Heart to Heart: The Truth About Heartworm in Cats

Heartworm in cats can be a fatal cat disease.If you have a dog, you’ve probably heard about heartworm. Most dog owners are familiar with this threat to their dog’s health, and many know that heartworm prevention is important for dogs. But what about cats?

Heartworm in cats is a growing concern in the veterinary community, but many cat owners don’t know that heartworm is a real threat to their cat’s life. In fact, studies show that less than 5% of cat owners use heartworm prevention in comparison to 50% of dog owners.

With that in mind, Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital thought it was time to have a heart-to-heart chat about heartworm in cats. Continue…

The Word Around the Trough: How to Keep Up With a Hydrated Pet

Black cat drinking out of blue coffee cup on tableThere’s really no better time than August to think about your pet’s hydration needs. In other parts of the calendar year, they just seem to get what they need without too many worries. But these last few weeks of high heat and humidity can cause serious problems for animals. A hydrated pet is a healthy one, and we’ve got some tips and tricks to make it happen.

The Benefits of Water

A hydrated pet is at lower risk of developing a urinary tract infection, and they also have a healthier and more consistent internal body temperature. Water is cooling, maintains high energy levels, and flushes toxins from the body.

Take Notes

Do you know how much water your pet drinks every day? Or, one step further would be to know how much should they be drinking for maximum hydration. On average, the general rule is that for every 10 pounds of body weight, one cup of water is needed per day. If you spend a few days noticing that your 60 pound dog drinks less than 6 cups every day, it’s time to try out some new methods. Continue…

Beyond the Basics: Parasites in Pets

Golden Retriever receiving flea and tick treatment on neckParasites tend to be unpleasant things, and with summer upon us, it may seem like they’re everywhere, just waiting to latch on to your pet! What’s more, seasonal activities, like barbecuing or hiking, can expose your pet to parasites.

Most of us are already familiar with fleas and ticks, but did you know there are other parasites that can also be problematic for your pet? Let’s go beyond the basics to learn more about preventing parasites in pets.

Internal Parasites in Pets

Have you ever wondered why we want to examine your pet’s poop every year? It’s to check for evidence (eggs) of intestinal parasites. Many of these are common in pets, and some are even zoonotic (can be transmitted to humans). Here are some of the most common types of parasites in pets: Continue…

Is Slime a Major Threat to Pet Safety at Home?

Is slime a threat to pet safety?Summer evokes endless sunny days, swimming, and entertainment opportunities galore, but sometimes we need a little downtime to catch up. Summer craft activities come in really handy for families looking for some chill out time at home, and the one that steals the show each time is, of course, slime. Made with fairly simple, common ingredients, this ooey, gooey stuff pleases everyone from toddlers to tweens.

The drawback to slime and other craft activities is that their ingredients can threaten pet safety at home.

So Slimy, So Fun

Slime is usually comprised of borax, laundry detergent, salt, and zinc sulfide (to make it glow in the dark). Making it at home can be done with warm water, white glue, borax, and food coloring, but most people add glitter, starch, and shaving cream.

Because animals experience their world through the senses of smell and taste, it’s absolutely necessary to keep slime away from them.   Continue…

Retractable Leashes: Neither Dog, Nor Man’s Best Friend

By Karen Fazio, CDBC
 Director of Behavior and Training

retractable leashes are a serious threat to pet health and pet safetyOne day, as I was about to leave my house for a walk with my dog, I saw (Insert dog’s name) spot a squirrel in our yard. Not surprisingly, before I could utter the word “NO!” he took off after it. Worse still? As he was bolting down the front steps, I realized  – a bit too late – that I had forgotten to lock the retractable leash he had on. I stood, transfixed at the top of my brick stairs, as the zip line ran out… The last thing I remember was toppling down the stairs and landing flat on my face, leaving me with a small scar just above my right lip that serves to remind me of the dangers associated with retractable leashes.

I will admit that retractable leashes can be fun. They provide pets with a sense of off-leash freedom that allows them to explore areas that they might not otherwise be able to. However, in my experience, the risk of serious injury, or even death, far outweigh any pleasure you or your dog might enjoy.

Retractable Leashes Present a High Risk for Pet Injury

Retractable leashes are commonly made out of thin nylon cord, which can cause serious injury to both pets and their owners. When these leashes get wrapped around a finger, arm, or leg they have the potential to cause severe burns and deep gashes, which may send the victim to the emergency room. When wrapped around the body or limbs of a pet, the risk for broken bones or even dismemberment is tremendous.  

Serious neck and spine injuries also are a consideration for pets, especially if your pet bolts when the mechanism isn’t locked and it reaches the end of the line, suddenly jerking your pet backward at his neck. In these cases, trauma to the neck and spine is a certainty; and some cases, the injuries are grave enough to cause death.

Taking the Lead

Despite how comfortable retractable leashes may feel in our grasp, they can be difficult to hold on to when attached to 
a struggling or pulling dog. This is because the handles are designed to be held 
primarily by the fingers, which tend to be quite weak.

This point can easily be proven if one should try to hang from a chin-up bar by their fingers. It simply cannot Can’t be done. With that consideration in mind, there’s little 
possibility an individual would possess 
enough finger strength to effectively hold back a struggling pet.

If you would like to learn more about the dangers of retractable leashes, and what options may be right for your individual pet, please schedule an appointment. The team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital is committed to keeping your pet safe, happy, and healthy, both at home and on the trail.

Paging Dr. Google? How to Find Credible Pet Health Information Online

Pet health information online isn't always credible. Call a local veterinarian.

It seems as though the internet runs our lives, and in some ways it does. Scheduling, researching, working, and planning all typically take place on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without the ubiquitous presence of the internet.

It’s no surprise that many of us turn to online sources for help with health concerns, both for us and for our pets. Although the internet can be a great resource, it can also provide misleading, false, or even dangerous information if we aren’t careful. Finding credible pet health information online can be challenging, but entirely possible once we know what to look for. Continue…

Senior Pets: How to Keep the Golden Years Going Strong

senior pets have special pet health considerations; ask a veterinarianPets are considered seniors between the ages of 7 and 10 years old, depending on their size. Of course, with advances in veterinary medicine and thoughtful care at home, they can live long past that benchmark. But that doesn’t mean their needs won’t shift slightly. If you’ve had the privilege of watching your pet grow up from infancy through adulthood and beyond, it can be a trial at first to make the right changes. Senior pets can live a long time, especially when you know how to help.

A Single Year

Cats and dogs age faster than humans. While a single year may not seem like a lot to us, those 12 months actually encompass a large amount of a pet’s lifetime.

They also age differently from each other. Dogs (especially larger breeds) have senior needs starting around 7 years old; cats are typically 10 years old before they show significant signs of slowing down. Continue…

Throwing Some Shade: The Essentials of Summer Pet Safety

Giving pets shade and making sure pets have plenty of water to drink are important parts of summer pet safetyOn a warm, sunny day, it’s natural to seek out a porch, shade tree, or head inside to relax after spending time outdoors. With the intense summer sun and high UV index, it’s wise to protect your skin and avoid the heat with several rest breaks in the shade. The same is true for our animal friends, although we sometimes think they’re more resilient than they really are.

For this edition of summer pet safety, we focus on why shade is an important consideration and offer up tips on how to ensure your pet’s health and safety this season.

Why is Shade Necessary for Pets?

Pets don’t have the same advantages as humans when it comes to dealing with heat, and they have the additional burden of a fur coat. To some extent, the coat does help wick away moisture and protect the skin, but their primary mode of cooling down is through panting. When temperatures start to soar, this is not enough without lots of water and the ability to seek shade. Continue…

The Best Summer Has to Offer: Outdoor Safety and Your Pet

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…”
Outdoor safety and your pet is an important part of keeping your pet healthy and happy.Who can resist all the wonderful outdoor activities this time of year? There are so many fun opportunities for exercise, socializing, and rest and relaxation! The benefits increase tenfold when we’re able to share the great outdoors with our pet family members.

Like most things that involve our animal companions, outdoor safety and your pet is a topic that deserves close attention. Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital has some key pointers to help you prepare for summer fun in New Jersey with your favorite furry pal. Continue…

The Dog Flu – Frequently Asked Questions

The dog flu is a serious threat to dog healthWith the recent outbreak of Canine Influenza (or Dog Flu) in the New York and New Jersey area we want to make sure you have easy access to answers to commonly asked questions.

As of June 4, 2018, 62 confirmed cases of canine influenza virus have been reported throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan. With additional confirmed cases in Flushing, Long Island City, and most recently Paramus, NJ.  It is not a question of “if” but rather “when” it will arrive in our local area.

What is the canine influenza virus?

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV or dog flu) is an extremely contagious viral infection affecting the respiratory tract of dogs.   There are 2 known strains: the H3N2 and the H3N8 types. It is important to distinguish that this is not typical “kennel cough,” which is caused by a number of different organisms including bacteria (), mycoplasmas, and other parainfluenza viruses.  CIV is a more serious and potentially more dangerous respiratory disease that has emerged. Continue…