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The veterinarians and staff at Cats & Critters 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

Is Sleeping With A Pet Beneficial Your Health

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic's Center for Sleep Medicine in Arizona reported some people may benefit from sharing a bed with a pet. The study looked at 74 pet owners – 56% of whom allow their pet in the bedroom with them. Of those, 41% believe sleeping with their pet is beneficial to sleep.

A good night's sleep does more than leave you feeling well-rested. It plays an important role in overall immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and more.

Strengthen Your Bond by Sharing Your Bed

Dr. Ken Tudor, former Veterinary Medical Officer for the United States Department of Agriculture, believes the benefits of sharing a bed with a dog stem from our evolutionary partnership. Domestication of the wild dog undoubtedly included the animals joining "man at the camp fire and later snuggling closely with him for mutual warmth."

In addition to reporting better sleep, respondents also noted a greater sense of security. This could be from the simple reassuring presence of another warm body or because pets often double as protectors who will alert their owners to intruders. Dr. Tudor emphasizes that being in consistent proximity with an animal fosters bonding and a more intimate relationship.

"Some people find that sleeping with their animal actually helps them feel cozy," said Dr. Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at the center. "One woman said her two small dogs warmed her bed. Another person felt her cat who was touching her during the night was comforting and soothing."

Results May Vary

Although the majority of pet-owning respondents reported sharing their bedroom with their pet, another 20% admitted the bed-hogging, snoring, or moving around can be disruptive.

Interrupted sleep has been linked to preventing slow-wave sleep and a worse mood than non-interrupted sleepers upon waking. The Mayo Clinic advises patients who have sleep concerns to inquire about whether or not their sleep environment should be shared with a companion animal.

"I think from a sleep standpoint, multiple pets increase the risk of bad sleep," said Krahn.

Living with Dogs in Small Spaces: Tips for Adding Four More Feet to Your Square Feet

If you think living in a small apartment or condo means having a dog is out of the question, think again. Don’t deprive yourself of the rewards of these loyal, tail-wagging companions because just because you’re an urbanite without a backyard. Here are some helpful tips for sharing your limited square footage with a furry roommate:

Choose a Dog that Will be Happy in a Smaller Space. This is not just about the dog’s size, it’s about his temperament and exercise needs as well. So you don’t just have to consider small dogs. According to the Massachusetts Animal Coalition, size and breed do not necessarily determine suitability for apartment living, so always inquire about the specific energy level and exercise needs of the dog you are considering before bringing him into your home. (Mastiffs, for example, with their easy going temperament and moderate exercise needs, can make fine apartment-dwellers.)

Living with Dogs in Small Spaces

Consider Your Energy Level. When you are missing a fenced backyard, your dog will be completely dependent on you for exercise. All dogs require exercise that unleashes both their physical and mental energy, which means a combination of play time and walks. If you like long daily walks, bike rides, or runs (even in winter!), even a high-energy dog will be happy in your small home. If year-round, daily outdoor exercise is not your thing, stick to a low-energy pooch or look into doggie daycare or a dog walker—or get a cat.

Be a Good Neighbor. Do not allow your dog to bark incessantly or let him run off leash or unsupervised anywhere within the common areas of your building, and always clean up after him. Also, socialize your dog so he’s comfortable with urban life, including loud noises, traffic, bicycles, and contact with animals and people, often in fairly close quarters.

Think About Crate Training. Crate training will minimize or eliminate destructive behavior. Keeping your dog crated when your away means when you come home, you won’t be greeted by torn pillow stuffing, detritus from last night’s dinner that had been gleefully pulled from the toppled over waste can, shreds of your favorite shirt, or a urine stain (or worse) on the rug.

Fight Fur. Brush your dog outdoors regularly to remove loose hair and dander and vacuum to further reduce allergens and fur tumbleweeds. Give your dog his own bed both to provide him with his own safe space and keep him off your furniture.

With some planning and effort, apartment or condo living doesn’t need to mean dog-less living. For more information about caring for a dog in New York City, please give us a call. We are here to help you make the right decisions for the health and happiness of your urban pet!

Study Confirms Dog Ownership Can Reduce Asthma Risk

Although previous studies have yielded contradictory results, new research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics shows children exposed to dogs or farm animals at a young age have a lower risk for developing childhood asthma by age six.

The study looked at more than 376,000 preschool-age children and 276,200 school-age students. The results showed that infants exposed to homes with at least one dog were 13% less likely to develop asthma by the time they reached school-age. Being around farm animals increased that number to 52%!

Although the study didn't determine why this is the case, researchers still hold to the "hygiene hypothesis" - which suggests that keeping kids away from all germs and microbes during their childhoods can lead to more allergies. As many parents already suspected, some germs are good! Exposure can lead to stronger, more resistant immune systems later in life. Other research has gone a step further, suggesting the reason living with pets or livestock decreases chances of childhood asthma is related to the altered composition of certain stomach microbes, developed in those environments, which can better fight infection.

“It has been shown that dog exposure is associated with altered bacterial flora in house dust and that mice exposed to such dust have alterations in their gut flora composition, as well as fewer allergic reactions,” the study authors write. “This information might be helpful in decision making for families and physicians on the appropriateness and timing of early animal exposure."

An associate professor in the division of gastroenterology at the University of California, Susan Lynch, previously expressed her hopes that the findings could lead to the development of microbial-based therapies to prevent asthma and other allergies.

Source: Time & The JAMA Network

Your Pet's Allergies

The skin is the largest organ of the body. It's major function is to protect the rest of the body from the external environment. With it's sweat glands and rich blood supply, it is also responsible for regulating the body's temperature.

The exterior portion of the skin is called keratin. In animals, this protective waterproof layer is thickest on the paw pads. Under the keratin layer are the epidermal cells. These cells are constantly dividing, as new cells are replacing damaged older cells. The keratin layer and the epithelial cells are the body's first line of defense against invading microorganisms and hazardous environmental substances. These layers are also responsible for keeping moisture inside the body, preventing the body from dehydrating.

Like humans, animals have allergies. Some allergies are seasonal while others occur year round. In the northern parts of the U.S., flea allergies are commonly seen in the summer and fall. In the southern states, flea allergies often occur throughout the year. Food allergies are not seasonal. They can occur anytime during the year. The most common types of allergies in pets (particularly dogs) include: contact allergies, flea allergies, atopy and food allergies.

Asthma and hay fever are common symptoms of allergies in humans. Animals rarely develop these symptoms. Scratching is the most common symptom of allergies in pets. Some animals scratch so much that they mutilate themselves. It is not unusual to see an allergic dog with large skin wounds and areas devoid of fur (often called "hot spots"). Once the skin is injured, the animal is susceptible to a serious bacterial infection.

There are many ways to treat allergies in pets. Food allergies can be treated with hypoallergenic diets. Certain animals respond favorably to desensitization. Unfortunately, in most cases, allergies are extremely difficult to treat and require medication. This medication should only be dispensed by a veterinarian.

Routine Health Examinations Are Necessary

"Your pet can't always tell you where it hurts..."

Your pet can't always tell you where it hurts, or pets may mask their pain (a survival behavior in the wild). A comprehensive physical exam allows our doctors to compile a list of clues that can help uncover disease. Early detection and treatment are essential to avoid undue suffering and to prolong the quality and longevity of your pet's life. Watch for subtle changes in your pet's body weight, appetite, water intake, urination and bowel habits, as well as general attitude and activity level. These changes may signal liver, kidney or heart problems. Lumps and bumps under the skin may seem harmless, but can be cancerous. Ear infections, abscessed teeth and gum disease are common, painful conditions that may not become obvious until seriously advanced. A comprehensive physical exam is the basic tool our doctors use to evaluate your pet's health status and to help you make informed decisions about the care of your special companion.

Vet and Dog

The history...

Your veterinarian will ask you questions about the health history of your pet. Be sure to discuss any unusual behavior with your veterinarian.

Medical records will be consulted if the pet has been a regular patient. Notes will be made on your pet's diet, water consumption, and on a variety of daily behavior patterns that relate to your pet's health.

Temperature, pulse, respiration rate, and body weight may be noted, and then your veterinarian will begin the physical examination from nose to tail.

A wet or dry nose doesn't mean good health...

The nose is not the health barometer that some people think it is, but it is a good place to start. Your veterinarian will check your pet's nose for abnormal discharges, and changes in color, texture, moisture, or shape.

Pet's ears invite infection...

You'll probably be asked if your dog or cat has been shaking its head or scratching at its ears. Have you noticed any odor from the ears? Your pets deep, curved ear canals provide protection for the inner ear, but these canals also provide a snug home for parasites, infections, and foreign objects. A visual check will be made.

Eyes: these are the windows to your pet's state of health...

Many conditions, such as anemia and jaundice, often are discovered through eye examinations. Often, cataracts are some of the first noticeable symptoms of diabetes. Your veterinarian also may observe the inner structures of the eye. Problems such as glaucoma, retinal defects or local inflammation may be detected. Injuries, ulcers and lacerations of the eye can also be detected.

Your pet will receive an oral exam...

Oral hygiene is extremely important. Your veterinarian will check your pets gums, teeth, tongue, and palate for abnormalities, tumors, and infections. A dental examination is important for detecting gingivitis, periodontal disease, and infected teeth. Teeth cleaning and polishing may be recommended at this time.

Listening to the heart and lungs...

Your veterinarian will use a stethoscope to listen to your pet's heart and lungs. If any irregularities are noted, additional tests may be necessary. Early heart disease and respiratory problems are often recognized during a routine health exam.


Your pet's reproductive system will be examined. Your veterinarian will probably explain that spaying or neutering provides many benefits beyond birth control.

Health is sometimes skin deep...

The skin is the body's largest organ and a good indicator of your pet's health. Your veterinarian will examine the condition of the skin and hair as a means of detecting other health problems.

Your pet will be checked for fleas, ticks, other external parasites, tumors, and wounds.

Sense of touch...

Your veterinarian will use hands and fingers to feel the abdomen. This sense of touch will help to assess the condition of internal organs and to detect tumors or other irregularities. The legs and feet of your pet will be checked. The condition of joints, muscles, skin, lymph nodes, and hair also will be noted.

It's wise to immunize...

Immunizing your pet against disease is one of the best tools of preventive medicine. Dogs can be immunized against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, coronavirus, bordetella, rabies and Lyme disease.

Cats can be immunized against feline panleukopenia (distemper), rabies, feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, chlamydia, feline leukemia and FIP.

Health threats vary from city to city, and even in various sections of cities. We can tailor an immunization program specifically for your pet based on local conditions and keep your pet protected with the latest vaccines.

If you have any questions concerning your pet's health, please do not hesitate to contact us. Remember, we are your pet's best friends and your best source of information about your pet.