Pet Columns

[cute puppy wearing winter hat]

Common Sense Approach to Pets’ Cold Weather Needs

Dec 18, 2017 / General Care / Preventive Health

Monitor pets’ comfort level in the cold Just because your pet sports a fur coat doesn’t mean he’s protected from all the potential hazards of winter. Dr. Gary Brummet, a primary care clinician at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, advises pet owners to stay attuned to their pet’s behavior to keep...

Hedgehogs Make Cute but Challenging Pets

Dec 4, 2017 / General Care / Preventive Health / Exotics / Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are nocturnal, athletic, and solitary Hedgehogs have gained popularity as pets in recent decades. Before you add one to your family, Dr. Krista Keller, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, recommends learning all you can about these animals’ unique needs. While the wild European hedgehog freely roams the...

[nine-banded armadillo]

Get to Know the Amazing Armadillo

Oct 30, 2017 / General Care / Public Health / Wildlife

But Experts Say, Don’t Get Too Close It’s official. With confirmed sightings last August, nine-banded armadillos are now part of the wildlife scene in east central Illinois. Dr. Julia Whittington, director of the Wildlife Medical Clinic, part of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, shares some fascinating facts about these new...

dog in a taco costume

Remember FEAR Tips to Keep Pets Safe This Halloween

Oct 16, 2017 / Emergency/Critical Care / General Care / Preventive Health / Toxicology / Cats / Dogs

When Halloween comes, adults and kids alike enjoy the chance to dress up and eat more candy than usual. But the American Animal Hospital Association recommends being mindful of pets’ FEAR—food, environment, attire, and recovery—to keep pets safe and happy. Food Many people know that chocolate is toxic for pets. As little as one ounce of baking chocolate...

[snake with bite wound]

Your Pet Snake’s Diet: Dead or Alive?

Sep 30, 2017 / General Care / Preventive Health / Reptiles

Feeding live prey has risks In the wild snakes can’t just order carry-in; they have to hunt for their next meal. So it’s not surprising that owners of pet snakes may believe their pets need the thrill of the chase to satisfy natural instincts. However, Dr. Krista Keller, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois...

[Golden Wednesdays at Illinois veterinary rehab]

Old Dogs (and Cats), New Tricks

Jul 9, 2017 / General Care / Preventive Health / Cats / Dogs

Tips for Keeping Geriatric Pets Healthy Thanks to advancing medicine, pets live longer than ever before. However, with these added years of valuable life come more age-related health problems. In her role as a rehabilitation specialist at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, Kimberly Knap sees many geriatric pets—including the group of...

[dog in Fourth of July parade]

Land of the Free, Home of the Not-So-Brave Dogs

Jun 27, 2017 / Behavior / General Care / Preventive Health / Cats / Dogs

No Fireworks or Fatty Foods for Fido For Americans, the Fourth of July is a day of celebration, fireworks, and finding hundreds of ways to incorporate the American flag into food, outfits, and decorations. For our pets, it’s a random hot day full of strangers and lots of good-smelling food, accompanied by inexplicable loud “kabooms.”...

[chickens]

Care and Feeding of Backyard Chickens

Apr 23, 2017 / General Care / Birds / Chickens

Chickens can live as long as 8 years These days, you just can’t keep the chickens down on the farm. With the increasing popularity of “hobby poultry,” anyone with a backyard may contemplate setting up a henhouse. Dr. Yvette Johnson-Walker, a veterinary epidemiologist and poultry expert at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine,...

[Dr. Annette McCoy with a palomino]

Genes Determine a Horse’s Color

Mar 6, 2017 / General Care / Horses

In theory, any breed can be any color The horse has some of the most varied coat color markings and patterns of any domestic species. Even within breeds, there are dozens of combinations a new foal can have. It can appear complex, but scientists have pinpointed many of the key elements that make these variations...