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Bat Tests Positive For Rabies In Oak Lawn

June 2018

A bat that was found inside a home in Oak Lawn has tested positively for rabies. The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed the bat had rabies. Reports of rabid bats, or bat findings, become more common in warm weather months when bats emerge from hibernation.

Oak Lawn Animal Control was contacted on May 31 after residents found a bat inside their home to have it removed. The bat was sent to the IDPH lab to be tested, when the results came back a week later positive for rabies. The village went door to door and hand-delivered a letter to residents informing them of the positive test result near the 9600 block of Kenneth Avenue, where the bat was found.

Of the hundreds of bats tested annually by IDPH, less than 5 percent test positive for rabies. A majority of rabid bats are found indoors. If you see one flying around your bedroom or attic, isolate the bat by closing the door to the room so it can’t fly out, or place a bucket over it. Dead bats found inside buildings or outside on properties, should not be handled bare-handed. Scoop it up with long handled shovel and put it into a plastic bag. Call your municipal or county animal control officer to pick it up.

IDPH is the state agency responsible for testing bats and other animals for rabies. Rabies is a viral disease causing encephalitis (brain inflammation) in humans and animals. Because rabies infects an animal’s nervous system, the ideal tissue to test for rabies antigen is the brain. Before you start giving bats a bad rap, remember that a single bat can eat up to 3,000 mosquitoes in one night.

Here are some more helpful tips from Cook County Animal and Rabies Control:

If a bat is in your home, do not release the bat outdoors until after speaking with animal control or public health officials. It may be possible to test the bat and avoid the need to receive rabies treatment.

If you wake to a bat in the room you may need to be treated with a rabies vaccine if the bat cannot be tested.

Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats, ferrets and other animals you own. Click here to find low cost Cook County vaccination clinics.

Seek immediate veterinary assistance for your pet if your pet is bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat.

Call your local animal control office about removing stray animals in your neighborhood. Never adopt wild animals, bring them into your home, or try to nurse sick, wild animals to health.

Do not touch, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.

Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.

Maintain homes and other buildings so bats cannot get inside.

Call your local animal control office to report a bat in your home or a dead bat on your property.

Call the Cook County Department of Public Health at 708-633-4000 to report human exposure to a bat.

As found in the Oak Lawn Patch.

Pet Obesity on the Rise, Meaning less Healthy Cats and Dogs

MADISON, Wis. – Big dogs, fat cats. For humans, that’s usually a good thing. For real dogs and cats, it can be deadly.

More than half the dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Dr. Ken Lambrecht from the West Towne Veterinary Center has made pet weight loss a personal mission.

“The problem is huge; 58 percent is the latest statistic that we go by. 58 percent of our pets are overweight,” Lambrecht said.

For humans, a pound here or there is no big deal, but for an average 10-pound cat, just two extra pounds is 20 percent overweight, making them technically obese. Dogs, of course, vary by breed– the website for the Pet Nutrition Alliance allows you to pick your dog’s breed and find the ideal weight.

Eight years ago, Lambrecht started his pet “Reducing for Rescues, Ideal Weight Loss” contest. Pet obesity gets worse every year, and, like humans, the long list of health problems associated with that continues to grow as well, Lambrecht said.

“The list is long, but I would start with diabetes, arthritis is made worse, just general vitality,” he said. “These pets don’t feel well. They just lay around. Somebody with an 18-pound cat goes, ‘You know, he just lays in the sun, he’s not hunting, he’s not doing any of the things that cats should be doing.'”

And guess what, pet owners? You’re the problem.

Author and animal behaviorist Dr. Patricia McConnell has spent her life studying pets and their owners.

“Unless (pets) can unlatch the cupboard and open up the can of dog food themselves, it’s really all about us,” she said.

It comes down to this — don’t overfeed your pets, make sure they get exercise and watch the calories.

Sound familiar? It should. If an animal is obese, you shouldn’t start a diet without the direction of a vet, but there is good news, Lambrecht said.

“If a cat is just a little bit overweight, or a dog is just a little bit overweight and they’re perfectly healthy, you can certainly … do a 10 or 20 percent reduction,” he said.

Winter Holiday Plants That Are Poisonous To Pets

By Sarah D. Young December 2, 2016
As you deck the halls this holiday season, be sure to keep the safety of your pets in mind. While certain plants help to add a festive touch to your home’s interior, some seasonal favorites can be toxic to dogs and cats.If a curious pet ingests a poisonous holiday plant, it can lead to vomiting and other adverse health effects. And this series of events is not uncommon during the holidays. Last year, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance processed more stomach-related claims than any other.The process of ridding your pet’s body of a poisonous substance may be as uncomfortable for your furry companion as it is for your wallet. Vet bills can quickly add up, especially for those without pet insurance. Healthy Paws noted that it reimbursed an average of $703 per incident for stomach-related claims during the 2015 holiday season.Luckily, there are many ways for pet owners to keep their dog or cat from eating a toxic holiday plant. The first step, of course, is knowing which plants can wreak havoc on your pet’s system if ingested.

Which plants are toxic?

As a means of adorning your home in natural sources of holiday colors and scents, holiday plants can’t be beat. However, pet owners should keep certain live plants on shelves or in places that are inaccessible to pets.

Here are the winter holiday plants that are poisonous to pets:


These popular plants have a sap that can cause vomiting and will irritate an animal’s mouth and stomach.

Holly berries:

Both the berries and the leaves that ensconce them can cause vomiting, diarrhea, belly pain, and depression.


Mistletoe is known to be extremely toxic to pets. Pets who have ingested mistletoe should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Pine tree needles:

Pine tree needles can be toxic and cause irritation of a pet’s mouth.


This plant is deadly to cats. Any animal that has swallowed any part of a lily should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Safety tips

Got a plant-loving cat who can easily climb to wherever you place your plant, or a chew-happy pup with an affinity for consuming things he shouldn’t? Consider opting for faux plants instead.

You can also try restricting your pet’s roaming space while you’re out. By blocking off rooms with potentially dangerous plants or holiday decor, you can reduce your pet’s risk of getting into trouble.



Chicago Vets Seeing More Cases Of Potentially Fatal Dog Disease

September 22, 2016 5:00 PM By Roseanne Tellez
(CBS) – There is an outbreak of a deadly dog disease. Your dog could get it, just by sniffing.

At one veterinary hospital, half the dogs who tested positive have died. CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez tells you what to look out for.

Angelica Papagiannopoulos’s dog, Oliver, is lucky to be alive.

“It was a long road for him, but he’s back in action now,” she says.

That, after nine days of hospitalization for a disease called leptospirosis. It is a bacteria carried by wildlife like rats and passed in urine; so, it ends up in puddles and cracks on the sidewalk.

“If a dog is to lick that up or have some on their paw and lick their paw, they can get the bacteria into their system,” MedVet criticalist Dr. Jayme Hoffberg says.

At MedVet Chicago, 15 dogs have been diagnosed since June. That is considered a major spike.

“The thing that’s also made this year a bit different is that these have been really sick cases,” Hoffberg says.

Only half survived. But this 24-hour emergency clinic does see the most severe cases.

Some dogs show no symptoms. But like Oliver, many will experience vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy – and, when it’s really serious, a lack of urination and kidney failure.

It got so bad for Oliver his owners were considering euthanasia.

“Something in us wanted to keep trying, and so we did and every day he got a little better, thanks to the amazing vets,” Papagiannopouls says.

She doesn’t thinks dogs should become shut-ins, but she is urging awareness and annual vaccinations. There’s no guarantee your dog won’t get sick, but it could save their life.

“We’re so happy just to have him back. We call him our little miracle dog,” she says.

This is contagious to humans, who can get many of the same symptoms. Good hygiene is critical.

Whether in humans or animals, the disease is treated with antibiotics. But it can be a long road for pets. And it can cost big bucks.

Dog Dies One Hour After Hiking With His Owner, Veterinarian Gives Shocking Reason Why

By Mackenzie Wright on 2016-07-25

It was a routine walk for one Colorado woman and her dog, but it ended in tragedy. An hour later, the dog was dead. The woman was shocked by what killed him.

The three-year-old Border Collie chewed on some plants as the family took a walk through the Horsetooth Reservoir. Shortly after the walk, the dog didn’t look well. He was taken to the vet.

According to the vet, the plant the dog was chewing on was deadly water hemlock. In July, the plant thrives in wetlands, marshes and river banks across America, blooming with tiny clusters of white flowers. A few bites of the plant can kill a large dog in less than two hours.

A dog poisoned with water hemlock may first appear nervous and pupils will dilate. This will progress to twitching, drooling, convulsions and seizures. If a tiny amount was eaten and dogs survive the toxic effects, they are often left with permanent heart or skeletal muscle damage. If dogs eat too much and don’t get medical help quickly, this can be followed by respiratory paralysis and death.

If your dog does eat hemlock, it’s necessary to induce vomiting and get him to the vet immediately.

How to Tell the Difference Between Poison Hemlock and Queen Anne’s Lace

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is one of the deadliest plants in North America and can be fatal if just a small amount is ingested. It has been in flower here in Washington for the last month or so and can be found across much of the United States. It grows (often in dense patches) along roads, trails and the edges of fields and streams. I actually have it growing in my back yard, right along side one of it’s most common look-a-likes, Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota).

Queen Anne’s lace is a wild edible (the root) and given that it typically does grow in the same conditions as poison hemlock, being able to tell the difference could save your life. Plus, you’ll want to know if you have it growing on your property because it’s also toxic to pets and livestock. So let’s walk through how to identify both so that you can confidently identify them in the future.

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) vs. Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota):

  1. Both are in the Apiaceae family and have hollow stems, but poison hemlock’s stem is hairless and has purple blotches. Even a very young poison hemlock will display the purple blotching. On the other hand, the stem of Queen Anne’s lace doesn’t have purple blotches and is hairy. See the photos below for a comparison.

2. The flowers of both species are white and bloom in an umbrella shape pattern (called an umbel). Plants in the Apiaceae family have flowers that appear in compound umbels, which means that all of the little umbrellas branch out from one main, central umbrella – if that makes sense. If it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. Just know that the flowers of Queen Anne’s lace have a single purplish/red flower in the center of the umbel the vast majority of the time (see picture below left). Legend has it that Queen Anne pricked her finger while sewing the lace and a droplet of blood fell to the center of the flowers. Also the umbrella shape of Queen Anne’s lace is flat-topped, while the poison hemlock umbel is more rounded. Notice the difference below.


3. The leaves are probably the most difficult feature to distinguish between the two. While they are both fern-like in appearance, the leaves of Queen Anne’s lace, similar to the stems, will also have hairs on their undersides. See in picture below.


4. A final distinguishing feature is that Queen Anne’s lace has 3-pronged bracts appearing at both the base of the flowers and the main umbel. It’s actually the only member of the Apaiceae family that has this feature. If you look at the picture of the poison hemlock flowers under #2 above, you’ll see that poison hemlock is absent of the long bracts.

3 Pronged Pract

Hopefully, you’ll now be able to identify both plants when you encounter them in the wild. And if you can, please pass this information along. It may just save the life of a loved one or pet.



Beat the Heat! What Pet Parents Need to Know About Heatstroke in Pets

The Emergency Medicine veterinarians at MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets warn pet owners that the extreme heat weather conditions can be dangerous and deadly to pets. MedVet recommends these tips on keeping pets safe and the signs of heatstroke.

The Emergency Medicine veterinarians at MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets remind pet owners to take precautions for their pets during the extreme heat. Each year, MedVet treats more than 100,000 dogs and cats. Among them are dozens of animals suffering from heatstroke, a dangerous and sometimes deadly condition.

heatstrokeDogs and cats primarily cool themselves through panting. When the air temperature is high, panting becomes ineffective. The normal body temperature for dogs and cats is 100-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. As the body temperature rises, the animal’s primary organs (heart, kidneys, liver, etc.) may begin to shut down. The result can be kidney failure, brain damage, and in severe cases, death.

Dogs and cats show similar signs of heatstroke. Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting (possibly with blood)
  • Restlessness
  • Listlessness
  • Collapse
  • Disorientation

Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle where temperatures can quickly rise to deadly levels.

  • Make certain your pet has access to fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Keep your pet primarily indoors, in a cool environment.
  • Limit exercise. Don’t run your pet or otherwise exercise them heavily.
  • If your dog is in the yard, help keep it cool with a children’s wading pool in the shade.

Pet owners who think their pet may be suffering from heatstroke should immediately move the animal to a cool place and begin cooling the pet with a cool damp towel and cool (not cold) water. They should then seek immediate veterinary medical attention. Veterinarians can help cool pets and provide needed medical support with intravenous fluids and other resources.



Center for Pet Safety Awards the First 5 Star Crash Test Ratings for Pet Travel Carriers


Sleepypod Pet Carriers earn Top Honors from Center for Pet Safety

center for pet safety CPSIn July 2016 Center for Pet Safety (CPS) published its Crash Test Protocol and Rating Guideline to grade crash protection of pet travel carriers. CPS is leading the first scientific approach to pet product safety and the Pet Travel Carrier Crash Test Protocol and Rating System provides essential guidelines for pet product manufacturers. The test protocol, which is a result of the 2015 Carrier Crashworthiness Study conducted by Center for Pet Safety and sponsored by Subaru of Americaoutlines a consistent test methodology and evaluation program to ensure pet travel carriers offer crash protection.

“The test evidence indicates that Sleepypod has completed ample research and development on its entire line of travel carriers to achieve the highest crash test ratings from Center for Pet Safety,” stated Lindsey Wolko, Center for Pet Safety founder. “Sleepypod consistently outperforms other pet product manufacturers who struggle to even attempt to meet our rigorous testing and performance requirements. There is a level of commitment here that we simply don’t see from the rest of the industry.”

The certification is a voluntary program allowing manufacturers to obtain an independent product evaluation. Products that meet the rigorous testing requirements qualify for a Safety-Certified Seal on their product packaging. Center for Pet Safety encourages manufacturers interested in participating in this rigorous testing and performance program to contact Info(at)CenterForPetSafety(dot)org or call 800.324.3659.

To learn more about the Center for Pet Safety mission, become a Sponsor or to make a direct contribution visit, contact Info(at)CenterForPetSafety(dot)org or call 800.324.3659.

About the Center for Pet Safety®:
The Center for Pet Safety (CPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and advocacy organization dedicated to consumer and companion animal safety. Based in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, the Center for Pet Safety’s mission is to have an enduring, positive impact on the survivability, health, safety, and well-being of companion animals and the consumer through scientific research and product testing. CPS is not affiliated with the pet products industry and does not accept funding from pet products manufacturers. Welcome to the Science of Pet Safety™. For additional information, visit



FDA to take closer look at pet food labels

Published on: Apr 29, 2016

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration released on April 29 a compliance policy guide (CPG) that explains the criteria FDA will consider when determining whether to take enforcement action regarding dog and cat food diets intended to treat a disease.

The CPG, “Labeling & Marketing of Dog & Cat Food Diets Intended to Diagnose, Cure, Mitigate, Treat or Prevent Diseases,” explains to FDA staff and industry that the agency intends to exercise enforcement discretion over the labeling and marketing of these diets under certain circumstances. The CPG also sets out the factors FDA will consider when determining whether or not to initiate enforcement action if the diets are sold or marketed inappropriately.

Pet food diets labeled with therapeutic claims are specially formulated to address specific diseases (for example, urinary tract disease in cats). In the past, these diets were sold through and used under the direction of licensed veterinarians, but FDA said it has observed an increase in the marketing of these diets directly to pet owners over the internet and in retail stores.

This shift toward direct marketing, without veterinary direction or involvement, concerns FDA because these diets are formulated for specific health needs and may not be suitable for all pets.

In the interest of animal safety, dog and cat food diets labeled with therapeutic claims (e.g., renal failure, diabetes) should be available only through licensed veterinarians or through retailers and internet sellers under the direction of a veterinarian. In addition, comprehensive labeling information and other manufacturer communications for these diets should be made available only through licensed veterinarians.

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