Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Who's Walking Who? 



My House is Not a Litter Box!
Are you Prepared for a Disaster?
Heartworms: Did you Know...
Tired of your Dog Taking You for a Walk?
Kitty Cabin Fever



Treatment Tricks - How to Make Treatments Easy!

How to load your cat up in a carrier without a fight (it is possible!)
Does your pet run when he or she hears you get medication or clippers?
Wish you could get your pet's eye or ear medication in without a fight?
Want to know how to get your pet to take his or her pills?
Wish you could get your pet's nails trimmed?
Want to know how to clean your pet's ears?

Attend Dr. Foote's talk about making treatments easy. You will learn how you can have a more cooperative pet during treatments. Learn how going slowly at first and rewarding your pet can make a big difference. She will be at Prairieland Feeds in Savoy on Sunday June 26th from 2 - 3 pm.

This talk is open to all pet lovers. Please invite your friends!


Please RSVP by June 25th. You can email us at okawvetstaff@mchsi.com or call us at (217) 253-3221.


This talk is for humans only. Please leave your pets at home.



My House is Not a Litter Box!

Ranger loves a clean box!

No one wants their home to be a litter box. I don't have a house kitty due to my husband's severe allergies to cats, so I am not experiencing any litter box problems. I do have to help clients with this problem often. A lot of people spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon yesterday listening to my  detailed presentation  at Prairie Land Feeds about how to keep your cat happy with the litter box.  This is a really aggravating problem and one that will land a kitty in the shelter or worse if it does not improve. I won't bore you will all the details of yesterday's talk. I will hit upon the big  factors that have cats unhappy about the box, resulting in potty problems and I will suggest what will help them get back in the box.

First of all, we vets want to know about these problems early!  At least 50% of the time there is a medical problem that your cat has but is not showing signs of  illness thus causing litter box unhappiness. Now, if your cat hates to go to the vet, ask if  a house call can be done. I do house calls, but I do not promote it heavily since I have the base clinic. I limit the days and number of house calls, but I do offer them. I can't know what cats are difficult to come in, so please tell my staff! There are ways to help your kitty ride better, but I will save that for another blog.

happy Mercy

The short list of possible problems ( not complete but most common) are bladder infection, anal gland problems, arthritis in cats over 10, kidney insufficiency, diabetes, and irritable bowel disorder.

Luckily for us, Mercy has been good at using the box. She has arthritis in her right hip from her hit by car injury which is what brought her to us. She is on Dasuquin and J/D food by Hills to help her pain be less, and the box is pretty easy for her to get to. I will have the staff get a lower box though. It has a high side and before she tells us how hard it is to get in, it would be wise to help her out. It is hard to find low boxes so be creative. You can cut the front lower with a knife, or buy an under the bed storage box. 

If a very complete exam, possible xrays and stool/urine and blood checks are fine, then be sure you are keeping the box how your cat would like it. Notice I said cat, not you. Cats want to have their own box, with no waste in it ( this is why they immediately jump in a freshly cleaned box), with enough room to scratch around, turn and position themselves easily and located where it is easy and nice to find. To put it simply, be sure to scoop all ( I mean all!!!) the urine clumps and stool clumps out of the box twice daily. Do you want to use a toilet that has not been flushed? Most of us just turn around and leave it is so bad. Your cat feels pretty much the same way. So, keep it clean, clean, clean!

since this box is in the kitchen, it is
easy to get to, and cleaned often.

Try a second litter box in a different location. Put one on the main floor your cat likes to be on and have it be open if you have a covered one. Try a different litter in the new box.  Most cats like the cheap generic or activated charcoal litters. Usually just an inch or 2 of litter is best for the cat, and makes it easier for you to dump it all out for a good box cleaning weekly.

These litter box problems can be frustrating but often they can get better working together with your veterinary staff that understands all the litter box issues. Visit our website
for more articles and information about pet behavior. Read my blog for more info about pet behavior! 


Dr. Sally J. Foote and Ranger (Mercy was sleeping on the couch)



Are you Prepared for a Disaster?

Flooding from the Mississippi River has devastated towns, farms and homes in many Southern states. Recent tornadoes have also destroyed many towns and homes. Would you know what to do to keep you and your pet safe during and a disaster?


  • Keep a collar with identification tags on your pet including your name and current phone number, consider getting your pet microchipped.
  • Keep a leash (dog) or carrier (cat) and disaster kit in an easy place to grab on your way out the door.
  • Disaster kit: current photos of your pets, food, bottled water, can opener (for canned food), food and water dish, few days of your pet's medication, toy, poop bags (for dogs), litter pan with litter and scoop (for cats).
  • Contact family, friends and hotels to find pet friendly places to stay if your home is destroyed.


  • Remain calm. If you start panicking, your pets also start panicking.
  • As soon as you can, get you and your pets to safety. Waiting to the last minute can cause you and your pets to getting stressed.
  • Go to your family, friend or a hotel that accepts pets.
  • Try to keep you pet's routine the same as it was before the disaster.
  • If your pet was injured or is acting strange or aggressive, please contact your veterinarian.
  • If you lost your pet during the disaster, you can use the photos to make missing signs. Contact local animal control and veterinarians to let them know you lost your pet.



Heartworms: Did you Know...

  • Cats can get heartworms. Cats usually have fewer worms in their heart, but have more damage done to their lungs by the worms. 
  • Dogs and cats get heartworm by being bitten by a mosquito. So your pet does not have to be around other pets in order to get heartworms. The mosquito bites an heartworm infected pet and sucks it's blood and also sucks up baby heartworm (larva) The larva grow inside the mosquito. The grown larva then go to the mouth parts of the mosquito and are injected into the next pet the mosquito bites.
  • 6 months after your pet is bitten by an an infected mosquito he or she will have adult heartworms living in his or her heart. 
  • Female heartworms can grow to be 14 inches long. Male heartworms only grow to 7 inches long.
  • Heartworms live in other areas besides the heart. Heartworms also live in the vessel entering the heart (vena cava) and the vessel going from the heart to the lungs (pulmonary artery).
  •  If not treated, a dog or cat with heartworms will die. The worms clog the heart, put extra stress on the heart and will eventually kill the pet. One dog can have 250 worms in his or her heart.


Heartworm is on the Rise!

This map shows the number of cases of Heartworm Disease clinics reported in 2007. The number of cases of Heartworm Disease has increased from 2005 (their last reported study). Clinics in our area reported 6 - 25 cases in each clinic that year. Last year we had 6 heartworm cases. This year we have had 1 case so far. Why do we see so many cases of Heartworm Disease? There are several reasons we see so many cases of Heartworm Disease. Some pets take heartworm prevention, but for only part of the year. They are bitten by a mosquito during the time they are not taking the preventative and develop Heartworm Disease. Another reason is that many pets are not on prevention and many of those pets have Heartworm Disease. These pets act as carriers and help infect other pets when mosquitoes bite them. A third reason is that heartworms may be becoming resistant to the medications that kill them. So it is recommended to give one heartworm preventative for part of the year and then switch to another heartworm preventative. A fourth reason is counterfeit, expired or damaged medication is often purchased through some online pharmacies. Many of the medications purchased through online pharmacies are "bootlegged" products. Owners purchase these medications, not knowing that they may be purchasing a product that will not protect their pet. A final reason is from Katrina rescues. Animals that were rescued and sent to sanctuaries around the country. Most of these animals were tested and treated for Heartworm Disease. Other animals were not tested or treated for Heartworm Disease. These animals help spread heartworm around the country. 


 What can You do to Protect your Pet from Heartworms?

Keep you pet on heartworm prevention year round. You have several options to choose from. We carry two Heartworm preventatives at our office, Revolution and Interceptor. We also offer more through our online pharmacy. Also have your dog tested for heartworm every year. Cats are not tested for heartworm unless they show symptoms.


What Happens if your Pet has Heartworms?

We have much safer treatments for heartworm than we did 15 years ago. We can treat your dog for heartworms. We have a couple different options. The first is an injection that will kill the adult worms. The second option is giving your dog a pill once a month for at least one year. The second option is the safest for older dogs or dogs who have many heartworms. Treatings a cat with Heartworm Disease is a little bit more complicated. We are still learning about cats and Heartworm Disease. Right now we treat the cat's symptoms such as trouble breathing, vomiting, wheezing, anorexia and a rapid heart rate.


How do you Know if your Pet has Heartworm?

The best way to find out if your pet has Heartworm Disease is to bring your pet in for an exam and a Heartworm Test. Dr. Foote will examine your pet, including listening to your pet's lungs and heart. She will take a sample of your pet's blood. We test that sample using a snap test. The test looks for heartworm antigen, your pet's immune response to the female heartworms. We may also do another test where mix a sample of blood and a solution to remove the blood cells. We push this mixture through a filter and look at the filter under a microscope. We are looking for the baby worms, larva.

Dogs with heartworm can have the following symptoms: coughing, tire easily when exercising or playing, trouble breathing and fainting. Cats with heartworm can the following symptoms: difficulty breathy, coughing, rapid heart rate, blindness, collapse, convulsions, vomiting, weight loss, fainting, lethargy and sudden death.


Tired of your Dog Taking You for a Walk?

The Spring rains and cold weather are finally over! Now you can take your dog on a lovely walk and enjoy the nice weather. Walking is a great way to get some exercise for you and your dog. But what if your dog pulls? Trying to walk a dog that pulls can take all the fun out walking. Here are a few tips to help stop your dog pulling on a leash.

Purchase a special harness, such as the Easy Walk Harness by Premier. These harnesses are great because they attach at the front, not over the back. Now when your pet pulls, they just turn sideways. They are easier to put on compared to the head halters and can be worn all the time. 

When on your walks, praise your pet for walking beside you. Say "Good boy or girl."  Use a  happy voice - they need to know this is right. You can even take some small peices of treats with you and give some pieces of treats as you walk correctly. When your dog starts to pull say "att" and stop walking. Plant your feet and don't budge. When your dog stops pulling, praise him or her. If he or she doesn't stop pulling, change direction. Say "lets go" and head in the opposite direction for a few feet, then turn around and start heading back in your origional direction. Praise your dog for not pulling.

If your dog is very active, try playing a game of fetch for 15 minutes before you go for your walk. Your pet will get lots of energy burnt off playing the game and will have less energy for pulling you around on the walk.

Look out for a video on our website soon on loose leash walking.


Kitty Cabin Fever

Dogs get to go on walks, but what about cats? Can they go outside, while being safe? They can! Take your kitty on a walk or purchase a cat enclosure so your cat can enjoy the great outdoors too.

You can take your cat outside on a special harness designed for cats. Premier and Lupine are two companies that make these kitty harnesses, which can be purchased at pet stores. Show you cat that the harness is something good. When you get the harness, put it next to your cat's food dish for a few days so your cat associates the harness with food. Put the harness on your cat and give him or her treats, then take the harness off. Do this for a few days. Then put the harness on your cat and give your cat treats, and leave it on for a few minutes, then take the harness off. Do this for a few days. If your cat doesn't like the harness, please give us a call or email us for help. We can give you some more tips on helping your cat get used to the harness. Now that your cat happily wears a harness, you can take your cat for a walk. How do you do that? Unlike dogs, most cats don't come when they are called or want to follow you. So you need to teach your cat to walk with you. Start by letting your cat wear a leash in the house. Your cat wears the leash for a few minutes and gets treats and affection. Slowly have your cat wear the leash for longer amounts of time. Now its time for a walk... around the house. At meal time, instead of feeding your cat from his or her dish, your cat is going to earn their food. Hold your cat's food dish in one hand and hold the leash in the other. Walk around the room with the cat. If he or she walks with you give pieces of food and praise your cat. If your cat is resisting the leash, stop walking and let your cat calm down, then try again. If the cat resists again, drop the leash and put the food where you normally feed your cat. Let your cat drag the leash around the house more before trying to leash walk. Once you have walking in the house down, you can go outside. Make sure your cat has ID tags. Bring some treats or food to reward your cat. Let your cat explore the yard. Periodically give some treats. You can also throw treats to encourage the cat to walk. Start out with short walks and gradually go for longer walks.

Your cat can also get some fresh air in a cat enclosure. Cat enclosures allow your cat to enjoy the outdoors, but from the safety of a large "kitty paradise." Cat enclosures are constructed of a fence that may or may not have a top. A variety of enclosures are available for purchase. Some allow your cat to walk out to the enclosure whenever he or she wants. Other types of enclosures are separate from the house, so you take your cat out to them. You can search for enclosures on the internet. Purr...fect Fence sells a fence that can be customized for your backyard. If you are handy, you can build an enclosure of your own. Instructions can be found online. For the first several times your cat goes outside, keep an eye on him or her to see if your cat can find an escape. Put a bowl of water outside so your cat can get a drink if he or she gets too hot. Periodically check on your cat to make sure he or she is okay.

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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