Learning the Signs of Animal Cruelty


Puppies kept in bad conditionsA few months ago, a pet groomer in San Mateo, California made headlines when he arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after a dog died in his care. The dog was bleeding from the mouth and had difficulty breathing, and an x-ray of the dog revealed two broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Sadly, these stories are not uncommon. Most of us have probably seen footage from the ASPCA or another humane association showing neglected and malnourished dogs, cats, horses and other animals. It is tragic when humans take the pets they should love and care for and instead turn them into objects of abuse and neglect. And it’s important to note that animals aren’t the only ones affected by such abuse; studies have shown a correlation in troubled individuals between animal abuse and other kinds of criminal violence.

As a responsible citizen, it is your duty to say something to authorities if you have substantial grounds for suspicion of animal cruelty. But it may be harder than you think to tell the difference between a neglected pet and one that’s part of a loving family. The Humane Society of the United States lists these key signs of animal neglect to be on the lookout for:

  • Does a pet owner have far more pets than they can properly care for?
  • Does a pet exhibit untreated wounds or obvious signs of a lack of veterinary care?
  • Does a pet have inadequate shelter during extreme heat or cold? (It is important to note that pets being kept outside does not necessarily imply cruelty. Many outdoor pets lead happy and healthy lives and are well-loved by their owners.)
  • Is a dog chained outside continuously?
  • Has a pet been left behind in a recently-abandoned home?

If you notice any of these signs or a combination of them, it is important to take action. In addition to calling 911, you can also contact a humane organization like the Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA, which will be best equipped to deal with the situation. In most cases, an officer will be dispatched to investigate and file a citation if necessary. If the case is serious, you may be asked to testify in court.

Animal cruelty is best prevented by caring citizens who keep an eye out for their neighbors and their pets. Intervening to prevent animal cruelty not only benefits our furry, winged and scaly friends, but also helps their owners and society as a whole.

If an abandoned or neglected animal is placed in your care, bring it to CVA for a check-up. Our hospital in Valley Stream is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. For more information or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738).

Cool Off at the Beach during These Dog Days of Summer


Family Walk

Many Long Island beaches allow pets in the off-season, between Labor Day and Memorial Day. But if you and your dog both want some respite from the heat, there are a few local beaches that are dog-friendly year-round! Here are our top picks:

  • Shadmoor State Park, Montauk: This outlier is a great destination if your canine loves car rides. Take a day trip to the East End and enjoy this park’s 2,400 feet of ocean beach! Dogs are allowed on a six-foot-long or shorter leash. And best of all, parking is free!
  • Gardiner County Park, Bay Shore: Not only does Gardiner County Park have a great dog-friendly park, but it doubles as a great bay beach location for your pet! According to the website BringFido, Gardiner is known for being “extremely dog-friendly,” and it is easy to see why. Amenities include plenty of on-leash trails, waste disposal stations and even a doggie water fountain. If your pet loves swimming, he or she can even paddle around in the Great South Bay!
  • Coindre Hall, Huntington:  This little-known park on Long Island’s North Shore is a popular destination for dog lovers. Dogs and their owners alike can enjoy romping on the spacious lawns adjoining the hall, a former Gold Coast mansion, as well as wandering down to the shore of Huntington Harbor.

As you enjoy the great outdoors with your dog, always remember to bring plenty of water for both of you, make sure your pet is protected by flea and tick medication and watch for signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion. As always, never leave your pet alone in a car.

If you have any questions or your pet has any health issues, don’t hesitate to call us at 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738). Our Valley Stream office is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Rain, Rain, Go Away, Our Dog Fido Wants to Play


Dog with rain boots and hat

So far, it seems the old adage of April Showers has held true to course. Daily rainfall can lead to flooding in coastal areas such as Long Island and we’ve seen our fair share of recent disasters. As such, we want to remind our pet owners of all of the potential dangers of severe weather.

Summer of last year left as many as 20,000 Long Islanders without power. In blackout situations that force people to evacuate, pet owners should take their pets with them. Exposure to extreme temperatures due from loss of heat or cooling may be dangerous to pets.

For instances of flood danger, pet owners should plan multiple routes to higher elevations and a safe destination. People should not assume that emergency shelters will allow pets. Prior to disaster striking, pet owners should contact their local emergency management office to see if there are pet-friendly shelters in the area. It would also be useful to lookup motels and hotels outside of town to see if they allow both people and pets as well as restrictions on the number, size and species.

Pet owners should make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. Owners may additionally want to get their dog or cat microchipped to increase the likelihood of a safe return home should the pet get lost or their collar fall off during an emergency.

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).

“Emergency preparedness is crucial ensuring the safety of pets, their owners and first responders,” says Dr. John Charos, DVM, President/CEO, Central Veterinary Associates. “Pet owners need to plan ahead to secure the information and essentials they will need during a natural disaster. VA 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.”

CVA keeps its hospital in Valley Stream open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all major holidays. For more information or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738) or visit www.centralvets.com.

Easter Isn’t Always Sweet for Pets

The Bunny Hop might be a fun dance, but it could mean something much different to your pets. Though Easter season is often a symbol of joy, and the start to Spring, it can also prove to be a sad one for pet owners who don’t follow pet safety precautions. That’s why Central Veterinary Associates offers these tips to keep your pets out of harm’s way during the holiday.

  • Steer clear of Easter grass: Cats are attracted to string-like objects, especially those that make interesting sounds and can be easily ingested. Easter grass covers all of these areas, but it can cause blockage in the stomach. Symptoms include vomiting, straining to defecate and a painful abdomen. If you can see the Easter grass from the mouth or anus, do not pull it out yourself; instead, call a veterinarian immediately.
  • Keep holiday plants out of reach: Easter lilies and related plants are highly toxic to cats if ingested. The first signs include vomiting, lethargy and, if left untreated, may lead to renal (kidney) failure or even death. Another spring flower, the daffodil, is also toxic to cats.
  • Find all of the Easter eggs: The Easter egg hunt is a family tradition at most households and, sometimes, pets want to participate. But your pet may choke on the egg if he or she attempts to swallow it whole and a piece of a broken eggshell may pierce the inside of their stomachs. Plastic eggs filled with goodies are equally harmful as the candies and small toys inside can be dangerous to pets as well.
  • Clean up the toys: Like other gift-giving holidays, it is becoming increasingly popular for children to receive toys on Easter, but pets sometimes mistake these as their own personal chew toys. Small plastic pieces and rubber balls become ingested, causing blockages, and would need to be surgically removed.
  • Avoid feeding human food to your pets: People love to feed their pets under the table for this holiday season, but they are unknowingly harming their animals. Chocolate contains theobromine, which, for dogs, can result in diarrhea, seizures and death. Chicken, fish and turkey bones can break off and tear through the animal’s intestinal tract.
  • Hold onto your drinks: Coffee and tea contain dangerous components called xanthines, which cause the damage to the dog’s nervous system or gastrointestinal tract and heart muscle stimulation. Animals are also attracted to the sweet smell of alcohol. Each year, hundreds of dogs die after a single bout of alcohol consumption. Keep such drinks out of reach.
  • Put away cleaning supplies: In the rush to get the house ready for the holidays, or after the guests leave, families might mistakenly leave cleaning products within their pet’s reach. Floor cleaner, furniture polish and window cleaner are considered toxins. Be sure to place cleaning products that are not in use away in an area where animals cannot reach them.
  • Give your pets some room: Some pets may become overexcited when meeting visitors for the first time. They may jump on the visitor or act aggressively by barking or hissing. Some pets might also urinate on the floor. When hosting a party, set up a separate area for your pets with plenty of food and water.

“By taking these necessary precautions, you should have a happy and peaceful Easter for both you and your pet,” says Dr. John Charos, President/CEO, Central Veterinary Associates “In the event that your pet gets sick, our Valley Stream hospital is open everyday, including on Easter Sunday.”

CVA keeps its hospital in Valley Stream open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even in the event of a natural disaster. For more information or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738).

Keep Your Pets Smiling during Pet Dental Health Awareness Month

dog with electric toothbrush

With the exception of a pet owner going in for a slobbery kiss or cuddle they rarely take a peek into the mouths of their cat or dog. Many are unaware that the buildup of bacteria lurking within the crevices of pet’s teeth may contribute to serious health complications. In recognition of February being National Pet Dental Health Month, Central Veterinary Associates (CVA) reminds pet owners to protecting their fanged friends’ health through routine dental care.

Many people are unaware that, like with humans, poor dental hygiene is a leading factor in the health of a pet’s internal organs. The continuous build up of tartar over time may lead to inflammation of an animal’s gums, gingivitis, or serious infections such as periodontitis. Left untreated, periodontitis may lead to bone loss, painful abscesses, difficulty eating or infection of the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys caused by the spread of bacteria through the blood stream.

“People are accustomed to going to regular checkups with their dentists and brushing their teeth on a daily basis, however oftentimes neglect the maintenance of their pet’s dental hygiene,” says Dr. John Charos, DVM, President/CEO, Central Veterinary Associates. “I always emphasize the importance of good dental hygiene with pet owners. The well-being of cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits and other pets can be affected by proper care for pet’s teeth, gums and breath. Owners should consider visiting their vet for a full pet dental exam to better understand how dental health affects overall health.”

Bad breath is an indicator that pet owners should address the dental care of their dog or cat. The recognition of a drastic change in the scent of the pet’s breath should prompt them to bring the animal in for a full dental exam at their local veterinarian’s office, which is encouraged annually. This will allow your veterinarian to visually examine the pet’s face, mouth, teeth and gums. Sometimes, the doctor sedates the pet in order to get a thorough look inside its mouth to ensure there are no dental diseases. 

Pet owners can improve their pet’s dental health through regular maintenance, such as brushing the cat or dog’s teeth. Since cats and dogs do not know to “swish” or “spit” on command, it is important to purchase a pet-approved, non-toxic toothpaste that contains enzymes to break down the plaque. Unlike the ones made for human dental hygiene, pet toothpaste is edible and has a flavorful taste, which comes in handy when trying to appeal to the animal. Proper dental care standards suggest that pet owners brush their pet’s teeth at least two or three times a week to prevent dental diseases, plaque buildup and bad breath.

In addition to regular cleanings and brushing, anti-bacterial supplements are available for water dishes, which can reduce the amount of oral bacteria that causes foul-smelling mouth odors. Pet treats, created with animal-safe ingredients that clean teeth, eradicate plaque, strengthen gums and leaves breath smelling fresh, are available at local pet stores. There are also veterinary prescription diets available that can be used if your veterinarian deems appropriate.

 CVA keeps its hospital in Valley Stream open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even in the event of a natural disaster.