Pet Columns

[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...

[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...

[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 parrot shows off its unique beak profile at Vet Med Open House]

When Beaks Go Bad

Jan 25, 2016 / General Care / Birds

Beaks are made of bone and keratin There’s no such thing as a dentist for birds, but did you know that some macaws require orthodontia to correct a misalignment of their beaks? That’s just one of a host of problems that can beset beaks, according to Dr. Kenneth Welle, a board certified avian practitioner at...

[two guinea pigs]

Housing and Feeding Your Guinea Pig

Jan 19, 2016 / General Care / Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs are talkative, social, and rather cute Guinea pigs are great as a child’s first pet or as a lifelong hobby. They are members of the Cavy family (Caviidae) of rodents native to South America. Dr. Kenneth Welle, an exotic pet veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, has advice...

[yellow labrador retriever on a rug]

My Dog Is Leaking

Jan 6, 2016 / General Care / Internal Medicine / Dogs

About 90 percent of incontinence patients respond to medications. Have you ever noticed that your dog leaves a wet spot of urine when she gets up from sleeping? On your bed? On your favorite hand-woven rug? If so, it’s very likely that your dog has urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a condition where there is...

[holiday dog asks for a treat]

Grandma’s Purse and Other Holiday Threats to Pets

Dec 21, 2015 / General Care / Cats / Dogs

Keep your treats from turning into threats The holiday season brings family gatherings, food, and festivities. Pet owners should be aware that with the good times come potential dangers for dogs and cats. Dr. Tina Wismer, a veterinarian at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center who lectures at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary...

[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...