Second office location opening in Middletown.

Second office location opening in Middletown.

We are opening a second office in Middletown, NY. Our second office is located at 390 Crystal Run Road in Middletown. This second location will allow us to serve our clients that live in that area. We will share more details of the hospital and our growing team in the next few weeks. We anticipate we will be scheduling consultations at our Middletown location in the next 2-3 weeks. Our phone number will remain the same so you only have to remember our 845-796-5919 number. We also have some other exciting news to share shortly. For those that are wondering we are STILL building the bigger hospital in Rock Hill. That is still in the works.

Equine Cushing’s Disease

Equine Cushing’s Disease

Definitely more than just “old age,” Equine Cushing’s Disease, or Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) as it is also known, is being seen more now that advances in veterinary medicine are allowing our equine friends to live longer lives. Ponies appear to be at greatest risk of developing this disease although all breeds, genders, and types of horses are potentially susceptible. It is rare to see Cushing’s in a horse under the age of 15 and more common to see it in horses who are in their 20s or 30s.
Characterized by a heavy, coarse, wavy or curly haircoat that does not shed as expected, other symptoms of Cushing’s are often vague and can be easily attributed to other conditions or even just the fact that your horse is aging. Some of these include weight loss; lethargy; loss of muscle mass, particularly over the topline; the development of fat deposits, especially over the tail head, above and behind the eyes, and along the crest of the neck; increased drinking and urination; recurrent infections; laminitis and a rounded abdomen or potbelly.

Cushing’s is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland, sometimes referred to as the “master gland” because it regulates nearly all of the body’s endocrine systems. These tumors are benign, but due to the proximity to the brain are considered “active” tumors. Typically a slow-growing tumor, the size seems to have little correlation as to whether your horse will have a severe or mild case of Cushing’s. Surgery to remove the tumor is not an option, but fortunately, Cushing’s is relatively easy to manage with medication.

Horses afflicted with Cushing’s also generally have immune systems that are compromised. As such, they are more susceptible to internal parasites, periodontal disease, sinus infections, hoof abscesses, and laminitis. In addition to medication to help control and slow the progression of Cushing’s, preventive care strategies become more important to the continued quality of life and management of health than in horses not similarly afflicted. Horses diagnosed with Cushing’s should be on a minimum twice-yearly preventive care exam schedule which should include frequent dental checkups and be supplemented by regular farrier visits. It is also important to establish and maintain a deworming protocol that takes into account your horse’s increased susceptibility to parasites and to evaluate its effectiveness with periodic fecal egg counts. Ensuring your horse is receiving a diet that will keep her healthy and not exacerbate her symptoms and ensuring a good balance of minerals with supplements as necessary will help your horse stay in the best condition possible. It is important to ensure both the diet and any supplements are balanced and that supplementation is necessary to avoid introducing any additional complications such as a mineral toxicity into the mix.

Early diagnosis followed by aggressive treatment can not only help prevent and address complications, but it can also help extend your horse’s lifespan while maintaining a quality of life. Cushing’s in horses cannot be cured, but with a good plan that is implemented and maintained, your horse will still be able to enjoy her life and your company to the fullest.

Pet Obesity

Pet Obesity

Is your pet overweight? You might be surprised by the answer. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 58 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight.

Many pet parents think their furry friend’s weight is normal when their pet is actually overweight. The association calls this a “fat pet gap,” in which a chubby pet is identified as normal.

The bad news is that an overweight pet is more susceptible to many health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, skin infections, breathing problems, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes and some cancers. In fact, the Purina Lifespan Study found that obesity decreases a dog’s life expectancy by up to 2 1/2 years.

What can you do to help assure your pet is happy, healthy and at a proper weight? The first step is to bring your pet pal to our clinic for regular preventive care exams. Ask us if your pet is overweight. If the answer is yes, we can provide suggestions and guidance to get him back in fit form. We can also provide advice on maintaining the proper weight for pets who are currently at a healthy weight.

One of the components we can discuss is how much and what type of food your pet receives. It is not a good idea, and potentially an ineffective response, to simply reduce the volume of a pet’s current food. There are scientifically formulated nutritional products to help with healthy and safe weight reduction in both dogs and cats. The thing to remember is that a diet needs to be well-balanced. Caloric and protein requirements vary with age and exercise. It’s important that we examine and discuss all these aspects of your pet’s life to determine what type of diet is best for your pet.

Don’t forget about the calories your pet is ingesting in treats. Just a few treats a day can add up, especially in a cat or a small dog. There are several alternatives to high-calorie commercial treats: make homemade, healthy treats for your pet; consider low-calorie commercial treats; reward your pal with fruits and vegetables, such as apple slices; or simply offer verbal praise, loving hugs, belly rubs and behind-the-ear scratches.

The final piece of the puzzle is exercise. Walking, swimming, fetch and remote-controlled toys are some of the ways you can engage your pet in physical activity. Even simply tossing a toy around the house for your cat or dog to chase will help.

It is recommended that dogs get at least 30 minutes of activity a day; with cats, strive for three 5-minute intense play periods. Make your play sessions enjoyable, entertaining and interactive. The more you can do so, the more you and your furry friend will both look forward to them! If your pet hasn’t been getting regular exercise, start out slow. An injury could result if you ask too much of your pet too quickly.
You can also divide your pet’s food into multiple bowls and scatter them around the house so more movement is required to find them. Both dogs and cats can benefit from the use of food balls, which are toys that dispense food a little at a time. If you choose to use one of these, your pet will have to chase the food ball around to get the kibble out.

Always check with us before making exercise or diet changes for your pet. We want to make sure any changes made will be positive steps toward better health for your pet pal.

Equine Pregnancy Checks

Equine Pregnancy Checks

It’s an interesting thing about how we view pregnancy: We get the positive test, and we think that’s it and start planning to welcome a new foal to our family. The sad truth is that some pregnancies won’t hold, and up to 15 percent of broodmares who checked safe in foal at a check done around 45 to 60 days will have lost their pregnancies by late fall. A fall pregnancy check allows you to confirm if you’ll be hearing the pitter patter of little hooves in a few months or to determine why the pregnancy was lost, take steps to correct the situation if possible and start planning for the next opportunity.

The gestation period for mares is a pretty wide range of 320 to 380 days, with 330 days being the most commonly cited length. Without a fall pregnancy check, you’d be close to a year waiting and well into the next breeding season before you knew if a loss had occurred. Adding insult to injury, if you wait until your horse should have foaled to find out there is a problem, there will likely not be enough time to diagnose the issue, take steps to correct it and still allow time for rebreeding, meaning you’ll lose an entire year before you can try breeding your horse again.

Your mare can be confirmed safe in foal in the fall by either palpation or ultrasound, ultrasound providing the potential of sexing the foal, an option that isn’t available with a palpation check. If it is important for your planning, or you just prefer to know what sex of foal you’re expecting, ultrasound is the right choice for you. If you just want to know that your mare is still safe in foal and that everything is progressing normally, palpation checking is often a less expensive route to get that information.

Once you’ve either confirmed that your mare is safe in foal or that her pregnancy has been lost, you have better information for how to proceed with her care through the winter. If she’s safe in foal, you’ll want to take steps to improve the odds that she’ll have a healthy foal in the spring such as monitoring her body condition, adjusting her feed to accommodate the additional caloric needs of staying warm and the pregnancy and implementing a vaccination and deworming schedule to help protect her health and the health of her foal. If the pregnancy was lost, we’ll work with you to determine why, suggest and help implement a treatment plan to correct the issue if it can be addressed, and you’ll be able to start preparing to implement a rebreeding plan that may include such things as a lighting program and adjustments to her body condition. If it comes to that, we’d be happy to help you establish a rebreeding plan if you don’t have one in place already.

It is our hope every time we conduct a pregnancy check that we’ll be relaying good news back to the owner that “everything’s just fine,” but nature sometimes has other plans. Either way, a fall pregnancy check allows you to have all the information about your mare’s current condition and plan appropriately, regardless of the answer we provide.

If you have any questions about your mare’s pregnancy, need to schedule a pregnancy check or have questions about the breeding process, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Equine Nutrition

Equine Nutrition

As the temperature cools and the pastures wane, adjustments to your horse’s nutritional regimen need to be put in place. As with any changes to your horse’s feed, exercise regimen or management, changes should be implemented gradually to minimize the risk of complications and upset to your horse’s system.

If your horse has been on primarily pasture for the spring and summer, you’ll need to start adjusting her to hay and grain or concentrates. The deteriorating quality of the pasture as we progress through fall and approach winter necessitates these changes. Remember that horses need high-quality forage to keep healthy, so any hay should be consistent; free of contaminants such as weeds, dirt, and mold; be bright in color and have a fresh appearance and smell. More energy, minerals, and protein are found in young, leafy, immature plants than older plants. If you must feed a lower quality hay, be sure to supplement it with a higher quality feed to avoid compromising your horse’s condition and good health.

If your horse has been grazing throughout the spring and summer, you’ll also need to start adjusting her feeding schedule to accommodate the less-ready access to forage your steed will have through the fall and winter. Out in the pasture, your horse could wander and nibble whenever the urge struck. During the fall and winter, when your horse may be stabled more often and pasture is not as lush, forage on which to nibble may not be as easily come by. However, you can more closely replicate your horse’s natural feeding patterns when stalled if you are able to keep hay available for the majority of the day. And remember that changes in schedule or feed — even something as simple as changing from one hay to another — need to be undertaken gradually as sudden changes can leave your horse susceptible to founder or colic.

Horses should be fed according to a variety of factors, but size and the type of work done by the horse are two major factors that should be taken into consideration when determining an appropriate feeding regimen. Forage or roughage should make up as much of the diet as possible. Not only is your horse’s system designed to process it, but the energy expenditure associated with consuming these types of feed help your horse generate warmth. Grain should supplement pasture and hay rather than be the main event.

To help your horse with increased amounts of food, you may want to consider feeding her more often. Even though your horse’s nutritional needs are fluctuating with the season, her stomach remains the same size — about as big as a rugby ball. Splitting rations into three to four smaller meals reduces the volume per feed and helps prevent your horse gorging as well as the associated issues that could accompany it.

A proper nutritional plan would not be complete without water. Your horse needs ready access to water in order to stay hydrated, healthy and for proper digestive function. As temperatures drop, many horses will also drop off water consumption. You can encourage additional water intake by ensuring it is offered in a way your horse prefers (bucket vs. automatic waterer), warming the water (horses will generally consume more water if it is warmer rather than cold) and adding electrolytes to the water. If you are trying electrolytes for the first time, be certain to also provide a secondary water source in case your horse won’t drink the electrolyte water. If your horse’s water is not in a temperature-controlled environment, schedule to undertake regular ice checks to ensure your horse continues to have access.

If you have any questions about adjusting your horse’s nutritional plan for fall, please contact our office.

Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is one of those beneficial items that pet parents have traditionally been able to do without. But as veterinary medicine becomes more sophisticated and available procedures and treatments carry the higher costs to correspond with the knowledge, materials, and expertise necessary to be able to administer them, pet insurance is becoming a way for pet parents to be able to make decisions about their furry family member’s health care in a way that doesn’t rely solely on current financial situations.

So how do you know if you need pet insurance or not? Unfortunately, pet insurance is one of those things, like home insurance or life insurance, that you don’t know you need until you need it and then you wish you had it. But there are ways to review the risk that your pet faces to help determine if pet insurance is a good choice for you.

One of the first things to know is the breed of your pet because this will help with knowing whether your pet is at greater risk for any conditions or afflictions based on breed. You’ll also need to know this information in case any of those afflictions or conditions are excluded for your pet’s breed by the insurance company you’re considering. For example, some insurance companies may not cover things like cancer for golden retrievers or hip dysplasia for giant breeds.

Another thing to consider is whether you would want to do anything you could to help your pet through a health crisis. When a health crisis strikes, your bank account might not be in a position to allow you to authorize providing the best treatment possible for your pet’s current situation. Pet insurance could make all the difference. So if the answer to this question is yes, a pet insurance policy may be the right choice for you.

You’ll also want to decide whether you would rather pay out-of-pocket for your pet’s routine care, such as preventive care exams, dental care, and vaccinations, or if you’d rather pay a little at a time for those services. Pet insurance companies are offering plans that cover catastrophic situations, such as those needing specialized surgery or extensive treatment, as well as plans that cover preventive care services. Your premiums will be determined by the type of plan you choose, as well as deductibles and the age of your pet, among other things.

One main difference that pet insurance has from human health insurance is that usually, policyholders pay their veterinarian and are then reimbursed for the expenses at the agreed-upon rate. Some pet parents may feel that if they are going to have to front the costs, to begin with, they may as well make their own arrangements to cover their pet’s health care. Options include maintaining an emergency line of credit or a savings account, but just like pet insurance, both of these options have their own pros and cons.

We’ve reviewed all the options available and have narrowed down our recommendations to the companies and policies we feel are the best options for our clients and will help us provide the best care possible for your pet. We’d love to discuss these options with you to see whether or not you feel pet insurance can help you provide your pet the health care she deserves. We do try to talk about pet insurance at every preventive care exam, but please feel free to bring up the topic before we do! We want to help you make the choices that are best for you, your pet and your furry friend’s health.