Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Is your Pet Hurting



The Top 10 ways to Tell if your Pet is Slowing Down due to Mild Pain from Arthritis
Brushing your Pet's Teeth
5 Tips for Saving Money at the Vet



The Top 10 ways to Tell if your Pet is Slowing Down due to Mild Pain from Arthritis

  1. Your pet greets you at the door more slowly and with less exuberance. When bones start to creak, it is a little more difficult to rise up so you pet will be slower to come to greet you. They are still happy to see you, but they just don't have that "wow!  I have missed you sooooooo much look".

  2. Cats that used to sit up high on the refrigerator or top of the TV, now lay on the chair seats or floor more often. It takes a lot of power in those hind legs to get up high, so mild pain in the lower lumbar spine often has a cat choosing to stay low. They won't limp or cry out - and if you have other cats now they may be fighting more due to crowding at perching places.

  3. The dog that used to drag you on a walk now needs to be dragged. Even when dogs get older, the smells and sights of the neighbor's yard still excites them. If they are lagging behind it is because they are more stiff and less agile. Now weight can pile on which makes arthritis even worse.

  4. Your dog or cat keeps moving from place to place to lay. They don't settle in one spot for a nap or sleeping easily. Laying still for a long while can make muscles more stiff, worsening  low grade pain. Be sure beds are well padded or consider a heated bed.

  5. Grouchy older pets. A normally well behaved pet does not get grouchy just because they are ornery. They are grouchy because they are feeling pain somewhere. How nice have you been when your neck or back hurt? It is the same for our pets.

  6. Accidents in the house are a clue. Dogs may find it difficult to "assume the position" and cats have a hard time climbing into high litter boxes down the stairs. Take your dog out frequently and give your cat a box that is no higher than 2 inches on the main level. Have your pet examined to help them keep up their house training. Many house trained pets become very upset when they have accidents they cannot help.

  7. Avoiding play time. An older pet still loves the time spent with you in play. If it hurts to chase the ball, or hold something in the mouth due to dental disease the pet will avoid play. After managing the pain of arthritis many dogs and cats are acting young again and the much missed play time is back again!

  8. Dogs that now don't chew rawhide. Often when the teeth are sore due to tartar and infection, the dog will chew on the good side so you won't notice lack of appetite. The dog will usually avoid catching a ball or chewing on rawhide since it hurts. Bring your dog in for a dental exam as soon as possible if they are avoiding rawhides or Greenies.

  9. Housemate pets that used to get along, now don't. It's tough to tolerate a younger dog or cat romping about or bumping into you if your back, hips or neck is chronically sore. So, the older pet hisses or growls to say stay away. This in not jealousy - it is self protection. Bring in your older pet for an arthritis screening to help everyone get along better.

  10. Just ain't doing right. When all you can say is that your pet is not themselves it is because there is typically some low grade pain that is wearing them down day by day. We understand how this is in older pets. Many problems don't have specific signs. Blood tests often catch problems long before they show up with signs at home. If your best friend "ain't doing right" bring them in.


Brushing your Pet's Teeth

February is Pet Dental Health Month, so we thought we would talk a little bit about your pet's teeth. No one likes doggie and kitty breath. One way to help stop the stink is by brushing your pet's teeth. It is best to brush your pet's teeth daily. But as you start brushing their teeth, you can do it every other day and work your way up to every day. Use a pet tooth brush and pet tooth paste. We sell a tooth brush that has a three sided head so it brushes each side of the tooth in one swipe. Pet tooth pastes come in chicken, liver, beef and other flavors. Do NOT use people tooth paste. It is poisonous to your pet.  

You can teach your pet to accept having his or her teeth brushed. The best time to start brushing your pet's teeth is when they are a puppy or kitten. But you can teach your adult pet too. It just may take a little bit longer. Purchase a pet tooth brush and paste. Pet tooth pastes come in various flavors. Try a flavor you think your pet will like.

When you start, don't just shove the tooth brush into your pet's mouth. They can get scared. You need to slowly work your way up to brushing your pet's teeth over several days. Start by putting some of the tooth paste on your finger and let your pet lick it off. When your pet looks forward to getting the tooth paste, start sticking your finger in your pet's mouth and move in like a tooth brush a few times. Do this until your pet is comfortable. Then start putting it on the brush and let him or her lick it off. When your pet is comfortable with this, move the brush in and out of the mouth one time. Do this until your pet is comfortable. Then slowly add more swipes until you can brush your pet's mouth.

You can give your pet treats after you brush his or her teeth. This may seem strange. After all, you just cleaned their teeth. But giving your pet a treat lets them know, if they let you brush their teeth, then they get a treat.




5 Tips for Saving Money at the Vet

  1. Vaccinations - Keep your pet up to date on his or her vaccines. Vaccines keep your pet protected against diseases such as Parvo, Rabies, Distemper and Feline Upper Respiratory Diseases.

  2. Quality food - Quality food helps your pet stay healthy by providing the proper nutrients for your pet. Foods such as Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, Taste of the Wild and Nature's Recipe are all balanced quality foods. Also choose a food that fits your pets age. Many foods have different formulas that are balanced to a certain age group (puppy/kitten, adult, senior). For example, if you have a 8 year old dog, feed him or her a Senior formula. If you have an 8 week old kitten, feed him or her Kitten food.

  3. Healthy weight - Dogs and cats who are at a normal weight are healthier and live longer than those who are overweight. Overweight pets can have trouble breathing and walking. They also are at risk for diseases such as Diabetes and Heart Disease. Being overweight can also add complications to diseases, such as Arthritis.

  4. Exercise - Exercise helps keep your pet healthy by keeping their body and mind in shape. Exercise keeps bones, muscles and joints active and healthy. It also keeps your pet's mind active. Walk your dog at least twice a day. Play games such as fetch and hide and seek. Play with your cat several times a day. You can also take your cat on a walk. Check out how to do this here.

  5. CareCredit - Its a credit card for medical expenses. You can use it to pay us for your pet's expenses. If you pay the bill within 6 months, there is no interest. You can also use this card for your medical expenses if your doctor accepts CareCredit. Visit the CareCredit website for more information about the card or to apply. 

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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