Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Christmastime for Critters


Rabid Skunks Infect Pets - Is your Dog or Cat Protected?
Everyone Have a Happy Holiday (Pets Too)!
12 Tips for a Purrfect Pet Holiday



Rabid Skunks Infect Pets - Is your Dog or Cat Protected?

Recently a dog near Brocton IL was attacked by a skunk that was positive for Rabies. This dog was roaming free in the country, and was bitten by the skunk. Unfortunately the dog was not current on it's rabies vaccination (within the last 1 - 3 years). Rabies is not treatable, so the dog had to be euthanized to protect the other humans and pets around it. When I found out about this, I was extremely saddened. A simple vaccination could have protected this pet better and prevented such a sad outcome. I have heard of  similar cases where house cats behind on their rabies vaccination have killed a bat that came into the home. When the bat was examined and found to have rabies, the cat too had to be euthanized. Often in these cases pets who are current in their vaccination are able to be quarantined and tested. When was the last time your pet was vaccinated and do you have the certificate to document this? 

Rabies is still around. It is not only in the movie "Old Yeller." Every year in Illinois skunks, foxes, and bats lead the list of positive carries. These species do not show the drooling, salivation and other signs as obviously as one would think. Those signs appear at the very end of the disease, not early when spread is easy. Change in behavior is one of the first signs. This is why one must leave wildlife alone, especially when they are acting different. So a nocturnal animal like a raccoon that is out in the day time is highly suspect for Rabies. A fox out in the open sniffing at the gutters or garbage is one to stay away from! Infection is spread from any saliva coming into contact with the mouth, nasal surface or through a bite.  So inhaling the spray from a hissing skunk or bat or a free roaming pet pouncing on and biting a rabid animal would spread the disease. How many outdoor cats are pouncing on birds, squirrels or bats? Actually more cats than dogs are at risk, yet few cats are vaccinated. This is due to slow change over at our county level on requiring cats to be vaccinated. Don't wait for a law - protect your cat and dog from this deadly disease.

If you are not sure what your pet's vaccination status is,please contact the last veterinarian your pet has seen. If the shelter or rescue was the last check up your pet had, get established with a local veterinarian. Every veterinary clinic must have the date and certificate copy on record if they administered the vaccine. If you took your pet to a vaccination clinic at a pet store, or shelter the county has to have a copy of the vaccination so call the county animal control department to find out. If your pet is due, please booster now! Wildlife is moving around as they get ready for winter so there are more chances a free roaming dog or cat could run up against a rabid animal. 

If your pet gets upset coming to the veterinarian there are things you can do to help them be more calm. No one likes a yowling cat riding in the car or the dog that has to be dragged in the door. First look for a low stress - pet friendly handling clinic. Okaw Veterinary Clinic is a certified low stress handling clinic and all pets are handled in a pet friendly way, no matter if they are happy or scared. Ask for an antianxiety medication, supplement or pheromone that you can use before the visit.  Bring your pet hungry so they want the rewards given during the exam. These treats and rewards decrease your pet's stress so they want to come in. If your veterinary clinic does not offer this - find one that does. Pet anxiety stresses owners so much they are not bringing pets in for needed care.  This is one of the leading reasons pets are behind on rabies vaccines and other care. Please go to my website to see videos, read the blog and other articles on helping to make veterinary visits easier on your pet and you. 

Please keep your pet protected. I would hate to be the veterinarian having to tell an owner that their beloved pet has been exposed to a deadly disease and is not protected. Prevention is easy through vaccination, control of where our dogs and cats roam and is not costly. Often I see dogs and cats that are behind in care due to families moving and the pet falling behind, or perhaps after adoption from a rescue the new owner did not know what follow up  care their dog or cat needed. There is pet care information on our website and my staff loves to talk to people to help them know what their pet needs.  Ask for estimates to help plan for the costs and there are ways to spread the cost of care out to help you with budgeting.


Everyone Have a Happy Holiday (Pets Too)!

Holiday gatherings are a big part of the celebrations of the season. In someway or another pets are involved in this. We buy presents for our pets,include them in family pictures and videos for the holidays, and they often are part of the party whether they like it or not. There are lots of guides and information on websites for present picking and even good picture taking. What is very important is providing enjoyable holiday gatherings for humans and animals.

First truly consider the age, health and temperament of your pet when guests are expected. If your pet is older, has arthritis,is blind or hard of hearing it is difficult for your pet to move around and get out of the way of people walking around the house for a party.They may be laying comfortably in their own bed, but they are usually on the lookout for what is going to happen next. This may have them a little tense and apprehensive about the whole gathering, which may result in more pain the next day from just holding their body tense, or having to move around more with more people present. Young pets may be very excited and jump, bark, meow excessively or knock little ones down.

Toddlers are especially at risk of possibly being bitten by even the most friendly dog when you think of how children are constantly on the go with an animal that is already a bit anxious.Toddlers are right up in the face of a dog, they do not follow verbal instructions from adults very well, and it seems the more adults there are fewer eyes are on the children (which adult is responsible for watching the kids?). If the owners have not made a quiet place for the dog or cat to go , there is a big risk of a bite.

So, to keep your pet and everyone happy plan ahead. Dogs and cats do not have to know everyone. If your relatives just come over once a year, then make a comfy place for your dog or cat to spend the day. If someone wants to visit your pet, you decide if it is okay. Younger well socialized pets may do fine with many people over but after a few hours they have usually had enough and are seeking a quiet area. Make that area away from the party scene and go ahead and put your pet there if you notice your pet avoiding people (avoidance is a subtle sign of anxiety). If the humans won?t listen to you, perhaps board your pet for the day or make that comfy place in another room well away from others,and make it really hard for guests to ?let the pet out?. Most of the pet problems at parties are really humans not listening to each other or the animal.

If your pet is stressed out by visitors, we can help.Give us a call to set up an appointment for a behavior consult. You can also take a look at the behavioral services we offer.


12 Tips for a Purrfect Pet Holiday

  1. Give you pet gifts. If your pet doesn't like to unwrap his or her gifts, try the following. For dogs, put a couple yummy treats in with their gift and then wrap the gift. For cats, put some yummy treats or catnip in with their gift and then wrap the gift.

  2. Keep candles and fragrance warmers out of your pet's reach. Dogs and cats can sniff or bump into these decorations and get burned.

  3. Cats keep climbing in the tree? Keep them out by spraying the lower branches with an antiperspirant containing alum.

  4. Tinsel and popcorn strings sure make the tree look pretty. Cats and dogs think so too. They often eat these decorations and become sick.

  5. Dogs and cats can chew on light bulbs and cords decorating the tree. So keep those lights tucked into the tree branches.

  6. Real trees have a pan of water that many dogs and cats like to drink from. Keep them out of this water! The water is contaminated by chemicals that have been sprayed on the trees.

  7. Hang ornaments out of your pet's reach. And hang them with thick ribbon instead of metal hooks. Dogs and cats are curious and play with ornaments. The hooks can fall off and easily be eaten and get stuck in your pet's intestines. The ornaments can also do the same if your pet eats them.

  8. Flowers and plants work great as decorations. Just keep them out of your pet's reach. Some plants, such as Amaryllis and Norfolk pine are poisonous to pets. Read more about poisonous plants.

  9. Yummy food is great for people, but most shouldn't be shared with our pets. Chocolate, sugar free candy, alcohol, fatty foods and bones can make your dog or cat sick. If you want to share your meal with your pet, try giving a few green beans (not casserole), carrots, celery or apple slices to your pet.

  10. Watch the aluminum foil, plastic cling wrap and raw meat wrappings. These are very yummy smelling and tasting to your pet. Your cat or dog can not only eat the bits of food, but will also eat the foil or wrap.

  11. Does your dog or cat run and hide when you have guests over? Help your nervous pet, pick up some Adaptil spray or collar for your dog or Feliway spray for your cat. Adaptil and Feliway are calming scents. Adaptil is the scent a mother dog releases when to help calm her pups while nursing. Feliway is the scent a cat leaves when rubbing their face on objects. This helps the cat feel more secure in their environment. Also keep these pets in a "safe" area, such as a bedroom, away from guests. Play the radio to help soothe your pet.

  12. Protect those tender toes. Use pet safe salt on sidewalks and driveways. Clean snow and ice from your dog's feet. Snow and ice can pack into your pet's paws and cause discomfort.


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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