Animal Disaster Preparedness

May 8 was National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day and, in recognition, CVA is taking this time to remind all pet owners of the importance of having a disaster plan for your pets. For all natural and man-made disasters, pet owners are encouraged to create an emergency kit containing ten days’ worth of food, water, medications and other consumables for both themselves and their pets.

In addition to securing personal emergency kits, which save lives and reduce distress in the event of a natural disaster, pet owners should take extra precautions. Emergency planning should include locating a safe place to take your pet, such as to a relative, local veterinarian or animal shelter, as some emergency shelters do not allow pets. CVA also urges owners to have their pet microchipped before the storm makes landfall as it will help to locate the animal should they become separated from an owner and a collar falls off. In the event that a disaster occurs without warning, all pet owners should have an animal-friendly emergency kit that includes pet medication and medical records, sturdy leashes and harnesses and/or carriers to transport the animal, food, water, litter box, scoops and garbage bags, the veterinarian’s contact information, current photos of the animal in case they get lost and the pet’s bed or toys (if easily transportable).

“Leaving your pets out of your emergency plan and kit can put pets, pet owners and first responders in danger,” says Dr. John Charos, DVM, President/CEO, Central Veterinary Associates. “Preparation makes a difference, so it is important to have your pet microchipped along with an emergency plan, kit and designated area for your family and pet to stay safe should a disaster occur. CVA offers microchipping services and pet boarding that has a veterinarian make regular rounds to ensure your pet’s comfort and administer medications during their stay.”

In the event of a disaster, CVA keeps its hospital in Valley Stream open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even during the most severe storms. For more information about CVA or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738) or visit www.centralvets.com.

Do Birds Need to See a Veterinarian?

CVA was recently interviewed by the Long Island Herald on the topic of veterinary care for avian pets. The question was whether birds need routine checkups, and the answer was “yes” as this is the best way to avoid diseases. A vet will check for basic things, such as drastic weight changes, but will also ensure that your pet does not have parasites or abnormal bacteria.

Many veterinarians recommend checkups twice per year, but at least once a year is vital. During these routine visits, the veterinarian will perform a physical exam to evaluate the bird’s state of health through a series of wellness tests – including blood work, specialized tests for common avian diseases, fecal analysis, microbiological testing and radiological testing. During these visits, the vet will also evaluate feeding, housing, grooming and overall care and development – as with any pet or human checkup. If the bird is found to have a potential disease, the vet will provide treatment options.

If you have a pet bird and would like to give them a checkup, contact your local Central Veterinary Associates office, where a professional team can evaluate and treat them. For more information about CVA or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738) or visit www.centralvets.com.

Springtime Allergies are Not Just a Human Annoyance

Everyone knows that people of all ages suffer from seasonal allergies. In fact, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that more than 50 million Americans are affected by allergies each year. But, Central Veterinary Associates (CVA) is reminding pet owners that allergies are also extremely common in cats and dogs.

Of course, there’s the more widely recognized food and environmental allergies, but our furry friends can also suffer from seasonal allergies, just like the rest of us. Symptoms of seasonal allergies in pets are usually skin-related, which leads to itchiness, inflammation and hot spots, but can also cause ear and respiratory problems.

It starts with basic and common scratching or biting of the skin, but allergies results in a far more excessive attempt on the pet’s part to eradicate the problem. They may use hard or scratchy surfaces to find relief and, as the itching persists, it is likely that the skin will become inflamed – which can lead to hair loss, open sores or scabbing. In dogs, you might find a hot spot, which is an infected area of skin that is very red and might even bleed.

“Like many humans, pet allergies can also cause ears to become itchy or inflamed, which will lead to them scratching their ears or shaking their heads, as well as hair loss around the ears,” explains Dr. John Charos, DVM, CEO & President of CVA. “For dogs, this might even lead to the growth of yeast or bacteria, which can be spotted by an odor or discharge. Though most pets do not also develop respiratory symptoms with their allergies, some have been found to experience watery eyes, coughing and sneezing.”

So, how can pet owners help their furry friends during the Spring Sneezing Season? For starters, it may seem counterintuitive, but try to limit their time outdoors – especially from lounging around on the deck or the yard, where pollen might settle. If your pet insists on being outside, take special care to hose of the deck or patio to give them an area to lay.

“Of course, with dogs, it is impossible for them to not spend some time outdoors, especially when it comes to bodily functions,” continue Dr. Charos. “So, when they come inside, be sure to rinse off their paws and use a damp towel to wipe down their fur. If there are other, non-allergic pets in the home, make sure to wipe them down as well, so the pollen doesn’t come into the house.”

Try as you might to avoid pollen coming indoors, those tiny particles manage to squeeze their way in. To help alleviate problems for pets, especially indoor cats, it is helpful to vacuum and mop floors multiple times each week and wash pet beds and any other pet sheets or blankets at least once per week, using simple, non-toxic cleaning agents. Frequent baths, with a medicated shampoo prescribed by a veterinarian, will also help give them immediate relief if they are itchy and will wash away any allergens on their coats.

Lastly, since allergies are an immune system response, it’s important to schedule vaccines at times when the pet is not experiencing allergy systems. It’s also wise to provide your pet with hypoallergenic diet, and/or novel protein diet that will decrease the chance for allergy flare ups. There are also many allergy-fighting supplements that can be prescribed for your pet, such Omega-3 fatty acids.

If you think your pet is suffering from allergies, contact your local Central Veterinary Associates office, where a professional team can evaluate and treat them. For more information about CVA or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738) or visit www.centralvets.com.

Get Smart About Antibiotics for Your Pets

On November 14-20, the CDC recognized “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week,” which aims to raise awareness of the proper usage of antibiotics. As animals are often also prescribed human medications, we wanted to take this time to teach our families about proper antibiotic dosing in pets.

One important thing to remember is, like humans, antibiotics are not always the solution. In fact, in many cases, like with humans, overuse of an antibiotic could lead to other concerns, such as nutrient deficiencies, an increased resistance to medication and the killing off of good bacteria that helps fight other diseases.

Of course, there are cases in which your pet should receive antibiotics, including for the treatment of infections that the pet may have already encountered or after a surgery, in order to ward off possible future infections. In these instances, it is important to remember to follow the dosing instructions provided by your veterinarian as every breed and size of animal will require differing amounts. It is also very important to note that, if your pet develops an infection, you should never administer an antibiotic (such as the leftover medicine in your cabinet from your toddler’s most recent ear infection) without first consulting your veterinarian.

If you are unsure whether you should administer an antibiotic to your pet, be sure to contact your local Central Veterinary Associates clinic for an evaluation. For more information, or to make an appointment, call our Valley Stream location, 24/7, 365, at (516) 825-3066 or visit www.centralvets.com.

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National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, National Pet Cancer Month and National Pet Diabetes Month

Pet Diabetes

From change in appetite to lethargy, there are many physical signs associated with pet diabetes, which is most commo91386791nly found in dogs. This includes excessive thirst and increase in water consumption, increased urination, significant weight loss, dehydration, urinary tract infections and unusually sweet-smelling or fruity-smelling breath. A simple exam with your veterinarian – which includes blood work and a urinalysis – will confirm whether your pet has diabetes.

Treating pet diabetes is also simple, for most dogs it’s a matter of regulating blood sugar, just like in humans. This can range from changing their diet to include high-fibers, insulin injections or, in extreme cases, intensive hospitalization in the early stages. In the cases of we suggest spaying female dogs as their sex organs can effect blood sugar levels.

Pet Cancer

Pet cancer is often as easily detectable as diabetes, with basic “sick pet” signs, such as excessive weight loss, lethargy/depression , changes in bathroom habits and lack of appetite. Other signs include bumps and tumors; strange odors from the mouth or ears; wounds that don’t heal and abnormal discharges, such as blood, pus, vomiting or diarrhea. More extreme conditions might include difficulty breathing and evidence of pain. As with diabetes, basic blood work and a urinalysis will help determine whether your pet has cancer.

As each there are many types and stages of cancer, which present differently in various species, treatment options will vary. In these cases, it is wise to consult with your veterinarian on the treatment options available to you. Our doctors are available for evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of your pet. For more information or to make an appointment, call (516) 825-3066 or visit www.centralvets.com.

Adopt a Senior Pet

National Adopt a Senior Pet Month runs through the end of November. As part of this celebration, shelters and rescues around the country are encouraging pet lovers to adopt a senior pet, which is considered the most difficult group to place with “furever” families. These animals run a higher risk of euthanasia and often live out their golden years in shelters.  But, what families don’t consider is that these pets can be the best addition, as they are usually well-trained and house broken. If you are thinking about adding a new [old] pet to your family, please call us at (516) 825-3066 for assistance.