True Care Veterinary Hospital was created by veterinarian Tom Tullio with this mission to provide personalized veterinary patient assessment and treatment recognizing that every patient is special and every situation distinct.
As a dedicated and responsible pet owner, you take special care to make sure your furry companion stays safe and out of trouble. March is Pet Poison Awareness Month. We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you of the trouble your pets could get into with the right combination of curiosity, boredom, and easy access to potential toxins in and around your home.
Pet poisoning prevention isn’t complicated, but it does take an understanding of what constitutes a danger to your pet, and what you can do to avert a tragedy.
People food, including chocolate, alcohol, anything containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol, grapes/raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, coffee grounds, and fatty meats
Garbage, food scraps, and compost
Human and pet medications
Household cleaners and other chemicals
Personal care products
House and landscaping plants
Pesticides, rodenticides, and insecticides
Antifreeze and other automotive fluids
Bone meal, blood meal, and other soil amenders
Cocoa hull mulch
Pet Poisoning Prevention
Pet owners are aware of their pet’s propensity to sniff, lick, and chew on a wide variety of objects. Some pets seem almost indifferent to what they put in their mouths! Regardless of your pet’s past behavior, however, it’s important to realize that an accidental pet poisoning can happen anytime, anywhere.
Our pet poisoning prevention tips are easy to implement in and around your home:
Take a good look around your home and garage and remove or securely store any potential pet toxins.
Clean up antifreeze spills immediately, and store unused portions in a tightly sealed container out of your pet’s reach.
Always supervise your pet while outdoors, and don’t allow them to investigate alleys, puddles, or garbage.
Don’t feed table scraps to your pet.
Remove and store leftover food promptly, and keep garbage bins covered to prevent curious pets from investigating.
Make it a household rule that all backpacks, purses, and coats must be hung up out of pets’ reach, as these items often contain leftover food, medications, and other potential pet hazards.
Before bringing any plants into your home, or planting any outdoors, check out the ASPCA’s comprehensive list of toxic plants.
Whether you’ve raised your pet from their puppy or kitten years, or lovingly adopted them as a senior pet, the loss of a beloved animal companion is never easy. Decisions about end of life pet care can make this challenging time even more difficult, as you may be coping with feelings of guilt, or wondering whether or not you are doing the right thing.
Humane euthanization of a pet is never a decision to be taken lightly, but in many cases, it’s one of the most important choices we can make as pet owners. Your friends at True Care Veterinary Hospital are committed to walking alongside you as you navigate the many aspects of care involved in end of life.
It’s Never Easy
Knowing if or when to humanely euthanize a pet is an extremely emotional and personal decision. Although our staff is always here to help, ultimately it’s a decision the pet owner must feel comfortable with.
Sometimes it can be helpful to consider your pet’s daily life in making end of life pet care decisions. Ask yourself the following questions to get an idea of your pet’s quality of life:
Is your pet eating and drinking well?
Can your pet eliminate on their own?
Is your pet experiencing pain that cannot be controlled with medication?
Can your pet move about with relative ease?
Does your pet rest comfortably?
Does your pet still show interest in favorite activities?
You might also consider taking an inventory on how many good vs. bad days your pet has when it comes to determining their overall quality of life.
Once the difficult decision to end a pet’s life has been made, you will also need to decide when and how to say goodbye.
Depending on your preference, euthanasia can be performed in our office, or at your home. You may wish to be present during the procedure, or choose to spend time with your pet beforehand, due to the emotional nature of euthanasia.
If possible, try to make sure that everyone in the family has had a chance to say goodbye prior to the procedure.
Take extra care to explain to children what is happening, and guide them as they process their grief. Check out your local library for books and other resources related to helping children cope with loss.
Remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Take all the time you need and don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones or pet loss support groups for additional help.
End of Life Pet Care at True Care
As part of our goal to make each and every year of your pet’s life as wonderful as possible, we offer hospice care in a loving environment designed to maximize your pet’s comfort and support you in the decision making process. Whether your pet requires pain management, hospitalization, in-home care, or more, we can help.
What did 2017 mean for you? For us, many things come to mind. First, just how grateful we are to have had the opportunity to care for so many of our furry patients, and to provide the preventive wellness services to keep them healthy. From our new puppy and kitten patients to our sweet, old senior friends, we are proud to be a partner in your pet’s health and happiness.
Focused on giving pet owners information about a wide range of topics that pertain to your four-legged friends, the intent of our pet blogs is to educate and inform (and sometimes entertain!). Helping pet owners to better understand how to give their pets the very best life possible is what we aim to do.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our blogs as much as we have enjoyed writing them! Without further ado, here are our top 5 pet blogs of 2017!
Counting Down Our Top 5 Pet Blogs
Heartworms in Cats – There are so many things that we cannot protect our precious pets from, but when it comes to parasites such as heartworms in cats, we often have a real chance at preventing trouble. Most dog owners know about heartworms, but owners with feline family members aren’t always as knowledgeable. Read More…
Getting the Creepy Crawlies? Intestinal Parasites in Pets – Preventing and treating intestinal parasites in pets is extremely important to maintaining their health and wellness. Animals are more prone than people to intestinal parasites because they engage in different activities. They spend more time close to the ground, groom themselves by licking, ingest rodents and the like, and sometimes even like to eat things we would never dream of eating. Read More…
A Sharper Image: Veterinary Digital Imaging – Back in the day, getting diagnostic imaging of your pet’s body used to be a lot more difficult. The equipment was clunky and difficult to use. The process took a lot of time, and often the results were less than optimal. Read More…
A Serious Threat: Leptospirosis in Dogs – If we told you that there was a disease that could cause kidney and liver failure in your family dog, and that could be found anywhere in the environment that wildlife frequented, wouldn’t you want to know more? Now what if we told you that it could also affect your human family? Read More…
Well, there you have it! Do you have any suggestions for upcoming pet blogs you’d love to see covered? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call or mention some ideas during your next appointment (and we are looking forward to seeing you and your pet this year).
From your friends at True Care Veterinary Hospital, we wish you and yours a very happy 2018!
There is nothing like the holidays that can bring to mind joy, togetherness, and the ambience of the season. Lights that twinkle during the cold, dark nights, the festive array of poinsettias and holly, and the oh-so-welcoming scent of the fir tree all has its nostalgic charms this time of year.
Holiday decorations and decor, while enticing to us, also seem especially enticing to our mischievous elves, our pet companions. Pets and decorations often do not mix. The team at True Care Veterinary Hospital is here to help you avoid any mishaps that might result in a less than beautiful holiday season.
The Usual Festive Culprits
For most pet owners, the merriment of this year’s amazingly trimmed tree comes with some reticence. Cats (yes, we know what you do) love to climb and scratch, which makes a Christmas tree a particularly appealing novelty.
Not only can trees present laceration injuries with their pointy, sharp needles, they are also rife with preservatives, insecticides, and other toxic chemicals that can leach into tree water. Cover all tree stands and observe your pet while around the tree, as well as anchor the tree to the ceiling or adjoining wall for added security.
The soft glow of candlelight is the epitome of the holidays, but what may seem like a casual ambience may be a potential threat to curious whiskers and tails. Lights from the menorah, a display on the mantle, or taper candles on your holiday table can easily be knocked over by a pet, and result in accidental fires and burns.
Rather than lighting candles, you can instead choose battery-powered candles for that festive glow.
Holly & Mistletoe
These beautiful green and red seasonal plants are found in many of our holiday bouquets. But certain plants, including lilies, holly, and mistletoe, are toxic to pets, and, when ingested, can create symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal upset to more serious issues like kidney failure.
There is nothing so interesting to most pets, and especially cats, as these shiny, string-like decorations. Tinsel, as well as ribbon and curling string, are the worst decorations for causing pet emergencies. Because they are easily ingested, they can result in an obstruction within the digestive tract, which often require surgical removal.
What’s more irresistible than a brightly colored orb, just hanging on the tree, waiting to be batted around? Breakable ornaments are oftentimes the first thing on the tree your pet will go for. To avoid an accident, hang delicate ornaments higher up on the tree, or opt for some sturdy plastic, wood, or other suitable pet-friendly ornaments.
(And don’t forget, anything edible like popcorn and cookie ornaments are obviously appealing to your furry friends, too.)
Pets and Decorations
From sharp tree hooks to toxic plants, there are many things to look out for when it comes to pets and decorations. While you have to avoid certain things that can harm, you can always reward your pet with some extra special treats this season. DIY cookies and treats can be made into a variety of festive shapes, and offered to your pet in lieu of all of the no-no’s.
We are here to help with all of your fur friend’s holiday needs. Please call us with any additional questions.
In a sad twist of fate, our beloved pets age significantly faster than we do. While we wish we could live together forever, the reality is usually the opposite. The good news is that we can work together to keep aging animals in good health so they can live as long as possible. The way to tackle this isn’t always free of complications, but we’re here to support your efforts toward complete and compassionate senior pet care.
A Multi-Pronged Approach
Depending on your pet’s species, breed, lifestyle, and genetics, it’s a good idea to increase routine wellness exams. From age 1 to 6, we recommend yearly visits, but after the age of 6 or 7, seeing your pet two to three times a year has mighty benefits.
Aside from maintaining a healthy weight through proper nutrition and daily exercise, senior pet care exams enable us to detect any developing disease or age-related condition before it’s too late. Blood work, urinalysis, parasite screening, and dental cleanings are all part of a proactive approach to senior pet care.
Various diagnostics create an opportunity to treat problems early on and effectively, increasing the chances of a positive and lasting prognosis. In addition, decreasing your pet’s possible pain and suffering is always an important endeavor.
It’s not uncommon to surprise pet owners with a diagnosis. Sometimes symptoms are subtle enough to escape notice, but pets are also adept at masking pain and suffering. Keeping a journal at home is a great idea for pets of all ages, but when addressing the needs of senior pet care, it’s especially worthwhile. Together, we can discuss any observations pertaining to your pet’s behavioral needs or changes.
Making small changes throughout your house can greatly affect senior pet care. Adding ramps, small sets of stairs, and heat-generating bedding can comfort aging pets. When it’s easier for your senior pet to freely move around, they’re more content.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about senior pet care. We’re your partners in your pet’s overall health and happiness and offer compassionate hospice care for elderly pets.
The countdown to Halloween has officially begun and people across the country are already planning their costumes and buying decorations for parties. This holiday has appeal for both humans and pets, but it is important to be diligent about Halloween safety to ensure that everyone can enjoy it without issue.
Be Smart About Your Decorations
Since Halloween decorations often go up well before the end of the month, it is very important to avoid materials that could be hazardous to your pets.
If your pet has a tendency to eat anything, you should not buy decorations with dangerous materials like wires or toxic paint. Jack-o-lanterns definitely add a spooky feel to your home décor, but cats and dogs have a tendency to knock them over. If you are going to carve pumpkins, do not fill them with lit candles to avoid fire hazards.
Take Caution with Your Tricks
Scary ghouls and monsters help you set the Halloween mood, but it is important to remember that they do not only scare humans. If your pets get easily spooked, try to avoid any big or loud decorations that might give them too big of a scare.
Make sure your pet is properly identified in case they accidentally sneak out when you open the door for guests or packs of trick-or-treaters. You might also want to microchip them so you have a better chance of finding them if they do run away.
Watch Your Treats
Halloween candy poses some of the greatest risks for your animals. Ingredients like chocolate and nuts can be toxic for animals, especially in large doses. You should always store your Halloween candy and treats well out of reach of all of your pets.
Chocolate, alcohol, almonds, grapes, raisins, dairy, and even really salty snacks are dangerous for animals. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should call us immediately:
Increased Heart Rate
Consider Halloween Safety When Choosing Costumes
Pet costumes are already popping up in stores. While they are fun and cute, they can cause your animals some unnecessary stress. If you are going to include your pets in your dress up sessions, it is important to choose costumes smartly.
If you have never put your pet in a costume before, you should not choose a full-body option until you know whether or not the pet is comfortable dressing up. Test out the costume before your party to make sure it fits well and does not scare the pet. Try to avoid costumes that have a lot of hanging pieces or material that your pet might ingest.
The whole team at True Care Veterinary Hospital wants to help you and your pets have a great time this Halloween. Call (732) 677-2180 to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment for your special pet.
If we told you that there was a disease that could cause kidney and liver failure in your family dog, and that could be found anywhere in the environment that wildlife frequented, wouldn’t you want to know more? Now what if we told you that it could also affect your human family?
Unfortunately, this disease is not a made-up plot in a dystopian narrative. It is a relatively common disease known as Leptopsirosis, or ‘lepto’.
Thankfully, leptospirosis in dogs is able to be prevented in many situations through vaccination. True Care Veterinary Hospital wants its pet owners to be aware of this disease and the importance of prevention.
The Facts About Leptospirosis in Dogs
Leptospirosis is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterial organism that resides in the urine of infected animals. These animals may be other dogs, but can also include wildlife such as raccoons, opossum, or deer.
Leptospirosis likes to live in damp, wet areas such as standing water or puddles. When a pet is exposed to infected urine through the mucous membranes, the leptospira bacteria goes to the liver and kidneys, affecting their function and resulting in serious disease.
Leptospirosis in dogs often results in several symptoms that can include:
Loss of appetite
A painful abdomen
Yellowing of the skin/mucous membranes
If a leptospirosis infection is not treated, most patients will succumb to the disease. Thankfully, though, if we are able to catch symptoms and diagnose the disease quickly we can often beat lepto with antibiotics and supportive care.
Leptospirosis is also considered a zoonotic disease, or one that can be passed between people and animals. People can become infected with leptospirosis through exposure to wild animal urine in the environment. Many humans, however, do become infected with leptospirosis by exposure to a pet who is shedding the bacteria. This makes it even more important to prevent this disease where able and to detect it as quickly as possible.
A Little Prevention Goes a Long Way
Being proactive can go a long way to preventing leptospirosis in dogs (and people). While not every case is avoidable, risk of infection decreases when you take actions such as:
Discouraging wildlife on your property
Eliminating rodent problems
Getting rid of standing water and puddles, which can harbor disease, on your property
For most at-risk pets, vaccination against leptospirosis is vital. There are many strains of leptospirosis, called serovars, that exist. We are able to vaccinate against the four most common serovars; however, this does not ensure total immunity. Even though vaccination does not totally eliminate a possible infection, it can reduce the severity of illness and is still very worthwhile.
Leptospirosis can be devastating, and even when treated existing liver and kidney damage is often permanent. Please call today to ask about vaccinating your pet. The less we have to see of this nasty disease, the better.
Is your pet a little…shall we say, portly? Has your couch potato pooch been less than thrilled with daily exercise? Are you guilty of giving your purr pal one too many cat treats? The fact is, overweight and obese pets – like people – are becoming more of the norm.
And it’s understandable. After all, we adore our furry friends and want them to have the best in treats and mealtime deliciousness. Who can resist those begging eyes when eating lunch or grilling something tasty? Unfortunately, pet obesity is much more than just a problem of aesthetics; obesity can actually shorten your pet’s life.
The Trouble With a Little Extra
So what’s the problem with a few extra pounds on your pet? A lot. There are many factors that “weigh in” on why pet obesity can compromise health.
Increased risk of disease – From diabetes to hypertension, overweight pets are at significant risk of developing illnesses. This is because extra weight takes a toll on the immune system, makes internal organs work harder, and decreases the likelihood of exercise (which is vital to all animals).
Limited mobility – Pets who are heavy often suffer from difficulty in gait, balance, and ability to move with ease. Running or climbing stairs, especially in the summer heat or winter freeze, take a toll on portly pets. In addition, overweight animals are more likely to develop osteoarthritis and other joint conditions as a result of the weight and pressure on muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones.
Increased risk of injury – Due to their compromised mobility and the impact of extra pounds, pets who are overweight are often more likely to injure themselves (e.g., cruciate ligament tears and fractures).
Breathing difficulties – As you might expect, overweight pets also have respiration issues – particularly during hot, humid weather or during exercise. Brachycephalic pets, or flat-nosed pets like pugs and bulldogs, are even more affected.
Self-grooming limitations – When a pet cannot groom adequately, he or she is at risk of skin and coat problems, overgrown nails, and impacted anal glands. Most obese pets require professional grooming more frequently than healthier pets.
Dental disease and nutritional deficiencies – Pets often become overweight because they are fed improper foods, such as table scraps and treats, in lieu of an appropriate diet. Because of this, you may see an increase in dental issues, as well as problems related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. And feeding table scraps increases the odds of toxicity and pancreatitis.
Poor quality of life and reduced lifespan – It’s estimated that overweight and obese pets can lose up to three years of their life, which is a great percentage when you consider the average lifespan of a cat or dog. Because of reduced health and mobility, many precious pals also suffer from boredom, pain, and other chronic issues.
The GOOD News About Pet Obesity
The great news is that obesity is entirely preventable. Help keep your pet at the right weight by maintaining annual or semiannual exams and by following dietary recommendations.
Control portion sizes, skip the treats, and spoil your pet with your time and attention instead. Every pet needs and deserves this – along with 20-30 minutes of daily exercise, such as walking, jogging, or a game of fetch or feather chase.
Your biggest resource and ally in your pet’s overall health is your veterinarian. The team at True Care Veterinary Hospital is here to help you keep your pet’s weight on track. Please call us with any questions or to schedule a consultation.
The dog days of summer are upon us, and that means hazy air, hot temperatures, and lots of lemonade on ice. Thanks to our long winters here in the Northeast, many of us spend as much time as possible outdoors, trying to soak up enough sun to last us through the next season of gray skies and brutal snowstorms.
It’s important to keep in mind that pets need extra TLC during these hot and humid months. Heat safety for pets should be a priority for any family that shares a home with an animal. Your team at True Care Veterinary Hospital has the tips to help you take the best possible care of your furry friends.
The Dangers of Heatstroke
Our pets love to play outside, but they don’t always know when to quit. It’s up to us to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t become overheated or develop heatstroke. The symptoms of heatstroke include:
Excessive panting or drooling
Loss of coordination, staggering
Blue or bright red gums
Loss of consciousness
If you suspect your pet is developing heatstroke, seek shade or a cool environment immediately. When possible, wrap your pet in towels soaked in cool (never cold) water. Call us right away or take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic, even if he or she seems better.
Heat Safety for Pets
You can protect your pets from heat-related dangers by making sure they stay cool and hydrated in the following ways:
Keep them outta the car – Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even for a moment. It only takes a few minutes for the temperature inside a parked car to rise to dangerous levels, even if the car is in the shade with the windows cracked.
Provide the basics – Make sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh water and shade at all times. Keep your pet inside with the A/C on or fan running on the hottest days.
Limit exercise – Daily exercise is a cornerstone of good health, but walking or playing outdoors in the heat of the afternoon can be dangerous for pets. Opt for early morning or late evening walks or games of fetch.
Watch those surfaces – Pavement, asphalt, sand, and even dirt readily absorb the sun’s rays, making for some scalding surfaces that can burn your pet’s paw pads. Place your palm on the ground to check the temperature; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.
Play it cool – Be creative when it comes to keeping your pet cool: turn on the sprinklers or fill up the kiddie pool for outdoor playtime, add ice cubes to the water bowl to increase your pet’s interest in drinking, or freeze broth or pet friendly fruits or vegetables in ice cube trays as treats on hot days.
Summertime is travel season for many families. From late May to early September, weekends are packed with road trips, camping, hanging out at the beach, or even flights to far away places. Many pet owners couldn’t imagine traveling without their four-legged companions, but bringing a pet along on a trip isn’t without considerable challenges.
True Care Veterinary Hospital understands your desire to share life’s experiences with your best pal. Our comprehensive list of pet travel tips is sure to get you and your pet off to a great start.
What to Bring
Packing for your pet is just as important as packing for yourself! Besides your pet’s daily care needs (food, water, medication), bring along some of the comforts of home, such as favorite toys, treats, blankets, and bedding, to help your pet feel secure in a new environment. Don’t forget the leash, collar, crate (if applicable), and plenty of plastic baggies for cleaning up after your pet.
Pet Travel Tips
Traveling with your pet can be a wonderful way to bond and make memories together, but a safe and comfortable experience for your pet requires a little bit of planning and preparation. Before you head out, make sure you’ve attended to the following details:
Hydration – Summer car travel can be hot and your pet will require extra water (and a bowl to drink from) to stay hydrated.
Security – Keep your pet secure in the car with a safety belt harness or crate that can be attached to the belt.
IDs – Make sure your pet is wearing his or her collar with up-to-date ID tags. If you haven’t had your pet microchipped yet, do so before your trip for extra protection should he or she become separated from you. (And don’t forget to register the microchip with your current contact information!)
Scheduled breaks – Research pet-friendly rest stops, parks, and dog parks along your route and at your destination, and plan to stop frequently to let everyone stretch their legs.
In case of emergency – Look up a good emergency veterinary hospital at your destination and program the number into your phone. Make sure to bring your pet’s health records or have them stored online for easy access while on the road.
Besides the nitty-gritty of packing and planning, there are other things to think about when traveling with pets, such as:
Will your pet be welcome where you are staying? If not, have you lined up a pet-friendly hotel?
Will your pet be stuck in a hotel room or vacation home all day long while the family is out and about?
Are there any pet-friendly activities to take part in once you reach your destination?
Let Us Help You!
For your pet’s continued good health, it’s important that he or she is current on all required vaccines before your trip. Your veterinarian will help you to determine if there are any additional vaccinations you should consider based on your travel plans, such as canine influenza or Lyme disease.