Dr. Cindy Bressler on Important Health Tips for Your Pet

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During the pandemic, many pets were adopted or purchased. East End and New York veterinarian Dr. Cindy Bressler talks about the important things new pet owners should look for, the importance of exercise for your pup or cat and more.

What are some health issues new pet owners should look for?

New owners should look for signs of contagious diseases like sneezing, coughing, nasal or ocular discharge, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea or poor appetite. They should also look for skin disease or anything that looks abnormal on their pets skin (redness, hair loss, scaliness, fleas, pimples). 

Puppies and kittens commonly get upper respiratory diseases, upper respiratory infections, kennel cough, conjunctivitis or pneumonia. 

They can also be infected with parasites such  as roundworms, hookworms, giardia, coccidia or gastrointestinal viruses causing vomiting, diarrhea or inappetence. 

Common skin diseases include external parasites fleas or mites (mange), fungal infections such as ringworm or just generalized pyoderma or bacterial skin disease. 

They should also be aware of congenital problems such as umbilical hernias, cleft palates as well as signs of hypoglycemia which may manifest as weakness or lethargy and may represent an underlying liver shunt common in small breeds. 

Talk about the difference between adoption and buying and if any different health issues come up.

It is always better to adopt a pet from a shelter than to buy a breed. There are many animals who need homes at shelters. There are also many more puppies and kittens in shelters that were purchased during the pandemic and surrendered when families could not take care of them. Please consult local shelters and rescue groups to see if they have available pets. 

There are common breed related issues that should be researched when adopting or  purchasing a new pet. Remember to research both breeds if you are interested in a mixed breed such as a goldendoodle or bernadoodle. Look up golden retriever and poodle or Bernese mountain dogs and poodle.

How do you guide people when they are faced with a difficult decision about their ailing animals?

As pet parents we are responsible for our dogs’ comfort and quality of life. We are the ones who need to make sure that they are not painful or suffering. When a pet is sick as veterinarians we try to do whatever we can to help or save an animal without causing them any harm. If we have tried everything but can no longer help them and we feel that they are not comfortable or happy we together with our clients try to make the best decisions for our pets. 

Are there any new veterinary procedures or services pet owners should know about?

Wellness is very important for pets. We are now providing our animals with nutrition consults, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy and things to help them emotionally. For example many people pet their dogs but never massage them. It is very important for dogs to have this therapy which will help with their emotional well being and also physical problems such as arthritis or hip/back pain where the muscles are always stiff. Please remember that touch is essential to our bond with our animals. We spend hours on our phones all day and then we come home at night and watch TV or Netflix or go out. 

Our pets only have us for company, activity, entertainment, play, exercise and closeness. Remember to give them attention and to put the phone down daily for a while to be with them. 

Talk about tick safety and how to protect animals from them in the warmer months.

Ticks can cause many diseases. Please talk to your veterinarian about monthly tick prevention. Please also discuss tick control with one of the many pest control companies that we have out east. Also have your pets groomed frequently or bathe them yourselves to check for ticks on their bodies. 

This is very important especially if you sleep with your pets. Ticks can fall off into the bed and bite you or your family members. Tick disease may follow causing many problems for the affected individual. Tick control is essential to help protect our pets and ourselves. 

Dr. Bressler will also be starting Hamptons Veterinary Specialists next month, which will bring specialists to the Hamptons. Visit drcindybressler.com for more.

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