Wednesday, March 22, 2017

North Jersey dog owners beware: Warning signs for deadly leptospirosis

Clinicians from BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Paramus say they’ve seen a recent rise in the number of cases of a potentially fatal bacterial disease, and they are encouraging dog owners in the New Jersey area to take steps to keep their pets safe.

 Dr. Benjamin Davidson, who is board-certified in emergency and critical care and a BluePearl medical director, said the hospital has seen five confirmed cases of leptospirosis since October – a number he characterized as unusually high.

“The disease is definitely present in our area,” Davidson said in a statement. “That could be in part because it’s been an unusually warm winter for us.”

Leptospirosis is caused by various strains of a spiral-shaped microorganism called Leptospira interrogans. The disease tends to be transmitted through the urine of wild animals, and dogs often get infected in areas with creeks, puddles, ponds and other places where there is a lot of standing water.

The disease is zoonotic, which means it can be transferred to humans, such as the cases that recently popped up in the Bronx that killed one person and sickened at least two others. If your dog is one of the few who gets the disease, you should consider making a trip to your own physician. Also, wash your hands after taking your dog for a walk.

 Davidson said there are two principles to keep in mind to guard against leptospirosis: Carefully observe your pet for any changes in behavior, and make sure to talk to a veterinarian about anything that doesn’t seem right.

Here are some tips:

--Be on the lookout for these possible signs of the disease: Fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, increased urination or an inability to urinate. While these also can be signs of other health problems, they’re all good reasons to take your dog to the veterinarian
--Dogs tend to get leptospirosis in muddy, wooded areas so take caution when going for hikes. Don’t allow your dog to swim in these areas or lap up water from a puddle.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Animal Planet’s “The Vet Life” to return April 15

The second season of “The Vet Life” is scheduled to premiere 10 p.m. Sat., April 15 on Animal Planet.

Now that their Texas-based veterinary practice has been up and running for two years, the doctors’ = (Dr. Diarra Blue, Dr. Aubrey Ross and Dr. Michael Lavigne) have established a loyal clientele filled with beloved family dogs and cats, as well as farm animals and rare exotics.

In between tending to all these wonderful creatures, the three doctors are fine tuning the tricky balance of work and family life with their wives, kids at home--while lending support to each other along the way.

This season, the doctors’ competitive comradery is in full force as they build and expand the scope of Cy Fair Animal Hospital.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

"Meow Madness" is coming to the Hallmark Channel in April

The Hallmark Channel will debut "Meow Madness," a new show hosted by Beth Stern, 8 p.m. Mon ., April 3 -- the same day as the NCAA men's basketball championship game.

The show is staged on a mini-basketball court on a midtown Manhattan soundstage. Cats, with names like Meow Ming, Stephen Furry, Lonso Fur-Ball and Meow Trumbo take to the court.

Stern, the wife of Howard Stern, is a cat ambassador who works year-round with the North Shore Animal League.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wave Hill offers March 25 talk on wildlife history of New York

Over a century of human settlement and development have brought many changes to the Hudson Valley, as well as to the wildlife in the region.

On Sat., March 25 at 2 p.m., environmental educator Megan Hoffman from the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum will highlight five native animals whose natural histories have been significantly impacted by human activity at a special Nature Talk at Wave Hill.

A closer look at the sturgeon, beaver, box turtle, coyote and bald eagle illustrates how pollutants, habitat loss and preservation, over-hunting and other human interventions have affected their populations over time.

This program is free with admission to the grounds. Ages 10 and older welcome with an adult.

The garden is at West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx.

Admission to the grounds is $8; $4 students and senior 65+, $2 children 6-18.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

An emaciated Chihuahua found in Paterson with huge tumor

Annabelle was found as a tiny, emaciated stray pup with a huge growth on her backside in Paterson.

Animal control promptly contacted staff at the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc. for help.

Volunteer manager, Francesca “Frannie” D’Annunzio immediately dropped everything to pick Annabelle, rushing her to Oradell Animal Hospital.

Despite Annabelle’s difficult, painful life and obvious discomfort, she was as sweet as can be – a quiet little girl who had endured so much in her short life.

Annabelle is a younger female Chihuahua with vaginal hyperplasia. She survived days out in the cold weather, sick with no food or water until she found her way to RBARI.

In the few short hours that D’Annunzio held Annabelle while waiting for the doctors to diagnose her, she gave her as much love as she could, fearing that she may not make it out of the hospital.  Annabelle gazed up at her, confused but adoring the kind touch and attention.

Doctors said the prognosis for Annabelle is very guarded.  They believe the vaginal hyperplasia is from excess hormones. Surgeons will spay Annabelle and stabilize the area in an effort to reduce the tissue with time and rest. Annabelle may face further surgery to remove dead tissue and will need supportive care and close medical supervision to fully recover.

Annabelle is not a dog with a lifetime of love behind her.  She is a dog that still needs to learn what it’s like to have a warm, safe home and all the love in the world.  Annabelle has received multiple blood transfusions, intravenous fluids and now major surgery in an attempt to save a beautiful life.

If you would care to donate to help save Annabelle go to

Checks can be sent to RBARI, 2 Shelter Lane, Oakland, NJ 07436.