5 Reasons to Test Your Cat for Feline Diabetes

October 27th, 2017 by Niskayuna Staff

Feline diabetes is always important to be aware of for two reasons:

1) It’s largely preventable and unnecessary

2) It’s a real challenge to treat for many owners


Fortunately, diabetes is also one of those diseases that benefits from early detection. Here are five reasons you need to test your cat early and often for diabetes:

1. Diabetic remission
One of the most interesting aspects of feline diabetes is its potential reversibility or remission, especially when diagnosed in the earliest stages. Research has shown up to 60% of cats will experience diabetic remission within the first few months of treatment, reports Alice Huang (VMD, DACVIM) from Purdue University. Combining strict blood sugar regulation with precise insulin therapy, changes in diet and weight loss are a recipe for reversing diabetes in many cats. Some cats will remain diabetes-free for many months to years. It’s a good idea to have blood work and urinalysis performed yearly, twice yearly if you have a flabby feline.

Cat covering his face


2. It’s more than high blood sugar
Many cat owners focus solely on blood sugar levels. That’s good, but too often we forget the continuous and severe damage hyperglycemia is causing throughout the body. The longer diabetes goes unchecked, the more potentially irreversible damage occurs. Prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy that typically causes weakness in the rear legs), chronic infections (especially urinary tract and skin), and loss of lean muscle mass resulting in weakness and wasting. It’s well recognized that untreated diabetes may cause a life-threatening emergency condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis. The sad reality is that too many cat owners fail to recognize diabetes until their cat has lost a tremendous amount of weight. Early diagnosis can preserve precious vital tissues and prolong health.

Kitten resting on couch

3. The litter box connection
Let’s face it, most cat owners rarely see their cat drinking water. That’s perfectly normal because, well, cats don’t drink that much in the first place. This means looking out for the classic diabetic symptom of “excessive thirst” in cats is harder. A better sign to look for is more frequent urination and wetter, heavier litter. If you suddenly notice you have to change the litter box more frequently, get your cat checked out immediately. While we’re talking about urination, if your cat suffers from chronic urinary tract infections, be sure to ask your veterinarian about screening for diabetes. One final “pee-note:” diabetes should always be ruled-out in cases of inappropriate elimination such as “accidents” on the bed or rugs.

Cat by the litter box


4. The risk of excess fat
There is a definitive link between excess fat and diabetes in cats, as shown in the AAHA Diabetes Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. The fact is that fat cats are at a much higher risk of developing diabetes than a lean cat. Diabetes is a disease commonly created at the food bowl. If your cat is overweight or obese, have him screened for diabetes twice a year. Blood tests are best, but even a simple urinalysis can reveal diabetes. The great news is that when diagnosed early and weight loss programs are implemented, many cats will undergo diabetic remission – if identified early.

Overweight cat on his back


5. Longer, better life
The real reason to test your cat early and often for diabetes is to prolong a high quality of life. The American Association of Feline Practitioners warns that cats being diagnosed with diabetes are increasing. Don’t delay seeing your veterinarian if your cat is drinking or urinating more, has “accidents” in the house, suddenly changes eating habits, or inexplicably loses weight.

Kitten sleeping on a pillow


The only way to identify diabetes promptly is through regular screening at least once or twice a year. It’s up to you. Together we can help your cat live a long, healthy, and happy life.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call us at 518-785-9731.

Dog Safety Halloween Tricks

October 16th, 2017 by Niskayuna Staff

When we celebrate the holidays, we often want to make our dogs a part of the festivities, and Halloween is no exception. For all the fun that may come along with this time of year, it’s not always a positive experience for dogs. Here are five dog safety Halloween tricks, so you make sure your pet’s Halloween involves nothing but treats.


1. Dogs are not accustomed to the excitement of Halloween.

The noise and excitement of a party, or even a door opening to reveal a frightening visage, can be just as frightening to a dog as the noise on Fourth of July (consider taking the same precautions you would for firework safety).

Your dog should have a safe place to escape if he needs to. If you do answer the door with your dog, it’s a good idea to keep him on a leash. This will prevent a fearful dog from unexpectedly darting out the door or even becoming aggressive toward the screaming creature they are confronted with.


2. Sweet treats are harmful for dogs.

We all know that “Trick or Treat” snacks are a big part of Halloween. In the case of dogs, some of the more common treats can be very dangerous. Chocolate, in even relatively small amounts, can be toxic. So can xylitol, a sweetener used to flavor any number of candies. Even raisins (from that one neighbor) can be poisonous. The best approach is to keep your dog from eating any human treats, and make sure the kids know the rule too.


3. Be careful with costumes.

Costumes for dogs are a growing trend, but watch for any signs that your dog might be uncomfortable in a costume before joining in (growling, running, hiding). (But if they are the patient type, check out these cute dogs and cats that are willing to don costumes with adorable results.) If you are going to subject your dog to a costume, remember that the same rules for kids often apply: Make sure the costume is easily seen when your dog is outdoors by using things like reflective strips or glow sticks.


4. Keep your dog away from candles.

One traditional decoration for the evening is candles (either in a pumpkin or on a table). A curious dog can tip over these candles with potentially devastating consequences. Make sure there is no way your dogs can tip a candle and start a fire or harm themselves.


5. Keep your dog away from pranks.

In recent years, pranks like “spider dog” have gained a lot of attention. These pranks usually involve using your dog to get a good scare out of friends or even strangers. This is actually very dangerous, and if the prank is successful it could result in injury to your dog.


If you maintain these dog safety Halloween tricks, we hope you experience nothing but treats this Halloween! As always, contact us with any comments, questions, or concerns at 518-785-9731.

Happy fall and Halloween!

Disaster Planning for Pets

August 30th, 2017 by Niskayuna Staff

Disaster Planning for Pets

With Hurricane Harvey still underway, it’s important to remember how quickly our environment can change, and to have disaster planning for pets in place to prepare for the worst. Floods and mudslides—generally the result of heavy rain and snow—are very unpredictable, but far from the only natural disasters that put our pets at great risk.

  • Earthquakes— Earthquakes, which are not weather related, could strike during any season—while other natural disasters are more seasonal.
  • Hurricanes— According to the National Hurricane Center, “Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1st and ends November 30th.”
  • Tornados— In the U.S. tornado season tends to move northward from late winter to mid-summer. According to mnn.com, “In Southern states, tornado season is typically from March to May. In the Southern Plains, it lasts from May to early June. On the Gulf Coast, tornadoes occur most often during the spring. And in the Northern Plains, Northern states, and upper Midwest, peak season is in June or July.” The two regions with a disproportionately higher incidence of tornadoes are Florida and Tornado Alley. Florida’s high tornado frequency is credited to their almost daily thunderstorms, as well as the many tropical storms and hurricanes that affect the Florida peninsula.
  • Forest and grass fires— Fires may threaten pets anytime the air is dry.

All of these natural events can be locally and personally devastating. Fortunately, proper disaster planning for pets can minimize the loss of property and life—both human and animal.

How can I keep my pet safe during a natural disaster?
While some disasters, such as hurricanes, may give you a little time to prepare, most give no warning, and unless preparations have been made, the loss of human and animal life and separation from family members may dwarf the physical destruction. So just how do you, as a pet owner, make preparations for a disaster?

  • Microchipping your pet will help you reunite. One of the most heart-wrenching results of a disaster is the separation and loss of a pet. In a time of fear even the most loyal and obedient pets may instinctively run away from the terror, and you could be forced to evacuate and leave them behind. They might be rescued by someone or wind up in a shelter but possibly miles away from home. Following a major disaster it is common for animal welfare agencies to be overwhelmed by homeless pets with inadequate or absent identification—making it nearly impossible to reunite them with their owners. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and identification tag so they can be rapidly identified and reunited with you. Even better, make sure that every pet is identified using a permanent microchip implant.
  • Make sure that cats and small dogs have a carrier or cage that will hold them comfortably. Make sure larger dogs have a leash and perhaps their own cage. There is a distinct possibility that your pet and you will have to be evacuated to a shelter or kennel and this will be greatly facilitated by a carrier/cage.
  • In an emergency your pet will need fresh food and water. It may be that your local water supply will be disrupted and also that your local market will be closed or simply out of food. Be prepared with a few sealed gallons of water and a sealed container of food. You can pre-fill water bottles with tap water now and save them should disaster ever strike.
  • Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current; remember their exposure risk may be much greater after a disaster.
  • Many pets have medication needs as well. Always have a 5 day supply of medications ready.
  • A disaster can cause great anxiety for our pets. Have a blanket or favorite toy handy to help your pet feel more comfortable.

Take disaster planning for pets steps now to protect your family pets. We never know when a crisis will occur, but we can prepare for the possibility.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call us at 518-785-9731 — our greatest concern is the well-being of your pets.


Visit this article in full.

Fourth of July Safety Tips for Dogs

July 3rd, 2017 by Niskayuna Staff

Fourth of July is one of the best parts of the summer, but while the fireworks and celebrations are exciting and fun for pet parents, they can be stressful for pets. Here are the best ways to prepare your pets for the Fourth of July holiday so that everyone can enjoy the celebrations and festivities. With these tips, you can avoid another trip to your veterinarian, and focus on the fun!



Fourth of July fear, anxiety and injuries
Many dogs are terrified by the loud sounds of fireworks. Dogs can show mild signs of stress like hiding and shaking, or more severe signs of stress like destruction, panting or causing harm to themselves. If your pet has a fear of fireworks, or any loud noises, make sure to be prepared.

Many terrified pets will flee their homes when they hear fireworks in hope of finding safety, and end up sustaining injuries. We don’t recommend taking your pets to firework exhibits, even if you feel your dog will react normally. Keep your dog at home in an area he is familiar with, and where he cannot hear the fireworks. If you are hosting a party, make certain your guests are aware of the security at the front door and gates to ensure that your dog cannot escape. Make sure your dog has his favorite attachment items with him such as toys or blankets. The Thunder Jacket, a jacket that provides pressure to the whole body, has been shown to relieve some stress and anxiety giving dogs the feeling of support. Natural pheromones for dogs, used and labeled for stress and anxiety can be purchased over the counter and can help relieve minor anxiety and fear.

For dogs that exhibit more severe forms of anxiety, speak with your veterinarian about safe prescription medications to help control anxiety and stress. A stressed dog means a stressed pet parent! Please remember, it is important to never administer any medication without consulting with your veterinarian to make sure it is safe for your dog.



Fourth of July and upset bellies 
Be careful when hosting parties and bringing your dog around a lot of people. The Fourth of July is a common time for upset stomachs, vomiting and diarrhea in dogs, caused by eating “people” foods. When hosting parties, many guests unknowingly give dogs different foods which can cause an upset stomach. In addition, stressful scenarios can cause gastrointestinal upset. Be prepared when hosting a party, or bringing your dog to a party. Kindly ask your guests and others not to feed your dog any foods. Make sure there is a safe and comforting place for your dog to go when the fireworks begin.



Fourth of July and lost pets 
As discussed, pets become scared about the loud sounds of the fireworks and may run out of the home. We always recommend having your dog microchipped for identification. The microchip is easily placed in your dog’s back and is registered using your home address, cell phone or any other relevant contact information. A veterinarian can simply scan your dog for a microchip to obtain the guardian’s contact information.



If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 785-9731.

Happy Fourth of July! We hope you celebrate and enjoy your time spent with friends, family, and pets, but do so keeping the safety of your dog in mind. Our goal is to always keep our pets safe and healthy.

Spring is Here, and so are New Hazards to Beware!

April 22nd, 2017 by Niskayuna Staff

It was a long winter, but before you take your furry friend for a walk in the park, be aware of these nine spring pet hazards:


1. Ticks and Tick-borne Disease

Ticks can spread diseases to both people and pets: Lyme diseaseehrlichiosisRocky Mountain spotted feveranaplasmosis, tularemia, and babesiosis. The best way to protect your furry friend is preventative care. Ask your vet for advice and click to learn more about ticks and the diseases they spread.


2. Antifreeze

Antifreeze is extremely dangerous to pets because most types appear appetizing to dogs. Antifreeze poisoning is one of the most common forms of poisoning in pets. Fortunately, “pet-safer” types of antifreeze are available. Beware, antifreeze is not the only garage hazard.


3. Heartworm

Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is a serious disease that primarily affects the heart and lungs, but can also affect the liver, kidney, eyes, and central nervous system; if left untreated, it can cause death. Fortunately, effective preventatives are available.


4. Fertilizers and Mulch

According to the PetPoisonHelpline, most fertilizers contain an assortment of toxic substances like iron and nitrogen. They could also have pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides. Even if the chemicals don’t poison your pet, large amounts of fertilizer could result in gastrointestinal or pancreatic problems.


5. Metaldehyde (Slug Bait)

Snail bait can be a major risk for dogs and cats and is a more common source of poisoning than you may expect. Snail and slug bait products typically contain the sweet-tasting poison metaldehyde. It’s important that you know the symptoms of metaldehyde poisoning in case your pet is exposed.


6. Bee Stings

Just like people, some dogs can have an allergic reaction to bee stings, especially if stung by multiple bees. Talk to your vet about how you can keep your pup safe from bee stings, and what to do if your dog is stung.


7. Snakes

There are 20 species of venomous snakes in North America, and they are found in every state except Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine. Read more about venomous snakes here.


8. Thawing Ponds

Your dog may be accustomed to taking walks over ice covered lakes, rivers and ponds. As the ice begins to thaw, the new dangers presented by exposed water are likely not going to be apparent to him. By keeping your dog on a leash you can protect him from falling through the thin ice.


9. Ivermectin

Horse dewormers often contain ivermectin; it’s also used in small doses to kill parasites in dogs. Toxicity can occur if a dog is given an excessive dose of the medication. To prevent ivermectin toxicity keep horse products out of his reach and only administer the prescribed amount of heartworm medication as instructed by your veterinarian.

If you have any questions or concerns about spring pet hazards, you should always visit or call your vet — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Thank you to Pet Health Network for sharing with us this great info.

It's National Pet Dental Health Month!

February 4th, 2017 by Niskayuna Staff

With two weeks left in the month of February, otherwise known as National Pet Dental Health Month, we wanted to remind you how important oral hygiene is to prevent oral diseases like gingivitis, tooth abscesses, and mouth tumors. Here are some tips for giving them a pet healthy smile.

And this month, bring your pet in for a cleaning, and you’ll get 20% off on a dental prophylaxis!


Daily brushing is important! Especially for dogs, regular brushing can prevent many major diseases that aren’t just mouth-related. Train your pet to tolerate brushing by doing the following:

  • Start by touching their face, lips, and muzzle often and for a few days before getting them comfortable with rubbing their teeth and gums with your fingers.
  • Rub and brush your pet’s face and lips with an approved toothbrush, and let your pet taste pet-safe toothpaste.
  • Start by brushing the front teeth by lifting their lips, then slowly work your way to the back over several sessions. The outside part of the teeth is especially important.
  • Don’t forget to reward them with praise and treats!
  • Note: If it seems impossible to brush their teeth, try daily oral rinses, anti-plaque chew treats, or ask us for other recommendations.

You should perform monthly mouth checks to look for puffy/red gums, cracked teeth, or any unusual color changes or growths. Make sure there is no bleeding, pus, or discharge from teeth. Identifying subtle changes in your pet can prevent major diseases later on.

  • Did you know that dogs have 42 adult teeth and 28 baby teeth, while cats have 30 adult and 26 baby? Count to make sure all of them are there.

Regular dental cleanings (recommended every one to three years) at the vet can prevent future diseases. Did you know tooth abscesses have been linked to heart valve infections and other major conditions?

Click here to learn more about feline oral hygiene.


A pet healthy smile is one of the many ways to encourage overall health in your furry friend. As always, ask us if you have any other questions. See you soon for your annual cleaning and Happy National Pet Dental Health Month!

Pet Resolutions of 2017

January 3rd, 2017 by Niskayuna Staff

With the New Year comes new resolutions, for our pets too! We can all do more to give our furry friends a healthier lifestyle. Here are some of our suggestions for pet resolutions so you can take the best care of your furry friend.


January – Schedule an annual visit for your pet with a thorough exam, even if they aren’t due for anything. Use it to discuss nutrition, parasites, behavior, and other questions you have.

February –National Pet Dental Health month! Bring them in for a cleaning, and you’ll get 20% off on a dental prophylaxis. They’ll feel great!

March – With warmer weather, take your dog on a walk once or twice a day.

April – National Heartworm Prevention month! Get your pet a heartworm test and make sure they are taking preventative meds.

MayChip Your Pet Month! If they aren’t chipped, get it done. If they are, double check that your contact info is up-to-date in the registry.

June – It’s Hug Your Cat Day on June 4th! And Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 23rd!

July – Make a list of emergency info to keep near your phone at all times, including our number (785-9731), the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline, and one of our nearby emergency health clinics.

August – Groom your pet, or at least run your hands through their fur regularly. This will allow for early detection for fleas, ticks, and skin issues.

September – Take some full pictures of your pet, both to share, and just in case they ever go missing, to ensure safe return.

OctoberNational Pet Obesity Awareness Day is on October 11th! Know your pet’s body condition score and keep them in good shape.

November – Set up a pet trust for your pet, so you know they’ll always be cared for. Keep an emergency ID card in your wallet, mentioning your pet at home, just in case anything happens.

December – Do you have emergency evacuation supplies for your pet? You should always keep a two-week supply of food and water, dishes, treats, ID tags, etc.


Should you have any questions, feel free to call us for any advice. We would love to help you take the best possible care with these pet resolutions, both in and outside of our office.

Happy belated New Year from the Animal Hospital of Niskayuna!

Cat Care and the Cold Weather

December 18th, 2016 by Niskayuna Staff

Now that the first snow has fallen, it’s a great time to think about how to take care of our animals during the cold and darker days. Cats in particular run some risks. Here are cat care tips for keeping your pet healthy and safe during the cold weather.

  • Cats are best kept indoors. During cold weather and snow, cats are susceptible to danger, injury, and getting lost, particularly when trying to stay warm.
  • If you have an outdoor cat, check your car before going for a drive. Cats are notorious for finding warm spots, like your car engine. Make sure to check your cat’s location before you leave.
  • If your cat needs to be outdoors (i.e. a barn car or a feral cat), there are many ways you can help them to be safe. The Humane Society has great ideas for ways to provide shelter and to keep food fresh if you are trying to provide cat care for an outdoor feline.
  • During the winter, just like humans, your cat’s skin can become dry. Brushing releases oils and helps to keep skin from getting dried out.
  • Cats love to sleep and lounge in warm places when it’s cold. Try to arrange a spot for your cat under natural sunlight. If you lower the temperature when you leave the house, try to keep some area warm for your cat to stay comfortable.
  • With all that extra sleep, they are getting less exercise. Try to play with your cat to keep them active with an interactive toy. Although lasers can keep cats busy and give them exercise, some experts say that it takes away the satisfaction of capturing something that they are hunting for. A simple toy hanging from a string can be a great way to interact with your cat.

In addition to these cat care tips, remember to take the time for yourself to cuddle with your cat and enjoy the bond that takes place when you warm each other and take the time to breathe.

The Animal Hospital of Niskayuna staff wishes you peace and relaxation as we move towards the winter solstice.

Pet Holiday Health with AHN

December 8th, 2016 by Niskayuna Staff

This month, we wanted to share five pet holiday health tips to protect our furry friends during the holiday season, courtesy of the Pet Health Network by IDEXX.


Take care to keep decorations out of reach.


Those decorations that can’t stay out of reach should be blocked.

  • Dogs are curious creatures! Beware of cords, ornaments, etc.
  • It is best to unplug decorations when you aren’t home.


Remember the foods our pets can’t eat.

  • Chocolate is a holiday favorite sweet, but not for our pets!


Gift-wrapping can be dangerous.

  • Swallowing paper, ribbons, bags, and strings can all cause major stomach issues.


Take care when prepping and sharing holiday meals.

  • During prep, make sure to dispose of any packaging (butcher’s string, bags, etc).


See the full link about pet holiday health by clicking here.


Most of all, from all of us at The Animal Hospital of Niskayuna, we want to send our warmest wishes this holiday season. We hope you share your time with friends, family, and our favorite furry friends. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!


As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet, please contact us at 518-785-9731 or email us at ahniskayuna@nycap.rr.com.

Pets In Winter

March 3rd, 2015 by Niskayuna Staff

Winter Pet Safety 2015

icy cat

As we endure more frigid weather I want to remind you of the special challenges our pets face going out into these conditions. We posted a picture on our Facebook page of a cat curled up in the wheel-well of a car, on the tire. At first it seems like a cute shot, but if that cat got there and fell asleep by the time the car’s owner had to go to work, it could been painful or even deadly for that kitty.

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