Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Acting Like a Puppy??

Acting Like a Puppy??
Meet our Vet Techs!

Acting Like a Puppy??

Dog and Cat arguingAn older dog can start acting up with naughty behaviors or even problematic anxiety based behaviors. It will seem odd to have an 11 year old dog who never minded being alone to now show signs of separation anxiety. I was reminded of this recently during a behavior consult, where the dog was suddenly worse after making progress. Upon examining the dog, I noted how it was holding its head down and walking very gingerly. The dog was in moderate pain - not enough to cry but enough to show it was not moving normally.  

It may seem unrelated, but chronic pain can very definitely be a cause of increased signs of anxiety. The animal may be pacing, or avoiding noises or people to protect or guard its body. We may also see dogs growl at other housemate pets or even the owner when walking near. This increased aggression is triggered by the pain. The animal is also anxious that a touch or bump will cause more pain.

When there is inflammation in the body, the body will use some of the same brain chemicals needed to keep a steady mood. Serotonin and Dopamine are two important neurotransmitters that are made naturally in our brain. These chemicals help us to feel good, and prevent us from sensing too much - especially pain. When inflammation is present, especially in low levels, the levels of Serotonin and Dopamine decrease. These two chemicals are important in regulating anxiety. When the levels drop, signs of anxiety can begin. 

If you have a pet, especially one over the age of 7 years old, who is now showing nervousness to a level it has not before, be sure to have a complete veterinary exam.  Pets do not show pain in the same we that we do and it is often missed. I have often found arthritis in these tense animals. Many of our pain relievers can also help reduce the anxiety with pain.

So if your mature dog is acting like a scared puppy, tell us so we can do a complete physical exam, and evaluate your pet's behavior as well.

Meet our Vet Techs!

October 15 - 21 is National Veterinary Technician Week. We are celebrating it here by telling you a little bit about what a technician does, and a little bit about our technicians. To become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), you must go through a Vet Tech course at a college and then pass a certification test to be licensed in your state. Parkland College has a Veterinary Technology course, along with several other colleges. Most tech courses are two years of intense classes and an internship at a veterinary clinic. After receiving the college degree, we must pass the state test and then we are a CVT. We must earn 15 hours of continuing education every two years to keep our license. To earn our continuing education, we attend educational seminars and read articles. CVTs can do many tasks at a veterinary clinic including drawing blood, administering and monitoring anesthesia, assisting during surgery, performing dental cleanings, evaluating slides of urine, skin and other samples under the microscope, giving injections and many other tasks.

We have three CVTs at our clinic. All three attended Parkland College and are licensed by the state. Get to know our techs:

Rachael Green
13 years at Okaw Vet ClinicRachael

I grew up in a small town and have had pets my entire life. We have always had at least one dog and outdoor cats. We live on a farm, so I also grew up around horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, chickens and a goat.

I decided to work in an biology related field when I was in high school and started my general studies at Lake Land College, where I received my Associate in Applied Sciences. Then I transferred to Eastern and looked into various Zoology degrees. I wanted to help animals and I started looking into what degree I would need to work with dogs and cats, in a veterinary field. I did a bit of research and found the Vet Tech program at Parkland College. I thought this would be a great way to help animals. I applied and got into the program. It was a tough - lots of studying and long hours of classes. But it was worth it. I enjoy working with animals and helping keep them healthy.

I have one cat named Effie that lives with me in my apartment. She was found as a stray in Tuscola. I also have two dogs, Keyser and Mac, who live at home with my parents. They were found as strays where my parents live. In my spare time I like to take photos, sketch, tat and crochet. I also like to spend time on Facebook.

Debbie Gass
12 years at Okaw Vet ClinicDebbie

From a very young age, I just knew that I was going to work with animals. Back in 1988, I had the opportunity to work at an Animal Emergency Clinic. Oh boy, was I hooked! I just knew that this was what I was meant to do.

Upon arriving in Illinois (from my native Rhode Island), I learned about Parkland College's Veterinary Technology program. I jumped at the chance to learn more and get some more training. It was great to know there was a program to gain more knowledge and training for the field I had come to love.

Every day as a veterinary technician is a learning experience. There are always new medicines, techniques, diagnostics constantly coming out to keep this field so fresh and exciting. (Not to mention all the great animals and people I meet!)

I’m also now the new Professional Outreach Representative of CattleDog Publishing. I enjoy assisting instructors at Veterinary Technology & Veterinary Assistant Schools in adding Low Stress Handling into their curriculums. It’s great helping to make our patients visits less scary and have them actually enjoy coming to vet clinics.

In my spare time, I spend time with Brad, my husband of 8 years. Going to Independent wrestling shows, spending time with friends and teaching Puppy Preschool at Mannered Mutts, LLC are favorite things as well. We have 2 feline children that keep us busy, as well as entertained.

Our sweet girl, Simone was adopted by Brad & me together as our first wedding anniversary present to ourselves. We adopted her at PetSmart through Prairie-Land Anticruelty cat rescue. Her grey & white markings reminded us of Hoppy, one of our previous cats, but then she turned her head showed us her "torti mask" we knew we had to have her.

Our newest cat, Joey started off as a foster from CatSnap that failed in less than a week. He’s an orange & white ball of energy, life with him is never boring, a wonderful addition to our home.

I am blessed that I truly love my job and look forward to going to work to see what each day will bring.

Leeza Chapman
7 1/2 years at Okaw Vet ClinicLeeza

I have wanted to work in the veterinary field for as long as I can remember. I used to bring home stray animals. My mother wasn't too happy, but I wanted to keep them. In second grade, I announced that I wanted to be a veterinarian. In fifth or sixth grade I decided that I would like to work in a vet office, but not be a vet. I decided to look into other jobs that would allow me to work in a vet office. I found information about veterinary technology and decide to be a veterinary technician.

My husband Andrew and I just had our first child, Joie. And we love her so much. I'm so glad I get to be her mom. Even if she does keep us up most of the night.

I have a dog named Delilah, she graduated from the Parkland Vet Tech program and came home with me. She always loves to be near me. I also have a Dalmatian named Jasper. I have loved Dalmatians my whole life and am so happy that I finally own one. He is just a year old and very energetic. In my spare time I like to scrapbook and spend time with my nieces and nephews.

Okaw Veterinary Clinic
140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953
(217) 253-3221


Mon & Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Tues & Wed 8 am - 5 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Closed Thurs & Sun

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