Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Dr. Jay Gottlieb, Dr. Gil Caren, and the staff of Island Trees Veterinary Hospital  are pleased to announce their hospital blog. This fun and fact-filled blog is updated regularly and includes up-to-date information about your pet’s health care. Also included in the blog are fun, pet-related news stories that we want to share with you and photos and information about our hospital and staff members.

We invite you to check our blog often.

Thank you for visiting.

– The Island Trees Veterinary Hospital Team

Rabies is Still a Threat

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

September 28th was World Rabies Day, an international event established by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control to raise awareness of the deadly virus. The theme for 2015 is “End Rabies Together.” With this in mind, it’s the perfect time to take a few minutes to educate yourself about rabies prevention and treatment.

World Rabies Awareness Day

Rabies is caused by a virus that animals and people can get through exposure to the saliva or nervous tissue of a rabid animal, and is nearly always fatal without proper treatment. Rabies kills over 55,000 people per year; at least half those are children under the age of 15 who are unaware of the risks of rabies. In 95% of human rabies cases, the cause is a bite or a scratch from an infected dog.

Symptoms of Rabies

Rabies is not always visible to the naked eye. However, the following symptoms are common in infected animals:

  • Staggering or stumbling
  • Unprovoked aggressive behavior or overly friendly behavior
  • Foaming at the mouth

Rabies Prevention

The Global Alliance for Rabies Control recommends that all mammals in frequent contact with humans should be vaccinated, but especially dogs, cats, and ferrets. Additionally, vaccinations should always be kept up to date to ensure their usefulness. Call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital if you are not sure about the vaccination status of your pet.

In order to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies from wildlife, the Alliance recommends that pet owners feed and water their pets indoors, as even empty bowls can attract wildlife. Garbage should be securely covered, as the smell from an open garbage can attracts stray animals. Wild animals should never be kept as pets, and should never be approached, even if they appear friendly.

Treatment for Rabies

If you’re bitten or scratched by an animal that is unknown to you, you may have been exposed to rabies. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. Once symptoms of rabies appear, survival is very rare.

If your pet is bitten by an unvaccinated animal, consult a veterinarian at Island Trees Veterinary Hospital or your local animal official immediately.

More Information about Rabies

For more information on rabies, visit the C.D.C website http://www.cdc.gov/rabies or the Global Alliance for Rabies Control website at www.rabiesalliance.org.

How Well Do You Know Our Presidents’ Dogs?

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Question 1:
What president had a dog who pulled off the French Ambassador’s pants at a White House event?
Ulysses S. Grant
Teddy Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson

Question 2:
What assassinated president had a dog who was murdered?
Abraham Lincoln
William McKinley
John F. Kennedy

Question 3:
What Cold War-era president housed four “pupniks” after his dog had a Soviet romance?
John F. Kennedy
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter

Question 4:
What president supposedly ordered a destroyer to retrace its route when he learned his dog had been left behind?
Harry S. Truman
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Question 5:
What president caused an outcry when he picked up his beagle pups by the ears?
Theodore Roosevelt
Herbert Hoover
Lyndon B. Johnson

Question 6:
What president had a spaniel whose dog house was decorated with framed political photographs?
John F. Kennedy
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush

Question 7:
What president said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”?
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Bill Clinton

Question 8:
What president claimed his dog Checkers was the only campaign gift he ever accepted?
Calvin Coolidge
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Richard Nixon

Question 9:
What president had 36 dogs, but would not let his slaves keep dogs?
George Washington
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson

Question 10:
What president had a dog who sat in his own hand-carved chair during cabinet meetings?
James Buchanan
Rutherford B. Hayes
Warren Harding

Please check back in a few weeks for the answers.

What You Need to Know about Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Thursday, August 20th, 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 Island Trees Veterinary Hospital today.

FDA Recalls Dog Food Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Multiple batches of two brands of dog food are being recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA says the dog food may contain salmonella, which can affect both pets and humans. Routine testing by the New York State Department of Agriculture showed the presence of salmonella in some of the products affected by the recall. So far, the manufacturers say they have not received any reports of illness in either humans or animals.

Here are the products affected by the recall:

Nature’s Valley:
UPC# 769949611431 — Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Bites for Dogs; 4 pounds; Best By 04/27/16
UPC# 769949611448 — Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Bites for Dogs; 7 pounds; Best By 04/27/16
UPC# 769949611486 — Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Patties for Dogs; 6 pounds; Best By 04/27/16

Bravo Blend:
UPC 829546214012 — Bravo Balance Chicken Dinner for dogs — Patties; Item No. 21-401; 3 pound bag; best use by 12-05-16
UPC 829546214012 — Bravo Balance Chicken Dinner for dogs — Chub; Item No. 21-402; 2 pound chub; best used by 12-05-2016
UPC 829546215088 — Bravo Blend Chicken diet for dogs & cats — Patties; Item No. 21-508; 5 pound bags; best used by 12-05-2016

Pet owners with these items should safely destroy and dispose of them. Monitor your pet closely for signs of salmonella infection, which include lethargy, diarrhea, bloody stool, fever, and vomiting. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, please call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital right away.

Tick-Borne Illness Update: Summer 2015

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Tick season is in full swing in the Northeast, and with those pesky parasites come a host of tick-borne illnesses that can threaten the life of you and your pet. Ticks are especially prevalent this year in the due to the long, snowy winter. In an interview with Yahoo Health, entomologist Bennett Jordan, PhD explained that the snow acts as a blanket over the insects, insulating them from cold weather that would otherwise wipe them out.

Here’s what to watch out for:

1. Lyme Disease – very high risk in our area
Symptoms in dogs: fever, lameness, swelling in the joints, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, loss of appetite.

2. Ehrlichiosis* – medium risk in our area
Symptoms in dogs: Fever, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, lameness, rash

3. Anaplasmosis* – high risk in our area
Symptoms in dogs: lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite

Please call and speak to a veterinarian or staff member at Island Trees Veterinary Hospital if you would like more information about these diseases or to learn about effective treatment methods. We also carry a selection of highly effective flea and tick preventatives for your pet.

*Although Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis have been reported in cats, little is known about the prevalence of infection, disease manifestations, and treatment recommendations.

My dog has a cough. Is it Influenza? What should I do?

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

You should schedule an appointment at Island Trees Veterinary Hospital so a veterinarian can examine and evaluate your dog and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.

Canine influenza virus can be spread via direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs, and by contact with contaminated objects. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or exhibiting other signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs congregate.

Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease to prevent transmission of infection to susceptible dogs. Clothing can be adequately cleaned by using a detergent at normal laundry temperatures.

Canine Influenza Update – June 2015 – Already in NY

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

The Canine Influenza outbreak that started in Chicago has now spread to 13 states. The strain of the virus, H3N2, originated in Asia in 2007 and has sickened over 1000 dogs in the Chicago area alone. Eight dogs have died from either the virus itself or secondary infections. Alabama, California, Georgia, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey, Iowa and Indiana have all reported instances of Canine Influenza.

Canine Influenza’s symptoms are similar to the flu that humans get, and include cough, runny nose, and fever. However, the disease cannot be spread to humans. Because the virus is highly contagious between dogs, pet owners in affected areas should avoid dog parks. Vaccinations are also available for dogs in high-risk areas.

Since New York has already reported cases of Canine Influenza, having your dog vaccinated may help prevent the disease. If you have questions or would like to set up a vaccination appointment, please call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital today.

Summertime on Long Island: Tips for Your Pet

Friday, June 12th, 2015

You know to prepare yourself for the dangers associated with increased temperatures. As the dog days of summer approach, however, our trusted companions also need special attention to keep them safe and healthy.

Hot Weather Safety for Dogs on Long Island

Here are some important tips for keeping your dog cool this summer:

  • Keep your dog indoors, in air conditioning, on very hot days.
  • Do not leave your dog in a car — even on milder days. A Stanford University study found that even on a 72 degree day, a car’s internal temperature can rise to 116 degrees within one hour.
  • When planning an outing with your dog, pay attention to the heat index, which also factors in humidity. The thermometer may say 85 degrees, but it may feel like 101 degrees outside.
  • Keep fresh, cool water available at all times.
  • On very hot days, exercise dogs early in the morning or late in the evening. If this is not possible, exercise in an air conditioned or cool environment.
  • On hot days, keep your dog’s contact with asphalt to a minimum. When the temperature is high, asphalt can get very hot. This can cause your dog’s body to heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn.
  • If your dog has a light coat or exposed skin, take precautions against sunburn.

Dogs can acclimate to warm temperatures and have no trouble spending time outside. However, dogs that are used to cool climates or air conditioning should not be outside for extended periods of time on hot days. Gradually acclimating your dog is the key.

Hot Weather Safety for Cats on Long Island

While cats on Long Island generally stay indoors, they too can be at risk due to hotter weather. When pet parents open their windows and perhaps allow their beloved companions to sun themselves on balconies and terraces, there is a serious risk of High Rise Syndrome. High Rise Syndrome refers to injuries that result from falls from high places – and we see a significant increase in these cases in the summer.

To prevent your cat from suffering a potentially fatal fall-related injury, make sure there are secure screens or bars on any open windows in your house or apartment. Do not let your cat venture out onto a fire escape or unsecured balcony or terrace. Unlike the bark of trees, the surfaces in these areas offer no place for a cat to cling to with their claws, increasing the chance they will lose their footing and fall.

Cats generally handle warmer temperatures better than dogs, but you should also keep watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Keep plenty of fresh, cool water available throughout your house or apartment. If you don’t have air conditioning, consider wrapping your cat in a cool, damp towel or placing a plastic bag full of ice under their bed on extremely hot days.

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke: What You Need to Know

As for you, summer on Long Island brings an increased danger of heat exhaustion and heat stroke for dogs and cats.

Dogs mainly cool themselves by panting, or breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. However, in the hotter days of summer there are times when panting won’t be enough to handle the heat building up inside their bodies. Depending on your dog, heat-related problems can occur even during a walk around the block or while swimming.

Signs that your pet is overheating include excessive panting and salivation, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, glazed eyes and mild weakness. More severe symptoms include confusion, bright red or purple gums and tongue, seizures, vomiting and collapse.

If your pet’s body temperature rises to 107 degrees, he or she becomes very warm to the touch and is at serious risk of heat stroke. With heat stroke, damage to the body can be irreversible. Organs begin to shut down, and veterinary care is immediately needed. Pets with flat faces that can’t pant as effectively, like Pugs, Boxers, Bull dogs and Persian cats, and pets that are old, obese or have health problems are the most susceptible to heat stroke.

What to Do if You Think Your Pet Has Heat Stroke

If you think your pet is experiencing heat stroke, please call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital immediately. Quickly get your dog out of the sun and cool him or her down with a cool (NOT cold) water bath. Provide a fan, especially if you wet your dog down, and encourage him or her to drink water.

To cool your cat down, apply towels soaked in cool water to your cat’s skin. Immersion in a cool water bath for 30 minutes may also help lower your cat’s temperature. While on the way to our veterinary office, place ice packs around your cat’s head and body.

Remember, heat stroke can be fatal if left untreated.

Heat Stroke Prevention for Your Pet

You can significantly reduce or eliminate your pet’s risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke by:

  • Keeping him indoors on hot days and exercising before 9 am and after 7pm.
  • Making sure clean, cool water is available at all times — including during any outings.
  • Keeping your pet well-groomed but not trimming fur excessively. Fur can keep your pet comfortable by trapping cool air next to the skin, reducing the amount of heat transferred from the hot outside air to the body. Instead, make sure matted or tangled hair is clipped, as these conditions can trap heat.
  • Maintaining your pet’s health weight, as overweight pets are also at an increased risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Summer on Long Island can be a carefree, fun time you and your pet, so long as you both play it safe and keep cool. Please call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital (516) 735-0090 if you have any questions or concerns about your pet this summer.

What Do My Pet’s Blood Tests Mean ?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Many technologies that help humans live longer and better lives are also available for your pet. Blood testing, an important medical technology, is performed regularly by your veterinarian because it provides valuable information for determining the overall health of your companion.

The staff at Island Trees Veterinary Hospital is pleased to provide you with information regarding blood testing. Please do not hesitate to call the hospital if you have specific questions about your pet’s blood test results.


A complete blood count (also called CBC) actually consists of several tests that evaluate the number and type of blood cells in the circulation. Cells that are evaluated consist of white blood cells (WBC), red blood cells (RBC), and platelets.

Veterinary Laboratory Technician Counting Blood Cells

Laboratory Technician Counting Blood Cells

White blood cells are important in helping the body fight infection. Red blood cells are fundamental for carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues. Abnormal numbers of these cells can indicate anemia, infection, leukemia, stress, and inflammation.

Platelets are involved in the blood clotting process and if low (in number) can indicate a bleeding disorder.

The hematocrit (HCT) provides information pertaining to the relative number of red blood cells (RBC) in circulation. This test is used to diagnose anemia and dehydration.


These tests survey many of the organ systems of the body in order and often indicate if they are working properly.

Albumin (ALB) – Low levels indicates chronic liver or kidney disease, intestinal disease, or intestinal parasites (especially hookworms).

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) – Elevated with liver disease or injury.

Alkaline Phosphatase (ALKP) – Elevated levels can indicate liver disease or Cushing’s disease.

Amylase (AMYL) – Elevated blood levels can indicate pancreatic and / or kidney disease.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) – Reflects kidney and liver disease as well as dehydration.

Cholesterol (CHOL) – Elevated levels are seen in many disorders. Some include liver and kidney disease and hypothyroidism.

Creatinine (CREA) – Elevated levels can be due to kidney disease or urinary tract obstruction.

Blood Glucose (GLU) – High levels can indicate diabetes. Low levels can indicate liver disease, infection or certain tumors.

Total Bilirubin (TBIL) – Levels of Bilirubin are useful in diagnosing anemia and bile duct problems.

Total Protein (TP) – This can detect many conditions. Some include liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal diseases as well as dehydration.


Calcium (Ca) – Increased levels are seen with certain tumors and kidney and parathyroid gland disease.

Phosphorus (PHOS) – Elevated levels can indicate kidney disease.

Sodium, Potassium, Chloride – all should be within normal levels. Vomiting, dehydration, and diarrhea can affect their levels.

How and Why Does my Cat Purr ?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

There is almost nothing more comforting than when a cat jumps on our lap and begins to purr. Ever since the Egyptians started worshiping the cat, philosophers, scientists and cat lovers worldwide have wondered why cats purr. When we hear and feel this purring, we assume that everything is just fine with the cat. But why do cats purr? And what produces this sound?

Purring is still somewhat of a mystery; however, most experts agree that it’s due to the vibration of the vocal cords when the animal inhales and exhales.

It appears as though purring is not just limited to domestic cats. Some wild cats, such as pumas and mountain lions, are able to purr. In general, most large cats that cannot roar are able to purr. The calls of the leopard vary and include a series of harsh coughs, throaty growls, and deep, purring sounds.

It turns out that cats have special wiring traveling from the brain to the muscles in the vocal cords. Nerve signals that pass through this wiring system cause vibrations of the vocal cords. While the nerves cause the vocal cords to vibrate, the air forced through them by the diaphragm causes the musical hum. Since breathing has both inspiratory and expiratory phases, cats purr continuously.

It is commonly believed that cats purr when content. However, cats also purr when they are severely injured, frightened or giving birth. According to some veterinarians, the original function of the purr was to enable a kitten to communicate with his mother that things are going well. A kitten is able to purr by the second day of life, and although he can’t meow and nurse at the same time, he can purr and nurse.

Cat Purring

As the cat matures, the meaning of the purr changes. Some cats purr to indicate contentment or pleasure, but badly frightened cats and severely ill cats also purr. It is not uncommon for cats to purr when they are close to death. This final purring may indicate a state of anxiety or possibly euphoria. These states have also been elucidated in terminally ill people.

Since the purr has lasted through hundreds of generations of cats, there must be a survival mechanism behind its continued existence. Researchers believe that self-healing is the survival mechanism behind the purr. There is extensive documentation that suggests that low frequencies, at low intensity, are therapeutic. These frequencies can aid bone growth, fracture healing, pain relief, tendon and muscle strength and repair, joint mobility, the reduction of swelling, and the relief of dyspnea, or breathlessness. Purring may be linked to the strengthening and repairing of bones, relief of pain, and wound healing.

Animal behaviorists believe that when cats purr under stressful circumstances, they are reassuring or comforting themselves, much as humans may sing to themselves or hum when they are nervous. Frightened cats may purr to communicate submissiveness or non-aggressive intentions. A feral cat may purr to signal that he is not planning to attack and other cats need not feel threatened. Older cats may purr when they play or approach other cats, signaling that they are friendly and want to come closer.

If you have questions about your cat’s behavior or health, please don’t hesitate to call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital. Our goal is to help you and your pet both in sickness and in good health.

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