General Information

Oradell Animal Hospital Veterinarian discusses why cats may drink more and lose weight

Posted by d2030478 on April 20, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Question:  For the past few weeks my 13 year old cat has been drinking more water.  She is eating fine but she seems to be getting thinner.  What could be wrong? 

Answer:  There are many illnesses that can cause these symptoms.  Here are a few of the more common ones. 

1.  Diabetes mellitus:  Diabetes causes cats to drink more (frequently a lot more!), urinate more and eat more, but they lose weight despite their great appetite.

2.  Kidney disease:  The first symptom of kidney disease in cats is often excessive thirst.  At first the cat’s appetite may be fine, but eventually the appetite diminishes and they begin to lose weight.

3.  Hyperactive thyroid:  Many cats with an overactive thyroid lose weight even though they are usually eating more than ever, and some cats also drink more than than before.

 4.  Liver disease:  Certain types of liver disease cause increased thirst and weight loss without changing a cat’s appetite.

All of these conditions can potentially be helped, so be sure to take your pet to your veterinarian.  Routine laboratory testing can determine if these diseases are present, and your veterinarian can then discuss how to intervene and help your pet.

[doctor name = “Rita Angelo”]

Oradell Animal Hospital Veterinarian Says, “Be On Guard For Venemous Snakes”

Posted by d2030478 on April 10, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Our area is home to two native species of venomous snakes.  Although not as common as nonvenomous species of snakes both can be encountered in the hilly and forested areas of Northern New Jersey. The timber rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus, has jagged brown and black bands on its body and is often found in rocky crevices. Its most distinctive feature is the rattle on the tail, although many non-venomous snakes will mimic the rattlesnake by shaking their tails on leaves and twigs.  The copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen, is more difficult to identify from other species of snakes.  It has dark colored hourglass-shaped bands from side to side and highly variable coloration.  Both snakes tend to be reclusive and bite only when threatened.   With their natural hunting instincts, however, dogs and cats may get bitten by trying to play with or kill these snakes.

Once bitten, a pet will experience clinical signs based on the amount of venom injected and the size of the pet.  The toxins in the snake venom can cause a variety of signs including swelling, severe tissue damage, bleeding tendencies, seizures, paralysis, and death.  These signs can take hours to develop. 

If your dog or cat is bitten, do not attempt to capture or kill the snake.  Under New Jersey’s Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act, it is illegal to kill, harm, harass or collect any native, non-game wildlife.  Instead, photograph the snake to aid in identification and seek veterinary care immediately.  Try to keep the pet calm and immobile.  Be careful as the bite area may be extremely painful and it may be best to muzzle your pet for your own safety.  Do not attempt to cut over the bite, apply a tourniquet or ice pack the area.  Transport the pet to a veterinary facility where antivenin can be administered and the pet stabilized.  With proper care most pets can survive envenomation, but permanent damage may occur.

[doctor name = “Frank Boren”]

Oradell Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Laura Eirmann discusses obesity

Posted by d2030478 on March 14, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Q: I have a 4 year old female Labrador retriever who weighs 85 lbs.  My veterinarian told me she is overweight and needs to lose over 10 lbs.  What suggestions do you have to help her lose weight?

A: Your Labrador is not alone. More of our pets are becoming overweight or obese.  A recent veterinary survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 53% of adult dogs and 55% of cats were classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarian.  Unfortunately, pet owners may not be aware that their pet is overweight nor may they realize the potential health consequences. Pet obesity is associated with several serious and debilitating health conditions including osteoarthritis and diabetes mellitus. It has been shown that overweight dogs have a decreased life span when compared to dogs who maintain a lean body condition.  Reducing weight in overweight arthritic dogs improves mobility. It’s never too late to help your pet achieve a healthy weight.

You have a very good veterinarian who identified this important health condition.  For readers who are unsure if their pet is at an optimal weight, I would encourage you to ask your veterinarian. Your pet should have a waist that can either be seen or felt when viewed from above and you should be able feel her ribs with just a slight fat covering. Find out what your pet weighed last year to see if she has gained weight.  One tip that will help with your dog’s weight loss plan is to determine how many calories she is currently eating.  If you are not already doing so, measure the amount of pet food you are feeding.  You can contact the manufacturer to find out how many calories are in a cup or can of her food.  Treats, chews, and table foods are often a major source of extra calories. All foods have calories and need to be counted in a weight loss plan.  Pet food manufacturers can tell you how many calories are in the treats and rawhide chews that you might be feeding.  The amount of calories in table foods can either be found on the package or researched on-line. As a general guideline, treats, chews, and table foods should not comprise more than 10% of your pet’s total daily calorie intake.  Therefore feeding lower calorie treats such as green beans rather than higher calorie fatty meats or rawhides may help.  Also, give more “non-food” rewards such as a scratch on the head or a quick game of fetch so that the majority of your interactions are not food focused.  Ask your veterinarian to recommend a complete and balanced food that is formulated for weight loss. These diets are specially formulated to deliver all the nutrition your pet needs while consuming fewer calories. Many also have certain nutrients that can help you pet feel full while losing weight.  It’s very important that cats do not lose weight too quickly or they may develop a very serious condition called hepatic lipidosis, so ask your veterinarian for guidance regarding feeding amounts.  The key to successful weight loss is monitoring.  Weigh your pet every 2-4 weeks to make sure she is losing at an appropriate rate.  The amount of calories your individual pet needs to lose weight may be very different from another pet, so the feeding amount will vary from pet to pet.  Your veterinarian can help you develop an appropriate plan for your pet.

Low impact exercise such as walking or swimming can be a great way to burn calories, but ask your veterinarian if you pet has any conditions that might restrict the amount or type of exercise.  Cats may enjoy playing with you by chasing a laser pointer or using an interactive feeding toy so that they can “hunt” for their food.

Helping your pet achieve a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do for her overall health.  As with diet plans in people, it takes some commitment and determination, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Work with your veterinarian to tailor a plan that will be successful for your pet.

[doctor name = “Laura Eirmann”]

Dr. Theresa Hess of Oradell Animal Hospital, Paramus NJ, Discusses The Importance of Cat Neutering

Posted by d2030478 on March 07, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Why is it important to neuter my cat?

A male cat’s reproductive system has an impact on your own household, as well as society as a whole. There are over 6-8 million homeless animals that enter animal shelters yearly, with over half of these animals being euthanized due to over population, limited space, health concerns, and behavior issues. 

Neutering your cat requires a surgical procedure that excises (removes) the testicles. This surgery is recommended prior to your cat reaching puberty (typically by 6 months of age). There is minimal recovery associated with this procedure, and often the cat leaves the hospital the same day as the surgery. There is usually no bleeding or swelling associated with the operation and pain medicine and antibiotics are rarely indicated once the patient has been discharged from the hospital.

The main reason to neuter your cat is to reduce or eliminate the incidence of objectionable behaviors (roaming, fighting, and urine marking) that are normal in the feline world, but unacceptable in the human world. More than 90% of cats neutered will display a reduced tendency to roam around the neighborhood and fight, with a 60% in reduction of these behaviors immediately after the surgery. Over 90% of neutered cats will also have a reduced tendency of urine marking (spraying urine in inappropriate places), with an approximately 80% reduction in this behavior immediately following surgery. Cats neutered prior to puberty do not develop secondary sex characteristics, including a more muscular body, thickening around the face (shields), and spines on the penis.

Neutering your pet is also highly cost-effective. The cost of surgery for your cat to be neutered is far less than the costs associated with caring for and raising a litter of kittens. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom cat escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray! Furthermore, neutering eliminates the risk of developing testicular cancer later in life.

Myth – early neutering is more likely to prevent objectionable behaviors as opposed to those cats neutered at a later age. Regardless of age, the same reduction in behaviors is seen after surgery.

Myth – neutering your cat will make him fat. Lack of exercise and overfeeding will pack on the extra pounds, not neutering. Your cat will remain fit and trim as long as you monitor his caloric intake and provide him with adequate exercise.

Myth – kittens neutered early will be stunted or small. This is not true; however, your kitten will not develop a more masculine appearance.

Myth – early neutered kittens will have a narrowed urethra that will predispose them to a urinary obstruction. There is no proven association with early neutering and feline lower urinary tract disease.

Please be a responsible pet owner. Neutering your cat is the only 100% effective method of birth control.

[doctor name = “Theresa Hess”]

Dr. Mary Ann Crawford from Oradell Animal Hospital discusses Cushing’s Disease in dogs

Posted by d2030478 on February 27, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Q:  I have a 12 year old female Boston Terrier, Charlie, who has recently been drinking loads of water and urinating in the house, and steals food from the other dog and cat and even from the dinner table!  My vet feels she may have Cushing’s disease.  He offered radiation therapy, but I have been trying some homeopathic products like Cushex drops from  It doesn’t seem to be working.  Can you comment? 

A:  I can sympathize with your situation with Charlie drinking and urinating so much (polydipsia and polyuria), along with excessive hunger (polyphagia), all of which are among the most common symptoms we see with Cushing’s disease due to an excessive amount of cortisol production from the adrenal gland(s).  Other common problems include muscle weakness, hair loss, urinary or respiratory infections from a suppressed immune system, and a potbellied appearance from tremendous liver enlargement.  The diagnosis of Cushing’s disease is usually confirmed with hormone testing (ACTH stimulation or low dose dexamethasone suppression testing), before any treatments are administered.  It is one of the most common endocrinopathies (glandular diseases) we see in older dogs.

Because most of the dogs are older and often have concurrent medical conditions, the workup prior to treatment includes basic blood chemistries and urinalysis, chest radiographs, urine culture, abdominal ultrasound, and blood pressure testing.  Pituitary dependent Cushing’s disease (PDH) is the most common form of the disease.  In this form of the disease a small tumor (adenoma) exists in the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain.  Occasionally Cushing’s disease is due to a tumor in the adrenal gland instead of the pituitary gland. 

            The most common treatments for Cushing’s disease are medical for PDH, and surgical for a single adrenal mass.  In the very rare instance of a pituitary macroadenoma, identified by MRI imaging, radiation therapy is recommended.   Although it requires close monitoring, medical therapies are usually very successful in controlling the symptoms of Cushing’s disease and improving the quality of life for both the patient and the pet owner.  Lysodren (generically known as mitotane) has been the traditional medical therapy until recently.  It directly destroys the part of the adrenal gland responsible for the production of cortisone.   I was involved in a multi center study to test a drug called trilostane on newly diagnosed Cushing’s disease patients or patients who had not responded well to Lysodren.  Trilostane is now available in theUS, marketed under the name Vetoryl. Trilostane is an inhibitor of an enzyme involved in the production of several steroid hormones including cortisol.  I now use trilostane almost exclusively for the treatment of Cushing’s disease in dogs, and I have been extremely pleased with the results.  Although both drugs can have side effects and require frequent monitoring, trilostane appears to be handled better by most patients.

I would consider seeking the advice of a veterinary internist as to the type of Cushing’s disease Charlie may have and the possible therapies to address it.  PDH due to a macroadenoma requiring radiation therapy would be an extremely rare condition.  I have not found holistic therapies to be of use in the management of this condition, but have been very pleased in the response of most patients to medical or surgical therapies.  Except in very rare circumstances, the diagnosis and treatment is not considered a medical emergency.  Although fatal complications from Cushing’s disease can occur, the condition is usually a chronic one, and some patients may go for years untreated.  Best of luck with Charlie and I hope she does well!

[doctor name = “Mary Crawford”]

Oradell Animal Hospital veterinarian offers advice on treatment for dogs and cats with burns

Posted by d2030478 on February 21, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

What do I do if my dog or cat gets burned?


Burn wounds can be caused by heat, chemicals, or electricity.  Some common causes of burns in animals are a hot car engine or tailpipe, hot air dryers, spilled fluids and fire.  With dogs and cats caught in house fires, the first concern should be breathing.  Carbon monoxide and ash in smoke can be life-threatening and taking your pet to your veterinarian for assessment and oxygen treatment should happen quickly.

Skin burns can be obvious with full thickness (3rd degree) burns, but other burns can be harder to see because of the hair coat.  Some burns don’t become obvious until one to two weeks later.  The temperature of the source of the burn affects how long it takes to cause a burn: at 111º it would take 6 hours, at 124º it would take only 4 minutes, but at 158º, it takes less than one second to burn.  Immediately treatment of burned skin should include removal of the heat source and running room temperature water over the area.  Cold water can make the damage worse.  It is a good idea to shave the hair in the area for mild burns so the skin can be watched closely for any worsening.  Depending of the depth of the burn a topical antibiotic cream can be helpful.

With burns that are deep or that cover a large area of the body or that involve the mouth, eyes, or genitals, then treatment at your veterinarian is best.  The burns can be treated with surgical removal and closure of normal surrounding skin or they can be treated with bandaging to allow for the skin to heal on its own.  How long the burn takes to heal varies with how large and deep the burn was, but could take one to three months for complete healing to occur.  Excessive scarring, bacterial infections, and chronic pain are important factors that must be controlled during treatment.

[doctor name = “Jonathan Miller”]

Tibial tuberosity advancement for the treatment of tearing of the cranial cruciate ligament in dogs.

Posted by d2030478 on February 15, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Hot News

Jonathan Miller, DVM, MS, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Surgeons

             Tearing of the cranial (or anterior) cruciate ligament (CrCL) in dogs commonly occurs in middle aged, overweight dogs, but we have seen it in dogs as young as 10 months old.  The limp or lameness can happen suddenly or it can wax and wane for months.  Anti-inflammatory medications will help the patient to feel better, but in dogs over 15 to 20 pounds, surgery is required to achieve the best possible outcome.  In medium to large breed dogs the treatment of choice at Oradell Animal Hospital is tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA).  At the time of surgery, the “knee joint” (in dogs called the stifle joint) is examined either in the traditional open method or with arthroscopy to assess the integrity of the CrCL and remove any damaged portion.  The joint is also inspected for degree of arthritis and the medial meniscus (cartilage) is examined because 1/3 of dogs with a CrCL tear will also tear the meniscus.  Then, instead of trying to replace the ligament, the forces around the knee are adjusted by moving the front of the lower bone (tibia) forward to stabilize the joint.  This action eliminates the force pushing the tibia forward when the CrCL is not functioning properly (See Figures 1 and 2).  This involves cutting the bone and placing a titanium spacer in order to keep the bone in its new position.  Additionally, a plate is applied to reinforce the repair.  

            Following surgery, the knee needs to be protected from overuse by restricting the dog from running, jumping, rough play, or fast stairs.  Walking is encouraged as part of a detailed postoperative rehabilitation plan.  Pain medications and antibiotics are routinely used following orthopedic surgery.  Typically, the patient is seen at 2 weeks for staple or suture removal and again at 2 months for recheck x-rays of the stifle to assess bone healing (See Figure 3).  At this time an increase in activity back to a normal level is expected.  Many dogs will eventually tear their other CrCL, so keeping them lean and active to improve muscle strength is important.

Figure 1 showing a force vector diagram of instability caused by CrCL tear.

Figure 2 showing the balancing of the stifle’s forces following TTA surgery.

Figure 3 demonstrating typical bone healing seen at two months after TTA surgery.

 Dr. Miller has successfully performed TTA surgery in hundreds of dogs.  He received his master’s degree evaluating the biomechanics of TTA in dogs which he presented at a national surgery conference and has published two scientific articles on the subject:

 Miller JM, Shires PK, Lanz OI, Martin RA, Grant JW. Effect of 9mm tibial tuberosity advancement on the canine cranial cruciate deficient stifle. Vet Surg 2007;36:335-340.

 Hoffmann DE, Miller JM, Ober CP, Lanz OI, Martin RA, Shires PK. Tibial tuberosity advancement in 65 canine stifles. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2006;19:219-227.

Oradell Animal Hospital Oncologist Discusses Secondhand Smoke and Pets’ Health

Posted by d2030478 on February 06, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Are the effects of second hand cigarette smoke as harmful to cats and dogs as it is to humans? I have never seen this discussed anywhere.

            This is a variation of one of the most commonly asked questions by pet owners once they are given a diagnosis of cancer in their family pet – how did this happen? Unfortunately, this is a very complicated question and there is rarely a single cause of cancer. Although it is very difficult to establish a clear cause and effect between something like second hand smoke and cancer in pets, the evidence for environmental factors being involved is mounting in veterinary medicine.

            One study revealed only a slight increase in the development of lung cancer in dogs living with a smoker and this risk did not increase with greater second hand smoke exposure. There is actually more evidence linking second hand smoke with other types of cancers in pets. Cats living in a household with a smoker have been shown to have an increased risk of developing both lymphoma and cancer of the mouth (squamous cell carcinoma). Regarding lymphoma, the risk became even greater with increased time and amount of exposure to the smoke. It is suspected that cats are at greater risk of problems from second hand smoke because the smoke settles on their fur which is then ingested during their fastidious grooming habits. This results in ingestion of the carcinogens with high concentrations in the oral cavity.

            Along with these findings in cats, there is concern over environmental factors being linked to cancer in dogs. There is some evidence of a potential increased risk of bladder cancer in dogs that have been exposed to certain types of herbicides and pesticides. There is also a reported increased incidence of lymphoma, cancer of the tonsils, and cancer of the nasal passages in dogs that live in urban areas as opposed to rural settings.

            Despite all of these reports of possible environmental causes of cancer in pets, there have been no definitively proven links. Cancer takes time to develop; often extended periods of exposure to a carcinogen are needed in order for the damage to be done that can ultimately result in cancer. This means that pets may be less affected by these situations compared to humans who can potentially have decades of exposure to second hand smoke and other dangerous substances. However, it does make sense for pet owners to take any precautions possible to try to limit their four-legged family members’ exposure to potential carcinogens. This preventative strategy combined with regular examinations by your veterinarian is the best way to try to ensure your pets stay healthy.  

 [doctor name = “Stephen Brenn”]

Can dogs be given Pepto-Bismol for an upset stomach?

Posted by d2030478 on January 30, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

According to Dr. Lori Siracuse-Parker, veterinarain at Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, NJ, Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) can be used in some dogs occasionally for an upset stomach/diarrhea. It is also sometimes used by veterinarians to treat certain gastrointestinal illnesses. You should always call your veterinarian before giving any over the counter medication as many are potentially toxic to our pets. You should always contact your veterinarian for an appropriate dose and to make sure there is no contraindication to giving Pepto-Bismol based on your dogs clinical signs, medical history, and other medications your pet may be taking. It is important to know that Pepto-Bismol contains aspirin so it should not be used in dogs that are sensitive to aspirin, those with a history of GI ulcers or bleeding disorders, or in combination with steroids or other non-steroidal medications. To do so could cause a fatal bleeding episode. 

[doctor name = “Lori Siracuse-Parker”]

Oradell Animal Hospital veterinarian says “Dog Vaccinations Are Ongoing”

Posted by d2030478 on January 23, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

“My dog was vaccinated as a puppy. Does he need ongoing vaccination?”

Vaccination, in dogs as in people, is a great way to help the body protect itself from different diseases. A vaccination stimulates the immune system to learn to fight a disease. Often, the body needs a “booster” vaccination to keep the immune system’s arsenal in top shape.

For a puppy to be fully protected, it needs a few booster shots during its first months of life. While there are many different vaccines out there, not every puppy needs every shot. Each type of vaccine has its own schedule to keep your dog’s body able to fight off disease. There are “core” vaccines, which include protection against the most common and most dangerous diseases. “Non-core” vaccines are for diseases that your dog may or may not be exposed to – depending on the area you live in, and you and your dog’s lifestyle.

Core vaccines include Rabies, and a mixed vaccination including canine distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus.  These vaccines are given to puppies usually in a series of three and then repeated every 1-3 years, depending on the type of vaccination your veterinarian uses, and the laws and recommendations in your area. If you travel outside of the U.S. with your dog, the rabies booster may have to be given more often.

Another common vaccine is  Bordetella, to protect against canine cough. This can be given as a liquid squirted into your dog’s nose, or as an injection. To keep up proper protection, this vaccine needs to be repeated every 6-12 months. Since this disease is very contagious between dogs, most boarding kennels and play groups require all dogs to be up-to-date on this vaccine.

Leptospirosis and Lyme disease are also rather common in our area.  Your veterinarian may recommend vaccination against either or both of these diseases depending on your dog’s risk factors such as the area you live in and where your dog plays.

It’s important to remember that not all vaccinations, even when given on the ideal schedule, can prevent disease 100% of the time. The main goal is to help your dog fight off disease, so that if he is exposed the resulting sickness will be much less severe. Other important ways to protect your dog’s health include flea, tick, heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention and regular wellness screening.

Discussing your dog’s lifestyle and risk factors with your veterinarian during your annual wellness visits will help you work out the best personalized schedule for vaccinations, parasite prevention, and screening tests.

[doctor name = “Karen Joy Goldenberg”]

  • Oradell Veterinary Group of Hasbrouck Heights

    Oradell Veterinary Group of Hasbrouck Heights
    273 Boulevard
    Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604
    (201) 288-0299
  • Office Hours:

    Oradell Veterinary of Hasbrouck Heights
    Monday-Thursday 8:30AM - 7:30PM
    Friday 8:30AM - 5PM
    Saturday 8:30AM - 1PM
    Patients are seen by appointment only.
    Call: (201) 288-0299

    For Emergencies Call: (201) 262-0010
    Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus offers 24/7 Critical & Emergency Care

    We are an AAHA-accredited veterinary hospital. That means we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Pets are our passion.
    And keeping them healthy is our #1 priority. Here, we strive to deliver excellent care for pets. Because your pets deserve nothing less.

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