Why choose a house call veterinarian over an animal hospital?

A common question is why to choose a house call veterinarian over an animal hospital?

 

Convenience– I drive to your home wherever in New York you live. There is never any waiting time for your pet’s examination.

 

Relaxation– Your pet can remain at ease in a relaxed state in the comfort of your own home rather than getting anxious or sick in the car, the waiting room or exam room.  Even if your pet never suffers from motion sickness, if he/she has an upset digestive system or dizziness or arthritis or any limb, neck or back injury-the motion of being in the car can worsen that malady.

 

Safety– You don’t have to worry about your pet being exposed to a contagious disease from another patient or contracting one of those superbug infections (MRSA) that you can get in any hospital. Everyone recuperates better at home if there is a doctor that comes to you and your pet.

 

Time-  You don’t ever have to be rushed. There is no 15-minute window where the examination needs to be finished. Each patient is given the time he or she needs to address every single problem. I will do a thorough examination and spend all of the time your pet deserves.

 

In-Home Laser Therapy– I travel with a mobile Class IV Laser machine, which is not widely available. This enables me to treat many injuries and illnesses without the need for anesthesia and surgery. Laser treatment speeds up healing and helps the body recuperate much faster.  Laser treatment can cure paralysis, inflammation, infection, itch and can treat arthritis. It works in the same manner acupuncture works without needles. It is an excellent way to treat bite wounds and abscesses.

 

Laboratory Services– I can take all samples or biopsies in the comfort of your own home and hand-deliver them directly to the laboratory (Antech Diagnostics located at LIJ Manhasset) for analysis. I can get many of the tests results within 20 minutes from delivery. I consult with specialists at no additional cost if there are any laboratory test abnormalities.

 

Cryosurgery– I can remove most benign skin growths, tumors, cysts, etc. without the need for anesthesia or conventional surgery simply by freezing. There is no bleeding because even the blood vessels get frozen.

 

Ultrasound examinations– I work with a board-certified internist with over 35 years experience, who I bring into your home to perform these specialized tests. The ultrasound examination is done immediately and the results are reported on the spot. With the guidance of the ultrasound machine, tissue sampling is much safer and more accurate.

 

 

Surgery– Many minor procedures can be done safely in the comfort of your own home. I use the assistance of a licensed veterinary technician and when sedation is needed, I follow the strictest protocol catered to the specific needs of your pet. When major surgery is needed, I will use the best-suited facility for your pet’s needs. The operating room is well-equipped with oxygen, safe gas anesthesia, pulseoximetry, blood-pressure monitoring, ECG monitoring, and a cushioned and warm-water surgical table. When the surgery is over, your pet can recuperate in the comfort of your own home.

 

Euthanasia– This is the hardest decision you have to make when your pet is suffering and there is no other way to end the pain. Euthanasia literally means “Kind Death.” What better way to go than in the comfort of your own bed,  in your own home, surrounded by your loved ones. I use an anesthetic injection first, which will allow your pet to gently fall asleep in your arms.

Is Pet Insurance Worthwhile?

This is a question that crosses the mind of most pet owners. Just look at what insurance companies have done with human medicine. Think about it. Insurance companies are a business for profit. Do they really care about your pet or are they more interested in denying as many claims as they possibly can? I do have clients that are happy they had insurance since their pet was a puppy or kitten and something catastrophic has happened like a serious car accident where the pet was hit and barely survived. There are other clients who are thankful they had insurance in place when a loose dog ran over and shook and bit their leashed dog. For these cases, it actually paid off, having insurance in place and knowing they would recoup back some of the costs; however, for others it was a waste of money. This decision has to come from you. Unlike human medicine, most veterinarians do not accept insurance payments so most pet owners have to hope that the claims submitted will be processed favorably. There is a lot of paperwork that the pet owners and veterinarians need to fill out. If most people opened a savings account and put away $100 per month in it, this account could be used as an insurance policy. If you never need the money, after many years, you will have enough saved to take your pet away on vacation. If something tragic does happen, you will have the funds to pay for the veterinary care needed. In either case, you won’t have the hassle of paperwork to fill out or endless phone calls to petition a rejected claim.

 

Is It Ok To Give My Dog Or Cat Milk?

Like people, most dogs and cats are not lactose-intolerant. Obviously, if your pet is, he or she will not be able to digest any dairy products and may end up vomiting and/or having diarrhea after drinking milk or eating any other dairy product like cheese, ice cream, yogurt, etc. Pets that can digest dairy products have an important advantage because these products happen to be excellent for stomach problems- they produce mucous. This is what lines all of our stomachs- pets and people alike, and protects the stomach wall from the stomach acid that aids in digestion.

Stress and many medications can decrease the amount of protective stomach mucous and predispose all of us, including our pets, to developing a stomach ulcer. This is an actual abrasion of the inside of the stomach wall and at the very least, will cause some pain and possible bleeding. At the very most, it can be life-threatening.

Cats that do not drink enough water can be given diluted milk (preferably skim) to drink. It is a tasty treat and will help hydrate your pet  (most cats never drink enough water).

During hot summer months, ice cream or frozen yogurt is a great way to cool off your pet instantly. Watch out for brain freeze! Our pets really enjoy this treat and eat it up fast. Because it is so cold, the frozen treat cools our pets faster from the inside out. If your pet is lactose-intolerant, put some chicken or beef broth into an ice cube tray and once frozen, give that as a tasty treat to cool your pet off.

 

Is Your Pet Eating Right?

Unlike people, who always change food items in their diet depending on the time of day, dogs and cats should be fed the same food daily. In fact, for a healthy dog or cat, there should be 2 meals (same food) fed per day-morning and evening with access to clean, fresh water 24/7. The diet should not be changed and doesn’t need to be changed. In fact, changing the diet can lead to digestive problems. If a diet needs to be changed, it should be done very slowly over several weeks to help prevent the onset of vomiting/diarrhea/gas/bloating.

A common question is what to feed- canned food or dry, fresh or frozen, cooked or raw? The answer is: it depends. If your dog or cat tends to have very soft stools, you may want to choose a dry food. However, if your pet is not a big water drinker, you may want to choose a canned food and even add some extra water to it. If your pet eats too quickly, adding water will help. If he or she still devours the food as if it is being inhaled, you may want to switch to one of the puzzle dishes that helps slow the eating process down to a healthier speed.

The less processed the food is, the easier it will be to digest. So if your dog or cat has digestive difficulties, you may want to choose a healthy, canned food with no by-products or chemicals. Home-cooked meals are fine, but they are a lot of work and it is very important to have all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals at all of the right proportions. I never advocate raw food because there is always a risk of deadly bacteria and parasites. In fact, if you have a service dog, that dog will not be allowed in any nursing home or children’s hospital within 90 days of eating raw meat. The reason is that Salmonella can still be present in the saliva for up to 90 days. E. coli and Campylobacter are other disease-causing bacteria found in raw meat. Cooking the meat at the appropriate temperatures is the only way to be sure of killing all of the disease-causing bacteria.

It is no longer okay to elevate food and water bowls. In fact, a new study showed that elevated dishes can actually increase the risk of bloating (GDV). That is where gas fills up in the stomach and it can actually twist on its axis. This is a serious disease and can be fatal. Large and deep-chested dogs are at the highest risk, but this can happen to any pet. Rest is important after meals.

How To Exercise A Fat Cat

It is really hard to stay on a diet; however, it is much easier when someone else has control of what and how much you eat. That is the situation for our pets. If they are overweight, it is our fault, but don’t despair, they can get back to a healthy weight with our help.

Eating right is the first thing that needs to change. If you have an overweight pet, don’t leave a big bowl of dry food out all day long. If they had control of how much they were eating, they wouldn’t be overweight in the first place. And don’t give in if they are standing in front of the food cabinet crying until you feed them. Then it is the pet who is training you instead of vice versa. Giving several small meals over the course of the day works well to keep up the metabolism. Adding water to the food is also helpful to fill up your overweight pet. Besides the right diet, exercise is the key.

For overweight pets, a long (45-minute) walk twice daily will help to take off those extra pounds. A morning walk before breakfast and an evening walk before dinner is very helpful. Even if you have a strictly indoor cat, you can place a harness and leash on your cat and walk around your home. If you have stairs, use them for a really great workout.

Unlike people and dogs, cats must eat everyday and lose weight very slowly to prevent a serious disease from developing. It is called a fatty liver and it is very important that if you do have an overweight cat, you take the weight off very slowly to help prevent this life-threatening illness from developing.

Losing weight for an overweight pet will help lengthen life expectancy and give your pet a better quality life with less disease. You can help to prevent diabetes, arthritis, cancer, liver disease, heart disease just by getting your pet down to a healthy weight!

Top 5 Things To Ask Your Vet

  1. For many diseases, there are many treatment options. Ask your veterinarian for a choice. Sometimes, there are natural remedies that can be used without the side effects of medications.
  2. Ask your vet about preventative tips. Many illnesses and diseases can be prevented if you take certain steps as a pet owner. For example, daily teeth brushing can prevent heart, liver and kidney diseases, besides preventing bad breath, tooth and gum infections, and tartar build-up. It can save your pet from undergoing anesthesia for a dentistry and save you a lot of money.
  3. Ask your vet what vaccinations are important for your pet’s lifestyle. An indoor pet that doesn’t go outside won’t need the same protection that a pet who goes into the woods on a daily basis really should have. If vaccinations are needed, there are many choices. Discuss all of them with your veterinarian. For example, some vaccinations only need to be given every 3 years like Rabies and DHPP or FVRCP. If you have a cat, make sure your vet is using non-adjuvanted vaccinations, which are much safer and aren’t associated with cancer like some of the other cat vaccines. For all pets, the only vaccination required by law is the Rabies vaccine. All of the others are a choice.
  4. Ask about training tips. One of the first behavior modification lessons I teach is for your pet to, “Drop It!” I cannot tell you how many times I take my dog out for a walk and stop and talk with a neighbor. In less than a second, Roxy picks something up in her mouth and before she can swallow it I yell, “Drop it!” And she spits it out. I don’t want her getting sick from anything she eats from outside and you don’t want that to happen to your pet either. Prevention is always best!
  5. Ask your vet about the best supplements for your pet. If your pet suffers from arthritis, your vet may recommend you add a daily omega-3 fatty acid to the diet. If there isn’t improvement with all the joints within a month, your pet may benefit from glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM and ASU, in addition to that Omega-3. Many times, oral supplements can keep early signs of disease under control and slow down the progression of pain.

Do I Really Need to Give My Pet Flea/Tick and Heartworm Preventatives?

Unfortunately, we live in dangerous times. Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes carry so many diseases that can harm our pets, our children and us. Some of those diseases are deadly. However, the good news is that we can protect our pets; which ultimately helps to protect our children and us. There are many different heartworm and flea/tick preventatives on the market and sometimes it can be overwhelming to make the right choices.

Heartworm protection can be achieved by  your veterinarian giving your dog a vaccination every 6 months  or by you giving your dog or cat  a monthly chewable or by you applying monthly topical drops. I recommend year-round heartworm prevention no matter what you use and where in the country you live because for the first time ever, we can no longer 100% prevent heartworm disease. This is because we now have some mosquitoes that carry heartworms which are resistant to all of the preventatives. In light of this new problem, I strongly recommend that the flea and tick preventative you choose for your pet also kills mosquitoes.

Look for a topical flea/tick/mosquito preventative that is not only effective, but also has the lowest toxicity level. As much as I don’t like  pesticides, I worry more about the horrible diseases our pets and we can get by not using them so choose wisely. Always wait at least 2 days before and 2 days after a bath before applying the topical preventatives. Make sure to apply it directly onto the skin and not the fur to ensure proper storage. The EPA-registered products stay on the skin layer only and do not penetrate into the body so it is very important to apply them properly. They stay stored in specialized glands that secrete oil onto the skin. This is how they last the whole month.

Always make sure that you are using the correct weight and species product. In other words, make sure that if you have a cat, you are using a cat product and if you have a dog, you are using a dog product. It is also important to know your pet’s weight and choose the appropriate weight category product. These 2 issues were the biggest problems seen by an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued advisory.