We asked two Westchester veterinarians—Jeremy Sabatini, DVM, of Pleasantville Animal Hospital and Stacey Joy Hershman, DVM, CVH, CVA, a holistic veterinarian, certified veterinary homeopath, and certified veterinary acupuncturist, of Natural Vet for Pets P.C. in Hastings-on-Hudson—to weigh in on three common areas of concern.
Should dogs and cats be neutered or spayed?
JS: Yes. Not only is it better for your pet’s overall health, but it helps control bad behaviors and keep shelter populations down.
SJH: All healthy, young dogs and cats should be spayed to prevent pyometra (uterine abscess) and mammary cancer, or neutered to prevent prostatitis and testicular cancer.
Are vaccines essential?
JS: Vaccines are important, but not every pet needs all of the vaccines available. Rabies, distemper, and Lyme are recommended as part of the core vaccinations for pets in our area that are doing outdoor activities.
SJH: There is no scientific evidence requiring annual vaccines, and over-vaccination can cause autoimmune disease and cancer. Rabies is required every three years by local law. Distemper/parvo should be given to puppies. Bordatella (kennel cough) oral vaccine is annual in dogs that board or go to doggie daycare. Other vaccines are optional, not effective, or only last a few months and cause bad reactions that damage and weaken the immune system.
What is the biggest mistake most pet owners make?
JS: Feeding them people food. Not only does human food add extra calories and lead to pets being overweight, but I see a lot more pets for vomiting and having diarrhea because of it.
SJH: Pet owners feed poor-quality, cheap, grocery-store brands or only dry food. These contain meat by-products, GMOs, soy or corn, and artificial preservatives. Meat by-products cause GI upset, allergies, and stress the liver and kidneys. Dry food alone is too low in moisture and too high in protein, stressing the kidneys and increasing risk of urinary tract infections.