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

Certain Dog Breeds are Prone to Cancer

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Golden Retrievers have long been the poster breed for family pets. Friendly, obedient, and intelligent, Goldens are ranked as the third most popular dog breed by the American Kennel Club. Although you wouldn’t suspect it from their care-free demeanor and smiling faces, the breed is plagued by a devastating predisposition to cancer. Approximately 60% of Golden Retrievers will develop cancer, a number more than double the average of all other breeds.

While Goldens in the United States are most likely to develop hemangiosarcoma, those from the United Kingdom are more prone to lymphoma. The cause is both genetic and environmental, but researchers are still unsure exactly which genes are involved. Cancer is the leading cause of death in all but 11 purebred dog breeds.

Additional Breeds Prone to Cancer

  • Great Danes – Prone to short lifespans, dogs of this breed are most likely to die from cancer.

  • Bernese Mountain Dogs – Also a breed with one of the shortest average lifespans, Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to several forms of cancer. Studies have reported that half of this breed will succumb to cancer.

  • Boxers – No other breed has a higher rate of mast cell tumors, which are slow-growing and can occur at any age.

  • German Shepherds – Hemangiosarcoma is the most common form of cancer in this breed. Clinical signs are often not apparent until the internal tumor ruptures, causing extensive bleeding and collapse or death.

  • Poodles – An estimated 40% of all Standard Poodles will die from some form of cancer.

  • Rottweilers – This breed is prone to a variety of cancers, including that of the lymph nodes, bones, soft tissues, bladder, and blood vessels.

  • Cocker Spaniels – Cancer is the most common cause of death for this breed, affecting as many as 23% of Cocker Spaniels.

  • Doberman Pinschers – One of the top five breeds most prone to cancer, a leading cause of death in female Dobermans is mammary cancer.

  • Beagles – With 23% of Beagles affected by cancer, lymphoma, osteosarcoma and bladder cancer are the most common types in elderly Beagles.

The Boxer is highly prone to Mast Cell Tumors.

Signs to Recognize

Regularly checking your beloved companion for new or unusual lumps or bumps is the most proactive step you can take toward catching skin cancer as early as possible. Since early removal of a tumor is the best course of action, Dr. Gottlieb or Dr. Caren may recommend removing this mass or growth from your pet’s skin.

If you notice a major change in your pet’s health, eating habits or lifestyle, call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital immediately to make an appointment. Cancer treatment is becoming more available for dogs due to advances in technology.

Other general symptoms of cancer include skin wounds that will not heal, weight loss and loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, any bleeding or discharge from any orifice, loss of energy, persistent lameness or stiffness, and difficulty breathing or going to the bathroom.

November is National Pet Diabetes Month

Monday, November 9th, 2015

November is National Pet 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. If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, the veterinarians at Island Trees Veterinary Hospital will decide which treatment options are best. Often, changes in diet and lifestyle, 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, call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital today at 516-735-0090. Dr. Gottlieb and Dr. Caren are experienced in internal medicine and they can accurately diagnose your pet and provide proper health management.

Diabetes can affect a pet differently over time, even if he or she 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.

If you have any questions about your pet, we are here to help. Please call us today.

Great Dane Helps 10-year-old Find Her Footing

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

A special bond between a Woburn, Massachusetts girl and her 131-pound Great Dane is making national news. Bella Burton, an energetic and talkative 10-year-old, suffers from Morquio Syndrome and up until recently relied on a variety of crutches, walkers, and wheelchairs for mobility. Now, she simply leans on her dog George.

Bella’s rare inherited birth defect occurs in only one of every 200,000 births. The progressive disease is caused by the body’s inability to break down sugar chains, known as glycosaminoglycans, into more basic molecules. The condition affects a child’s appearance, organ function and physical abilities.

“It attacks her healthy bone growth,” her mother Rachel said in a WCVB-TV interview. “So that’s why she’s short-statured.”

Bella has been fighting against Morquio Syndrome since she was two. She has had nine major surgeries on her hips, knees, and feet, and began showing major improvements after receiving enzyme transfusions last June. She has shown even more progress since she met George.

“I had wheelchairs, walkers, Canadian crutches, regular crutches, and then we got George and I dropped my crutches and started to use him,” Bella said.

George was trained as a service dog at Service Dog Project, Inc. in Ipswich, MA and moved in with Bella and her family in January. Now, he goes with her everywhere – even to school. Bella now walks to school on her own (with George) and can play outside and at the gym without the use of crutches. Bella leans on George to navigate her school’s hallways and make trips to the bathroom. While she’s learning, he rests patiently.

“He knows what to do,” Bella said. “He knows where all my classes are.”

Service Dog Project has donated more than 100 Great Danes to individuals with severe balance and mobility limitations. Once paired, the dogs learn the unique needs of their new handlers and are trained to meet those needs.

“Bella’s walking gait and stamina have improved as a result, and she is greatly enjoying her independence,” the project states on their website.

George has been chosen as the top service dog in the country for 2015 by the American Kennel Club’s Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). In addition to their television appearances, “Bella and George” can be found on Facebook. The page showcases pictures of their adventures together and provides updates on the young girl’s progress.

Worried About Pet Food Recalls? Check This Website

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Pet food recalls are often in the news, and feeding your pet food that has been recalled can lead to serious health problems. Thankfully, the American Veterinary Medical Association (better known as the AMVA) now has an up-to-date website listing all active pet food recalls. You can view recalls from the last 365 days on the AVMA’s website – https://www.avma.org/news/issues/recalls-alerts/pages/pet-food-safety-recalls-alerts.aspx.

The most recent recall listed on the site is K-9 Kraving Chicken Patties. A batch shipped between July 13th and 17th, 2015 in Maryland may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria.

If you have questions about your pet’s food or nutrition, please call Island Trees Veterinary Hospital. Our veterinarians and technical staff are available to help you with all your pet-related questions.

The American Veterinary Medical Association is a non-profit that advocates for veterinarians. The group represents over 86,500 veterinarians throughout the United States.

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.

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