Pet Health Columns

Experts on animal health from the college's clinics in Urbana and Chicago share their knowledge in informative columns written for animal owners. Scan the categories and tags at left for topics that interest you. Subscribe to our weekly Pet Health Columns email.

[dog sucking its flank]

Compulsive Disorders in Pets

Jul 25, 2016 / Behavior / Cats / Dogs

Compulsive disorders impact pet’s, owners’ quality of life Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a well-known diagnosis in human medicine, but did you know that animals can also develop a form of this disorder? This doesn’t mean there are dogs out there that count their steps or triple-check the light switches. In fact, the first thing to understand,...

[Bear, a dog with hypothyroidism]

The Tragic Case of Bear: Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Jul 11, 2016 / Advances in Medicine / Disease / Dogs

Hypothyroidism can be managed, but not cured In April 2016, a three-year-old dog named Bear was brought to the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital with abusive injuries. In addition to the obvious injuries Bear bore—an open wound on his back leg, skin ulcers, and a jawbone fractured by a bullet—the dog was diagnosed with...

[puppy outdoors]

Can My Pet Get Zika?

Jun 29, 2016 / Infectious Disease / Preventive Health / Cats / Dogs

Recent coverage of the Zika virus and its health impact on people and fetuses has raised questions among pet owners. The Zika virus was first identified in Africa more than 60 years ago. It is spread to people primarily by mosquito bites, and usually causes no or only mild symptoms in people. However, infection with...

[olive in the underwater treadmill]

Getting Fido from Fat to Fit

May 14, 2016 / General Care / Preventive Health / Dogs

Shape Up, Pup! focuses on portion control, exercise In the United States, more than two-thirds of adults are considered to be overweight or obese, according to the National Institutes of Health. Unfortunately, our pets are not far behind: last year the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention released data showing that 58 percent of cats and...

[Dr. Jason Pieper examines a patient]

When Your Dog Is Always Itchy

Apr 26, 2016 / Dermatology / Cats / Dogs

We may not ‘cure’ allergies, but we can manage them A lot of things can make a dog itchy: fleas, mites, skin infections, and food allergies, to name a few. Dr. Jason Pieper, a boarded veterinary dermatologist at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, says, “After veterinarians rule out all other causes...

[horse grazing]

Lush Green Grass May Be Harmful to Horses

Apr 12, 2016 / General Care / Toxicology / Horses

Grass founder and fescue toxicity are problems Spring is here, and the plants are new and fresh. The pretty, lush grasses that green the countryside in April and May are young, tender, and very tasty for a horse. Unfortunately, these young grasses are also low in the fiber that horses need and are high in...

[cat with scratching post]

Channel Pet’s Need to Chew and Scratch

Apr 1, 2016 / Behavior / Cats / Dogs

Redirect, don’t discourage, these behaviors Shredded tissues. Destroyed shoes. A gnawed coffee table. These are just a few of the things dog owners may come home to after leaving their puppy unattended. Similarly many cat owners discover that their couch or curtains have been shredded by sharp claws. A hassle for you and a potential...

[Dr. Bianca da Costa Martins examines a dog's eyes]

Eye Tissue Bank to Help Horses, Dogs

Mar 28, 2016 / Advances in Medicine / Ophthalmology / Dogs / Horses

Corneal transplants have a high success rate “The purpose of this bank is to have corneas available for patients that would benefit from a corneal graft,” explains Dr. Martins. “That includes horses with an abscess in one of the layers of the cornea as well as horses and dogs with such conditions as deep corneal...

[horse in a barn]

Barn Air Quality Affects Horses’ Breathing

Mar 18, 2016 / Disease / General Care / Preventive Health / Horses

Environmental changes can make a huge difference for horses Do dust, pollen, and hay trigger your hay fever? Imagine living where straw and hay are tossed around every day, and it won’t surprise you to learn that horses, too, can get breathing problems from particles in the air. Dr. Kara Lascola, an equine internal medicine...