Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Congratulations Dr. Foote!


Congratulations Dr. Foote!
Feline Frienemies
Canine Influenza Outbreak
Keep your Pet's Breath Fresh

Congratulations Dr. Foote!

Below is an article written by CattleDog Publishing about Dr. Foote joining the company.

Dr. Foote and RangerIt’s the start of a New Year and the start of some changes here at CattleDog Publishing. We lost Dr. Yin in 2014 and a core group of her dedicated employees stayed on to manage the company. Our goal was to keep the company running after her death and ensure that projects she wanted to complete were done, as well as secure her irreplaceble legacy of Low Stress Handling™ training and her unique Learn to Earn™ program. Thanks to you and all of Dr. Yin’s supportive colleagues, we were successful in this venture. Now, it’s time for a new leader in our team.

We’re very proud to announce that Dr. Sally Foote, DVM, CFBC-IAABC, has joined CattleDog Publishing as Interim Executive Director. Dr. Foote is a highly respected lecturer and her practice, Okaw Veterinary Clinic, was one of the first Low Stress Handling™ certified clinics in the country. She’s worked with Dr. Yin, taught with Dr. Yin and sat on multiple veterinary and behavior boards with Dr. Yin. We’re happy she’ll be bringing her positive, vital energy to CattleDog Publishing.

With Dr. Foote at the helm, CattleDog Publishing will be returning to being at conferences. Starting with NAVC, Dr. Foote was at our our table in the Boca room at the Caribe Royale on Saturday, January 16th 9 am to 5:30 pm. She will be demonstrating Low Stress Handling™ techniques and taking feedback from you on what you’d like to see from CattleDog Publishing. Stop by to see videos and learn more! Dr. Foote and CattleDog Publishing staff will also be attending WVC in March, where Dr. Foote will be lecturing.

Plans On The Horizon:

  • Low Stress Handling™ Bootcamp
  • Low Stress Handling for Cats video content
  • New blog content training
  • More video examples demonstrating how Low Stress Handling™ combines with medical procedures and different types of animals
  • Updates to our website
  • Our informational posters in new languages

In short, it’s going to be a bold new year for CattleDog Publishing as we build on the legacy of Dr. Sophia Yin’s work. We’re looking forward to meeting you at NAVC and WVC as well as continuing to be a trusted source for science-based behavior and training content.

     - article courtesy of CattleDog Publishing

Feline Frienemies

Ranger and BinxYou have seen it, 2 house cats living together peacefully, grooming each other’s ears, sleeping together on the couch – then for some reason one will hiss at the other. It may escalate to growling, chasing, and pouncing. What is going on? How can they be so friendly one minute, then all fur and claws the next?

This hissing episode may be an example of housemate cat aggression. Calling a hissing fit aggression may sound intense but aggression is more than outright fighting. Aggression consists of body language – vocalizing, postures, eye contact and body blocking – that one cat will express when feeling a threat. Staring, low growling and body blocking says, “stop what you are doing”. When that threat does not decrease, the threatened cat will increase in the intensity by intensifying the growling, staring then escalating to pouncing and chasing. Some of us think this is just playing, but often it is not. We need to learn to look at the home environment through the eyes of our cats in order to understand how they can get along well.

The first step is to understand what our cats need in the home to be really happy. Much of our information is looking at what the natural behaviors are of cats when living in an open social group such as outdoors with sheltered areas. A recent veterinary textbook Feline Behavioral Health and Welfare by Ilona Rodan, DVM and Sarah Heath, DVM outline much of this information. They, with additional contributing authors, including Dr. Sophia Yin, stress that individual resting and sleeping spaces – hunting for food multiple times a day, and not competing with other cats for food, space, and toilet areas. Most cats live solo when they are in the wild. Social cats chose the cats they live with provided there is enough space and resources. Food in multiple sites, resting places at various heights and opportunities to hunt and practice those skills to prevent boredom are essential for peaceful coexistence. If you want happy cats, bring the outdoor life inside. Provide at least 3 perching places per cat in the home, hunting for their food daily, and predatory playtime that is directed on toys, not the buddy cat.

We feel like we are making a happy home with a big bowl of food, large solo litter box and leaving them alone but our cats are bored. Obesity is the silent killer of many cats and stems from this boredom. Other health effects are bladder disease as the urinary system is the target for feline stress. Unknowingly, we are stifling what our cats need to be happy. Often cats become frustrated looking at the companion cat as a competitor. That is when trouble brews.  

Cats turn to aggression differently than dogs or other species do. For the cat, when they lived out in the wild a fights could mean death. Remember, cats in the wild live alone. They do not have a buddy cat to bring food back to them. Risking injury from being bitten in a fight would mean that they could not hunt and may starve as a result. So when a cat is chasing, grabbing or biting another cat, they are highly stressed and turning to a high level of aggression. Before this point there was a lot of staring, body blocking, chasing and growling that is warning the other cat to leave. So the low level of aggression is missed where we cat owners could do something to decrease the tension. Much like 2 roommates who get fed up with each other over days then have a blow up, cats can do the same with building tension that then suddenly erupts in a fight. After the fight, they cool off for a few days, only to start brewing again if nothing has changed to make the home better for both of them. Competition may also exist over specific spaces or times of day. Our 20 year old cat, Mercy, and Binx the 3 year old cat, both want to lay in the sun spot in our waiting room here at Okaw Veterinary Clinic. Mercy will walk up to Binx getting ready to lay in the sun spot area, and hiss and stare at him – he gives her an innocent look and walks away – for a while. Then he comes back wanting to lie in the same spot and she will hiss and growl again. I cannot put more windows in my office, but what we now do is toss treats into to a different window perch so he gets sun away from Mercy. This brings more kitty harmony but we had to learn to observe where they were, and what is different in this moment that got them hissing at each other.

Many cases of missing the litter box (Feline Inappropriate Elimination) actually involve one of the cats staring at the other cat using the box, or pouncing on that cat leaving the box. This would be like getting mugged after you step out of the bathroom! Other behavior problems I see are redirected aggression to humans when the problem cat walks in the room, or chronic hiding of the victim cat. The “shy” cat who never ventures out is really stressed and needs help. Veterinarians rarely see cats for housemate cat fights as compared to dogs. When cats fight, they can cause an abscess, but this is not terribly common. As a result, veterinarians are not as aware of the level of hissing, staring and other low level aggression is going on in a household.

There are many non-drug products that can help relieve feline aggression which when combined with a behavior plan to improve feline harmony. Pheromones, diets, calming supplements and increasing the resources in the home can help a lot. As a rule, I tell my clients they need 1 litter box per cat at least 3 feet apart and where the cats cannot see each other; 10 minutes of human play with each cat daily, where the cat thinks it’s killed something; 3 perches per cat, and set 3 small dishes with 1 tablespoon of dry food out per cat throughout the house for the cats to practice their hunting skills. The second step is to observe what your cat experiences and does. When they are lying on the couch together, are they really resting peacefully, or is one always eyeing the other? That is the staring I am talking about which starts the escalation to hissing or worse. Ranger, our other clinic mascot, and Binx, love the heated pet blanket but will stare and hiss even with 3 feet between each other. The solution? A cardboard separator, so they don’t see each other and each feels like the space is solely theirs. For couch potato kitties, put a pillow between them. That may be all they need to see the space as individual and not shared.

If your cats are not the most harmonious, try enhancing their home and add lots of play. If they are still having trouble, a consult with a veterinarian who has behavior credentials. Some cats are having low level pain, adding into the aggravation. Cats also hide pain and examining them may not always reveal the source of pain. Often a back x-ray will show lumbar arthritis that 90% of our cats over 9 years old experience. I often see a combination of medical problems aggravating inter-cat aggression. Please don’t wait if your cats are not improving – bring them in for an exam and be sure to tell your veterinarian all that you’ve seen going on in your household.


Canine Influenza Outbreak

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is back in the news. The virus has been seen in 26 states now. This is the same flu that we saw last year, here in Illinois, when the U of I Veterinary Hospital saw a dog with CIV that had stayed in a boarding kennel in a Chicago.

We learned that the virus making dogs sick, is not the usual virus strain we had seen in the past. This new strain has been in Asia and causes both dogs and cats too become ill.

The virus is spread easily by dogs sneezing or coughing on other dogs or cats, coming into contact with contaminated surfaces (toys, food and water bowls, dog parks, kennels), and contact with people who are around sick dogs. The virus can live up to 48 hours on contaminated surfaces, 24 hours on clothing and 12 hours on your skin.

Once a dog or cat comes into contact with the virus, they will start showing symptoms within two to four days. During these first few days the dog or cat is most contagious to other animals. Symptoms of CIV include coughing, runny eyes or nose, sneezing, lethargy, fever and not eating. Call us if your pet has any of these symptoms. If CIV is caught early and treated, most dogs and cats will survive. 

Protect your pet from CIV by not visiting dog parks, boarding kennels, pet stores and other places visited by other dogs. If you are around other dogs, change clothes as soon as you get home and thoroughly wash your hands, arms, etc. A vaccine for the CIV strain we usually see is available. We have the vaccine in our clinic if you would like to have your dog vaccinated. We don't know if the vaccine will be affective against the new strain. The vaccine may provide some protection.

Read more about Canine Influenza Virus:

Canine Influenza FAQ
Canine Influenza: Pet Owner's Guide

Keep your Pet's Breath Fresh

Keeping your pet's mouth healthy is important. Your pet will be healthier and not have "doggy" or "kitty" breath. Here are a few tips you can do at home to help your pet's breath to stay fresh. If these tips don't work for your pet, call us and we will set up an appointment to look at your pet's teeth.
  • Encourage your pet to chew on rawhides, nylabones and other toys to help clean your pet's teeth. The chewing motion helps to clean teeth. Some nylabones and toys are designed to help clean teeth.
  • Use a water additive to help keep your pet's teeth clean. We sell an additive called Oratene.
  • Use a cleaning rinse that can be squirted into your pet's mouth. If your pet doesn't like the rinse squirted into his or her mouth, you can squirt it onto a toy or rawhide and let your pet chew on that. We sell a cleaning rinse called Clenz-a-dent
  • Brush your pet's teeth. Use a pet tooth brush and tooth paste. Do NOT use people tooth paste. People tooth paste can make your pet sick. Read the next article to find out more about how to brush your pet's teeth.
If none of these are helping with your dog or cat's bad breath, call us to set up an appointment. Dr. Foote will look at your pet's teeth and we can set up an appointment to clean your pet's teeth.

We place your pet under anesthesia while we perform the dental. Dr. Foote cleans the teeth while one of our veterinary technicians monitor your pet. We look at your pet's teeth, gums and tongue. We check for any abnormalities. Plaque and tartar is cleaned from your pet's teeth and we check for loose teeth. We will remove loose, damaged or infected teeth. Your pet's teeth are then polished and we apply a sealant to help prevent tartar build up. Here are a before and after picture of a dog we performed a dental cleaning on.
                                       Before                                                                        After           
Most adult dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. Tartar and plaque build up on your pet's teeth. Bacteria starts to live and reproduce around the plaque. Hair and pieces of food also can get stuck between your pet's teeth, allowing more bacteria to grow. The bacteria releases toxins that irritate the gum tissue. This causes inflammation, redness and pain. The toxins also attack the supporting structures, including the periodontal ligaments and bone, around the tooth. The loss of supporting structures makes the tooth loose. The bacteria can enter your pet's blood stream and travel to other organs, including the heart, kidney and liver. The bacteria can inflame these organs and cause health problems. The bacteria living in your pet's mouth also causes bad breath.

The progression of dental disease has four stages. During the first stage, the gums will be slightly red and swollen and teeth will have plaque on them. The first stage is reversible with a dental cleaning. During the second stage, the gums are red and swollen and painful, the teeth have chunks of plaque on them and the breath will smell. This stage is also reversible with a dental cleaning. During the third stage, the gums will also bleed and some teeth may be completely covered by tartar. The mouth is also very sore during this stage. This stage may be reversible with a dental cleaning. During the fourth stage, the gums may contain pus pockets and tooth roots may be visible. This stage is not reversible. We perform a dental cleaning to remove the tartar, loose teeth and any infected tissues.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to get your pet's teeth cleaned, please call us or send an email.

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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