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Forest Hills, New York
USA

917-396-4041

A premiere provider of in-home veterinary services for cats, dogs and small mammals. HomeFront Veterinary House Calls offers a number of benefits over a visit to the doctors office. Saving time and providing their clients with peace of mind, HomeFront will come to their patients, whether it be a home or office. For additional information or to make an appointment please contact us

Homefront Veterinary Blog

Stay up-to-date about important topics in pet healthcare by reading Homefront Veterinary Services' Blog.

5 Parasites to Guard Against

shaun provost

As springtime approaches, it’s time to ramp up parasite prevention measures for your pet.  If your pet isn’t on a year-round prevention program, here are some parasites you and your pet need to avoid:

1. Roundworms :
Roundworms are common parasites found in dogs and cats that are not on a regular preventative program. Roundworms are transmitted when an animal ingests the roundworm egg from the ground or from another animal’s feces. Roundworms are zoonotic, meaning they are contagious to people. People who contract roundworms can develop digestive problems as well as blindness. Roundworms are easily preventable, and a dewormer against roundworms is included in most monthly heartworm preventatives.

2.  Hookworms:  Hookworms are intestinal parasites with “suckers” that attach to the intestinal lining causing bleeding, anemia, and digestive problems. Hookworms are transmitted by ingesting the larval stages or by penetration of the skin by the hookworm larvae.
Larvae can also migrate within the body to the lungs and other organs.  Hookworms are other parasites that can infect people. Again, hookworms are easily prevented by administering a monthly heartworm preventative.

3.  Heartworms:  Heartworms are worms that grow inside the heart and prevent the heart from functioning properly.  Heartworm larvae are transmitted by mosquitoes from one infected animal to another animal. Heartworms can cause permanent heart damage, heart failure, and death. Both dogs and cats can get heartworms.  In fact, a 2010 study found that a higher percentage of cats are infected with heartworms than dogs in every state except for Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.  Heartworms can be prevented by administering a monthly heartworm preventative topically or orally.  Animals must be tested to confirm that they
don’t already have the disease before starting the preventative. If dogs are already infected, there is a treatment, but the treatment is expensive and the disease may have already caused permanent heart damage.  Homefront Veterinary House Calls recommends
year-round heartworm prevention for dogs and cats.

4.  Fleas and Ticks:  Most pet owners are all too familiar with these annoying parasites.  Fleas and ticks bite the skin of animals and feed on blood from the host animal.  During the feeding process, fleas and ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, plague, tapeworms, and typhus.  Once animals become hosts to fleas and ticks, the owner’s home can become infested requiring professional
extermination.  Fleas and ticks may be prevented by topical products that eliminate various stages of the pest’s life cycle.  Homefront Veterinary House Calls recommends topical products such as Frontline, Advantage, and Revolution. We believe that these products are more effective and generally safer than flea/tick collars, shampoos, and powders.

5.  Giardia:  Giardia is a parasite that is transmitted through water sources (dogs drinking out of puddles, creeks, lakes, etc).  It causes diarrhea and prevents absorption of nutrients from the GI tract.  Giardiasis can be debilitating if not treated.  Giardia affects 10% of dogs on a regular preventative program, 50% of puppies, and about 11% of cats.  Since signs may be intermittent, we recommend testing for Giardia routinely at the animal’s yearly wellness visit.  General dewormers used for other intestinal parasites and contained in most heartworm preventatives usually do not treat Giardia. For this reason, checking a stool sample for Giardia at least yearly is an important part of a good wellness preventative program.

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Pets

shaun provost

This is the time of year when we all set goals for ourselves for the upcoming year. Don’t forget about your pets!

5  New Year’s Resolutions for Pets

1.  Lose Weight and Eat Better

This is the resolution that is on the cover of magazines, television shows, and most of our lips this time of year. The sad truth is that the obesity epidemic among American people has now become an obesity epidemic for American pets. Today’s pets face unprecedented rates of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and other obesity-related health problems.  Ask your veterinarian what your pet’s ideal weight range is, and what food can best help you reach that goal.

2.  Improve Dental Care

As pets live longer, dental care has become an imperative component of veterinary care.  Poor dental health can lead to gingivitis and heart disease, not to mention unbearably bad breath! Regular veterinary dental exams, brushing, and maybe even a special diet can be used to combat dental problems in pets. Visit your veterinarian to get a brush, advice, and
instructions so that you can start the year off right for your pet’s dental health!

3.  Get a Yearly Check-up

Just as our doctors can detect high cholesterol and high blood pressure during our annual physicals, veterinarians can detect problems in your pet that may not be apparent, and which may be easily prevented or treated if caught early. Too many times, especially in today’s economy, pet owners wait until the pet is ill to visit the veterinarian. If the owner had caught the illness early during a yearly exam, this would have been much healthier for the animal and much less expensive for the owner.  Mark your brand new calendar to schedule your pet’s yearly check-up….you might catch an illness early and have extra money for the holidays at the end of the year!

4.  Prepare for the Unexpected

2011 caught many of us unprepared with floods, blizzards, tornados, and earthquakes.  Many pets were displaced and separated from their owners if shelters were unable to provide for them.  You can prepare your pet for these events by having a pet carrier available, having your pet microchipped, and having information readily available for pet emergency contingency plans in your area.  Always keep extra water and pet food handy. Do your homework and make sure you and your pet are ready to face whatever 2012 brings safely.

5.  An Ounce of Prevention

As the old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
With pets, a few dollars of prevention will save you hundreds of dollars to treat preventable illness.  Monthly heartworm prevention is much less expensive than treatment for heartworm
disease, not to mention the permanent damage done to your pet’s heart. Flea and tick prevention can save you from paying for expensive antibiotics used to treat a flea allergy dermatitis, lyme disease, or ehrlichiosis.  Have your pet tested for heartworms and start
flea and tick prevention now. Spending a few dollars in January may save you a
lot of money when December comes!

To find out how to start your pet on the right path to preventive care in 2012, call
Homefront Veterinary House Calls at (917)396-4041 or e-mail us at homefrontvet@gmail.com.

Is It Necessary to Vaccinate an Indoor Only Cat?

shaun provost

This is a question that is frequently asked of veterinarians. Many pet owners are concerned about adverse effects of vaccines and over-vaccination has become a hot topic in recent years. If you ask 10 different veterinarians this question, you will probably get 10 different answers. The short answer is  “It depends”.  It depends on the age of the cat, its exposure to other pets, its medical history, and its environment.

Rabies vaccination is required by law for animals over 4 months of age.  This is important to protect your pet against this deadly virus, but also to prevent transmission of disease to humans.  A lot of cat owners don’t think their cat needs Rabies vaccine because it never goes outside, but if the cat ever bites or injures someone it is not a good scenario if there is no proof of vaccination.

The other “core” vaccine for cats is the FVRCP vaccine, which vaccinates against Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia.  Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus are primarily respiratory viruses most commonly seen in young cats and kittens.  Panleukopenia is a gastrointestinal virus that is often deadly.  All kittens should be vaccinated against these viruses as a series of “booster vaccines”.  Boostering these vaccines is required to develop adequate immunity and protection.  It is generally recommended that after the kitten series cats are “boostered” yearly.  Most veterinarians will recommend decreasing vaccinations to every three years in older geriatric cats or adult cats in an environment with no exposure to other cats.  Again, this is all dependent on several factors and should only be decided based on careful consideration and consultation with a veterinarian.  One final option for the FVRCP vaccine to check titer levels in the blood to see if the cat still has immunity against the virus. This can be an expensive process, but may be the best and recommended option for some cats.

Feline leukemia vaccine is generally not recommended for indoor cats that never go outside.  Feline leukemia is a virus that is transmitted from infected cats via bodily fluids or cat fights.  This vaccine has been associated with development of fibrosarcoma, a malignant cancer, at the site of vaccination. For this reason most veterinarians discourage giving the feline leukemia vaccine unless a cat is in an environment with possible high exposure.  All cats should be tested for feline leukemia regardless of whether the vaccine will be given or not.

There are other vaccines that are available for cats that may be given on a case-by-case basis after discussion with and recommendation by the animal’s veterinarian.  If you have questions about vaccinating your cat or would like to make an appointment for a house call for your cat, contact Homefront Veterinary House Calls at (917)396-4041 or e-mail homefrontvet@gmail.com.