Newsletter The veterinarians and staff at the South Fork Animal Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Advantages Of Spays and Neuters

Spaying or neutering pets is a common procedure, and most pet owners have probably had some experience with having the procedure done on animals they have owned.

Aside from the inconvenience of heat cycles and/or roaming tom cats, there are medical benefits associated to having your pet spayed or neutered. The direct health benefits of spaying or neutering are significant for the pet. If female pets are spayed before their first heat cycle, the risk of developing mammary tumors (breast cancer) is significantly reduced. Spaying female pets eliminates the risk of pyometra, an infection of the uterus. This disease can be very serious, even fatal, in female pets. Male pets can also benefit. Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate disease.

Spaying or neutering can indirectly help prolong a pet's life as well. When pets are spayed or neutered, their tendencies to roam or fight are greatly reduced. This prevents the pets from getting lost, stolen, hit by cars, or contracting a contagious disease.

Cats that fight are at risk of contracting a serious disease called feline leukemia. This disease, which affects the immune system of the cat, can be passed from feline to feline through saliva or blood. Cats also run the risk of contracting feline immune deficiency virus when they fight. This disease is very similar to human HIV. It can lie dormant in the cat for quite a while, and when activated, can cause the cat's immune system to function improperly.

Spaying or neutering dogs can help keep them under control. Dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are more likely to wander away from home. While running loose, they have a chance of being hit by a car, getting lost, stolen or taken to the animal shelter.

Even though spays and neuters are considered routine surgery, there is nothing routine about any abdominal surgery performed under general anesthesia. Most veterinarians consider spays and neuters to be major surgery, especially when spaying older animals that have had several heat cycles or have had litters.

Veterinarians and humane societies advise pet owners to have their pets spayed or neutered. The medical advantages have been proven. Complications resulting from these procedures are rare and pets recover from surgery very quickly. Often the day after surgery, animals are bright and alert, sometimes seeming as if nothing had ever happened.

The cost of the procedure varies depending upon the species, sex, size and age of the pet.

Summer Exacerbates Your Pet’s Breathing Problems

With summer in the air, it’s getting particularly hard for some animals to breath. This is especially the case for short-nosed – or flat-faced dogs such as the Pekingese, pug, bulldog, boxer, shih tzu and chihuahua. However, these airway problems, which are typically due to narrow nostrils, a long soft palate or collapsed voice box, can also affect our feline friends, such as Himalayans and exotic shorthairs. This condition (known as the Brachycephalic airway syndrome) is largely due to the dog or cat’s unique head shape, so there isn’t much you can do to entirely avoid it.

However, there are certain factors that can increase the risk and further complicate their breathing condition. These include:

  1. Allergies
  2. Obesity
  3. Over-excitement
  4. Exercise: Panting may also naturally increase in the summer months as the weather gets hotter and more humid.

Treatment options largely depend on the symptoms exhibited by your dog or cat. In some cases, surgical procedures may be your pet’s best option. So don’t let the summer heat waves stop your pet from getting a breath of fresh air. For more information about symptoms and treatments, talk to your local veterinarian.

July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day

We all remember doing fire drills in elementary school. Once a month every month for the entire school year. When we were children we may have thought they were totally pointless, in the event of a fire all those practice drills could have been life-saving. Having a plan and being prepared for emergencies doesn’t only apply to us humans. Animals need to be prepared in case of a fire or other disaster, and so it is crucial to take the necessary steps to minimize your house and your pet’s susceptibility to fire-related dangers.

When your pets are around:
-Put out open flames. Animals are naturally curious and clumsy and will accidentally knock over candles or greasy pans, both of which can lead to big trouble.
-Remove knobs from the stove. When you turn around your pet may accidentally turn on your stove.
-Securing young animals when you leave can help avoid potential fire hazards. Using a kennel or a completely ‘pet-proofed’ room are both good ways to avoid problems.

Minimizing Risks:
-Consider flameless candles for ambiance and backup lighting for when the power goes out. Fumbling around with candles in the dark is a sure way to start a fire when pets are around.
-Replace glass water bowls with plastic or metal bowls. When you have a glass bowl on a wooden deck outside, the glass can act as a magnifying glass and actually singe the wood or start a fire.
-Have a plan. Designate which members of your family will be responsible for which pets in case of an emergency.
Not just fires:
Having a disaster preparedness plan does not only apply to fires. Natural disasters are not uncommon and so it is important to know what the plan is in any situation. Make sure to ID all of your pets and always keep them with you. Make sure to take all necessary steps to make sure your pet's environment is safe and disaster proof. Read here to get some more tips from the Humane Society on disaster preparedness plans just in time for hurricane season.

Fourth Of July Pet Safety Tips

Fireworks and the Fourth of July go together like ... well, fireworks and the Fourth of July. While you may already have safeguards in place for people and children, there are additional things to consider for pet owners. Here are a few tips on helping your pets remain safe and happy while dealing with fireworks.

Always keep fireworks out of reach of your pet- While this may seem obvious for lit fireworks, it’s important to keep unlit fireworks away from your pets as well. Ingesting fireworks could be lethal for your pet. If your pet does get into your fireworks, contact your veterinarian right away.

Be aware of projectiles- Roman candles, for example, have projectile capabilities. If used incorrectly, an ejected shell can hit a pet, causing burning. If your pet gets burned, contact your veterinarian right away.

Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier- Never let your pets run free in an area where fireworks are going off.

Know what do to in case of a seizure- For some animals, being in the presence of fireworks can trigger a seizure. If your pet is prone to seizures, he or she should never be around fireworks – but most pet owners won’t know if their dog is prone to seizures until he or she experiences one. If this happens, stay calm and remove any objects in the area that might hurt your pet. Do not attempt to move your pet, as they may bite without knowing it. When the seizure is over, move him or her into an area clear of the firework’s sights and sounds. Call your veterinarian right away.

Ease your pet’s fear- Many pets are frightened of fireworks, and may exhibit fear by whimpering, crying or otherwise displaying uneasiness. Create a safe space for these animals before the event. During the fireworks, use the radio, television, fan or air conditioner to create white noise that will drown out the sound of the fireworks.

By planning ahead and keeping key information in mind, your pet can have a happy, stress-free Fourth of July – and so can you!

New Dog “Beer” has Its Patrons Barking For More

Bowser Beer is the newest doggy phenomenon to hit the gourmet pet food market, giving dog owners a chance to enjoy a brew with their four-legged friend. Jenny Brown is the brain behind this non-carbonated mixture of meat-broth and malt barley (with added glucosamine to promote joint health), which is now selling in 42 states nationwide. These shop owners have reported noticeable spikes in doggie beer sales on Fridays as people gear up for their weekend parties.

Bowser Beer

The idea came to Brown in 2007 after attending a farmer’s market where she was selling spicy pretzels, and at the urging of customers, a peanut-butter alternative for their dogs. She figured nothing paired better with pretzels than beer, and there was no reason her canine clientele couldn’t share in the enjoyment. After a few tastes with her own dogs, Bowser Beer was born.

Bowser Beer is available in certain animal specialty shops, and can be purchased from their website, where customers can design their own label with photos of their dog. Certain bars are even starting to add it to their beer list. If nothing else, Bowser Brew certainly makes for a fun and less common alternative to the more conventional bottle of merlot or 6-pack of Bud.