The veterinarians and staff at the Worth Street Veterinary Center are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Researches Warn Against Raw Meat Diets for Pets

A new study published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association cautions pet owners against raw meat-based diets, saying that the diet may “lack nutritional balance and cause illness.” The study notes that, while many who feed their pets a raw meat-based diet believe it is a more natural option for cats and dogs, there are significant risks involved.

Researchers noted that raw meat-based diets often do not provide adequate nutrition for pets, and can carry food-borne illnesses, which have proved fatal in some cases. In one case, salmonella was found in 48% of raw meat-based diets. The researchers ultimately concluded that, in the case of raw meat-based diets, “the risks outweigh any minimal benefits.”

Fearful Cat

When your cat feels threatened, he may have a variety of responses. Generally he follows a pattern or displays one of three reactions: fight, flight or freeze. Each cat has a preferred way of dealing with a crisis. Knowing how your cat reacts to a perceived threat and what may cause your cat to consider a situation threatening helps you better understand your cat.

Common fearful reactions include hiding, freezing in place, loss of bladder and/or bowel control and aggression. Aggression can manifest in spitting, hissing, growling, swatting, biting, scratching and puffing up of fur. These are all normal behaviors if your cat feels scared or threatened. Your reaction to your cat's behavior is most important. Wanting to help and comfort your cat when he is frightened is natural; however, it isn't necessarily the best thing to do. Providing your cat with a safe and protected place (a box, space in the closet, under the bed) is often the best decision. Allowing your cat to deal with his fear is healthy as long as his aggression is not destructive and/or directed at you or other pets.

Many things can trigger fearful behavior in cats. The trigger could almost be anything, and until you learn what it is that initiates this behavior in your cat, you need to closely observe him when faced with new situations. Common triggers can be a particular person, a stranger in your home, another animal, a child, loud noises, household appliances and so on. It is important to note if your cat's behavior changes when faced with potentially frightening situations. In other words, the vacuum may draw an initial fearful response, but gradually change into acceptance. By noting your cat's ability to adapt to scary situations over time, you can learn quite a bit about his personality.

Hiding is a common fearful behavior.

So what can you do to reduce your cat's anxiety or fear? To help him become more confident and secure, follow the steps described below.

  • Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a thorough physical exam to rule out any medical reasons for your cat's fearful behavior. Cats very often show symptoms of sickness in their behavior. Any sudden behavior change could mean that your cat is ill. Common symptoms that appear in sick cats include unusual aggressiveness, frequent hiding and eliminating outside the litter box.
  • If your cat is healthy but hiding, leave him alone. He'll come out when he's ready. To force your cat out of his hiding spot will only encourage fearful behavior. Make sure he has access to food, water and a litter box from his hiding place, and avoid "checking in" on him. By giving him space, you will not be conceived as a threat, therefore giving him a sense of security.
  • If you have identified a specific person or circumstance that stimulates fear in your cat, minimize contact with that particular person or situation.
  • Keep your cats routine as regular as possible. Cats feel more confident if they know what to expect daily. Feeding, playing, cuddling, grooming and napping generally round out a cat's existence. Interfering with you cat's routine may cause him to behave as though threatened.
College Bound Pet Owners

Going off to college?

Think carefully before getting a pet!

Going off to college is an exciting time. It can also be a lonely time for students who find themselves far from family and friends. Perhaps this seems like the perfect time to adopt a dog or cat.

Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment. It is unfortunate that many people adopt pets without realistic expectations of the time, effort, and expense that is involved in caring for them responsibly.

Juggling the demands of school and the demands of caring for a pet can be difficult.

If you already have a pet at home and are thinking of bringing him to school, if possible, give yourself at least one semester to determine if you'll be able to maintain quality pet care, despite the demands of being a full-time student.

Remember, few colleges allow pets in campus housing and finding a rental that permits pets can be quite a challenge.

If you really need a fur fix, why not volunteer at the local humane society? You'll learn all about the responsibilities of caring for a pet and be better prepared to assume those responsibilities when the time is right.

Selecting a Boarding Kennel For Your Dog

Every owner wants to find a well-run boarding kennel for their pet, but how do you tell if it is well-run? Here's a ten point check list for any facility you are considering.

  1. Do They Allow Inspection?
    You should be able to tour the whole facility with little advance notice. Any facility which refuses a tour is suspect. Many facilities are very busy and have specific tour hours. Please be respectful of their visiting hours.
  2. Dogs Should Look Happy
    While touring the kennel, most of the dogs should be up near or on the gates wagging their tails, barking and generally making a nuisance of themselves. One or two may hang back, but most should be up front.
  3. Fencing
    Double fencing is a must. Double fencing is one line of well maintained fence with another line of equally well maintained fence a few feet away. This ensures that even if a dog does get out of his run, he is still contained. Single fence facilities are OK; however, double fencing is much better.
  4. Doors
    There should always be two doors between your animal and freedom. Facilities which have doors directly to the outside in the kennel area are accidents waiting to happen.
  5. A Member of ABKA?
    ABKA stands for American Boarding Kennel Association, and is a good sign of the owner's commitment to professionalism. It isn't a guarantee, and lack of it does not mean the kennel isn't first-class, but it is reassuring to see the ABKA logo.
  6. Requires Vaccinations
    Good kennels require proof of up-to-date vaccinations including kennel cough (bordatella). Never leave an animal in a kennel where vaccinations are not required. This is your only guarantee against some major contagious diseases.
  7. Smells Clean
    Your nose knows. A boarding kennel filled with dogs will smell like dogs. Along with dogs, you may well smell disinfectant. There shouldn't be an overwhelming stench of urine or feces. Occasionally a dog comes in for boarding who isn't clean in their indoor pen, but these are rare. If more than a couple of dogs have urine and/or feces in their indoor areas, something is wrong.
  8. Indoor/Outdoor Runs
    These are attached runs with an individual door for each dog. This situation is safer and less stressful for your pet than being kept in a crate and taken outside a few times daily. The exception to this is dogs who may become frightened in the kennel. For these dogs, crating in a quieter area is best.
  9. Boarding Kennels and Disease
    No matter how excellent the kennel, boarding is still a stressful experience for most dogs. Stress leaves animals susceptible to disease. Also, not all vaccinations are 100 percent effective. Even dogs who have been vaccinated against kennel cough and viral diarrhea can pick up a strain not covered by the vaccine. Even a carefully run facility will occasionally have an intestinal bug. We take for granted that our children will get colds or skin a knee at school or camp, yet we are surprised when our dogs do the canine equivalent at a kennel.
  10. Provide Information
    If an emergency occurs, the kennel's obligation is to inform you of the situation (if possible), get the dog the necessary veterinary care while at their facility, and to practice thorough sanitation measures. Disease is rare at a good facility - but it can happen. That's just part of the package when your board your dog. Because of this, elderly dogs; puppies under six months of age; fearful, anxious dogs, and dogs with immune problems are best cared for in a home environment.
Ten Best U.S. Cities for Dog Owners

U.S. News & World Report studied hundreds of U.S. cities and graded them on dog-friendly factors to come up with a list of the ten best. The grading system included information on:

  • weather
  • population density
  • availability of green space
  • availability of dog parks
  • pet-friendly housing
  • local laws and regulations

The pet-friendliest cities have a variety of dog amenities such as leash-free fenced dog parks, separate parks for large and small dogs, and great weather for walking in all seasons. Here is their list, along with the factors that contributed to the ranking:

  1. Ellicott City, MD: Mild weather and lots of public parks and "green" areas
  2. Rocky Point, NY: Dogs are allowed on the beaches, and can swim in Long Island Sound during summer mornings and evenings.
  3. Auburn, AL: Kiesel Park boasts a garden, a pond, and a 2-1/4 mile walking trail for dogs and owners. There's also a fenced in, off-leash area designated for dogs.
  4. Butte, MT: Lots of surrounding hiking areas where dogs are welcome.
  5. Yankton, SD: A hearty outdoor recreation culture. Dogs are often included in hunting activities.
  6. Lewiston, ID: More than 20 public parks, and 7 square miles of green space within 15 miles provide outdoor walking and hiking areas that welcome dogs.
  7. Glasgow, KY: Near Bowling Green, this area has 80 square miles of surrounding green space friendly to dogs, and a park with separate areas for large and small dogs.
  8. Aiken, SC: Hopeland Gardens, a 14-acre park in the city, lets dogs on leash wander through paths and gardens.
  9. Flower Mound, TX: Fantastic weather and an active, well-respected animal services department make this a pet friendly city.
  10. Wolf Trap, VA: This and surrounding towns have off-leash dog parks and other dog-friendly amenities. Dynamic local organizations (Arlington Dogs, e.g.) advocate for dog-owner rights.

Other organizations have their own "top ten" lists ranking dog-friendly areas. Portland, Oregon, ranks well among all the lists due to many pet-friendly hotels, motels and inns as well as a liberal pet policy on state beaches.

Portland is also home to the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company, where dogs are welcome to follow their owners into the bar. Many restaurants, especially in summer months, allow dogs and even cater to them with special treats.

The dog-friendly website,, compiled its own top ten list and ranked cities not only for their pet amenities, but also for the number of times the city showed up on a pet-friendly list.

Their results:

  1. Portland: 56 points on 8 lists
  2. Colorado Springs: 38 points on 5 lists
  3. Austin: 36 points on 6 lists
  4. NYC: 33 points, on 6 lists
  5. Seattle: 28 points on 5 lists
  6. San Diego: 28 points on 5 lists
  7. Chicago: 24 points, on 4 lists
  8. San Francisco: 20 points on 4 lists
  9. Boston: 20 points, on 3 lists
  10. Orlando: 17 points on 3 lists

Do you live in a pet friendly place? Definitions vary, but generally, pet friendly places lack regulations that restrict where animals can go. In a pet friendly city, there are dog parks, fenced no-leash dog run areas, restaurants with water dishes on the floor, and an abundance of pet services. Active Humane Societies and adequate numbers of veterinarians and animal hospitals also serve the pet friendly community.

VIDEO: Senior Pets

For years, many pet owners just accepted the fact that their four-legged friends were just going to live a relatively short life, get old, and pass on. But modern veterinary medicine can help pets live longer with less painful or debilitating problems. Watch for changes in thirst, appetite, bad breath, lumps and changes in behavior. See your veterinarian more often and work out a senior wellness plan to help your pet live happy senior years. Watch this video to learn more.

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