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

The Truth About Avocados

For many, avocado has long been one of those fruits considered to be on the do not eat list for pets. Now more popular than ever, the truth is that if Fido or Whiskers sneaks a taste of your fresh guacamole, you don’t need to rush him to a veterinarian. In fact, you probably don’t need to do anything.

Semi-Safe for Cats and Dogs

The bark and leaves of an avocado tree and the seed and skin of the fruit itself contain an oil-soluble toxin known as persin. Although cited as causing vomiting and diarrhea in cats and dogs, new information suggests it’s not that dangerous - even when eaten in large quantities. According to the ASPCA, only mild stomach upset may occur if your cat or dog eats a significant amount of avocado flesh or peel.

The greater danger comes from pets who get ahold of the whole fruit and ingest its large, ping pong ball-sized pit. If the seed gets stuck in your pet’s throat, stomach or intestinal tract, he or she will require emergency veterinary care.

Still A Danger for Other Pets

Birds, rabbits, horses, and some other large animals are sensitive to the persin found in avocados. They can experience respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and even death following ingestion.

Canaries, parakeets, cockatiels and large parrots are considered the birds most susceptible to persin toxicity. They should never be fed avocado or guacamole. Symptoms of avocado poisoning in birds include those mentioned above, as well as the inability to perch. Treatment can be given if caught early and may be successful, but most birds do not survive poisonings because of their high metabolic rate and anatomy.

Given that avocado may cause your pooch or kitty an upset stomach, it’s recommended to be safe rather than sorry – that goes for all human food and table scraps. If your pet ingests avocado and shows concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

Veterinary Medicine Has Come A Long Way

Advancements in medical knowledge and technology aren’t reserved for mankind alone. During the past decade or so, veterinary medicine has seen significant advances that are helping pets live longer, healthier lives.

Many of the diagnostic and treatment methods used on humans are available for animals. Recent advancements in veterinary medicine include:

• MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) – Debuted at Cornell University’s veterinary hospital, 2004 saw the introduction of MRI for use in veterinary medicine. MRI works especially well on soft tissue and is considered the most advanced diagnostic imaging tool available. No other diagnostic tool can provide as complete or deep an image of the body and any injury or disease it may harbor.

• Laparoscopy – Also known as keyhole surgery, laparoscopy allows veterinarians to view organs in the abdomen without the need for invasive, and sometimes dangerous, exploratory surgery. A laparoscope is a thin tube with a camera on one end, which is inserted into the body through a small incision. The image is magnified and projected in real-time onto a monitor in the operating room.

• Prosthetics – The last decade saw the advance of a number of different prosthetics and prosthetic-like devices for animals with disabilities. Gone are the days when a missing limb was synonymous with euthanasia. Pets with three limbs or less can now experience full lives and near-normal mobility.

• Laser Surgery – Laser surgery was once for human eyes only, but can now be beneficial for veterinary spays and neuters, declaws, ear surgery and more. Laser incisions and procedures generally result in less pain, less bleeding, and a faster recovery.

• Laser Therapy – Laser therapy is a painless FDA approved medical procedure that uses low-level lasers to stimulate the natural healing capabilities of the body’s cells. It is effective at promoting healing on a cellular level as well as decreasing inflammation after surgery, injury or areas of the body affected by chronic illnesses such as arthritis or acute conditions such as otitis.

• Stem Cell Therapy – Several practices have begun offering this treatment for pets. The therapy isolates stem cells from an animal’s fat tissue and then reintroduces them into damaged areas. Stem cell therapy can be used in cases of arthritis, where the cells can become new cartilage cells with natural anti-inflammatory properties that effectively reduce pain and increase mobility.

• Acupuncture – Another alternative therapy that has been introduced to animal medicine, many veterinarians are seeking training and certification in veterinary acupuncture. According to the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture, it can be used to treat the symptoms accompanying ailments ranging from hip dysplasia to chronic degenerative joint disease.

• Vaccine Schedule Adjustments – Just as in the human realm, some pet owners bought into the anti-vaccine movement of the last decade. While not vaccinating against any harmful diseases or illness is rarely recommended, there has been a significant shift to balanced vaccine schedules catered to the individual animal to combat over or under vaccination. Your veterinarian will determine the best protocol for your pet based on its health, age and environmental risks.

VIDEO - Why Parasite Control Really Matters

Dr. Mike Paul, former head of the Companion Animal Parasite Council, discusses why parasite control really matters.

Take Your Dog to Work Day is Friday, June 24

Every dog has its day.

Take Your Dog to Work Day

Initially celebrated in 1999, Pet Sitters International's Take Your Dog To Work Day® (TYDTWDay®) was created for two reasons: first, to celebrate dogs’ innate virtues of loyalty, love and dedication to their human companions, and second, to encourage canine adoption from rescue shelters, humane societies and breed rescue clubs. This year, the annual event occurs on Friday, June 21 and employers are encouraged to support TYDTWDay by opening their workplace to employees’ canine friends. Participation will create an immediate “feel good” workplace environment and allow your staff to meet each other's special family members.

Looking for additional ways to celebrate and support this popular day?

- Solicit photos and designate a bulletin board for a “Dog/Owner Look-Alike Contest”
- Host a Pet Fair. Provide ASPCA or shelter materials and client educational materials regarding dog adoption, preventive care, training, diets, etc.
- Award a “Top Dog” honor- which employee’s dog can do the best trick, has the cutest face or the most endearing personality?

So don’t let sleeping dogs lie. Win over your employees and your clients by participating in this fun annual event… and watch as wagging tails spread office joy.

June is Adopt-A-Cat Month - Here's How to Find the Right One

You may have heard the saying, "You own a dog, but you feed a cat." It is true that cats value their independence a bit more than their canine counterparts. But, if you've ever been around cats, you already know they crave and require love and companionship. Cats make wonderful pets and most easily adjust to a variety of lifestyles and living spaces. Every cat is a true individual though, so it's important to take the time to choose a four-footed friend who's right for you. A cat's personality, age and appearance, as well as the kinds of pets you already have at home, are all things you should keep in mind when making your selection.

If you've ever been to a shelter, you have probably noticed that some cats meow and head butt the cage door while others simply lie back and gaze at you with a look of total ambiguity. There are as many different personalities of cats as there are cats in the shelter. Which disposition is best for you? YOU have to decide.

Regardless of individual personality, look for a cat that is playful, active, alert, and comfortable while being held. At the shelter, ask an adoption counselor for assistance when you wish to spend some time with individual cats. Because they are in an unfamiliar environment, some cats that are usually quite social may be frightened or passive while in the shelter.

As a general rule, kittens are curious, playful, and full of energy, while adult cats are more relaxed and less mischievous. Kittens also require more time to train and feed. Cats are only kittens for a few months, though, so the age of the cat you adopt should really depend on the level of maturity you are looking for. Young children usually don't have the maturity to handle kittens responsibly, so a cat that is at least four months old is probably the best choice for homes with young children.

They All May Be Cute, But Which Is Right For You?

Though dogs also have differences in coat, choosing the length of coat on a cat is a little different. Because the hair is generally finer and cats generally shed more, hair length can be an important part of your decision. Cats can have long, fluffy coats or short, dense fur, and the choice between the two is chiefly a matter of preference, availability, and your willingness to devote time to regular grooming. Short-haired cats are generally easier to come by since they're the most popular and the most common. Keep in mind that long-haired cats require frequent grooming to remain mat-free. Felines with short coats also require brushing, though less frequently. Most cats enjoy a regular brushing and look forward to this daily ritual.

If you already own a cat or dog, you're probably wondering how easy it is to add a cat to the family. The good news is that cats can get along with other cats, and despite the common stereotype, most dogs can get along with cats too! Unfortunately, introducing a new cat to a home with other pets can be time consuming and require patience on your part.

The best way to handle adding a new cat to the home is to provide time for a period of adjustment. You can do this effectively by isolating your new feline in a room of his own for a while, something that is a good idea for a new cat anyway. After several days, supervise meetings between the animals for periods of increasing length. Most cats will soon learn to accept each other. Some dogs simply won't tolerate the presence of a cat, but by carefully introducing them, most problems can be solved.

No matter which kind of cat you choose, remember that you're making a commitment to love and care for your new feline friend for his or her lifetime. That could mean 10, 15 or even 20 years! So choose you new companion carefully and be a responsible pet owner. In no time at all you'll know how wonderful sharing your home with a cat can be.

For more information about Adopt-A-Cat month, please visit the American Humane Association's website.