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

Blind Man and Guide Dog Survive Subway Train Collision

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Blind Man and Guide Dog Survive Subway Train Collision

A blind man and his guide dog escaped serious injury after the man fainted on a New York City subway platform and fell onto the tracks. The operator of the train was able to slow the train and reduce the impact on the man and his dog while bystanders called for help. The man, Cecil Williams, said that the presence of his guide dog, Orlando, saved his life. “He tried to hold me up,” Williams said, adding that the dog barked frantically and tried to stop Williams from falling, but was unable to do so when Williams fainted.

Williams originally would have had to surrender the dog to a shelter when the dog turned 11 on January 5th, as his insurance will not cover the cost of a non-working dog. However, after an outpouring of support from New Yorkers, Williams will now be able to keep Orlando. “He’s my best buddy,” Williams said. “He takes me everywhere I need to go. He’s a very gentle gentleman.”

Traveling Outside the US with Your Pets

Monday, March 30th, 2015

For anyone traveling outside the United States with pets:

  • Call the appropriate embassy in Washington to confirm the entry requirements for your pet(s). Some embassies provide forms printed in English and in the host language for your veterinarian to complete. Some countries do not permit importation, or have long quarantine requirements.
  • Check the requirements to see how close to departure the required veterinary examination, vaccinations and tests must be completed.
  • Arrange with your veterinarian for required vaccinations and certificates.

Certification requirements vary from country to country. Some countries simply require the examining veterinarian to be licensed in the state of origin. In this case, the veterinarian’s examination statement does not need USDA certification. Some countries accept a standard letterhead health certificate and rabies certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian and endorsed by the USDA. Other countries require that your pet be examined by a federally accredited veterinarian and that a United States Interstate and International Certificate for Health Examination for Small Animals (AHPIS Form 7001) be issued by the examining veterinarian and endorsed by the USDA. (Since August 1994, only a federally accredited veterinarian can sign this form.) Call the embassy to determine the exact requirements before making an appointment with a veterinarian. Also, check the airline, as there have been cases where a country does not require a certification but the airline does.

The timetable for obtaining examination statements and certifications can be very tight. Plan well in advance to be sure all paperwork is completed in time for your departure date. You may send your paperwork by mail or courier, along with a rabies certificate, the appropriate fee for service and a self-addressed stamped envelope or a pre-paid Federal Express envelope (if you are short of time) for return to you. Make sure that the veterinarian’s name is legible and include a contact person with a daytime telephone number.

If you are planning to travel outside the US with your pet, you need to contact your local Veterinary Services office.

If you have a relatively uncomplicated plane flight, taking your pet along with you might be the best solution. Even if your pet is on the same flight as you, the appropriate documentation is still necessary. Ask your travel agent or call the airlines for price information.

If you are planning to ship your pet, reserve air space as early as possible. Be sure to schedule your pet’s arrival on a weekday and not on a weekend, as it is usually necessary for animals to be cleared by a veterinarian or health inspector upon arrival.

Provide a sturdy, leak-proof crate (lined with absorbent material such as newspaper) that is large enough for the animal to stand, lie down, or turn around, but not so large that the animal can be battered around in rough weather. Most pet stores sell shipping crates in various sizes.


  • Your pet should become acclimated to the crate by having practice sessions. Be sure the pet has a comfortable pad to lie on and a few familiar toys. A leash should also be included inside the crate.
  • Even if your pet is microchipped, put identification tags that include an emergency phone number on your pet’s collar.
  • Print your name and destination address clearly on the shipping crate. Include your pet’s name so that attendants can talk to him. If your pet has special needs or habits (bites or growls at strangers) include that information. You might want to list this information in other languages as well. In case your pet gets lost or needs to be identified, you should carry a photo with you.
  • Feed your pet a very light meal about six hours before shipping. Give water up until two hours before departure. A water dish attached to the the crate should be provided. The water dish should be conveniently located so an attendant can provide water at stopovers without being bitten. Send dry food along if the trip is long. If you send canned food, fasten an opener and dish to the crate in a cloth or mesh bag with feeding instructions clearly marked on the crate.
  • Do not tranquilize your pet without your veterinarian’s approval. A tranquilized pet can injure himself more easily than a non-tranquilized animal.
  • Exercise your pet just before shipping.
  • If your pet is traveling with you, make sure you have a decent amount of time between connecting flights. This way, it’s more likely that he is going to be transfered to your connecting flight.
  • If there is a delay, the airline may kennel the pets. Some airlines have kennel facilities while other do not. State on your airway bill that your animal is to be taken to the animal port if there is a delay or stopover.
  • Arrange to have your pet picked up immediately upon arrival. Airline facilities for pets may be limited or nonexistent.

The Cat’s Out of the Bag: Ten Toys Under $25 That Your Cat Will Love

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Da Bird Feather Teaser

Play and exercise are an important part of pet health. For cats, toys are a great way to stimulate play, combat obesity, discourage unwanted behavior, and provide an outlet for unused energy and predatory instincts. Below are ten highly rated toys that at under $25—most under $10—will help keep your cat happy and healthy and won’t break the bank.

  1. Da Bird Feather Teaser, online from $7.49. This teaser simulates the motion of a bird at your control. A flick of the wrist and the brightly colored feathers dance and spin enticing your cat to play. Encourages instinctual behaviors and exercise to keep your cat healthy and alert.
  2. Mylar Crinkle Ball Cat Toys, online from $1.49, an inexpensive, sure-fire hit that your cat will love to bat and bobble around the house.
  3. Yeowww! Catnip Banana, online price from $4.13. These popular stuffed bananas are made in the USA and filled with organically grown catnip.
  4. Fat Cat Kitty Hoots Big Mama’s Scratchy Box, online from $8.37. An effective, economical way to satisfy your cat’s desire to scratch and save your furniture. Comes with a supply of “Zoom Around the Room Organic Catnip.” The box is 100 percent recyclable. May need to be replaced every 1-2 months, depending on usage.
  5. PetSafe SlimCat, online from $4.69. PetSafe Slimcat is an interactive feeding ball that works by distributing your cat’s food into smaller meals that can be fed at regular intervals. Slimcat can also satiate your cat’s craving to hunt which results in a more peaceful pet.
  6. Petlinks System Dream Curl Curvy Two-Surface Scratcher

  7. Petlinks System Dream Curl Curvy Two-Surface Scratcher online from $20.99. Your cat will love the shapely contours of the Dream Curl and its enticing variety of scratching surfaces and angles. Made from Earth-friendly sisal and contains organic catnip. The scratcher core is made from recycled material.
  8. Tipsy Nip Ball, online from $5. This organic catnip infused non-toxic wooden ball is sure to be a hit with your cat. When not in use, store in the accompanying bottle of catnip to keep the ball catnipalicious.
  9. Cat Amazing Interactive Puzzle for Cats

  10. Cat Amazing Interactive Puzzle for Cats, from $14.95. This interactive puzzle game has three levels of difficulty to stimulate and challenge cats, and those who complete the puzzle are rewarded with a treat. It is the perfect test of your cat’s skill and ingenuity and is an instant hit wherever people and cats are gathered. Made from 30 percent recycled cardboard and is 100 percent recyclable, and printed with certified metal-free inks.
  11. The Cat Dancer, available online from $1.79. The Cat Dancer is the original interactive cat toy. Spring steel wire and rolled cardboard create an irresistible lure for cats and great fun for cat lovers. According to their website, The Cat Dancer has been “home-tested by over 8 million cats.”
  12. Teddy for Kitty, $5.95, available online through EcoChoices Natural Living Store, is a teddy bear made from rugged corduroy and a colorful patch and filled with organically grown catnip. Made in the USA.

Don’t forget: Homemade cat toys can be just as entertaining as those that are store-bought. Cats love batting around a crumpled ball of paper, hiding in a large paper bag or cardboard box, or attacking an object, such as a feather, bell, or stocking stuffed with catnip, attached to a string or pole. Best of all, you probably have most or all of these items in your home already.

Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe in the Winter

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

It’s official: winter and all of its trappings have arrived. That means snow, ice, and freezing cold temperatures.
Just because your pet is covered in fur doesn’t mean they’re comfortable in the cold. In fact, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures can be just as deadly for pets as it can be for humans. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help keep your pets warm and toasty this winter.

Cat in the Snow

• Just like a hot car in the summer, a cold car in the winter can be deadly. Never leave your pet alone in a cold car.

• Save a warm spot off the floor and away from drafts for your pet to sleep at night. For kittens and older cats, try a heated pad or bed.

• Be sure to keep a close eye on small, short-haired, very young, or very old dogs when they’re out in the cold. When taking them on a walk, keep them warm with a sweater or a doggy coat. Long haired dogs or breeds that tolerate the cold may be better equipped for snow, but they should also still be supervised.

• Adjust your animal’s food intake based on the amount of exercise he or she is getting in the winter. (You might consider adjusting your own, too.)

• Matted fur won’t protect your dog or cat from the cold, so keep their coats well groomed. After taking your dog for a walk, wipe down their feet, legs, and stomach area to prevent ingestion of salt or dangerous chemicals. And always use a pet-friendly ice melt product for your own home.

• Never let dogs off leash on snow or ice.

• Antifreeze has a sweet taste that attracts animals, but is a deadly poison. Wipe up any antifreeze spills immediately, or better yet, use pet-safe antifrieeze.

Dogs in the Snow

• Outdoor cats often nap on or around car engines to keep warm. If there are outdoor cats in your neighborhood, honk the horn before starting your car to make sure any cats hiding next to your tires get out safely.

• If your dog is let out in your yard, make sure snow drifts near your fence haven’t made it easy for your dog to escape.

• Keep water available for your dog while he’s outside. Use a tip-resistant, ceramic or hard plastic water bowl rather than a metal bowl.

If you have questions about caring for your pet during the winter months, please call our hospital at 516-735-0090. Our veterinarians and knowledgeable technicians are available to help you and your pet at all times.

Island Trees Veterinary Hospital’s Hicksville veterinary location is 451 New South Rd., in Hicksville, NY. We provide complete veterinary services for pets in Nassau County including the towns of Levittown, Hicksville, East Meadow, Plainview, Westbury, and Farmingdale. To set up an appointments, please call 516-735-0090.

World’s Oldest Penguin Returns To Colorado Zoo After Successful Radiation Therapy

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

A 40-year old African penguin is returning home a southern Colorado zoo after undergoing treatment for skin cancer. Tess, who resides at the Pueblo Zoo, is the oldest penguin of her kind, according to officials at the zoo. She was treated for sarcoma at the Colorado State University veterinary hospital in early December. After two weeks of isolation, she was welcomed home to the zoo, where she was reunited with her mate, Mongo, and the rest of her friends in the habitat.

African penguins rarely live past 20 years, and experts at the Pueblo Zoo say that the breed has declined 90 percent in the last 100 years. “Some people would ask, ‘why are you putting all of these resources into an individual animal?’ But, if this individual animal can tell a story that helps globally with the African penguin, then it’s all worth it,” said Dr. Matthew Johnston, a veterinarian at Colorado State University. “If we can make people aware of these endangered species, with awareness comes action, and with action comes change. And, ultimately, we help.”

Overweight Pets Are In The Majority

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Study Says 57% of Cats and 52% of Dogs Are Obese

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has revealed that pet obesity rates has held steady in the past year, with 57.6% of cats and 52.6% of dogs recorded as overweight or obese, despite efforts by the Association to spread awareness of the dangers of pet obesity. Pet obesity, like obesity in humans, can lead to osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint injury, cancer and decreased life expectancy.

Overweight Dogs

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention also found most owners of overweight pets do not realize their pet is considered overweight. 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners believed their overweight pets were in the normal weight range. “There’s an entire nation of pet owners who are loving their pets to death with too many calories and not enough exercise,” said Joe Bartges, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist and internist. “They are in the dark that their pets are overweight and that a host of diseases can arise as a result.”

Christmas Season Pet Hazards

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Holiday season adornments are attractive to all creatures. The ornaments, foods, gifts, wrappings, ribbons, lights and plants are all curiosities for pets. Pets investigate new items by sniffing, tossing, chasing, and finally by tasting. A few precautions are necessary to avoid the holiday crowds at the veterinary hospital.

Holiday Tree

The most common problems this time of year are stomach or intestinal disturbances caused by pets eating the holiday feast or other novelties. Scraps from the table can cause gastrointestinal upset and even predispose pets to life-threatening pancreatitis. Bones can get stuck in the mouth or perforate the intestines and should be avoided. Chocolate is poisonous to cats, dogs, and birds. Plastic wrap and aluminum foil (coated with good-tasting juices) are enticing but can cause intestinal damage (and even blockage) if eaten by the pet.

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.

Chocolate and other sweets can make pets sick

Chocolate with Wrappers

Be sure to properly dispose of leftovers and wrappers. Feed pets their usual diet. Treats formulated similarly to the pet’s regular diet are generally healthy and safe. Also keep in mind (while cooking) that pets may not know about hot stoves or to stay out from underfoot. Keep pets away from the stove so they don’t get burned or get hot foods spilled on them.

Several decorative plants are poisonous. Mistletoe and holly can cause stomach upset with vomiting and diarrhea. The berries of these plants are attractive, easily swallowed, and potentially fatal if consumed. Poinsettias, like the leaves of most any plant, can also cause stomach upset. Use artificial mistletoe and holly; keep other plants out of your pet’s reach.


Mistletoe and Holly

Make sure Christmas trees are secured so that pets cannot pull them over. Omit preservatives from the tree-stand water and cover the water so pets don’t drink it. Don’t spray snow on the tree unless it is labeled for pet consumption. Angel hair is spun glass and is irritating to both the inside and outside of your pet. Even glass ornaments and ornament hooks have been chewed and swallowed. These objects can cause problems from stomach upset to damaged intestines. Low-hanging ornaments are a real temptation, as are tinsel and electric lights. Decorative lights and electrical wiring can cause shock or burns when chewed, soremember to unplug holiday lights when pets are unattended.

Holidays have lots of activity going on. Be sure doors are not left open as guests come and go. Indoor pets inadvertently left outside could be injured by frostbite, cars, or other animals. Ice-melting chemicals and salt on sidewalks and roads can severely burn foot pads and should be washed off right away. Also, watch that guests don’t leave interesting objects, such as chocolate, ribbons, stocking stuffers, or other illicit treats, within your pet’s reach.

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.

Don’t leave food items under the tree with an unsupervised pet; the wrapping, ribbon and enclosed gift are probably not compatible with your pet’s digestive system. Ask Santa to put gifts out of your pet’s reach so your pet won’t beat you to them on Christmas morning.

When choosing a gift for your pet, consider the pet as an individual. Cats enjoy lightweight toys they can bat around, catnip toys, scratching posts, and kitty perches. Dogs like balls, chew toys, and things they can carry around. However, beware of toys with parts, such as bells, buttons, string, yarn, or squeaky parts, that can be detached and swallowed. Watch how your pet handles a new toy until you are sure it is safe. Some dogs treat a stuffed toy like a friend and carry it around and sleep with it. Others will tear them up and eat the stuffing and get into trouble. Also, if there is more than one pet in the household, consider all the pets before buying for any one of them. A one-inch diameter toy for a cat is fine, but a puppy in the household may swallow it and possibly require surgery to remove it.


If your pet does get sick, call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital and consult with Drs. Jay Gottlieb, Gil Caren or Brad Gottlieb before giving any medications. Many of the over-the-counter drugs, such as acetaminophen – Tylenol(r) and Excedrin(r) and ibuprofin – Advil(r), Motrin(r), are toxic for animals even though they are safe for us. Don’t wait to see if your pet gets better. If your pet is acting sick, call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital immediately.

If you have questions or need information about your pet and the holidays, please call the hospital. Island Trees Veterinary Hospital is located at 451 New South Rd., Hicksville, NY. We provide complete veterinary services for pets in Nassau County.

Most Popular Dog Breed: Labrador Retriever

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Once again the American Kennel Club has released its list of the most popular dog breeds, and the winner won’t be a surprise to anyone who spends time at the dog park. Labrador Retrievers, known for their friendly, outgoing and athletic temperament, topped the list. Close behind the top dogs are German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers.

Labrador puppies

Here’s the full list:

1) Labrador Retriever
2) German Shepherd
3) Golden Retriever
4) Beagle
5) Bulldog
6) Yorkshire Terrier
7) Boxer
8) Poodle
9) Rottweiler
10) Daschund

New App Tracks Lost Pets with Neighbor’s Phones

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

A new company has built an app it says will change the way lost pets are located. The app, called Pawscout, uses a special tag that communicates with any cellphone using its mobile app in a 250-foot range. When “lost mode” is activated by the pet owner, the tag will send an alert to anyone with the app in the area. The app uses mesh networking to alert you to your pet’s location.

Because of the way the device and app communicate with nearby phones, the app’s success will depend on whether or not it is adopted by pet owners. The company plans to partner with the ASPCA to help spread the word.

Veterinarians Must Report Animal Abuse in Many States

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

In many states, veterinarians are now required by law to report cases of animal abuse to authorities. Massachusetts has become the 15th state in the United States to impose this mandate. According to the law, failure to report cases of animal abuse to authorities could result in disciplinary action from the Massachusetts Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, vice president of animal welfare for the animal Rescue League of Boston, says that these laws have become more common because of an increased focus on animal abuse from law enforcement. “We are seeing an increasing number of local police departments taking the investigation of suspected animal cruelty more seriously because of the growing understanding of the co-occurrence of other crimes,” she said.

Here’s a full list of states where veterinarians are required to report animal abuse:

• Arizona
• California
• Colorado
• Illinois
• Kansas
• Massachusetts
• Maine
• Minnesota
• Missouri
• Nebraska
• North Dakota
• Oklahoma
• Oregon
• Wisconsin
• West Virginia

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