Welcome!

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


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.


COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT

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.


BLOOD CHEMISTRY

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.


BLOOD ELECTROLYTES

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.

Top Ten Signs You Have A Dumb Dog

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Now that David Letterman is gone, we’re putting together our own top 10 lists. Since you love and have such a good time with your dog, it’s fun to make light of his / her personality.

This is how you know you have a dumb dog.

10) Lengthy pause after “Bow” while it tries to remember “Wow.”

9) Buries tail, wags bones.

8) When you give him Alpo, he just eats the meat by-products.

7) Despite the overwhelming evidence, still smokes two packs a day.

6) Showed up at the Whoopi Goldberg roast in cat face.

5) Has suffered over two dozen concussions from toilet seat falling on his head.

4) Thinks “Snausages” is a real word.

3) Voted for Fred Grandy, “The Love Boat’s” “Gopher”, because he really thought he’d be a good congressman.

2) Spends hours staring at kitchen cabinet, waiting for tiny horse-and-carriage to come out.

1) Constantly chasing people named “Katz.”

Most Popular Dog Breeds in 2014

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Dogs occupy a larger place than ever in our society in recent years. They’re not just pets – they’re real members of our families. People have come to cherish a wide variety of these four-legged friends. Depending on your personality, physical environment and time commitment, one of the breeds listed below would most likely make a great pet.

If you would like to discuss the ideal dog for you or your family, please stop by Island Trees Veterinary Hospital and speak to one of our staff members. We’re here to help with these tough decisions.

According to the American Kennel Club, the 10 breeds below topped the ranks in 2014.

1. Labrador Retriever – Labrador Retrievers, or simply Labradors or Labs, are frequently described as devoted, obedient, outgoing, gentle, agile and intelligent. Great with children and eager to please, it’s no surprise these dogs came out on top for the 24th consecutive year.

2. German Shepherd Dog – German Shepherds are working dogs, originally bred for herding sheep. They are known for being strong, intelligent, obedient, loyal and easy to train. While they are a common choice for law enforcement and the military, they also make great family pets.

3. Golden Retriever – Golden Retrievers are the loyal, strong and sometimes overly enthusiastic good buddies of the dog world. These energetic, affectionate canines shower their families with endless nuzzles, kisses and tail wags, and make very emotionally rewarding pets.

4. Bulldog – This breed is gentle, kid-friendly, affectionate, and stubborn. Bulldogs are not the energetic equals of Golden Retrievers or Labs. Instead, they favor brief walks and long periods of rest – most preferably with their heads on a beloved human’s lap – between meals.

5. Beagle – Beagles are members of the hound group and possess a great sense of smell and tracking instinct. Happy, outgoing, loving but also inquisitive and determined, these small and hardy dogs make great family pets.

6. Yorkshire Terrier – Yorkshire Terriers are the most popular toy breed in the US. Attention seeking, intelligent and independent, with a propensity for yapping, they are great for apartment dwellers and families with older children.

7. Poodle – Poodles have an unmistakably distinct appearance that makes them stand out from other dogs. They’re elegant, active and very intelligent. There are three types of poodles, Standard, Miniature and Toy, and all are considered to be affectionate family pets.

8. Boxer – Boxers are medium-sized dogs that are happy, loyal, brave, high-spirited, playful, intelligent and energetic. This breed is an excellent watchdog, is a great family pet and benefits greatly from dominant owner and training starting at a young age.

9. French Bulldog – French Bulldogs have a distinct look, too – but they’re a little more funny looking than other dogs. They’re adorable, too, and it’s no mystery why these affectionate small dogs, with their easy-going and playful natures, have won people’s hearts. French Bulldogs enjoy lavishing love on their human companions and generally get along well with everyone, including children.

10. Rottweiler – Often used as search and rescue dogs, guide dogs for the blind, and guard dogs or police dogs, Rottweilers also make great companion pets. Known for being exceptionally intelligent and strong, they are also devoted, good-natured, obedient and fearless. Properly bred and socialized Rottweilers are playful, gentle, and loving to their families.

When deciding to welcome a canine companion into your home, it’s important to consider where you live, your family, your existing pets and your lifestyle. Choosing a pet with the temperament, energy level and size that complement each of these factors is a vital part of making sure your life together is a long and happy one!

Canine Influenza Outbreak in Chicago Infects Over 1,000 Dogs

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Five dogs have died and over one thousand dogs have been sickened by a severe Canine Influenza outbreak in the Chicago area. The illness is highly contagious between dogs, and symptoms include loud coughs, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Canine Influenza can lead to pneumonia, which can be fatal in dogs.

If you and your dog spend time in the Chicago area, we recommend keeping your dog away from other dogs. For the best protection, have your dog vaccinated against Canine Influenza. The virus is found everywhere and can infect your dog at any time.

Please contact Island Trees Veterinary Hospital for more information about Canine Influenza and to schedule a vaccination.

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.

SHIPPING OF PETS CHECKLIST

  • 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.

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