Winter Pet Safety



Now that the cold weather is finally here, there are a few tips we want to share with you to make sure your pets stay safe and healthy during the winter months.

Make sure you remember to have extra water and food available for your pets in case the inclement weather prevents you from leaving the apartment (or more likely, prevents delivery of supplies from various sources we Manhattanites are so dependent upon). If your pet is on medication, do not wait until you are down to the last pill to call for a refill.

For those with old, arthritic pets, make sure they have a nice, soft, warm bed. Their arthritis may be worse with the cold weather. Please consult your vet to discuss various ways to manage pain. Heating pads can be dangerous and cause electric shock or thermal burn, especially if your pet likes to chew on cords or even the pad itself, or if they are debilitated and cannot move away from pad.

Small dogs, dogs with less fur or body fat, young puppies, old dogs, especially those with chronic diseases (such as kidney disease, Cushing’s, etc.) are more susceptible to the cold. To prevent hypothermia, have them wear a warm coat when out and keep the walks short.

If possible, put booties on your dogs to protect their paws from ice and salt. If you cannot get booties on your dog, use a small amount of petroleum jelly, or get a commercially available product called “Musher’s Secret Paw Protector” and apply on the paws before heading out. Remember to clean the paws thoroughly when you get home and inspect closely for any cuts or irritation, particularly in the areas between the pads.

Beware of icy patches and wet areas on metal grates/covers and certain stone surfaces as these can be very slippery. Slipping and falling can cause sprains, ligament tears, fractures, etc. As the ice and snow melt, don’t let your dog drink the melted water as it is often contaminated with the deicing salt, which can cause diarrhea and even toxicity if they use deicers that are not pet safe. Also, beware of antifreeze. It is sweet tasting and dogs like licking it. Antifreeze damages the kidneys and is deadly without immediate medical treatment.

Finally, watch out for things that can cause shock or electrocution. Don’t let your dog sniff
around open light post covers as there are often exposed wires and can electrocute your dog. Also, avoid stepping on any ConEd junction box covers, manhole covers, metal grates, etc. These metal covers on the ground may have stray voltage that can cause anything from a nasty shock to electrocution. It is especially worse in the winter when the salt mixed with melting slush seeps under these covers and corrodes the wires and conduct the electricity from the faulty wiring to the metal covers.

–Dr Corinna Lai

How to Introduce Your Cat to a New Friend

How to Introduce Your Cat to a New Friend

Are you the owner of a single cat? You may worry about your friend being lonely while you’re working or spending time away from the home. It’s a natural concern as you and your pet are close and enjoy each other’s company when you can make time for each other. Many single pet owners ask us the question, “Should I get another pet?” This isn’t always a simple question to answer, but we can shed some light on the situation for you.

If you’re adding a new friend to your family, it’s important that your old friend is comfortable with the new addition.

Bringing Your New Cat Home

When you choose to bring a new pet into your home, St. Mark’s Veterinary Hospital recommends ushering them in in a crate or box provided by the shelter. Take time introducing the new pet into the home by initially setting up a quarantine room where the new cat can become accustomed to their new home. In this space, we recommend setting up everything the new kitty will enjoy, including a litter box, dishes, toys, a bed, and scratching post. The new cat and your existing pet will be able to hear and smell each other, growing accustomed to each other, but will not be in a confrontational situation face-to-face.

Cats Meeting Face-to-Face

When your existing cat begins to appear more comfortable, it’s important to let them get a visual of each other before actually meeting face-to-face. A gate or see-through barrier is often the best way to achieve this. After that meeting goes without too much trouble, it may be time to let the two interact in the main area.

If the new cat is a kitten, the initial interaction may be more pleasant than if the new cat is an adult. You should be armed with a sprayer bottle and some toys or treats in case a fight breaks out. Depending on how well the first meeting goes, it may be necessary to separate the cats again and try later for a more pleasant meeting.

If you’re having trouble introducing a new friend to the family or are looking for tips, please contact our team for assistance. We are here to help you make your best friend’s life a good one!

Missing dog found 4 years later in Iowa, nearly 1,000 miles from home

United Airlines flew a lost dog home Wednesday in first class for free — four years after he went missing. The Lambert family didn’t think they would ever see Sam, a Yorkshire Terrier, after he disappeared from their yard in Louisiana. But he was found by an animal control officer in in Cedar Rapids, Iowa earlier this month. He was straggly and weighed less than 6 pounds. Luckily, staff at the shelter were able to use the microchip he had to identify the Lambert family as the owners. Danielle Lambert said she was “shocked” when she got the call. “I first thought that there was no way it could be Sam. He’d been missing for four years,” she told CNNMoney. Sam was a birthday gift for her daughter Karisa when she turned 10 years old. Now she’s 15. The Yorkie was nursed back to health at the shelter until he was fit to fly home. He landed in New Orleans on a United flight at 11:16 a.m. “This just makes all of us feel really, really happy that we can make this miracle come true for this family and their little dog,” said Diane Webber, a manager at the Cedar Rapids shelter. No one knows how Sam got to Iowa, which is nearly 1,000 miles away. “We have no clue,” said Lambert. “I guess that’s the piece we’ll never know.”



Canine Influenza Outbreak 2015

Several pet owners have recently inquired about reports of an outbreak of canine influenza virus  in the Midwest.  This new strain of canine influenza A, H3N2, has been isolated from infected dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio.  H3N2 was originally found in dogs from southern China and South Korea and is thought to have made its way into the United States by the import of dogs into the Midwest.  A dog infected with the virus may be asymptomatic or show signs of fever, anorexia, lethargy, nasal discharge, and coughing that may persist up to three weeks.  More severe cases may progress to pneumonia and, in some cases, death.  At this time, no cases have been identified in New York State.

 Transmission occurs from dog to dog, and, as with other strains of influenza, poses a higher risk in areas where dogs congregate, such as kennels, shelters, doggie day care, and dog runs.  The onset of clinical signs occur within 2-3 days after infection, with a peak in viral shedding in 3-4 days post-exposure. The virus in not transmissible to humans but cats, ferrets and possibly guinea pigs, may become infected.

 The H3N2 virus is distinct from the H3N8 canine influenza virus originally identified in 2004, for which there is an available vaccine.  At this time, it is not known whether the vaccine developed for H3N8 virus confers protection to dogs exposed to the H3N2 strain.  Dogs at higher risk, such as dogs that routinely go to dog parks or boarding, may benefit from being vaccinated.

 Please contact your veterinarian if your dog has a cough, is at a higher risk of exposure, or if you plan to travel with your dog to the Midwest. Contact us today with any questions you may have.

Psittacosis… A Zoonotic Disease

Greenie and LucyPsittacosis, also called ornithosis and previously known as Parrot Fever, is a bacterial disease that can strike birds. They can succumb to it directly or merely carry it and shed the bacteria into the environment posing a risk to other birds and even humans. Cockatiels and budgies (parakeets) are most commonly infected; however, all parrots and many other birds, such as pigeons and doves, can also become infected or act as carriers.  Infected birds with a good immune system can be asymptomatic, however they may actively shed the bacteria in their feces and their respiratory secretions. During times of stress, such as molting, owners traveling, visitors staying in the home, changing the position of a bird’s cage, etc, an asymptomatic carrier may become sick with the disease .  Stress and a poor immune system are underlying reasons that people contract Psittacosis. Diseases that spread from animals or birds to humans are called ZOONOTIC diseases.

Seven the cockatiel 5-513Symptoms of Psittacosis in birds can vary. Birds can present with respiratory symptoms such as discharge from their eyes or nares, coughing, sneezing or wheezing.  Very commonly Psittacosis affects other organs in the body such as the liver, spleen and the GI tract.  The urates (or white portion of the stool) commonly turn a yellow or a lime green color. Birds can lose their appetite, become fluffed and have diarrhea.  If this disease is caught in a timely fashion, your vet can treat your bird successfully via weekly antibiotic injections for 6 weeks.

At St. Marks Veterinary Hospital we recommend testing all birds for Psittacosis.  Any new avian additions should be kept in a separate area from other birds for 30-60 days if possible. After the quarantine period and after testing, the birds may be introduced to each other…. although there are never any guarantees since birds may test negative and they can still harbor the bacteria.

Cooper Lesser 7-23-13Humans most commonly acquire Psittacosis through aerosolized infected bird droppings, although respiratory secretions can also spread the disease. In people with a good immune system, Psittacosis may mimic the symptoms of a cold that is self-limiting. However, if an individual is stressed or is immune compromised, they may become extremely ill. A very high fever (hence the previous name Parrot Fever), malaise, muscle aches and atypical pneumonia are common sequelae of the disease.  It is VERY important as a bird owner to be sure that your physician knows you own a bird, especially if you are sick. Again, it is a very treatable disease as long as it is treated immediately.

Please be sure your bird visits your veterinarian for annual exams.  Our goal is to keep you and your birds healthy so that you may enjoy a long, happy and healthy life together!

Tips on Flying With Your Pet

If you’re planning on traveling with your pet this summer, there many important things to keep in mind. Your pet’s first flight can be a somewhat traumatic experience, especially if they are used to sticking their head out the car window and enjoying the sights along the way.

142307083 (1)

Here are some tips to help your pet have a safe flying experience:

Book Early- Most airlines have their own pet policies, so it is important to find out what their rules are in regards to traveling with your pet.

Visit The Veterinarian- It is important to make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for a check-up and make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of departure.

Buy A Carrier- Whether your dog is a Chihuahua or a Great Dane, there’s a pet carrier to match. Carriers are available in both hard-sided and soft-sided. Soft-sided carriers are more suitable for carry-on and tend to fit better under the seat, but they’re only permitted in the cabin only. To make sure the carrier will fit under the seat on your flight check the size restrictions of the airline in our Airline Pet Policies section.

After you’ve purchased an appropriate carrier, write your dog’s name on it and include identification tags with your home address and phone number as well as the address and phone number of someone who can be reached at your destination. Carry a current photograph of your pet as well. If he’s lost during the trip, a photograph will make it much easier for airline employees or the local authorities to search effectively.

Take A Test Drive- Animals travel under less stress when they are accustomed to their carrier before they travel. In the weeks prior to your trip, put your dog in his carrier as often as possible for trips around town.






Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!