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Shiver Me Whiskers! Winter Safety 101

Falling temperatures can pose a wide array of health hazards to our pets. Even the furriest of our furry family members can suffer ill effects. Here are a few tips to help you and your best buds weather the cold months.

Keep the food and fresh water coming! Pets burn more calories in the cold – it’s how they moderate their temperature – so a little food goes a long way toward keeping them comfortable and healthy throughout the winter. Pets that live outside need ample access to fresh, unfrozen water. Check your pet’s bowl and refill it often.

Check those paws. Remove ice, moisture, salt, and chemicals from your pet’s paws with a towel after every walk or outdoor excursion.

Beware of antifreeze and deicers. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats, and even deicers labeled “pet-safe” can mess with your pet’s digestive system.

Don’t let the frosty ground fool you. You’ll still need to keep your pets up-to-date on flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives. Year-round prevention is the only way to guarantee that your pet is protected from pesky parasites.

If you have any questions about how to keep your pet safe and cozy this winter, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 631-723-0500. We’re here to help!

Your Pet’s Best Shot

Vaccinations have become a hot topic—especially with all the new pet adoptions during the pandemic. But when it comes to your pets, vaccinations don’t need to be controversial or complicated.

As veterinarians, we know that vaccinating your pets is one of the best, most inexpensive ways to protect their health. The core vaccines not only prevent illnesses with a high fatality rate; they also protect you and your family, as many of these diseases can infect people.

While any medical treatment involves some degree of risk, in the case of vaccinations, the benefits far outweigh any potential side effects. Adverse reactions are rare and usually mild and short-term when they do occur.

Core vaccines are recommended (and may be mandated by law) for most dogs and cats, and include:

· Rabies (dogs and cats)
· Distemper, parvovirus, and canine hepatitis (dogs)
· Panleukopenia (feline distemper), calicivirus, feline viral rhinotracheitis (cats)

Non-core vaccines are those that may be recommended for your pet based on certain lifestyle factors.

For cats, those include a vaccination against feline leukemia (FeLV) if you have a cat that goes outdoors and interact with other cats.

For dogs, the non-core vaccines are bordetella, canine influenza (CIV), leptospirosis, and Lyme disease. These vaccinations may be strongly suggested for canines who spend a lot of time outdoors or socializing with other dogs at places like dog parks, boarding kennels, and doggie daycare. While Lyme is not a huge concern in our area, if your dog regularly goes hiking or camping in the woods with you, it might be one to consider.

And yes—pets who live primarily indoors should also be vaccinated, as they can still be exposed to disease. Our veterinarians can advise you which vaccinations are required or recommended for your animal friend based on age, health, and lifestyle.

Call 631-723-0500 or request an appointment online. Together, we can make sure your pet is well protected!

‘Tis the Season—to be Careful!

While most people look forward to the holiday season, the same isn’t necessarily true for our pets. From scary costumes on Halloween to an abundance of table scraps at Thanksgiving, this is a time for extra caution when pets are around. And let’s not forget sparkly decorations and even fireworks—there’s a lot to be aware of especially if this is your first holiday season with a pet. For helpful information on how to keep your pet safe, read more.

Safety Tips for the Holidays

  • Keep your pet indoors on Halloween night! This is especially important for black cats, who can be targeted during the holiday. Also, make sure your pets are microchipped or have a collar with current identification in case they get scared and run off.
  • Careful with the turkey and trimmings! Turkey skin, gravy and drippings are all high in fat and can cause pancreatitis in pets. If your pet is allergic to poultry, make sure the turkey is absolutely out of reach.
  • Bones like turkey, chicken, ribs, pork or fish splinter easily and are a choking hazard. They can also cause serious internal damage if swallowed. Never give them to your pet.
  • Chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions, currants, macadamia nuts and walnuts are all on the naughty list for pets. And paws off sweets like candied yams, breads, cake and cookies.
  • Remind children not to share candy with pets or leave foil-covered chocolates in places where curious pets can get to them.
  • Beware of xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in chewing gum, candy and peanut butter), which can cause illness and even death.
  • Keep pets away from holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies, which are highly toxic to dogs and cats.
  • Cats love to play with ribbons, strings and sticks, but if ingested, they can become caught in the intestinal tract. Potpourri also contains herbs and oils that can be toxic.
  • Keep sparkly decorations like tinsel, small spinning dreidels and other game pieces out of the reach of felines. They’re very attracted to moving, shiny things and you don’t want them ingesting these objects.
  • Secure your tree to a doorway or strong drapery pole with fishing line to keep it from falling over if your dog bumps it or your cat tries to climb it. If you have a menorah, be sure to place it in a secure spot well out of reach of pets and wagging tails, especially once lit.
  • Cover and secure electrical cords for lights—pets can suffer serious injury and electrocution from chewing on them. Inexpensive rubber covers can be purchased at hardware stores.

Contact us immediately at (631) 723-0500 or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your pet has ingested something harmful.

New Fur Baby? We Can Help!

Do you have a new puppy or kitten? Congratulations! A new furry friend is always cause for celebration.

We can help your furry baby start off on the right paw with these important steps:

  • Vaccinations with boosters are especially important for young puppies and kittens as they do not have full immunity from many serious infectious diseases. For example, the parvo virus in dogs and panleukopenia in cats are both deadly gastrointestinal diseases. It’s critical to ensure your puppy or kitten has completed the entire series of combo vaccinations to keep him or her protected.
  • A wellness visit is important because this exam helps us detect any possible health problems early. Common, treatable problems can be found before they are noticed by their owners.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet has health benefits, in addition to helping with pet overpopulation. Spaying your puppy or kitten before her first heat offers the best protection from uterine infections and breast tumors. Neutering your male pet helps prevent testicular cancer and certain prostate problems.
  • A microchip provides secure, reliable and permanent identification, which greatly increases the likelihood that your pet, if lost, will be returned home to you.
  • Fleas, ticks and heartworm-carrying mosquitoes are out in full force, even this time of year. We can help you choose the best parasite preventions for your pet.

We are also happy to answer any nutritional and behavioral questions you may have. Give us a call at 631-723-0500 for an appointment, or book online.

Navigating this new normal, together

Our Procedures Have Changed, But Our Passion for Pets Has Not.

Just like you, we’ve watched as the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the world we live in. While so many things remain unknown and in limbo, we wanted you to know that we’re still OPEN to serve you, albeit in a strictly curbside fashion for the foreseeable future.

Here’s how our curbside service works:

  • Call us when you arrive, and a member of our team will come out and pick up your pet.
  • Please make sure your pets are secured on a leash or in a carrier.
  • We’ll take your pet in for his or her appointment and call you with treatment plans and other details that you can approve over the phone.
  • Please remain onsite in your car during your pet’s exam.
  • Payment will be taken over the phone.
  • Our team will then return your pet to you, curbside.

Curbside service is likewise available for all pet food and medication orders through the hospital. Simply call in your order and when it’s ready a member of our team will delivery right to your car.

If you prefer, we also offer telemedicine through TeleVet.

This service allows you to connect with the same doctors you know and trust, all from the comfort of your home through your smartphone. TeleVet is avaible to current clients with pets that have been seen at the hospital in the past year. To get started with Televet, download the app here.

It’s important to remember that pets’ needs don’t go away with shelter-in-place directives. Our animal companions can still fall ill and get injured and so we ask that you make sure to keep their vaccines up to date and call us at (631) 887-3508 or schedule appointments online if your pet requires urgent or preventative care. 

Like so many other small businesses, we are short-staffed at this time and thank you for your patience and cooperation. Please take care of yourselves and your furry families.

Coronavirus Updates

Our Hospital is Open With Precautions in Place to Keep You & Your Pets Safe

To our valued clients,

Thank you all for your understanding and cooperation during these difficult times. Our policies and procedures are changing daily, and we wanted to keep you informed what is going on in our hospital.

Currently we are open, and are considered an Essential Business.

With that being said we are here for ESSENTIAL services only.  Examples of essential services include but are not limited to: non-elective surgeries, sick or injured appointments, puppy/kitten vaccinations, follow up appointments for surgeries, and quality of life/end of life appointments.

The following are services considered Non-Essential: annual wellness or vaccination appointments for healthy adult pets, elective procedures, nail trims/grooming, and travel certificate appointments. 

Appointment Procedures

Our lobby is currently closed, meaning we will not be allowing the public to convene there. Our policy is that you must wait in your car upon arrival and call us at 631-723-0500. Once we have an exam room available you and your pet will be escorted in.

Payment will be collected in the room; we are NOT taking cash payments at the time. We will be excepting all major credit cards, ApplePay, CareCredit and Scratchpay. We apologize for any inconvenience in advance. 

Upon conclusion of your appointment you will be escorted out of the building. If you wish to stay in your car during your pet’s appointment, just let us know and we will accommodate your request (we may be making this mandatory in the days ahead). If you need to pick up medications or food, simply call us from your car. We will have someone deliver it to you.

We are currently signing up for a telemedicine app called Televet and will send out information as soon as it is available to us. Be assured that we are here for you and your pet’s needs.

Please remember to stay safe and well.

The staff and doctors at Shinnecock Animal Hospital

Your Questions About Vaccines: Answered!

Vaccinating your pet is a relatively inexpensive but very important way to protect his or her health. In addition to preventing many life-threatening illnesses, vaccinations can keep your pet and family safe from diseases prevalent in wildlife and those that can be passed to humans. 

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get about vaccinations: 

Q: Are vaccines safe? 

A: There is a risk associated with all medical procedures, but serious reactions from vaccines are rare. Given the fact that vaccinations have protected millions of animals from illness and death caused by disease, the benefit far outweighs any risk. At Shinnecock Animal Hospital, we have seen VERY FEW adverse reactions and it’s our policy to minimize any risk by spacing out the administration of “killed vaccines”, which are the ones more likely to cause a reaction. 

Q: Why is it important to vaccinate? 

A: Vaccinations are your pet’s first line of defense and can also keep them from transmitting some diseases to your family. Scientific evidence proves that the widespread use of vaccines in the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Even diseases that have become uncommon can still be present in the environment and if pets aren’t protected, they can initiate an outbreak. 

Q: Which vaccines does my pet need? 

A: “Core” vaccines are those recommended—and possibly mandated by law—for most pets. Core vaccines include: 

  • Rabies (dogs and cats) 
  • DA2PPV – Distemper, Hepatitis, Adenovirus 2, Parvo and Parainfluenza (dogs) 
  • FVRCP – Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (cats) 

Another non-core, but highly suggested vaccination for outdoor cats is FeLV to protect against feline leukemia. For dogs, bordetella and canine influenza (CIV) shots are a must if they frequent dog parks, boarding kennels, or any place where they’re socializing with other canines. Your SAH doctor may also recommend leptospirosis and Lyme disease vaccinations depending on your dog’s lifestyle. 

Q: Does my indoor cat really need vaccinations? 

Yes! It’s important to note that even pets who live primarily indoors should be vaccinated, as they can still be exposed to disease if they accidentally escape or are exposed to other animals in or outside the home. We can advise you about which vaccinations are right for your pet.  

Q: How often does my pet need to be vaccinated? 

A: Annual vaccinations had been the rule for veterinarians, but they are now learning that some vaccines provide less than a year’s worth of immunity while others last well after a year has passed. That’s why most hospitals, including SAH, customize vaccination plans based on the needs of their patients.  

Q: What kind of reaction should I watch for after my pet is vaccinated? 

A: It’s pretty common for pets to experience some mild side effects after getting their shots. These include localized swelling, itching, sneezing, lethargy, and decreased appetite. You should make a call to the vet immediately, however, if your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms: 

  • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Itchy skin that develops into hives 
  • Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes 
  • Severe coughing or difficulty breathing 
  • Collapse 

Q: What about titer testing? Can it prove immunity and eliminate the need for a vaccination? 

A: Tests that measure antibody response, aka serologic titer tests, can help vets determine the need for revaccination in limited cases. Unfortunately, the tests don’t tell us if the specific concentration of an antibody is exceptionally protective or that a lower concentration means an animal is unprotected. Also, titer tests are not accepted as establishing immunity anywhere in the U.S. and cannot be used as proof of immunity.  

Want to know more? To update your pet’s vaccinations, make an appointment online or call us at 631-723-0500

1 in 3 Cats Will Develop Kidney Disease

Early Detection is Key 

There’s a strong possibility that your cat will eventually need treatment or management of kidney disease: it’s the #1 cause of death in cats over 10, and it’s estimated that more than half of cats over age 15 have reduced kidney function.  

What’s even scarier is that our feline friends rarely show any symptoms, and they’re easy to miss when they do. Symptoms you can be on the lookout for include: 

  • urinating outside the litterbox 
  • soaking the litterbox 
  • weight loss 
  • drinking more water 

Sadly, by the time most cats show symptoms the disease is very advanced. That’s why diagnosing reduced kidney function early is so important. Shinnecock Animal Hospital offers symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) testing for both cats and dogs, which is the most accurate marker available for detecting the development of kidney disease. Regular SDMA testing allows us to take action sooner and slow the progression of the condition, allowing your cat the best chance at a long, healthy life.  

If you have questions about kidney disease or your pet is showing any of the symptoms above, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 631-723-0500

Alternative Therapies for Older Pets

It’s the circle of life for animals to wizen and mature (a.k.a. get old), but that doesn’t mean they have to feel the pain that’s often tied to the aging process. One way we like to go about senior pet care is with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, which have long been used to successfully treat many conditions in both people and animals. Because we at Shinnecock Animal Hospital believe in an integrated approach to veterinary care, we often use both western and eastern methods in order to give our patients the best care possible. 

Dr. Molnar has completed over 200 hours of continuing education and training in Chinese Herbal Medicine and Veterinary Acupuncture and has been practicing in that area for over seven years. Both are minimally invasive, effective ways to manage pain and treat many conditions that your pet may become more susceptible to as they age, including: 

  • arthritis 
  • neurologic disease 
  • seizures 
  • respiratory problems 
  • gastrointestinal disorders 
  • skin/allergy issues 
  • anxiety  

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are most often used in conjunction with traditional therapies but can also reduce the need for medications and their side effects. If your pet suffers from any of the conditions above, or is simply getting up there in age, acupuncture and/or herbal medicine may significantly improve their quality of life. Who wouldn’t want that for their pet? Interested in learning more about these alternative therapies? Give us a call at 631-723-0500 or make an appointment online

Thank You So Much!

We have always said that our clients and their pets are like family to us—and apparently the feeling is mutual!

Because of you, Shinnecock Animal Hospital has a solid 5-star rating on Google with 111 reviews! We invite you to refer anyone you know with pets to us and share the great care and service we are so proud to give to our patients and their families.

If you haven’t already, please feel free to review us on GoogleYelp, or at our page on Facebook. We look forward to hearing from you!