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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.

The Skinny on Fat Pets

Losing weight seems to be on just about every other person’s to-do list for the new year—but humans aren’t the only ones with an excess poundage problem. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 59% of cats and 54% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight.

Just like people, these “fluffy” pets are more likely to develop diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, joint injuries, and cancer. Your SAH veterinarian can assist you in choosing the best diet for your animal friend, and offers these tips to help pets slim down:

  • Measure your pet’s food to make sure you’re not overfeeding
     
  • Place food into toys that require interaction with your dog or cat to receive a food reward (food puzzle)
     
  • Hide kibble around the house so that your cat must hunt for food, or put it high on a kitty tree
     
  • Spread meals out throughout the day (but make sure the total amount fed for the day is the correct amount)
     
  • Play with your cat or dog using love and attention, not treats

If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight or have questions about feeding and exercise, don’t hesitate to schedule an exam by calling (631) 887-3501.

SAH Vet Tips: Canine Ear Infections

An ear infection (otitis) is one of the most frequently diagnosed medical conditions in dogs—especially those with floppy ears. Signs of an ear infection can include scratching at the ears, head shaking, ears that are red and/or painful to the touch, an unpleasant smell or a dirty discharge inside the ear. Here are four facts about ear infections:

  • Left untreated, otitis won’t get better by itself. This condition can lead to scar tissue build-up that narrows the ear canal, facial nerve damage and even hearing loss in serious cases.
  • Not all ear infections are alike. Causes of otitis include harmful bacteria, yeast, or ear mites, so using a medication prescribed for a previous ear infection may not be effective.
  • Regular ear cleaning can be just as important as administering medication. Without proper cleaning, it’s sometimes impossible for the ear medication to penetrate the ear canal and do its job.
  • Recheck exams are vital to resolving otitis. The only way our doctors can make sure the infection source has been removed is by rechecking your four-legged friend’s ears, typically within 7-10 days of the initial diagnosis.

SAH offers professional grooming services that can help prevent otitis, including ear plucking to remove excess hair in ear canals. This is especially important for small breeds with hairy ears like the poodle, Bichon Frise, shih tzu, and Lhasa Apso.

Need to book an exam or grooming appointment? Call us at (631) 887-350.

December Pet Safety Tips!

It’s almost time for the holidays! While you’re enjoying things like time off from work, family gatherings, peppermint mochas, gifts, meals and everything else December-related, we’d just like to borrow a second of your time to remind you about how the holidays affect your pets, too.

Here are some tips to follow to make sure your best friend has as much fun as you do during this holiday season:

Don’t give pets table scraps. Giving animals people food can severely disrupt their internal system and can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, severe weight gain and more.

Keep holiday presents away from invasive snouts. Curious pets can get through almost any form of packaging and may easily access those yummy chocolates and other holiday treats.

Avoid bringing toxic plants to your house. Common holiday plants like poinsettias and mistletoe can cause misery to pets if they ingest them, so be extra careful. For a full list of good plants and bad plants, check out the ASPCA’s handy guide here.

Make sure tree decorations are out of paw’s reach. Tinsel, ornaments and lights are all bad news bears if your pet gets their chompers on them. Tinsel can cause intestinal blockage, chewed lights can shock pets and sharp ornaments can easily injure anyone, man or beast. A good idea is to place a pet-proof barrier around your holiday tree.

Watch those spirits and libations. Alcohol is not good for pets! Absolutely keep these beverages high and away from any nosy muzzles.

Provide a pet sanctuary during times of merriment. If you’re having a holiday gathering then the loud noises, laughter and abundance of guests may make your pet anxious. Prepare a safe place for them complete with bedding, toys, treats, water and a litter box for those kitty cats.

Since you’re a fabulous and responsible pet owner, we know you’ll take these tips to heart. At Shinnecock Animal Hospital, we just wanted to give you a gentle nudge and a reminder that preparing for the festivities means getting your animal companion prepared as well! If you have any questions on any of the above scenarios, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 631-887-3508.

Thank you and have a happy holiday season!

Holiday Grooming

Is your pet reaching that level of foul-smelling ripeness that makes them—and your entire house—absolutely stinky? Does their scent follow you wherever you go, and has it infiltrated your car, workspace and other frequent areas? Gross!

If that’s the case, then a trip to the friendly, lovely, positive, fragrant and kind pet groomer might be necessary for your best friend. Along with making them smell so-fresh-and-so-clean, there are also health benefits to a properly groomed animal.

The holidays are fast approaching, and as a gift to your pet—and your nose—how about setting up a grooming appointment? Our groomer can make your pet feel like a million bones!

We are now offering grooming appointments Monday through Thursday. For more information on all these services, head here. To make an appointment, contact us at (631) 887-3501 or schedule online.

Gobble Up These Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

Don’t give in to persuasive purrs and puppy dog eyes this Thanksgiving! Many of the holiday treats we love can cause health problems for our pets if they eat them. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe this Thanksgiving:

• Don’t leave wine glasses at snout or tail level. When pets ingest alcohol, they often experience severe drops in body temperature, blood pressure and blood sugar, which can all lead to death if treatment is delayed. Overactive tails could also knock over glasses and broken glass can easily cause injuries.

• Turkey is high in fat, and because of this, even small amounts can trigger pancreatitis. Pancreatitis has potentially fatal side effects like dehydration and liver and kidney damage. Small turkey bones can also get lodged in your pet’s gastrointestinal system and cause blockages, which typically require surgery to repair.

• You already know chocolate is dangerous for pets. But baking chocolate has even higher concentrations of caffeine and theobromine, the two substances found in chocolate that are extremely toxic to pets. If you’re using baking chocolate in your desserts this Thanksgiving, or any other chocolate for that matter, keep nosy snouts out of the kitchen!

Show your pets you’re thankful for them by keeping them safe this Thanksgiving. If you need more help preparing for the holidays with your pets, call us at Shinnecock Animal Hospital at 631-887-3508.

What You Need to Know About Cancer & Your Pet

It’s a scary statistic: The Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF) reports that one in four dogs and one in five cats will develop cancer in their lifetime—in fact, it’s the leading cause of death for dogs over the age of two. During November at Shinnecock Animal Hospital, we observe Pet Cancer Awareness Month, which was created by the ACF to raise awareness of the prevalence, symptoms and treatments for cancer in our companion animals.

As veterinarians, it is our sworn oath to protect and heal pets. Therefore, we’ve compiled a helpful list of things that you should be aware of regarding cancer and your pet. Here are five things to be mindful of during Pet Cancer Awareness month:

• Did you know that pets can get health insurance, too? Many plans have cancer coverage nowadays, which not only provides you with peace-of-mind, but also helps you make health decisions for your pet that are easier on your wallet.

• If you’re a smoker, be careful, because cancer from second-hand smoke affects pets as well as humans. Make sure that next time you do decide to light up, you’re away from your best friend, to prevent them from inhaling those cancerous fumes.

• Routine wellness care is extremely important in detecting cancer early. These yearly (or twice-yearly for seniors) visits to the vet help detect unusual lumps and bumps, appetite or behavioral changes or odd-smelling breath—which are all early warning signs of cancer.

• Pay attention to your pet’s exposure to certain cancer-causing toxins. Pets often lick their paws, and when they do this they could be ingesting dangerous things like household cleaners or lawn pesticides.

• Every pet will have a different response to cancer. If your animal companion does get diagnosed, all is not lost! Many cancers are treatable—a board-certified oncologist will explain the type, stage and grade of your pet’s disease and will provide a prognosis.

Please do share these tips with other pet owners or on any of your social media networks. We encourage you to ask us any and all questions related to pet cancer. With your help, we can spread awareness of this disease and how it affects our pets!

For any additional questions or to schedule an appointment for a cancer screening or wellness check, please reach out to us at 631-887-3508. You can also make an appointment online.

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

  • Keep candy and other treats out of paw’s reach! Chocolate and the sweetener xylitol—often found in gum and peanut butter—can be very toxic to dogs and cats. Kids should also be reminded not to feed candy to pets.
  • Put your dog or cat in a quiet place away from the front door and all those people in strange costumes. This will help prevent them from getting worked up.
  • If you’re putting your pet in costume, make sure they feel comfortable in it before taking them out. If the costume has bells, noisemakers or strings they can scare your pet or pose a choking hazard.
  • 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.

Have a happy (and safe) Halloween!

A Bloody Good Deal!

It can be frightening to see your pet get older. The fact is, our animal companions age much faster than we do, so illness and disease progress faster as well. But there is something that may ward off those terrifying conditions: senior exams and blood screenings.

Most dogs become seniors between age 7 and 10, and cats reach senior status between age 9 and 12. Because we want to make sure your pet has the longest, healthiest life possible we recommend your senior pet have an exam with blood screening—often referred to as a “senior panel”— twice per year. This testing is essential in spotting disease early, when it’s most treatable.

We feel so strongly about the importance of blood testing that during the month of November, SAH is offering 15% off on senior blood panels for cats and dogs!

Spots will fill up fast—make an appointment for your pet online or call us at 631-887-3501.