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.

[cat looks at camera]

Accidents Happen, Part 2: What to Do If Your Cat Goes Outside the Box

Nov 22, 2015 / Behavior / Cats

Pets should never be punished for house soiling The most common behavioral problem for which cat owners seek a veterinarian’s advice is when their cat goes outside the box. According to Dr. Kelly Ballantyne, a veterinary behaviorist at the University of Illinois Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine, studies indicate that house soiling can account for...

[closeup of a collie by a couch]

Accidents Happen, Part 1: What to Do If Your Dog Soils the House

Nov 16, 2015 / Behavior / Cats / Dogs

Behavioral causes of house soiling can usually be resolved If your indoor dog is among the one in five that leaves unpleasant surprises for you to find, don’t despair. Your veterinarian can help you determine the cause and a solution for house soiling—urinating, defecating, or both, in inappropriate locations. According to Dr. Kelly Ballantyne, a...

[blue jay on blue feeder]

Dos and Don’ts of Cold Weather Birdbaths and Feeders

Nov 9, 2015 / General Care / Wildlife

Bird feeders and the simple yet effective concrete birdbath are great ways to attract nature’s own reality show to your windows. In order to make sure your bird oases promote wildlife health this winter, the experts from the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic in Urbana offer these guidelines. Do keep it clean In warm...

[blue betta fish with orange background]

Freshwater Fish 101

Oct 26, 2015 / Fish

Though “fish” is not the first animal you may think of when you hear the word “pet,” the number of people keeping fish as pets is growing. According to the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey, conducted by the American Pet Products Association, there are more than 95 million freshwater fish—with common goldfish by far the...

[Conan has a monkey on his back]

Halloween Can Be Tricky for Pets

Oct 16, 2015 / General Care / Preventive Health / Birds / Cats / Dogs

Here are the top tips for Halloween pet safety from experts at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and the American Veterinary Medical Association:   Costume Caution That pug in the pumpkin outfit may be cute, but make sure it’s safe. Costumes with parts that could be chewed off and swallowed present a...

[dog and cat lie on couch together]

Cases of Marijuana Intoxication in Pets Get Higher

Oct 5, 2015 / Toxicology / Cats / Dogs

As of November 2014, four states had approved the use of marijuana as a recreational drug, and it appears that marijuana is becoming more widely accepted across the nation. Not surprisingly, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has seen an increase in the number of reported cases of pets eating pot: 539 calls about marijuana...

[black cat sitting on stairs]

Coping with the Death of a Pet

Sep 1, 2015 / Grief Helpline / Birds / Cats / Dogs / Exotics / Horses

Whether the animal is as large as a horse or as small as a hamster, these companions can play a huge role in our lives. When our animal companion dies, we may feel as though we’ve lost a best friend and a family member. At the same time, we may worry that a deep sense...

[baby bunny]

Rabbit Fever Can Infect People, Pets

Aug 18, 2015 / Infectious Disease / Preventive Health / Cats / Dogs / Wildlife

A disease of wildlife called tularemia, a.k.a. “rabbit fever,” has been reported in every state except Hawaii, according to Kelly Rockwell, a third-year student at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine who co-manages the student-run Wildlife Medical Clinic. “Tularemia has been around a long time. It is getting a lot of press lately...