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

Thanksgiving: Sharing the Bounty with Your Pets

Thanksgiving is a holiday meant for gathering around the dinner table with family and friends to share in your thanks for all that you have and all that you’re about to consume! For many pet owners, Fido and Mittens are valued members of the family and saying ‘no’ to their pleading eyes may be something you skimp on given the special occasion.

You may already know of the Thanksgiving foods to avoid feeding your pet, for various health and safety reasons. Those foods include raw or bone-ridden bits of turkey, raw bread dough and cake batter, walnuts, mushrooms, onions and garlic, sage and nutmeg, and, of course, chocolate. There are, however, some foods which should be perfectly safe to share with most pets.

Turkey – In small amounts, and without bones or excess skin and fat, cooked turkey is just fine to feed your pets under the table.

Pumpkin – Again, in small amounts, pumpkin is safe for pets and can even quell an upset stomach if they’ve overdone it on other tasty Thanksgiving fare. With a bounty of beta carotene, vitamins, and fiber, pumpkin also helps with digestion. And, if you’re trying to help your pet slim down, it’s low-calorie!

Sweet Potatoes – If your pets are at your feet during meal preparation, a taste of sweet potato won’t hurt them. Just be sure it’s before you add any of the sweet deliciousness, as pets will have a hard time digesting it. Cooked and plain is the way to go.

Veggies – Most pets enjoy the satisfying crunch of raw vegetables. Carrots and broccoli are packed with beneficial vitamins!

Even though it’s Thanksgiving remember: Everything in moderation, especially for your pets. If your kitty or pooch does overindulge, they could develop a serious upset stomach, diarrhea, or an inflammatory condition of the pancreas. Try to keep your pets on their regular diets through the holiday and supplement the above Thanksgiving goodies only as small treats.

Veterans and Dogs: Companions of Hope

With Veteran's Day quickly approaching, it is an opportune time to commemorate not only our soldiers and veterans- but those important canine friends that help our servicemen and servicewomen’s reentry to American life.

Engaging in military battles or conflict can create anxiety in even the hardiest of soldiers. Unfortunately, sometimes that anxiety permeates their emotional state in such a way so as to disrupt their attempts at a "normal" life once they return home.

Oftentimes, returned soldiers can suffer not only from anxiety but also from depression, fear and substance abuse. Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that can include reliving the experience through memories, nightmares or flashbacks. PTSD can also cause a victim to avoid situations that remind him/her of the event, create negative feelings, and initiate hyperarousal (living with a chronic state of fight or flight). These hard-to-overcome emotions can paralyze veterans, dismantle family life, and prevent an individual’s chance at happiness.

PTSD Therapy Dog

Pawsible Help

A specially trained PTSD dog can give its owner a sense of comfort, security, calm. Like all service dogs, a psychiatric service dog is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the owner’s disability. With PTSD, some of these mitigating tasks may involve:

- Providing environmental assessments (entering a room prior to the owner and making sure “the coast is clear”)
- Interrupting an owner’s repetitive or injurious behavior
- Reminding the owner to take medication
- Guiding the handler away from stressful situations.

PTSD Therapy Dog

Creature Comforts

Much research has been performed that demonstrates dogs’ ability to serve as good companions, elicit feelings of love and affection, and reduce stress in humans. These and other natural canine virtues make dogs the perfect therapist for a PTSD survivor. These well-trained service dogs draw individuals out of their shells and help them overcome their emotional numbness or fear. Researchers have also concluded that human-dog bonding has biological effects such as adjusting serotonin levels, lowering blood pressure and overcoming depression.

If you or someone you care about has been affected by PTSD and could benefit from special canine companionship, contact either of the following organizations for more information:

- Canines 4 Hope, 1-772-631-4931 or
- Service Dog Express,

Thanksgiving Tips for Pets

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and indulge (and, sometimes, over-indulge) in delicious holiday treats. You can be sure that if your cat or dog is around for the festivities, they'll want to share some of the goodies, too. But no matter how much your pets purr, plead, whine or whimper, owners should remember that holiday treats that are tasty for people can be potentially harmful for pets.

Thanksgiving foods may look tasty to your pet, but they could be harmful.

The typical Thanksgiving spread is flush with a variety of foods, from savory fare like turkey and stuffing to sweet foods like yams and cream pies. Your pet's diet is much blander and boring, and for good reason—foods with lots of fat, dairy and spices can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. For this reason, it's best to avoid letting Rover dine on the usual turkey day leftovers. If you must give your pet some holiday foods, stick to dishes like boiled potatoes or rice, which will not upset your pet's stomach.

Some holiday foods, however, can cause much more than an upset stomach in your pet. Garlic and onions are members of the allium family and, if eaten in large quantities, can cause hemolytic anemia, a blood disorder that causes red blood cells to burst. Raisins and grapes are also toxic to pets and have been linked to kidney failure.

Chocolate is one of the most dangerous foods that pets can eat—it's also one of the most prevalent holiday foods. Whether chocolate is found in cookies, cakes, truffles or baking squares, any amount can be dangerous. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both methylxanthines that can cause stimulation of the nervous system, increased heart rate and tremors. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.

Chocolate is dangerous for pets

Other sweet treats, like gum and hard candies, can also make your pet ill. Sugar-free candies and gum are made with xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause a drop in blood sugar, depression, loss of coordination and seizures in your pet. Xylitol is also linked to liver failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all candies, chocolate and other sweets out of your pet's reach. If you believe your pet may have ingested chocolate or candy, call your veterinarian immediately.

You may also be tempted to give your dog a leftover turkey bone or two once the table is cleared. However, poultry bones are small and easily breakable and can easily shatter and get caught in your pet's throat. These bones can cause damage to your pet's throat or lead to choking.

Holidays can also be as stressful for your pet as they are for you. Large gatherings of unfamiliar people may cause your dog or cat unnecessary stress and worry. If your pet does not interact well with strangers, keeping him or her in a separate room during the festivities may help keep your pet relaxed and worry-free.

During holiday gatherings, it's a good idea to keep your veterinarian's phone number handy. If your pet does get a hold of some Thanksgiving food and experiences mild vomiting or diarrhea, you can help settle their stomach by withholding food for a few hours then feeding small amounts of boiled rice and cooked hamburger. If the symptoms persist, contact your veterinarian immediately.

November is Pet Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month, but with more than 50% of the nation’s cats and dogs overweight or obese, raising awareness of the common endocrine disease has been extended to pets – rather than just their human caretakers. It is estimated that one in every 200 cats may be affected by diabetes, being the most common endocrine condition found in felines. The numbers for dogs are similar and only expected to increase.

Diabetes results when a pet’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type I DM) or doesn’t process it properly (Type II DM). When your pet eats, carbohydrates found in his or her food are converted into simple sugars, one of which is glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestines and travels to cells throughout the body. Inside cells, insulin typically helps turn the glucose into fuel. However, when there isn’t enough insulin, glucose can’t even enter the cells to be converted into energy and instead just builds up in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats & Dogs

• Lethargy

• Excessive Thirst

• Frequent Urination

• Always Hungry, Yet Maintains or Loses Weight

• Thinning, dry, and dull coats in cats

• Cloudy Eyes, in dogs

At-Risk Pets

• Those with genetic predispositions

• Those with other insulin-related disorders

• Those who are obese &/or physically inactive

• Dogs who are between 4- to 14-years-old

• Unspayed/intact female dogs are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes

• Dog breeds with greater risk for development: Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Pomeranians, terriers, and Toy Poodles

Although diabetes can’t be cured, it can be managed so that symptoms are reduced or eliminated entirely. Your veterinarian will decide which treatment options are best for your pet. Often, changes in diet and lifestyle, combined with or without daily insulin injections, can help your pet live a happy, healthy, active life.

If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms in your pet and suspect he or she may have diabetes, contact your veterinarian today. Veterinarians are the only professionals who can accurately diagnose your pet and provide proper health management. Diabetes can affect a pet differently over time, even if your pet has experienced a long period of stability. The sooner your pet is diagnosed, the better, and the less likely you'll incur the cost of an expensive emergency visit for diabetic complications.

What You Need to Know: Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) in 2015

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is an immune-mediated contagious viral disease of cats caused by certain strains of the feline coronavirus. The disease is progressive and eventually fatal.

How the Disease is Spread and Risk Factors

Although FIP is not highly contagious, infected cats can transmit the virus through body fluids (respiratory and oral secretions) and feces. Infection occurs by inhalation or ingestion of the virus. Close contact between cats is very important for transmission of the disease. The disease can also be passed from mothers to unborn kittens or through milk.

Cats living in multiple cat populations, such as in shelters or catteries, are at the greatest risk of FIP infection. Cats with weakened immune systems, including kittens or seniors or those with the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), are most susceptible; however, cats of all ages can become infected.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of FIP include fever, weight loss, fatigue, and lack of appetite followed by a swollen abdomen, jaundice, kidney and liver disorders and eye problems. Due to the vague and generalized symptoms of FIP, your veterinarian may test your cat when he / she is ill in order to rule out this disease.

As the disease progresses, cats typically develop either a "wet" or "dry" form of FIP. The wet form is characterized by an accumulation of thick yellow fluid in the body cavities. In the dry form, nodular masses are seen on the surface and inside certain organs such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, eyes, brain and lungs.

Diagnosis of FIP is made through a combination of physical examination, your cat’s history, presenting symptoms, X-ray and laboratory tests.

What to do if Your Cat has FIP

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this fatal disease. If your cat is diagnosed with FIP, we recommend supportive care, including easing the effects of the symptoms, providing good nutrition and of course giving your sweet companion lots of love and attention. There has been an FIP vaccination since 2002, but it is controversial due to its ineffectiveness. Research aimed at slowing the disease’s progress is ongoing.

If you have a multi-cat household, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of FIP. These include scooping litter daily, thoroughly disinfecting the litter box regularly and keeping the litter box away from food and water dishes. Keeping up with your cats’ vaccinations and providing a good diet are also important. If you suspect one of your cats has FIP, he or she should immediately be separated from your other cats and taken to your veterinary hospital for testing.

To learn more about FIP, schedule an appointment, or to have your cat(s) tested for FIP, please call the veterinary hospital today.

VIDEO: Laser Surgery for Your Pets: The Cutting Edge

Whether it's used for correcting vision or removing unwanted tattoos, people are very familiar with the use of lasers in human medicine. Few people, however, may know that lasers also have a place in helping keep our pets comfortable and safe during surgical procedures. Veterinarians across the country are finding out the benefits of providing this innovative service and pet owners are learning how much faster their pet recovers. Watch this video to learn more.


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Do Hybrid Cats Make Horrible Pets?

Every year in the United States approximately 3.4 million cats end up in shelters. Less than 5% are ever reunited with their owners and 41% (1.4 million) are eventually euthanized. Added to this is an “alarming escalation in the number of hybrid cats who are being abandoned by their owners,” according to One Green Planet - an online platform "for the growing compassionate and eco-conscious generation."

Hybrid cats have become a fad in the pet breeding world. Although typically the same size as domestic cats, these felines are the result of cross-breeding between domestic and wild cats. The result is unquestionably beautiful, but what cat fanciers fail to realize is that hybrids require more, specialized care and attention than the typical house cat.

The Problem

Many argue that with so many domestic cats in need of forever homes, for-profit breeding of hybrids is irresponsible and unethical. While the opinions are varied, many wildlife rescuers and sanctuary owners fear the dangers associated with the practice. Because of the high risks associated with owning a half-wild hybrid cat, they are often euthanized when abandoned – rather than adopted out - or placed in specialized sanctuaries. While some hybrids are purchased from breeders, young kittens can be adopted to unsuspecting owners from unaware shelters. As the feisty fur ball begins to grow, signs start to show that signal something is different.

“She is very territorial,” reported one owner of her adopted Bengal hybrid, Ceci. “Unprovoked, she will bite and scratch anyone who comes in our house. We must lock her in a room whenever anyone comes (over). We have a truce with her that is broken several times a week with a bite that draws blood.”

It takes four generations of cross-breeding a wild cat with a domestic one to produce domesticated kittens, but still these cats can be known to:

BiteOuch! When hybrid cats play, hunt, or become angry, they often bite. They can be too rough to live with domestic cats, dogs, or children and the elderly.

SprayStinky! Male or female, neutered or not, spraying is one of the leading reasons hybrid cats are abandoned/surrendered. They want to mark everything as their territory, just like their wild relatives. They also sometimes refuse to use litter boxes.

Howl – Although neither domestic or wild cats typically howl, hybrids have been said to have a tendency to howl loudly.

Require special diets – Hybrids are hungrier than domestic cats and can suffer from inflammatory bowel disease and projectile diarrhea because they can’t always digest normal cat food.

Be “unvaccinatable” – Traditional vaccinations used to create immunity against certain diseases may be ineffective or harmful to certain hybrids since their genetic makeup is different. They can also often suffer from health issues caused by unnatural breeding.

Source: One Green Planet

VIDEO: Global Warming May Affect Your Dog's Health

Most people can believe that global warming affects sea levels and cause weird variations in weather patterns, but how many would believe that the warmer weather is contributing to a deadly disease of our pets? The rising temperatures across the globe may be helping mosquitoes to survive, which, in turn, are transmitting heartworms to our dogs. Despite this dire news, protection for our friends can be found in a simple monthly tablet. Watch this video to learn more.

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