Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Spring Is Here and So Are the Ticks

Spring is officially here.  How can I tell?  Well, first off, my car is coated in a yellow powder from all of the tree pollen. The sky is finally blue and the air is warm enough for me to go running without donning 57 layers of clothing. Days are longer, and, oh yeah, I am seeing dogs and cats with ticks almost everyday in the office.

Now, ticks alone are gross enough but these blood sucking parasites also spread diseases.  Some you have heard of like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  Others, such as anaplasma, ehrlichia, and tick paralysis (yes, it is a real thing), may not be as familiar.  Do to a second mild winter in a row, we are expecting a bumper crop of ticks, and so, a bad season for tick borne diseases.  Quick side note, epidemiologists have a really cool way of predicting the incidence of Lyme disease.  You see, the deer tick that carries Lyme disease actually spends part of it’s life on a mouse.  When we have a good acorn crop, the mice have lots to eat.  When the mice are well fed, well, mice will be mice, we get a lot of mice.  A population increase in mice mean more hosts for deer ticks, and subsequently, a bad tick and Lyme season.  You’ve probably guessed it, great year to be in acorns for the second or third year running and we are expecting another bad year for Lyme disease infections in our pets.

How can you keep your pets safe?  The first leg of the protection platform is to detect and remove ticks before they can attach and transmit disease.  It takes about 48 hours for a tick to infect your dog with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.  A useful hint is to run a lint roller over your dog whenever you suspect that there has been a potential tick exposure.  The little buggers will stick to the lint roller.  The second leg is to use an effective tick control product to kill those ticks that you didn’t catch with the lint roller.  We recommend an oral monthly product such as Simperica or a 6 month Seresto Collar.  (Bella wears a collar).  Please be aware, there are counterfeit products out there, we saw a counterfeit collar brought in by a client that purchased it on line last week.  Check out our Facebook or Instagram pages to see a picture.  Finally, vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease.  There are no vaccines against the other tick borne disease, but Lyme is the most common in our area and vaccination is an important component of disease prevention.

In cooperation with Zoetis Animal Health, we have put together a special package to help you protect your dog.  If you vaccinate your pet and purchase a years worth of Simperica oral flea and tick control product from us, we will discount the package 10%, offer a manufacturers rebate for the Simperica purchase (total rebate varies according to their current program), and Zoetis will offer a $7500 insurance policy towards treating your dog for Lyme disease should it become infected.  Details are on our web page and this package is a great way to save some money while using the best technology currently available to protect your pet.

Oh, did you think I forgot about your cat?  While felines are less susceptible to Lyme disease than dogs, they can get other flea or tick borne disease.  Protect them with a Seresto Collar or a monthly topical application of the new Revolution Plus which will protect them from heartworm, intestinal worms, fleas and ticks with an all in one treatment.

Monday, April 22, 2019


Dr. Stephanie Waters

What to do if you pet has a seizure:

Some of the common signs that your animal is having a seizure include twitching of the eyelids/lips/body, abnormal leg movements (often can be stiff but can be flaccid), chatter of the teeth and decreased consciousness. Other common signs may include your pet may defecate, urinate, salivate (drooling), vomit or have diarrhea. Seizures may feel like they last forever, but in reality they commonly last a few second to minutes. If your pet is having a seizure lasting more than a few minutes, they should immediately be taken to the veterinary emergency clinic for further care and treatment.

What to do during a seizure?

Make sure you stay calm. Seizures can be very scary for both owners and their loving pets. This is not a time to panic but instead be proactive by making sure your pet is in a safe place. You can use towels or pillows to protect or move your pets’ head and also to keep him/her steady without falling off the couch or stairs. During a seizure, owners can lower the lights or cover your pets eyes with a small towel or blanket. The decrease in stimulation can be calming to your pet as they come out of the seizure. If possible, record a video to show your veterinarian.

What NOT to do during a seizure?

While in a disoriented and confused state, your pet can accidentally act aggressively and bite. It is important to not pick up or put your hands/face, other family pets or young children near your pet while they are have a seizure. Safety for everyone is the main goal of getting through a seizure successfully.

What to do after a seizure?

After a seizure it is important to continue to monitor your pet. They may have a post seizure phase that can involve them being very sleepy, confused and/or show signs that lead into another seizure. Another task would be to think back and record any triggers or clinical signs that may have occurred before your pet had the seizure. It is also a good idea to record; the date, time, clinical signs, how long the seizure lasted and how many seizures occurred. Lastly, please contact your veterinarian to discuss details/questions and schedule a vet visit. It is important to discuss these details with a medical professional in order to help figure out the cause of the seizure and ultimately to avoid any future seizures. Your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic testing to try to find a cause for the seizure and medication to help prevent future seizures.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Is your Pet Afraid?

One of our greatest challenges in the office is dealing with fearful pets.  It makes it harder to do a complete and thorough examination, can change lab values for blood tests, and is a horrible stress on the pet and the owner.

As many of you know, Dr. Stephanie Waters has been certified as a Fear Free Veterinarian. She has taken post graduate education to help her help your pets have better experiences both at home and in the office.  We have seen many pets show great progress with some of the techniques that she has brought to our office.

There is an upcoming event that she will be attending and as a public service, wants to share with pet owners. While we are not presenting or sponsoring this event, she will be attending and hopes to see owners with fearful pets there.  So, if  you are available and the subject matter will help you, please consider attending.  Look for her and say hello.  Hopefully, she won't be dressed like this.

Do you have or know a fearful, shy or aggressive dog? Please read below for an overview of an upcoming event that may be life changing for you and your family! Dr. Waters will also be attending this event because she knows learning new techniques and ideas can be very helpful with her fearful dog Revit Waters.
With Debbie Jacobs, CPDT-KA, CAP2
Saturday, June 22nd 2019 -- 9:00am - 4:00pm
Hilton Garden Inn, Roslyn, NY 11050
Author of A Guide To Living With & Training a Fearful Dog and Does My Dog Need Prozac? and creator of and the Fearful Dog Facebook group
This seminar will feature information about why dogs behave the way they do and the most effective and humane ways to change problem behaviors in dogs. Pet owners, shelter and kennel staff, groomers, veterinarians and technician, dog trainers, pet sitters, day care staff, and anyone else interested in dogs will find this an informative and enlightening seminar on dog behavior!
Seminar Outline:
The content in this presentation is based on the scientific study and research of animal behavior and how dogs learn. This information is the foundation for further and continuing learning about working with fearful dogs.
    Topics include:
-         Why dogs are afraid
-         What fear/stress looks like and its impact on behavior
-         How to interact with feral or unsocialized dogs
-         How to work with fear based behaviors
-         The use of play in the rehabilitation of fearful dogs
-         Understanding the effects of reinforcement & punishment on fearful dogs
-         What is learned helplessness?
-         Myth of reinforcing fear
-         Equipment
-         Medication
-         Other resources
-         Gradual exposure and counterconditioning
-         Managing environments for fearful dogs
-         Skill building exercises for fearful dogs
-         Question and Answer session

“Many of the problem Behaviors we see in dogs, including aggression, have their own roots in fear,” Jacob explains, “When people learn how to respond appropriately to their dog’s behavior we can see significant and long lasting improvements.”

Organizer Description:

This event is hosted by Dana Seyfriend & Next Generation Dog Training, Long Island NY. Dana is a Pat Miller Level 1 Academy graduate and a Pat Miller Affiliate trainer. Two of her household of five dogs are fearful dogs. They inspire and motivate her as a trainer, and are her teachers of empathy and compassion towards all who live and work with fearful dogs.
*refreshments and light snacks
* This is a people only event, no dogs please.
Early Bird Special $99.00
Regular Admission $119.00

Thursday, March 21, 2019

House Calls.

House Calls

I'm going to try to highlight some of the services and events that Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital offers to the pets and their owners in Nassau County and Queens in a series of blog posts.  Today, House Calls.

I have been making house calls on Long Island since 1990. Originally it was all I did, but as the practice grew, I had hospitals that needed my attention.  Now, we are back to a single location and the staff at Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital are on the road almost every day, visiting our patients in the comfort of their own homes.

Who makes house calls?

Many practices claim that they make house calls, but just try to get an appointment.  That's when you'll find out that the one doctor that does go out for home visits is available on alternate Mondays when the moon is full.  At Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital, Drs. Niesenbaum and Waters are on the road most weekdays.  We are fortunate that Dr. Wu is available to hold down the fort back at the office so that one of us can usually sneak out.  Now, that doesn't mean that we are available for emergency calls, we just can't always fit those in.  However, if you do have an emergency, John and Hector will jump in our ambulance for pet transport and bring your pet to us.  We can almost always accommodate an emergency pick up.  Our technicians, Kim, Miriam, and Ellie are also on the road, doing blood draws, nail trims and laser therapy along with other outpatient services.

Who uses our house call service?

Lot's of people prefer to have us come to the home to help with their pet's veterinary care.  Many of our senior owners have difficulty transporting their pets to our office.  People with multiple pets will often find it easier to have us come out and see everyone in one visit, rather that ferrying pets back and forth to the office.  Cats especially appreciate not being put in a carrier for transport and prefer the comfort of their own couch for veterinary visits. Older pets have difficulty getting into the car and are more comfortable in their own beds at home.

What services are available in the home?

Our doctors can perform most outpatient services in the comfort of your home.  Examinations, vaccinations, blood tests, physical therapy, and even needle biopsies and skin cytologies can be done without a trip into the office.  Dr. Waters has a special gift when working with anxious pets as she is fear free certified and has a whole bag of tricks to put you and your pet at ease.  And of course, when the discussion turns to end of life care, our staff can offer palliative care programs to keep your pet comfortable until it is time for them to part.  We offer compassionate euthanasia services at home so that you don't have the stress of taking your pet out of the home for that final trip to the vet.  We can make whatever arraignments that you want for care of the body, including holding your pet for burial, individual cremation with the remains returned to you, or group cremation. 

How do you schedule a house call?

That's the easy part.  You can call our office at 516 746-1566. Or, request a house call by using our on line form.  Someone will get back to you to confirm the appointment. So, if the stress or inconvenience of a trip to the vet is keeping you from making sure that your furry friend is healthy, give a house call a try.  Remember, keep the light on for us.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Musings From Our Newest Veterinarian

Dr. Robin Sturtz

As the newest member of the Crawford family, I’m delighted to have this opportunity to talk a bit about veterinary practice. First, though, I want to thank everyone at Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital: the doctors, the technicians, the assistants, and the staff. They have made me feel welcome and have given me all the support I need. Many thanks!

Although I do love all animals (well, except spiders), I have worked solely with felines since I graduated from veterinary school in 2004. Cats are an endlessly fascinating species. Their personalities vary from calm and people-oriented to very active and….not so people-oriented.

The science of ethology is the study of animal behavior, especially normal behavior in their typical environment. What we learn about this can help us devise ways to work with them in an “abnormal” environment, such as a hospital or clinic. In addition, we can also rely on medications and nutraceuticals (chemicals that are not drugs but can help with certain behavioral or health problems). We use  many supplements, techniques, and sometimes medications, to decrease your cat's stress and make your visit easier. Feel free to call us before your appointment so that we can help make the experience as pleasant as possible for everyone.

We talk a lot about the Human-Animal Bond (HAB, for short). Cave paintings in Lascaux, France, dated to 20,000 years ago, depict animals, not humans. The importance of the animal for food, clothing, and shelter is evident.

 The nature of the relationship we have with domestic animals varies quite a bit from family to family, and even country to country. In many places, animals are used for work, or for play, but are never brought into the house. In some countries, what we think of as companion animals are quite rare, and food animals are of far greater importance.

In the US and many other countries, however, pets are considered as family members. We value their companionship, are fascinated by their behaviors, and do everything we can to make them happy and healthy. What they give us in return is love, and actual health benefits. (and hairballs)
Watching fish swim has been known to cause human blood pressure to decrease. People with dementia, such as patients with Alzheimer’s syndrome, can improve their personal hygiene and communication when they get regular visits from a pet – even as little as half an hour, once a week. Children who have communication issues such as speech and language delay can become more interactive when working or playing with animals. A famous example is the interaction between horses and children on the autism spectrum. In many cases, the HAB is so strong that many homeless people who have pets will refuse to go into a shelter because animals are not allowed. Recognition of these facts is crucial in working with people in these situations.

The fact that you bring your animal companion to the veterinarian shows how strong that bond is. We applaud your caring!

I look forward to meeting everyone, furry and otherwise, as we go along. I am in the clinic on Sundays, for our cat only office hours. Stop by to visit, say hello, or to tour our new feline boarding area.

Have a wonderful new year!      

Monday, November 5, 2018

Fleas, Ticks, and the FDA.

We’ve gotten several calls about the FDA press release last month with respect to oral flea and tick control products and adverse effects.  Considering that here we are, well into November and the temperature is still cracking 60 degrees, well above the active temperature minimum zone for parasite activity, I thought that I would address the issue.

Flea and Tick Diseases

First off, I think it is important to realize that ticks and fleas should be a concern beyond the icky factor that bugs crawling on our pets elicit.  These parasites carry diseases.  We know that ticks carry Lyme disease which can infect dogs, cats and us.  But they also carry Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever as well as a host of other diseases.  One tick causes an allergy in people (and possibly pets) to red meat.  That’s right, one bite and say good bye to slow cooked barbecue next summer. Fleas can carry a host of diseases as well including Bartonella (cat scratch disease) as well as typhus, plague, and tularemia. So the question is not should you use flea and tick control, but rather which product is the safest and most effective.

What We Used to do About Fleas and Ticks

Historically, (going way back to ancient history), we used really toxic products, many banned due to their horrific side effects for pets and people.  These sprays, dips and powders killed fleas and mammals.  I think back with a shudder to the summers that I worked in kennels as a student applying organophosphate dips to dogs.  No fleas on them, and no mosquitoes on me. Hopefully, I’ll have no long term ill effects.

A revolution in flea and tick control came about with the release of Frontline.  The active ingredient is Fipronil to kill adult fleas and ticks paired with a growth inhibitor to prevent the immature fleas from developing into adults.  The product was safe for mammals and when applied once a month prevented fleas and ticks from pestering our pets.  It is actually used in agriculture as well to treat food crops.  It was rapidly followed to market by Advantage and Advantix (dogs only) for topical use to prevent flea and tick infestations in our pets. A host of over the counter products made their way to market, some less effective, many more dangerous.  A few years ago, we started to notice that there was resistance developing in the fleas and ticks and these products were starting to lose their effectiveness.

What We Do Now About Fleas and Ticks

Bayer had the next innovation in external parasite control.  The Seresto collar kills fleas and ticks for up to 8 months.  We have found them to be very safe and effective, for both dogs and cats.  The efficacy is diminished by frequent bathing so we recommend changing the collars every 6 months.  This is the product that I use on Bella. 

Many people don’t like the idea of a collar and their cats do not go outdoors.  That does not put them at zero risk for fleas or heartworm, although the chances of picking up a tick is quite low. For these pets we recommend Advantage Multi or Revolution once a month.  This product will safely prevent fleas, heartworm and intestinal parasites.  Combine with the collar for full protection.  We did have a case of feline heartworm this month in a cat that hasn’t been outdoors for over 10 years.  Go figure, mosquitoes can get in the house.

The next round of products to market was for dogs.  Isoxazolines are an oral product that will kill fleas and ticks, some for up to 3 months (although not all ticks and not as well as the monthly products).    These are the products that the FDA released the new warnings about, so let’s talk about that for a bit.  

The FDA 

When a new drug is approved, it must go through thorough testing for both safety and efficacy.  Drugs must be shown to be effective, that’s why we picked the two drugs that we prescribe, Simperica and Credelio, both are very effective over the dosage interval of once a month.  As far as safety, new drugs must be given to a group of animals at the label dose, as well as 3x and 5x the label dose, alone and in combination with other commonly administered medications.  All side effects must be reported.  A single dog, under 6 months of age, had transient neurological side effects at 5x the label dose of Simperica.   Therefore, the FDA granted a label for Simperica for dogs over 6 months of age.  Credelio did not report this side effect so was given a label for dogs over 8 weeks of age.  We are currently following the label recommendations.  Puppies under 6 months old get Credelio, over 6 months we are satisfied with the safety and efficacy of Simperica.  We have had no side effects from either medication in our patients.  Furthermore, when I questioned my colleagues, none have reported any side effects in their patients.  However, there must have been some side effects reported to the FDA, because they are working on adding more information to the labels for all drugs in this class.  Keep in mind, that the current package insert already carries this information where applicable.  Furthermore, if you read the entire press release, beyond the sensational headlines that are springing up all over the internet, you will find that the FDA says that “these products continue to be safe and effective for the majority of animals”, adding that it <the FDA> carefully reviewed studies and other data on Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard, and Simparica prior to approval. The agency is asking the manufacturers to change product labeling in order to provide veterinarians and pet owners with the information they need to make treatment decisions for each pet on an individual basis.”

We recognize our clients’ concerns for their pets’ safety and continue to monitor studies as they become available.  Not using flea and tick control is not safe either as insect borne diseases are seriously dangerous to our pets and ourselves.  We are striving to provide a balance so that we can keep our pets and families safe.

Monday, August 6, 2018

International Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day

Dr. Sandra Wu

August 22, 2018 is Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day, but “My cat hates going to the vet, she seems fine, why should I bother bringing her?”

We all know how much cats hate to travel, but it is essential to your cat's health to make that annual trip for the physical examination. Here are some major reasons why:
  1. Cats age faster, even than dogs in the first few years. In the first year, cats become 15 in human years; after the 2nd, they are 24 human years. Every year thereafter they gain another 4 years. A lot of changes can happen over these years. Annual examinations help us to detect changes and provide preventative care.
  2. Cats are survivors who know how to mask disease and pain until they are so far gone, it makes it difficult for anyone to help them. By bringing them in routinely, we can examine and evaluate them for earlier signs of disease. By detecting diseases earlier, we have a much better chance at helping them.
  3. They are not just “fluffy.” More than 50% of cats are overweight, which puts them at risk for diabetes, heart, kidney and lung disease. We can help regulate a diet and exercise plan to keep your kitty from becoming a statistic.
  4. Adult cats have 30 teeth that most owners never brush. And those mouths get gingivitis and cavities that can be so painful, their teeth chatter when we touch them. Let us check out those teeth and make plans to keep them healthy.

So how do I get unwilling “Fluffy” to the office?
  1. Get a carrier that feels safe - a hard-sided carrier with top and front doors that can have the top removed. Try stuffing your cat into a tiny carrier door and you'll understand why it's nice to have the top hatch through which you can lower her into the carrier. Being able to lift the top off at the office so she can still hide in the towels make her feel safe.
  2. Leave the carrier out for a week before using it so your cat can get used to the smell. You can place treats in the carrier so he associates good things with it. He may even climb in it to check it out on his own, it makes a nice hidey-hole!
  3. If your cat is a bit resistant or aggressive about getting into the carrier, we can occasionally provide medicine or recommend products like Feliway to calm him down before coming. Call us for sugggestions.
  4. And if all else fails and there is no way you're getting your cat to come into the office, we also do housecalls! Call us to set up an appointment for a doctor to make the trip to your cat instead.
Call us to schedule an appointment or request an appointment on line.  We are working on special offers for this event, so stay tuned to Facebook and check your e mail for details.