Pet Columns

[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...

[two dogs baring teeth at each other]

Seek Help to Address Aggression in Pets

Dec 7, 2015 / Behavior / Cats / Dogs

Aggression in pets is managed, not cured Every year, about 1.5 percent of the U.S. population will be injured by an aggressive dog. Cats, too, cause injuries to people, though the incidence is smaller. Aggressive behavior has negative consequences for pets as well, sometimes leading to the pet being relinquished by its owner or even...

[Dr. Ryan Fries examines a dog]

Electrocardiograms Display the Electric Rhythms of Your Pet’s Heart

Nov 30, 2015 / Cardiology / Cats / Dogs

Electrical impulses flow across the heart in a current The electrocardiogram machine plays a dramatic supporting role in movies and TV shows, its flat line and piercing tone alerting the medical team to race to the bedside of a patient whose heart has stopped beating. Electrocardiograms, or ECGs, are equally important as an everyday diagnostic...

[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...

[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...