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Health & Medical Links

EMERGENCY Twenty Four Hour Veterinarian/Hospital Service

Does Your Dog Have a City Dog Tag/Rabies Tag?

New York City Health Department Dog License on-line registry - painless! Dog owners may apply and make payment online for a new dog license or renew an existing one.

go to:

The annual fee to license your dog is $8.50 if your dog is spayed or neutered. The fee is $34 if your dog is not spayed or neutered

See your veterinarian for rabies tags. Know that a lost dog can be traced back to the veterinarian who issued the rabies tag.


Anecdotal evidence gathered by an informal survey of a few Park Slope Veterinarians suggest that Lepto cases come in clusters; often one to three cases, then nothing for a year.

Drinking from small standing pools of water is a big NO, NO for doggie: leptospirosis, a disease caused by Leptospira bacteria, can result in severe illness, or in rare instances, death among dogs as well as people. Rodents and other wild animals such as raccoons and opossums that are infected with Leptospira can shed the bacteria in their urine, potentially contaminating standing pools of water. The bacteria can survive for weeks or longer in a warm moist environment.
Dogs and other animals can be infected through drinking contaminated water or contact with open wounds or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth). While some infections may not result in illness, symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs may include fever, vomiting, yellowing of the skin or eyes, refusal to eat, weight loss, decreased activity, muscle pains, or stiffness.

While ridding the park of rats and other wildlife is impractical; dog owners can take preventive measures to reduce the risk of transmission to their pets such as bringing a supply of fresh water.  Some people use Gator Ade plastic bottles which have swivel-on caps that are "tooth proof".

Vaccines against leptospirosis are available, but you should consult with your veterinarian when deciding whether to vaccinate your dog. The vaccine does not cover all strains of leptospirosis and is not considered a core vaccine according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).  In addition, anecdotally it has been associated with adverse reactions in toy breeds and young puppies.

If your pet is diagnosed with leptospirosis, the risk of transmission to family members and other pets is likely limited; but it is extremely important to discuss with your veterinarian what prevention measures to put in place in order to reduce this risk.

Note: Have humans contracted this disease either from contact with Dog Beach water or from dogs which frequent the park? While the Department of Health has seen a handful of human cases city-wide in the past ten year, none have been reported from Prospect Park-- though it's always a possibility. The body of water associated with the Dog Beach is supplied by chlorinated city water, the source of which is located within a few hundred feet away.

You should make your own decision in conjunction with your veterinarian.

Lyme Disease

Anecdotal numbers from one Park Slope Veterinary Office suggest that they see "...about 3 per year of classic cases. It's almost always in dogs who've traveled to Lyme endemic areas and contracted it there. We get plenty of cases with a positive Lyme titer, but no clinical signs of Lyme disease (fever with acute lameness or kidney failure). Which just means they've been exposed to the organism and their immune system has prevented the illness. They don't have Lyme disease.

"...Recommendations to prevent Lyme disease revolve primarily around repelling or killing the tick vector. In dogs that stay in Brooklyn--Frontline or Advantix. If they travel to endemic areas of Lyme disease a Preventick collar is recommended in addition to Frontline or Advantix.

"The more controversial question is whether to vaccinate or not against Lyme. In Brooklyn only dogs, I say no. In dogs traveling to endemic areas, I say maybe in a case by case basis. The controversy is about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccination."

Your Aging Dog - Pain Relief

This article was previously published in the January 2010 issue of the Versatile Hunting Dog (NAVHDA) magazine and permission has been granted by the author to reprint here.

Dr. Boyer was asked about giving medication for an older hunting GWP who was slowing down and showing evidence of being stiff and sore, whether he could give her human over the counter pain medication like Tylenol or Motrin to help with this pain.

Dr. Boyer's response:
Please do not ever give your dog human pain medications without consulting your veterinarian. Over the counter pain relivers like Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve), and Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause liver failure in dogs wth just a single dose. Aspirin, preferably buffered or coated can be given, however, there is a risk of gastric (stomach) ulcers with regular use.

There are many safe and effective pain relievers specifically formulated for dogs. There are several classes of drugs available for pain relief. Most commonly Rimadyl, Previcox, Deramaxx and Metacam are prescribed as non-steroidal anti-inflamatories. Other stronger medicaiton can be added to these to provide additional relief if your dog is still painful. In addition, there is a substance called Adequan that is used by injection or orally in dogs, cats and horses to provide additional relief from joint pain.

If medications are ineffective or you would like other alternatives, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very effective in dealing with osteoarthritis or other pain. Cold laser therapy is a new modality available at some general practice veterinarians or those who specialize in rehabilitative medicine or holistic care. For severely affected dogs, Stem Cell therapy offers exceptional relief for osteoarthritis and although expensive, alleviates the need for the use of medication long term. Your veterinarian should be able to help you locate non-traditional options that are effective. In general, short courses of treatment with non-traditional options can offer your dog increased mobility and improvement of performance in the field.

Winter Health Tips
Cold weather presents it's own set of problems when it comes to proper care of our canine companions. Check out Jennifer Brauer's cold weather advice (newly updated) at: Winter Health Tips.

Hot Weather Health Tips
Did you know that a dog needs one ounce of water per pound of weight on a hot day? Hot Weather Tips

Toxic Plants
This is more than seasonal - some indoor plants present a hazard to your pet.

Deadly Canine Virus.

As first reported in the New York Times...

The more people informed and aware of the potential dangers, the better you'll be able to respond to the situation, if it arises.Symptoms resemble Kennel Cough, but can rapidly esculate to pnenomia and death. Has been observed in Kennels just outside the NYC area. Check with your veterinarian.

Merk Vet Manual
Two legged friends of four legged creatures should explore this online manual. Know what to ask the vet when going for check ups.

Service Dogs; Therapy Dogs... and more

Service Dogs
Service dogs that are trained to specifically assist the individual needs of a person with a disability can provide the amount of physical and/or psychological support necessary to help that person lead a more functional and independent life.

New York Service Dog Information

United States Service Dog Handlers
See their homepage

Therapy Dogs
Therapy dogs and their owners are certified to visit hospital of health facilities where they engage patients by chatting about dogs and allowing their therapy dog to interact with them. Therapy dogs are for anyone who need needs a brief boost of emotional support.

Therapy Dog Screening...

The Good Dog Foundation
Originally based here in Park Slope, Rachel McPherson's GDF screens and trains dogs for hospital visitation--pet therapy. Over a dozen dogs are presently working in New York Methodist Hospital. GDF also serves hospitals in Manhattan and Westchester as well. For details:

Pet Partners
Nationwide Therapy Dog Certification


2010 Update - Rabid Racoons in Central Park
By January, one dog and one human have been bitten and received treatment. The NYC Department of Health regularly update their website to reflect the current numbers of rabid animals and maps that show the approximate location they were found.

02/16/10 Note: there have been one reported rabid raccoon in downtown Brooklyn near the Atlantic Center - the first ever in Brooklyn

Don't want to vacinate your dog? Tags have expired?
Sally Slavinski DVM, MPH, DACVPM; Mental Hygiene Assistant Director zoonotic, influenza and vector borne disease unit, NYC Department of Health, explains your options.

Dog owner’s should know that if their dog (or cat) is bitten or otherwise exposed to a rabid or potentially rabid animal there are two potential outcomes depending on vaccine status. If up to date on rabies vaccine, the pet should be re-vaccinated within 3 days with rabies vaccine and confined for a 45 day period in the owner’s home. If not vaccinated or not up to date there are two options; either euthanize immediately or place the pet in quarantine for 6 months at a veterinary facility (this is very costly).

Rabies Tags
Rabies tags come with the Rabes vacination - each tag number logged with your addressand the veterinarian's name; a plus, if your dog gets lost. New York City requires a Rabies shot every three years. Not so long ago it was every year! There's alternative thinking out there that every seven years is sufficient (see below) but New York law says EVERY three years!

Dog On Dog Bites

Small Claims Court
Legally, no matter who is at fault, the dog owner whose dog causes the documented injuries is libel for the expenses. If you pursue a legal claim, you must follow prescribed steps in order to satisfy a small claims court. Know that anything other than direct evidence, such as creating an on-line buzz about the dog owner or demanding pain and suffering may work against you.

Dog Runs -The Volunteer Manager of the Tompkins Square Dog Run created a pdf about how to handle dog fights that result in vet bills, and how to get the attacking dog's owner to pay if they don't do so voluntarily. Check Dog Court pdf for a Small Claims Court Guide.

Also more on this subject on the FAQ page

Animal Support/Suspension Devices/ and more

Comes a time when old age or recent surgery catches up with our dogs and they require assistance walking or navigating stairs. Here's the beginning of what we hope will be a list of service devices.

Stuff for handicapped Pets

Animal Suspension Technology
Manufacturers of the Get-a-Grip Harness and custom Pet Support Suit. View their products at:

Need More To Worry About?

Toxic Algae... it's real.

FIDO Note--- Potentially, Algae Bloom has been a deadly problem at Prospect Park Lake. To mitigate the danger, the Prospect Park Alliance installed ecoWEIRs at two locations in the park durning the summer of 2020--one near the Dog Beach (where city water enters the watercourse). The aim of this system is to reduce phosphates, thereby reducing excessive algae growth. The filtration system and its results will be monitored over the course of multiple seasons to determine if the pilot study is a success.

Phosphates in the water produce blooms of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. Certain types of cyanobacteria produce toxins that can pose a health risk for humans and animals. Skin contact can cause rashes or eye irritation, while ingestion can cause more serious effects. These blooms have led to closing areas of the Prospect Park Lake that were previously available for dogs to swim due to concerns over exposure.

In addition to enhancing the health and resilience of the Prospect Park Lake, this project provides an opportunity to educate the public about water health. If successful, the Prospect Park ecoWEIR project will be replicable in parks nationwide.
West Nile Virus
See our link

Clinical Trials

Current clinical trials, grants
Dogs, cats, even lizards...oh my! Often clinical trials are free even for cancer studies.
Click on the active links for your state:

University of Pennsylvania School of Veternnary Medicine

NYC - Animal Medical Center

Medical Assistance for Low Income Pet Owners

Paws NY
PAWS NY is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides pet care assistance to individuals experiencing both physical and financial obstacles so that they can keep their pets and continue to benefit from the human-animal bond. We focus on helping seniors, individuals with disabilities, and individuals suffering from permanent or temporary illness.

Through our Housecall Program, our extensive network of volunteers visit clients in their homes and provide pet care assistance that clients cannot do on their own. Services include (but are not limited to) dog walking, litter box maintenance, grooming, provision of food/water, and transportation to the vet. PAWS NY also provides foster and emergency care for pets when a client unexpectedly finds himself in the hospital

Pet Food Stamp Program
The Pet Food Stamps program, a registered NYS non-profit corporation, has been created to fill the void in the United States Food Stamp program which excludes the purchase of pet food and pet supplies. As more families struggle with difficult choices like paying the rent or buying food, some have to choose between keeping their pet and putting food on the table. See more at:

Vet Mobile...
Specializing in low coast services. With a staff of seven veterinarians, three veterinary technicians and volunteer administrators, the Vet Mobile is now parked in front of the Manhattan shelter of New York City Animal Control ("NYCACC") at 326 East 110 St. every Friday and Saturday at noon, and the Brooklyn NYCACC shelter at 2336 Linden Blvd. on Wednesdays at noon. Appointments are only required for elective surgeries. Other medical issues are triaged first come first serve.

Additional Links...

Mayor's Animal Alliance of New York
If you need financial assistance to help pay for veterinary care for your companion animals, you have several options:

There is also a low-cost boarding program:

NY S.A.V.E, Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to the aid and assistance of low-income pet owners residing in one of the five boroughs of New York City, whose pet is in need of emergency veterinary care.

Humane Society of NY

Full Service Clinic: full-service veterinary hospital assists dog and cat owners with limited means, to receive quality treatment for their pets at affordable rates. Services range from basic wellness care and spay/neuter to advanced diagnostic and surgical procedures.

The Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital is located inside the ASPCA’s New York City headquarters at 424 East 92 Street. We are a premier AAHA-certified, small animal, medical, surgical and emergency facility, and have been providing high-quality specialized and general medicine to public and shelter animals since 1912.