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Would You Know if Your Pet Had Heartworm?

April is Heartworm Awareness Month, and according to the American Heartworm Society (AHS), the incidence of heartworm across the country is up. New York is no exception.

As you may already know, heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, and it only takes one bite to infect a dog. Sadly, many animals don’t show symptoms until the disease is advanced, if at all. While there is treatment for canines, it is expensive and can be very hard on your pet.

As always, the best treatment is prevention! Our veterinarians advise keeping your pet on heartworm preventive year-round, and recommend Interceptor Plus monthly chewables to protect your dog against this potentially deadly disease. 

Be advised if your pet has not previously been on heartworm preventive, he or she will need a heartworm test before starting on one. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (631) 887-3501.

Parasites Aren’t Just a Pet Problem…

One of the benefits of using Interceptor Plus heartworm prevention for your dog is that it also protects your pet from hookworm, roundworm, whipworm and tapeworm.  The first three aren’t just dangers for your dog—they can be transmitted to humans as well. Here’s what you need to know about these pesky parasites:

Roundworm: the most common of intestinal parasites, these worms are passed through animal feces or nursing mother’s milk, making young puppies and kittens particularly susceptible. Adult pets can contract them if they ingest contaminated soil or water or by licking infested fur or paws. Once the worms make it to the digestive system they steal nutrients from the pet’s food which can lead to malnutrition. As larvae move through the body, they can cause respiratory problems as well.

Hookworm: these worms are particularly dangerous because they bite into the intestinal lining of an animal and suck blood. If not treated, this can result in serious blood loss, weakness, and malnutrition. In humans, hookworm infections cause health problems when the larvae penetrate the skin, producing severe itching and tunnel-shaped red areas. If accidentally eaten, they can cause significant intestinal problems.

Whipworm: though less likely to infect humans, whipworms are another intestinal bloodsucker that can cause diarrhea, weight loss and blood loss in pets if a severe infection develops. They have a whip-like shape and like roundworms can be picked up when a pet eats infested soil or licks contaminated fur or paws. 

Tapeworm: the most common type of tapeworm in dogs is transmitted by fleas, and pets become infected by ingesting fleas directly or off mice and other rodents they eat. While tapeworm infections don’t normally cause illness in adult pets, a heavy infestation can be a serious problem for younger animals.

If you have any questions about parasites or think your pet may be infected, don’t hesitate to call us at (631) 887-3501.

Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for Pets

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have long been used to successfully treat many conditions in people and animals. At SAH, we believe in an integrated approach to veterinary care, and so we often use both western and eastern methods to help our patients.

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, 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, acupuncture and/or herbal medicine might significantly improve their quality of life. Want to know more? Schedule and appointment today to discuss if this treatment could be beneficial for your pet.

“March” On in for a Microchip!

One of the worst feelings to experience as a pet owner is realizing a pet has gone missing. And considering only 17% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats make it back to their owners, it can often feel impossible to get a pet back. This is why microchipping a pet is so important. Microchipping is an affordable process that helps ensure that pets make it home safe and happy.

Unlike collars and tags, microchips cannot fall off and get lost. They serve as permanent identification for a pet’s entire life. Plus, microchipping a pet is very simple. A veterinary technician injects the tiny chip between your pet’s shoulder blades. Because the chip is encased in hypoallergenic, bio-friendly glass, allergic reactions to chips are incredibly rare.

Then, if your pet ever becomes lost, authorities only need to scan the chip to locate your information. Most animal shelters and veterinary hospitals have chip scanners now, so microchips make it incredibly easy to get lost pets the help they need.

But do remember: a microchip is only useful if your contact information is updated. Make sure anytime you move, you update your information with the microchip registry. There may be a fee associated with re-registering a chip, but it’s usually small and varies depending on the registration company.

If you’d like more information on microchipping or would like to make an appointment, call us at 631-887-3508 or schedule online.

Flea & Tick Season . . . is Coming

Your pets are much more likely to encounter fleas and ticks around this time of the year. Don’t overlook the problems these pests cause: fleas can trigger dermatitis and hot spots and one tick bite can transmit numerous dangerous diseases.

It’s always a good idea to constantly check your pets for fleas and ticks on a daily basis. This can be done while you are playing with your best friend or grooming them. Although fleas and ticks can be anywhere on your pet’s body, they prefer posting up near the head, ears, neck and paws. You can spot evidence of fleas if you notice little black specks that resemble pepper or bits of dirt.

Preventive medications are the best way to keep fleas and ticks away from your pets. At Shinnecock Animal Hospital, we have a variety of products for dogs and cats, which will help rid your pet of these nuisances.

If you’re not sure which preventive medications are right for your pets or would like to discuss a proper course of action, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us today by calling (631) 887-3501 or scheduling online.

Pet Poison Prevention

National Poison Prevention Week, which was enacted by Congress in 1961, always occurs on the third week in March. This year for 2019, it falls from March 18 to March 24th.

So, what exactly is the purpose of National Poison Prevention Week?

This specific week has been set aside to highlight awareness and prevention of poisoning, and what to do if any unfortunate scenarios occur. At Shinnecock Animal Hospital, we use this week to remind our clients about their pets, and the potential dangers their furry friends can encounter if they get poisoned from everyday household objects.

Since pets are just naturally curious, it is extremely important to keep certain things away from paws’ reach. We encourage you to pay attention to:

  • Living rooms. Poisonous things in these areas include certain plants, fragrance products, batteries, cannabis, bags/purses (which can contain many toxic items) and more.
  • Kitchens. There are many, many human foods which are poisonous to pets and which need to be kept away from them. Garbage cans should also be kept pet proof, and alcoholic beverages need to be safely stored away from curious snouts.
  • Bathrooms. All medications need to be safely stored away in cupboards and not on countertops. Bathroom cleaning products need to also be tucked away, and always remember to close toilet lids.
  • Garages. Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) products have a sweet taste that pets may enjoy, however these items are extremely toxic and should be safely hidden. Car products like cleaners and fluids need to also be properly stored.
  • Outdoor areas. Keep fertilizers sealed and out of reach. Grub or snail killers can also be harmful to pets, as well as rat poisons, insecticides and sprayed herbicides.

The above examples are just some of the common scenarios where pets can get poisoned from everyday products. If you believe your pet has ingested anything toxic, you must IMMEDIATELY contact us at 631-887-3508. Please be ready with the label or type of object that your pet has ingested.

We treat National Poison Prevention Week very seriously at Shinnecock Animal Hospital, and we highly encourage you to contact us for additional information on household toxins and how to keep your pet away from them. You can also reach out to the Pet Poison Helpline, which is available 24/7 for any additional questions or expert help.

Thank you, and let’s work together to keep our pets safe from poisonous substances!

Give Your Pet Something to Smile About

Next time you brush your teeth in the morning and at night, think about your pet. While you are making small circles on your teeth and gums and clearing your pearly whites from nasty tartar and bacteria, think about your pet. Next time you are flossing your teeth to get rid of gunk between those incisors, bicuspids and molars, THINK ABOUT YOUR PET!

The point is, pet dental care is just as important as human dental care. Did you know that by age three, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some evidence of periodontal disease? This ailment can cause mouth pain, tooth loss and at advanced stages, serious illness.

Since February is pet dental month, we really want to emphasize oral pet care to our clients. To help you take care of your pets’ dental health, we’re offering a special—get 20 percent off a dental and scaling procedure for your pet, all month long!

Your pet’s world revolves around their mouth, and with proper dental care, you’ll help your best friend live their best life and make their breath so fresh and so clean, clean!

For more information or to schedule an appointment to save 20 percent on dental scaling, call us at (631) 887-3501 or schedule online today.

World Spay Day is One of Our Favs!

If you weren’t aware, February 26 is World Spay Day! Veterinarians love this holiday because it demonstrates responsible pet ownership. At Shinnecock Animal Hospital, we are big advocates for spaying and neutering your pets.

Did you know that fixing your pet does more than just prevent unwanted pregnancy? There are multiple health benefits for both procedures, too!

What are the Benefits of Spaying?

Spaying your pet decreases her risk of mammary gland tumors or uterine/ovarian cancer later in life, especially if she is spayed before her first heat cycle. Pyometra is another medical problem that affects unspayed pets. This is an abnormal accumulation of pus in the uterus that is caused by uterine cysts. Secondary infections that are caused by pyometra can be life-threatening and will require immediate veterinary care.

What are the Benefits of Neutering?

Neutering male cats and dogs will:

  • Reduce or even eliminate spraying and marking
  • Minimize aggressive, roaming behaviors
  • Eliminate the risk of testicular cancer
  • Decrease incidences of prostate disease

Reducing testosterone levels by neutering your dog also makes it easier to train them. Neutering male cats will remove the urge for them to fight with other cats.

If your pet is in fact already spayed or neutered, give yourself a hearty “round of appaws” for being a spectacular pet parent! If you’ve welcomed a new puppy or kitten into your home and do need an appointment to get your new best friend fixed, please contact us at (631) 887-3501 or schedule online.

Thank you and we hope you have an excellent World Spay Day!

Chocolate + Pets = Bad

Awwww, your sweetheart just gifted you your favorite chocolate for Valentine’s Day! While this is fantastic for you (congratulations), this is not so great for your furry friend. Here’s more in-depth info on why it’s important to enforce the separation of chocolate and pets, and what to do if they get their paws on these sweets:

  • Chocolate is high in fats, and also contains theobromine and caffeine which affect the heart, central nervous system and urination frequency.
  • The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for our furry friends. Please be careful with baking chocolate, as this poses the biggest risk.
  • If your pet has ingested chocolate, monitor them for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drinking, pacing, shaking and hyperactivity.
  • We see emergency and urgent cases at Shinnecock Animal Hospital. If you’re bringing your pet in, please bring any chocolate packaging to help us understand what kind of chocolate it was and how much your pet has ingested.
  • The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is also a valuable resource for chocolate consumption and other toxic scenarios. Their number is 888-426-4435.

While we’re not advocating for you to have a Valentine’s Day sans chocolate, we do want our clients to be safe and responsible during this time. Please always be aware of any chocolate that is left out and keep it in pet-safe containers or inaccessible drawers!

For more information on chocolate toxicity and pets, please contact us at (631) 887-3501.

Its Canine Flue Season

Just like people, dogs can get cold viruses and bacterial infections. With increased boarding, daycare and travel around the holidays, the chances are greater your dog will be exposed to these viruses, including the canine flu (CIV).

When infected, dogs experience fever, coughing, sneezing and a general unwell feeling. While the symptoms of most of these infections are similar, CIV tends to be more severe. In older dogs and those with chronic conditions, this illness can lead to secondary infections and even death. Canines are not immune to CIV, and both strains of the virus—H3N2 and H3N8—are highly contagious.

Preventing exposure is crucial, especially for elder dogs and those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions. SAH now stocks a vaccine that protects against both strains of CIV, and it should be administered annually.

Have questions or want to schedule a vaccination for your pet? Make an appointment online or call us at (631) 887-3501.