additionally, when meeting with your attorney, remember to include in the pet trust a detailed description of your pet, explicit instructions for care, information about keeping pet siblings together, and whether the document is meant to cover pets not owned at the time the trust is established.

    Parting Wishes

    No one likes to see a pet consigned to a place not of the owner’s choice or where it is no longer loved and cared for properly. And it is not necessarily desirable to have a court decide a pet’s fate when its owner is no longer able to care for it. Thus, as painful as it is to think of leaving beloved pets behind, making decisions now and planning ahead can provide you and your pet with a sense of security about tomorrow. It can be your best parting gift to your beloved companion.


    Many states have enacted pet trust laws. For a complete listing and to see if your state is included, check out the Pet Trust State Law Chart:

Famous Dog and Cat Quotes

• "To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs." -Aldous Huxley

• "Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this." -Anonymous

• "Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot about little puppies." -Gene Hill

• "Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow." -Jeff Valdez

• "Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear." -Dave Barry

• "Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia" -Joseph Krutch

• "A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down." -Robert Benchley

• "My husband said it was him or the cat...I miss him sometimes." -Unknown

• "Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend, and inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

• "Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God." -Anonymous

• "I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers." -Unknown