Can This Food Harm Your Pet?

Believe it or not, there are so many dangerous foods which can affect our pets’ health and well-being and the animal care team at the Veterinary Emergency Group wants to help you keep them safe. Especially during the holiday seasons, there are many popular human foods that our pets may encounter, some of which can be dangerous for them, and it’s important for all pet owners to know the difference.

Dangerous Foods for Pets in White Plains, NY

Some popular foods that can harm or kill your pet include:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Onions
  • Poultry bones
  • Raisins
  • Xylitol found in sugar free candy
  • …and more

How to Protect Your Pet During the Holidays

During the holiday season, it’s important to talk with your house guests to make sure that no one gives your pet treats without your consent. This is the best way to ensure that your pet doesn’t eat anything without your knowledge. It is also important to keep an eye on fallen table scraps which your pet could pick up and eat without warning. We recommend keeping your pet in a separate room during holiday mealtimes and parties to avoid this concern.

Remember that if your pet does consume food that is dangerous for them, the Veterinary Emergency Team can talk you through it and help you determine if emergency care is necessary. We are open and able to provide emergency care during all the hours your family veterinarian is unavailable, and that means weekends and holidays too!

Top 3 Pet Travel Items

Traveling With Pets in White Plains, NY

So you’re planning a week-long trip with your pet to sunny Florida this summer, or perhaps you’ll be driving a few hours away for a weekend camping trip. Wherever you’re going and however you’ll get there, Veterinary Emergency Group in White Plains, NY wants your dog or cat to be prepared for the trip.

In addition to food and water, there are many items that should accompany your pet when you travel, for their safety. Far too often, there are pet accidents and injuries that occur that could have been avoided with adequate preparation. We want to prevent these incidents from happening toyour beloved companion, so we have selected what we consider the top three items you need to travel with your pet.

  1. Emergency Supplies/First Aid Kit

Pets are curious by nature and can find themselves in potentially dangerous situations when they’re in a new environment. Hiking in the woods, playing in a dog park—you name it. As a rule of thumb, always bring a pet first aid kit when you travel with your pet. In addition to basic first aid supplies (gauze, scissors, hydrogen peroxide, etc.), your kit should include our phone number (914-949-8779) for local trips and the number of the nearest emergency pet hospital to your destination for long distance trips. Remember, Veterinary Emergency Group is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, should an emergency occur.

  1. Car Safety Harness/Carrier

A car safety pet harness is especially important for long road trips or trips on bumpy roads. Most pet safety harnesses are designed with a seat belt loop so they can be secured by a locked seat belt. A safety harness can keep your pet safe and seated while preventing any distractions caused by their roaming around the car. There are many sizes and styles available to accommodate most pet breeds. For air travel, all airlines that allow pets require pet carriers. Just be sure to check with your airline first for their pet policy, including the carrier dimension requirements.

  1. Pet Supplies

This may seem like an obvious item, but you’d be surprised at how many pet owners forget to bring their pet’s leash or collar during trips. Keep in mind that many places, such as parks and beaches, require that pets be on a leash at all times. Plus, many pets can be act unpredictably in a new environment and will likely want to explore, so keeping them on a leash will help keep them from chasing squirrels and rabbits, following the scent of another pet, etc. Make sure that your pet has identification as well, whether it’s in the form of an ID tag, a microchip, or both. Having a recent photo handy is also a great idea.

Emergency and Urgent Care for Your Pet

Emergencies can happen at any time of the day, when many veterinary hospitals are closed. Even if you think an emergency will never occur with your pet, it’s important to know where the nearest emergency vet is located. Located in White Plains, NY, The Veterinary Emergency Group serves pets from a number of communities, ranging from Manhattan to the Bronx. We have been providing emergency and urgent care services for over 25 years. Whether your pet needs treatment for a fracture, wound, or any other emergency, our experienced veterinarians are here to help.

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Our hospital is open nights, weekends, and all major holidays, for your convenience to treat your pet, and no appointment is required. However, we ask that you call before your arrival, if possible. Our hours are:

Monday        6pm-8am
Tuesday       6pm-8am
Wednesday  6pm-8am
Thursday      6pm-8am
*Friday          6pm-
*Saturday     24 hours
*Sunday       24 hours

We know how stressful it can be to have a pet experience an accident, so you can be confident that our team of compassionate, skilled doctors will provide exceptional care in a timely manner. We also take the time to discuss your pet’s treatment in detail to ensure you have a full understanding of their condition.

Common Emergencies We Treat

The Veterinary Emergency Group treats virtually any pet emergency. Our facility is equipped with an in-house laboratory, digital X-ray technology, a Snyder ICU unit, and more to treat your pet. Some of the most common emergencies we treat include:

  • Trauma and other injuries
  • Puncture and other wounds
  • Poisoning
  • Acute lameness
  • Respiratory problems
  • Heatstroke
  • Seizures

You can learn more about the conditions we treat by visiting our Urgent Care and Emergencies pages. If you think your pet is in need of emergency or urgent care, give us a call at (914) 949-8779 to speak with a doctor.

Top Ten Emergencies in Cats

Cats
often become reclusive and hide when they are not feeling well which makes
knowing when they need to be seen by your veterinarian a challenge. They have
unique signs and symptoms of emergency conditions that often go unrecognized by
their owners. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cat with an open wound,
while others have more subtle signs that can be equally deadly if left
untreated. Knowing what signs to look for is crucial in determining when to
seek emergency care for your cat. Below is a list of some of the most common
cat emergencies and their signs.
Urethral Obstruction
This
is a condition in which a cat, usually male, is unable to urinate due to a
blockage in the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the
outside environment).
Cats
will show a sudden onset of restless behavior which includes frequent trips in
and out of the litter box. They will often attempt to urinate in unusual places
such as in a bath tub or on a plastic bag. You may notice a very small stream
of urine that contains blood. More often than not, despite a cat’s straining,
there may be no urine or even just a drop produced. In later stages of the
obstruction, cats may cry loudly, vomit, and become lethargic.
You
should consider these signs a serious emergency and seek veterinary care
immediately. There are reports of cats developing kidney failure and dying
within 12 hours after the onset of signs. Expect your cat to be hospitalized at
least 36 hours for treatment of this condition which may include a urinary
catheter, intravenous fluids, and pain management. Female cats are less likely
to become obstructed due to their wider urinary tract.
Toxicities (Poisoning)
The
combination of their curious nature and unique metabolism (the way their body
breaks down chemicals) makes cats very vulnerable to toxins. Owners are often
not aware that their home contains multiple products that are poisonous to
their feline companions. The most common cat toxins include antifreeze,
Tylenol, and rat or mouse poison.
The
signs your cat displays depends on what type of poison they have encountered.
Antifreeze will often cause wobbliness or a drunken appearance first, then
progresses to vomiting/weakness as the kidneys fail. Tylenol may cause an
unusual swelling of the head and changes the cats blood color from red to
chocolate brown. Rat or mouse poison interferes with blood clotting so you may
see weakness from internal blood loss or visible blood in urine or stool.
Breathing Problems
Many
times cats hide the signs of breathing problems by simply decreasing their
activity. By the time an owner notices changes in the cat’s breathing, it may
be very late in the progression of the cat’s lung disease. There are several
causes of breathing changes but the most common are feline asthma, heart or
lung disease.
Foreign Object Ingestion
As
you know cats love to play with strings or string-like objects (such as dental
floss, holiday tinsel, or ribbon), however, you may not know the serious danger
that strings can pose to your cat. When a string is ingested, one end may
become lodged or “fixed” in place, often under the cat’s tongue, while the
remaining string passes farther into the intestine. With each intestinal
contraction, the string see-saws back and forth actually cutting into the
intestine and damaging the blood supply.
Signs
that your cat has eaten a foreign object may include vomiting, lack of
appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. Occasionally owners will actually see part of
a string coming from the mouth or anal area. You should never pull on any part
of the string that is visible from your pet.
Most
times emergency surgery is necessary to remove the foreign object and any
damaged sections of intestine.
Bite Wounds
Cats
are notorious for both inflicting and suffering bite wounds during encounters
with other cats. Because the tips of their canine, or “fang”, teeth are so
small and pointed, bites are often not noticed until infection sets in several
days after the injury.
Cats
may develop a fever and become lethargic 48 to 72 hours after experiencing a
penetrating bite wound. They may be tender or painful at the site. If the wound
becomes infected or abscessed, swelling and foul-smelling drainage may develop.
You
should seek emergency care for bite wounds so that your veterinarian may
thoroughly clean the area and prescribe appropriate antibiotics for your pet.
Occasionally the wounds will develop large pockets called abscesses under the
skin that require surgical placement of a drain to help with healing.
Hit by car
Cats
that spend time outdoors are at a much greater risk for ending up in the
emergency room. Being hit by a car is one of the most common reasons for your
pet to suffer traumatic injuries such as broken bones, lung injuries and head
trauma. You should always seek emergency care if your cat has been hit by a
vehicle even if he or she appears normal as many injuries can develop or worsen
over the next few hours.
Increased Thirst and
Urination
Sudden
changes in your cat’s thirst and urine volume are important clues to underlying
disease. The two most common causes of these signs are kidney disease and
diabetes mellitus.
Your
veterinarian will need to check blood and urine samples to determine the cause
of your cat’s signs. Having your pet seen on an emergency basis for these signs
is important as the sooner your pet receives treatment, the better their
chances for recovery. Many times exposure to certain toxins, such as antifreeze
or lilies, will show similar signs and delaying veterinary care can be fatal.
Sudden inability to use
the hind legs
Cats
with some forms of heart disease are at risk for developing blood clots. Many
times these clots can lodge in a large blood vessel called the aorta where they
can prevent normal blood flow to the hind legs. If your cat experiences such a
blood clotting episode (often called a saddle thrombus or thromboembolic
episode), you will likely see a sudden loss of the use of their hind legs,
painful crying, and breathing changes.
On
arrival at the emergency room, your pet will receive pain management and oxygen
support. Tests will be done to evaluate the cat’s heart and determine if there
is any heart failure (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Sadly, such an episode
is often the first clue for an owner that their cat has severe heart disease.
In most cases, with time and support, the blood clot can resolve, but the cat’s
heart disease will require life-long treatment.
Upper Respiratory
Infections
Cats
and kittens can experience a variety of upper respiratory diseases caused by a
combination of bacteria or viruses. Upper respiratory infections, or URIs,
often cause sneezing, runny noses, runny eyes, lack of appetite, and fever. In
severe cases, they can cause ulcers in the mouth, tongue, and eyes. More often
than not, severe cases are seen in cats that have recently been in multiple-cat
environments such as shelters. Small or poor-doing kittens are also easily
infected and may develop more severe complications such as low blood sugar.
Sudden Blindness
A
sudden loss of vision is most likely to occur in an older cat. The most common
causes are increased blood pressure (hypertension) that may be due to changes
in thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) or kidney disease. There are some cats
that appear to have hypertension with no other underlying disease.
Sudden
blindness should be treated as an emergency and your veterinarian will measure
your cat’s blood pressure, check blood tests, and start medications to try to
lower the pressure and restore vision.
Anytime
you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, whether they lose vision or not, you
should consider this an emergency have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon
as possible.

Reasons To Act More Like Your Pet

Pets aren’t always easy to take care of, and they often require a
substantial time commitment (something you’re all too aware of at, say, 3 a.m.,
when Bing Clawsby is finally ready to go outside and do his business). But pets
provide an amazing return on that time investment, especially when it comes to
your health. Case in point: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and
triglyceride levels than non-pet owners. But that’s not all. Pets also model
many surprisingly healthy behaviors that humans would do well to emulate. Here
are just a few, according to veterinarians, dog trainers, and other pet
experts. 
1. They focus on what matters most. You may get grumpy after a bad
day at the office, but your pooch never does. “Companion animals mostly care
about food, love, and shelter (not always in that order). As long as they have
those things, they don’t need much else,” Mary Gardner, DVM, a veterinarian and
cofounder of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice tells Yahoo Health. “Pets also
don’t complain much at all. People believe they hide their pain; I simply think
they manage it differently.” If humans could model these behaviors, Gardner
adds, we’d be healthier, happier, “and more people would want to be around
us.” 
2. They practice portion control (even if not by choice). Snowball
might not want to limit her kibble intake any more than you want to limit your
tortilla-chip intake. Nonetheless, she typically eats reasonably sized helpings
of nutritionally balanced food — and never gets to eat straight out of the bag.
Follow her lead. “Both animals and people need structure and regulation when it
comes to portion size,” says Jme Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo
Animal Rescue based in Redmond, Washington. 
3. They know how to de-stress. Your pooch doesn’t pour a glass of
cabernet when the going gets rough (though, yes, it would make a very popular
YouTube video if she did). She may, however, start begging for a walk or to
play a game. Smart dog! “Actively seeking healthy activities — that function as
de-stressors when stress levels are high — helps to reset people as well as dogs,
and bring us back to a productive and functional status, from which many things
feel a lot more ‘do-able,’” Marisa Scully, a certified dog behavior specialist
in Philadelphia, tells Yahoo Health. 
4. They hit the hay. People don’t get enough sleep: According to a
2014 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 45 percent of Americans said that
a lack of sleep had impaired their activities at least once in the previous
week. Learn from your cat or dog, who knows just how important it is to get
enough shut-eye, says Jeff Werber, VVM, president and chief veterinarian of
Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles. “Whether it’s a lazy dog day
afternoon, or a quick cat nap, you won’t find them burning the candles at both
ends.” 
5. They stretch! There’s a reason one of the most common yoga moves is
named downward dog. Dogs (and cats) stretch constantly — and we should do the
same, notes certified dog behavior consultant Russell Hartstein. Why?
Stretching can improve flexibility and reduce your risk of injury. 
6. They’re open to new things. Animals are naturally curious.
“Open a box or empty a bag and before you know it, your cat will have climbed
in to investigate. Walk your dog past a gardener planting flowers and chances
are she will check it out before moving on,” Werber says. “And they’re always
up for some fun. A game of catch, a walk, a visit — bring it on.” Since
research has found that seeking out new experiences can keep people feeling
young and healthy, we’d do well to follow suit.
7. They’re comfortable getting zen. Numerous studies have found a
correlation between mindful meditation and reduced stress, decreased heart
disease, and a stronger immune response — and that’s something your cat already
knows how to do instinctively. “Each morning I sit on the sofa with my cat,
Turtle, while I drink my first cup of coffee,” says Kristen Levine, a pet
living expert. “We spend about 10 minutes together, her getting neck and head
rubs, me enjoying her purring and having a few meditative moments at the start
of the day.It sounds simple, and it can be, but depending on the activity, it
can have a powerfully relaxing or invigorating effect for both human and
critter.” 

E-Cigarettes and Pets Do Not Mix

E-cigarettes are
sparking heated debates as lawmakers, medical professionals and industry
grapple over the relative safety of the nicotine-delivering devices. But for
pet owners, there is no debate. Nicotine poses a serious threat of poisoning to
dogs and cats, and e-cigarettes back a powerful punch. The problem is that many
pet owners don’t realize it. 
Pet Poison Helpline has
encountered a sharp uptick in calls concerning cases of nicotine poisoning in
pets that ingested e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine refill solution. In fact,
over the past six months, cases have more than doubled, indicating that along
with their increased popularity, the nicotine-delivering devices are becoming a
more significant threat to pets. While dogs account for the majority of cases,
nicotine in e-cigarettes and liquid refill solution is toxic to cats as well.
“We’ve handled cases for pets poisoned by eating traditional cigarettes or
tobacco products containing nicotine for many years,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM,
MS, DABT, DABVT and associate director of veterinary services at Pet Poison
Helpline. “But, as the use of e-cigarettes has become more widespread, our call
volume for cases involving them has increased considerably.” In an effort to
educate pet owners before an accident occurs, Pet Poison Helpline offers this
important safety information. 
What are
e-cigarettes? 
E-cigarettes are simply
another way of delivering nicotine. Designed to resemble traditional
cigarettes, the battery operated devices atomize liquid that contains nicotine,
turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled. The most recent craze is flavored
e-cigarettes, which are available in an array of flavors from peppermint to
banana cream pie, and everything in between. 
What makes e-cigarettes
toxic to pets? 
The aroma of liquid
nicotine in e-cigarettes can be alluring to dogs, and flavored e-cigarettes
could be even more enticing. The issue is the amount of nicotine in each
cartridge, which is between 6 mg and 24 mg. So, each cartridge contains the
nicotine equivalent of one to two traditional cigarettes, but purchase packs of
five to 100 cartridges multiply that amount many times over, posing a serious
threat to pets who chew them. For example, if a single cartridge is ingested by
a 50-pound dog, clinical signs of poisoning are likely to occur. But if a dog
that weighs 10 pounds ingests the same amount, death is possible. Dogs of any
weight that ingest multiple e-cigarette cartridges are at risk for severe
poisoning and even death. In addition to the toxicity of nicotine, the actual
e-cigarette casing can result in oral injury when chewed, and can cause
gastrointestinal upset with the risk of a foreign body obstruction. Some
e-cigarette users buy vials of liquid nicotine solution for refilling
e-cigarette cartridges. The solution is commonly referred to as “e-liquid” or
“e-juice.” The small bottles hold enough liquid to fill multiple cartridges,
meaning they contain a considerable amount of nicotine. Pet owners should be
very careful to store them out of the reach of pets. 
What happens when
e-cigarettes are ingested by pets?
Nicotine poisoning in
pets has a rapid onset of symptoms – generally within 15 to 60 minutes
following ingestion. Symptoms for dogs and cats include vomiting, diarrhea,
agitation, elevations in heart rate and respiration rate, depression, tremors,
ataxia, weakness, seizures, cyanosis, coma, and cardiac arrest. 
What to do if a pet is
exposed? 
Because nicotine
poisoning can happen so rapidly following ingestion, prompt veterinary care can
mean the difference between life and death for a pet. Home care is not
generally possible with nicotine exposure due to the severity of poisoning,
even in small doses. Take action immediately by contacting a veterinarian or
Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. As always, prevention is the best
medicine. E-cigarettes, cartridges and vials of refilling solution should
always be kept out of the reach of pets and children. 
SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/2014/09/e-cigarettes-pets-mix/   Published on September 2, 2014

Why Dogs Bark and Growl

Does your dog growl or bark when a stranger approaches your house
or when something goes bump in the night? If so, you’re not alone.


Most dogs will vocalize
when they are exposed to new or different situations, including strange people
or animals entering their territory; being separated from their pack, mother or
even your family members; or new or alarming sounds. Dogs may also bark or
growl when they see prey, such as squirrels, and they may bark for attention,
food or if they are anxious. Dogs often growl when they are fearful or
trying to assert themselves in a situation. If the dog’s fear or assertiveness
is alleviated by growling or barking, the dog will learn that his behavior is
acceptable and the behavior may become more frequent or severe. Some
medical problems may cause growling or barking and older pets experiencing
senile changes may have barking problems. Intense and continuous barking may be
considered compulsive. Check with your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s
barking or growling problem. Behavior training and drug therapy may be helpful
in reducing barking for pets with medical, geriatric and compulsive
disorders.
Socializing your puppy can help
Acclimate your puppy to
a variety of different people, environments, situations and noises to help
lessen anxiety as your puppy grows. Make sure your puppy spends time alone so
that he doesn’t develop separation anxiety while you are away from him. Proper training
is essential to preventing behavior problems, such as growling and barking. Ask
you veterinarian for more information about puppy training. 
Correcting a barking or growling problem
Correcting a barking or
growling problem first requires that you have effective management of your dog.
Once you have achieved this, you can begin to train your dog to lessen his
barking or growling behavior by using rewards for quiet behavior. The reward
should be something that the dog really likes such as a favorite treat, tummy
rubs, or a favorite toy. Punishment is generally ineffective in correcting
barking problems. Too much punishment may even exacerbate the behavior and
cause the dog to be fearful or aggressive.
Begin your training with
situations that you can easily control (such as a family member making a noise
that causes the dog to bark) before moving on to difficult situations (such as
a strange animal in your yard). When your dog barks at the stimuli (for
instance, a doorbell ring), immediately interrupt the barking. When the dog is
quiet offer the dog a reward for their behavior. Without the reward there
is no incentive to remain quiet.Reward your dog when, at your request, he has
stopped barking. Only reward the dog when he is quiet and gradually increase
the amount of time that the dog needs to be quiet for him to receive a
reward.
As the barking or
growling problem decreases, make sure to direct your dog to more appropriate
behavior, such as play, and the problem should lessen over time. Don’t forget to
discuss training options with your veterinarian to find the one that will work
best for your pet.