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.

[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...

[white-tailed deer fawn in grass]

It’s Time to Learn about Wildlife Babies

Mar 14, 2016 / General Care / Public Health / Wildlife

Wildlife babies do best when left in the wild Each spring, wildlife babies are taken from the wild by well-meaning people who believe the animals have been abandoned by their parents. Although it may be human nature to want to rescue an animal that looks like it needs help, the truth is wild babies rarely...

[Maureen McMichael in the ER at Illinois]

Honey Heals: The Sweet Side of Wound Care

Mar 7, 2016 / Emergency/Critical Care / Cats / Dogs / Small Mammals

Honey fights microbes in several ways The use of honey as a healing agent dates to ancient times. In the 4th century BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle mentioned honey as being “good as a salve for sore eyes and wounds.” Today, veterinarians use honey and sugar to help heal wounds. Dr. Maureen McMichael, an emergency...

[old draft horse]

Care and Keeping of Older Horses

Feb 29, 2016 / General Care / Preventive Health / Horses

Every geriatric horse should have a yearly physical At age 20, people may be in their physical prime, but for horses, 20 often marks the beginning of the golden years. Dr. Scott Austin, an equine veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, says senior horses require special attention to ensure their...

[Meller’s chameleon after surgery]

The Case of the Calcium-Deficient Chameleon

Feb 22, 2016 / Emergency/Critical Care / General Care / Exotics / Reptiles

Exotic pets have precise diet and climate needs Chameleons are notoriously tricky pets to keep healthy. There are around 200 distinct species, each with its own particular climate needs. They also have extensive nutrient requirements, which inexperienced owners often neglect. That’s why nutrient deficiencies were the first thing investigated by Dr. Sean Perry, a veterinary...

[a youngopossum shows its teeth]

The Wild Side of Dental Health Month

Feb 15, 2016 / Dentistry / Wildlife

Dental problems can be fatal in wildlife February is National Pet Dental Health Month. For our pets, regular veterinary visits will address any dental problems, and rarely would these problems be life-threatening. But what about wild species? As Dr. Nichole Rosenhagen explains, dental problems that impair an animal’s ability to eat can be fatal in...