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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.

Coping with a Pet’s Cancer

shaun provost

One of the most devastating diagnoses for a pet owner is cancer. However, cancer is very common in pets.  Just as in people, cancer in pets can be benign or malignant. Many types of cancer can be treated or managed to provide an excellent quality of life.

Early detection is key in the successful treatment of cancer. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Abnormal lumps, bumps, or swelling anywhere on the body
  • Sores or lesions that won’t heal
  • Unexplained weight loss or change in appetite
  • Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • Unusual or bad odor
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Persistent lameness
  • Drooling or mouth discomfort

If you notice any of these symptoms your veterinarian will likely recommend further diagnostic testing including laboratory tests, biopsies, x-rays, etc.

Similar to human cancer, cancer in pets may be treated with surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. The ultimate goal of treatment is to keep the pet as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.  If the cancer is extremely advanced, palliative or hospice care may be recommended. This means that the focus will be keeping the pet pain-free, hydrated, and nutritionally stable without pursuing more aggressive treatment options.

In all phases of cancer treatment, you are your pet’s advocate.  Monitor your pet closely for signs of discomfort or pain and promptly relay this information to your veterinarian.  Spend as much time as possible with your pet, provide a comfortable place for your pet to rest, and make it easy for your pet to access its “bathroom”.   When it seems that your pet is having more bad days than good ones, you may need to consider euthanasia. Have an honest discussion with your veterinarian about your pet’s prognosis and its level of discomfort. Your veterinarian is there to help guide you through this process.

Get Your Fat Cat Off the Couch!

shaun provost

If your cat is like mine, it sleeps for about 22 hours a day and spends the other 2 hours eating and making sure that its human servants are in check.  This fabulous feline lifestyle can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other medical problems.  Here are some tips to get your cat moving.

Spend some time each day playing with your cat.  While you’re watching television shine a laser pointer around for your cat to chase, or play with a stick with feathers attached. Teach your cat to do tricks or climb up a “cat tree” to get a small low-calorie treat (only one treat!).  Make sure your cat has cat furniture or items to climb and play on. Purchase toys that contain catnip to encourage more play. There are also cat toys which require your cat to do some work to remove a treat. Anything to get your cat off the couch and moving will burn calories, build muscle tone, and increase metabolism to ward off obesity.  Consider adopting another cat to provide companionship and a playmate for your cat.

When you buy cat toys and furniture, be sure to choose toys that do not have small parts or strings that the cat may swallow. If your cat has toys with these features, make sure that you supervise play to prevent ingestion of any parts of the toy.

5 Reasons Your Pet Needs Flea and Tick Preventatives

shaun provost

Pets love the summer months as much as we do, but for some pets the summer means a season-long battle with fleas and ticks. Some pet owners are reluctant to apply flea and tick preventatives fearing the chemicals that they contain. However, most of the new flea and tick products available at your veterinarian’s office have chemicals that remain in the hair follicles and are not absorbed into the blood stream. This means that there is less chance of a reaction to the product. Topical flea and tick preventatives recommended by veterinarians are typically more effective and, in the end, more cost efficient than frequently using flea shampoos or flea collars. The products that are recommended by veterinarians are also safer for your pet. See below for 5 reasons to use a recommended flea and tick preventative on your pet this summer.

1.  Fleas and ticks bite the skin of your pet to get a blood meal. This bite leaves a wound on the skin that becomes itchy and sometimes even infected. When your pet scratches at the affected area it becomes further damaged, more itchy, and more infected. Some animals are allergic to the flea saliva making things even worse. When the skin becomes infected the animal may lose hair and/or develop a systemic infection as the problem progresses.

2.  Fleas and ticks carry many diseases. They can carry microscopic parasites that live on blood cells destroying the blood cells. Ticks carry Lyme disease and other related diseases that can cause arthritis and damage to internal organs in dogs. Fleas carry the eggs for tapeworms, so when your pet grooms off a flea and swallows it you may start to see small worms in the stool.

3.  Because fleas and ticks feed off of an animal’s blood, they have the potential to cause anemia (low blood volume). Some animals become so infested with fleas and ticks that they develop a life-threatening anemia which may require hospitalization and blood transfusion. Flea anemia can even be fatal to puppies, kittens, and adults of very small breeds. This is easily preventable by using a flea and tick preventative.

4.  As discussed earlier, a good reason to use flea and tick preventative is just for the comfort of your pet. We can all relate to having mosquito bites and know the misery of the constant itching that accompanies those bites. Now imagine having those mosquitoes living in  your clothes and you can’t remove your clothes! That’s how your pet feels with fleas and ticks.  Recommended flea and tick preventatives are not painful to apply. They are safe and your pet will definitely thank you.

5.  If the comfort of your pet isn’t reason enough for you to get on the flea and tick preventative bandwagon, how about preventing fleas and ticks on yourself? If your pet has fleas, guess what?…..you have flea eggs and larvae living in your carpet, rugs, and probably the fabric of furniture in your home. Once you have a flea infestation in your home, it is not easy to remedy the situation. Not to mention you’re likely to have flea bites yourself (and all the itchiness and risk of disease that goes with them).

“But flea and tick preventatives are expensive!”, you say. Well, they’re a lot less expensive than treating a skin infection or Lyme disease, or calling an exterminator to de-flea your house. So do your pet a favor (and yourself) and get it a good quality flea and tick preventative this summer.

To order flea and tick preventatives, visit our online store at Homefront Veterinary House Calls Online Pharmacy

Does Your Dog Need the Canine Influenza Virus Vaccine?

shaun provost

In the Fall of 2011 the news media declared an “outbreak” of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in New York. The virus was first reported in Florida in 2003, but quickly spread to 30 states by 2009, and was diagnosed in a total of 38 states by 2011. What makes Canine Influenza Virus so important? Since the virus is relatively new, most dogs have not developed a natural immunity from previous exposure. Also, CIV is extremely contagious, and the dogs shedding the virus cannot be identified because clinical signs appear after the shedding.

Canine Influenza Virus spreads in 3 ways. It spreads through direct contact….licking, nuzzling, etc. It spreads through the air when infected dogs cough or sneeze. And it spreads by contaminated surfaces, such as shared toys, water and food bowls, or even when a person picks up the virus on an infected dog then pets another dog.

Symptoms of Canine Influenza Virus can be mild or severe. 80% of dogs have a milder form with cough, low-grade fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, and loss of appetite. 20% of dogs develop more severe signs of pneumonia and high fever.

Your dog is at risk for Canine Influenza Virus if it:

  • Boards at a kennel or goes to doggie daycare
  • Attends group training or doggie kindergarten
  • Visits a groomer or dog parks
  • Travels with you across state lines

If your pet falls into any of the above categories, it needs the Canine Influenza Vaccine. The vaccine will significantly reduce the severity of illness and the length of time that the dog is sick. In general, if your dog needs the Bordetella vaccine, it likely needs the CIV vaccine as well. The vaccine is given as 2 doses 2-4 weeks apart for initial vaccination, and then your dog will be revaccinated annually.

If you have determined that your dog needs the influenza vaccine, or if you have questions about the risk level of your dog, please call Homefront Veterinary House Calls at (917)396-4041 or e-mail us at homefrontvet@gmail.com. We will be happy to answer your questions or set up a convenient appointment for your dog to start the initial vaccination process.

For additional information on Canine Influenza Virus, please see the following resources:

www.doginfluenza.com

http://www.stevedalepetworld.com/print-archive/tribune-media-services/weekly-features/450-canine-flu-slices-big-apple-to-its-core-and-may-spread

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/veterinarians-recommend-flu-shots-dogs/story?id=14958498

Puppy Mills….Should You Buy a Dog?

shaun provost

A recent news article by NBC, NY Pet Store Supplied By Puppy Mills, has New York pet owners concerned about purchasing pets from local pet stores. It might even have some rethinking that furry Christmas gift they were planning to give. Most pet stores probably do not personally visit the breeders that supply their stores, and they have to rely on USDA and AKC inspection reports which are based on regulations that are fairly lenient. I doubt that most pet stores knowingly purchase unhealthy puppies, but there are some questions you should ask before buying your pet to make sure that it is purchased from a reliable source. First, the pet store should have all of the breeder’s information, and should be readily willing to give you this information. Second, the pet store should encourage you to have the puppy checked by a veterinarian of your choice within 72 hours of purchase, and should be willing to let you return the puppy if it is found to be unhealthy. Finally, if a pet store send you home with medication at the time you purchase a pet, a red flag should go up. Your puppy should be free of respiratory viruses and parasites at the time of purchase.

To avoid the worry of knowing if your puppy comes from a puppy mill or not, another option is to adopt from a rescue group or shelter. There are always many healthy mixed breed dogs and cats available for adoption, and in general, these animals are healthier in the long run than a purchased pure bred pet. I would still recommend having the pet checked by your veterinarian within 72 hours, and the rule of thumb about adopting a pet that is on medication still applies.  To find out more about adopting a puppy or kitten, check out this article: Adopting Instead of Buying a Pet .