Stop your dog’s destructive chewing behavior

dog chewing on shoes
At some point, every dog mommy or daddy arrives home to find some unexpected damage inflicted by his or her dog; or, more specifically, that dog’s teeth. Although dogs make great use of their vision and sense of smell to explore their surroundings, one of their favorite ways to take in new information is to put their mouths to work.

Fortunately, chewing can be directed onto appropriate items so your dog isn’t destroying things you value or jeopardizing his or her own safety.  Until the time your dog has learned what he can and can’t chew, however, it’s your responsibility to manage the situation as much as possible, so he or she doesn’t have the opportunity to chew on unacceptable objects.

Understand why dogs chew

Puppies, similar to infants or toddlers, explore their world by putting objects in their mouths. And, like babies, they teethe for approximately 6 months, which usually creates some discomfort. Chewing not only facilitates teething but also makes sore gums feel better.

Adult dogs may engage in destructive chewing for any number of reasons. In order to deal with the behavior, you must first determine why your dog is chewing—and remember, he’s not doing it tospite you. Possible reasons for destructive chewing include:

  • As a puppy, he wasn’t taught what to chew and what not to chew.
  • He’s bored.
  • He suffers from separation anxiety.
  • His behavior is fear-related.
  • He wants attention.

Be aware: You may need to consult with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian for help with both separation anxiety and fear-related behaviors.  Our team of veterinarians will help to identify characteristics with the behavior and propose one of many solutions to help.

Teach your dog what can be chewed on and what cannot

Be attentive to pay attention to your own personal belongings. If you don’t want it in your dog’s mouth, put it in a place that is inaccessible to your furry friend. Keep clothing, shoes, books, trash, eyeglasses and remote controls out of your dog’s reach.

Provide your dog toys that are clearly distinguishable from household goods. Don’t confuse him by offering shoes and socks as toys and then expecting him to distinguish between his shoe and yours.

Supervision is important

Supervise your dog until he learns the house rules. Keep him with you on his leash in the house so he can’t make a mistake out of your sight. Confine him when you’re unable to keep an eye on him. Choose a “safe place” that’s dog-proof, and provide fresh water and “safe” toys. If your dog is crate trained, you may also place him in his crate for short periods of time.

Additional key recommendations

  • Give your dog plenty of people-time. Your dog won’t know how to behave if you don’t teach him alternatives to inappropriate behavior, and he can’t learn these when he’s in the yard by himself.
  • Give your dog plenty of physical and mental exercise. If your dog is bored, he’ll find something to do to amuse himself and you probably won’t like the choices he makes. On the other hand, a tired dog is a good dog, so make sure he gets lots of physical and mental activity. The amount of exercise should be based on his age, health and breed characteristics.
  • If you catch your dog chewing on something he shouldn’t, interrupt the behavior with a loud noise. Offer him an acceptable chew toy instead, and praise him lavishly when he takes the toy in his mouth.
  •  Build a toy obsession in your dog. Use his toys to feed him. At mealtimes, fill a Kong-type toy with his kibble.
  • If your puppy is teething, try freezing a wet washcloth for him to chew on. The cold cloth will soothe his gums. Supervise your puppy so he doesn’t chew and swallow any pieces of the washcloth.
  • Make items unpleasant to your dog. Furniture and other items can be coated with a taste deterrent (such as Bitter Apple®) to make them unappealing.

Caution: Supervise your dog when you first try one of these deterrents. Some dogs will chew an object even if it’s coated with a taste deterrent. Also be aware that you must reapply some of these deterrents to maintain their effectiveness.

  • Offer your dog a treat in exchange for the item in his mouth. As your dog catches on to this idea, you can add the command “Give” as his cue to release the object in exchange for the yummy treat.
  • Don’t chase your dog if he grabs an object and runs. If you chase him, you are only giving your dog what he wants. Being chased by his human is fun! Instead call him to you or offer him a treat.
  • Have realistic expectations. At some point your dog will inevitably chew up something you value; this is often part of the transition to a new home. Your dog needs time to learn the house rulesand you need to remember to take precautions and keep things out of his reach.

Never discipline or punish your dog after the fact

If you discover a chewed item even minutes after he’schewed it, you’re too late.  Animals associate punishment with what they’re doing at the time they’re being corrected. Your dog can’t reason that, “I tore up those shoes an hour ago and that’s why I’m being scolded now.” Some people believe this is what a dog is thinking because he runs and hides or because he “looks guilty.”

In reality, “guilty looks” are actually canine submissive postures that dogs show when they’re threatened. When you’re angry and upset, your dog feels threatened by your tone of voice, body postures and/or facial expressions, so he may hide or show submissive postures. Punishment after the fact will not only fail to eliminate the undesirable behavior, but it could also provoke other undesirable behaviors.


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Recommended Diets for Companion Birds

Domestic birds as pets

There are many different types of companion birds, and there are specific rules for the nutritional well-being of each species. The following list is a basic guideline as recommended by the veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic. For more specific feeding recommendations, please consult our very own Dr. Kourtney Grimm.

  1. Pellets for a good diet
    Although seed has been the traditional staple of a bird’s diet, these days most experts recommend a high-quality pelleted food that’s formulated for your bird’s species. Seed mixes provide variety, but they do not always provide optimum nutrition. If you want to feed seeds, offer them only in small quantities as treats.
  2. Mix it Up
    Pellets and seeds should not be the only foods your bird eats. Birds love variety, and enjoy searching to obtain food, just as they would in the wild. Otherwise, they can become bored and develop bad habits, such as overeating, feather picking and tearing up their surroundings. “Fun” foods such as corn on the cob, leafy greens, broccoli, and oranges can provide distraction and entertainment for your bird. Because birds have to “work” to get these foods—i.e. pull kernels off the cob and tear bites off of greens, broccoli and oranges—they stay occupied longer than when feeding on ready-to-eat foods.For added variety, play with the placement of these treats—hang food from the top or sides of the cage, weave through bars, or stuff pieces of food into toys.
  3. Fruits and veggies for key nutrients
    Fruits and vegetables should be given twice daily. Appropriate fruits and vegetables for your bird include: corn, carrots, potatoes, squash, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cooked sweet potatoes, melons, apples, oranges, berries, bananas, pears and peaches. It is safe to use a powdered fruit preservative, such as “Fruit Fresh” so that you can put this produce in the refrigerator for storage without food spoilage. Different types of birds require different amounts of food. A Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian will be able to give you specific feeding recommendations based on the type of bird you have and your bird’s individual characteristics.
  4. Grains to support a healthy diet
    Breads and cereals should be given twice a day. Appropriate breads and cereals include the following: whole grain breads, unsweetened breakfast cereals, unsweetened granola, tortillas and pasta. Ask one of our veterinarians about specific feeding recommendations based on the type of bird you have and your bird’s individual characteristics.
  5. Important proteins
    Protein should be given twice daily. Appropriate sources of protein include:  cooked lean meats, tofu, low-fat cottage cheese, other firm light-colored cheeses, yogurt and cooked eggs. Yogurt may contain friendly bacteria like acidophilus, which can help keep the ratio of good and bad bacteria in check. Be sure to read the label to make sure it contains live cultures and is low in fat.
  6. Specialized diets to keep in mind
    Birds such as lories and lorikeets require specialized diets that are sugary liquids made from fresh fruit or formulated compounds. Soft-billed birds may require mealworms, blossoms and leaves, diced fruit and nectar. Please note, these diets attract insects, and the feces of these birds are very messy.
  7. Fresh water in abundance
    Fresh, cold water should be available to your bird at all times. Change it at least once a day, preferably twice, and clean the water bowls at least daily. Vitamin and mineral supplementation is not necessary unless recommended by one of our veterinarians.
  8. Keep an eye on foods that spoil
    Food that can spoil, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, should be left in the cage for no longer than 30-45 minutes at a time.
  9. Weight Matters
    Like other companion pets such as cats and dogs, birds may become overweight. It’s a good idea to monitor your bird’s weight closely. Obesity can lead to health problems, including fatty liver disease and pancreas problems.In addition to weighing your bird, you can perform the following checks to determine if he or she is overweight:
    — Looking at your bird from the front, you should see a bone running down his midline (the keel). There should be a rounded muscle to either side of the bone.
    — If your bird is too fat, bone won’t be the most prominent part of his chest.
    — If your bird is too thin, he or she will feel bony to the side of the keel; alongside the keel will feel concave (curved in).

    You can also check the non-feathered areas alongside the neck and at the base of the jaw:

— You should be able to see the jugular vein.
— If you cannot see the vein, it is likely that your bird is overweight.

Please note, if your bird is either under- or overweight, a diet change may be necessary. Ask a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian about the correct way to gradually make this change.

Proper feeding schedules

  1. In the wild, birds eat about a half hour after sunrise and again at 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. Sticking close to these feeding times will be most natural for your companion bird. Larger breeds should have vegetables or fruits throughout the day for snacking and entertainment. Smaller breeds can typically have seed/pellets left in the cage throughout the day. They need to eat more frequently due to their higher metabolic rate and energy needs.

Birds are wonderful pets to have and naturally beautiful to watch and observe.  Dr. Grimm can help answer any other questions you may have regarding avian pets and exotics.  Feel free to contact her at 309-347-4679 ext. 1003 for any questions you may have.


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Properly Removing a Tick from Your Pet

Tick

The forecast for ticks in the Central, IL area is on the rise this year.   The veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic recommend a minimum of once-yearly examinations and year-round parasite control for all dogs and cats in your home. The best way to reduce your dog’s risk for ehrlichiosis is to follow our veterinarians’ advice and consistently use appropriate tick control products for your pets.

With that being said —how do you deal with removing a tick if you happen to find one or more on your dog or cat? While it’s important to get these little suckers off quickly, our veterinarians advise that you stay calm and don’t rush it. Moving too fast when removing a tick could potentially create more problems, both for your pet and for you.

While the following instructions employ tweezers, be aware that there are some very good products on the market designed specifically for safe tick removal. If you live in a tick-heavy area or are taking your pets to a place where they are likely to get ticks, it’s a good idea to buy one of these tools and have it on hand. They generally work better than tweezers at getting out the whole tick, and are relatively inexpensive.

Step-by-Step Tick Removal Instructions

Step 1—Prepare a Container

Throwing a tick in the trash or flushing it down the toilet will not kill it, and it’s actually best to hold on to it for a while for veterinary testing in case your pet falls ill from the bite. Be ready with somewhere to put the tick after you’ve removed it—the best option is a screw-top jar containing some rubbing alcohol.

Step 2—Wear Protective Gloves

Put on latex or rubber gloves so you’ll never have direct contact with the tick or your pet’s bite area. Ticks can carry infective agents that may enter your bloodstream through breaks in your skin or through mucous membranes (if you touch your eyes, nostrils or mouth).

Step 3—Get a Partner to Help Restrain Your Pet Safely

You don’t want your pet squirming away before you’re finished, so if possible, have a helper on hand to distract, soothe or hold your pet still.

Step 4—Removal of the Tick

Treat the bite area with rubbing alcohol and, using a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible. Pull straight upwards with steady, even pressure. Place the tick in your jar.  Do not twist or jerk the tick! This may leave the mouth-parts embedded in your pet, or cause the tick to regurgitate infective fluids.  Also, do not squeeze or crush the body of the tick, because its fluids (saliva and gut contents) may contain infective organisms.

Step 5— Check the Area

Sometimes, in spite of doing everything right, a tick’s mouth-parts will get left behind in your pet’s skin. If the area doesn’t appear red or inflamed, the best thing to do is to disinfect it and not to try to take the mouth-parts out. A warm compress to the area might help the body expel them, but do not go at it with tweezers.

Step 6—Clean and Disinfect

Thoroughly disinfect the bite site and wash your hands with soap and water (even though you were wearing gloves). Sterilize your tweezers with alcohol or by carefully running them over a flame.

Step 7—Monitor the Affected Area

Over the next few weeks, closely monitor the bite area for any signs of localized infection. If the area is already red and inflamed, or becomes so later, please bring your pet—and your jarred tick—to us for further evaluation.


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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National Dog Bite Prevention Week- May 17th – 23rd

DBPW

In honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week from May 17 to May 23, Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL and the ASPCA are helping pet owners and those who come in contact with dogs stay safe by offering helpful reminders and warning signs.  The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says regardless of breed, all dogs can bite. Pit bull breeds are most commonly named, but the most frequent breeds associated with serious bite injuries also include German Shepherds, Jack Russell Terriers, Rottweilers, Labradors, Collies, Spaniels, and more.

More than four million people are bitten by dogs each year despite the fact that these incidents are very preventable.  Dogs may show signs that they are stressed or anxious if they yawn, put their ears back, stiffen and stare at you, change body language quickly, growl or otherwise act out of the ordinary.

How do you avoid getting bit by a dog? Start by being polite and respecting the dog’s personal space. Never approach an unfamiliar dog, especially one who’s tied or confined behind a fence or in a car. Don’t pet a dog—even your own—without letting him see and sniff you first.

Don’t disturb a dog while she’s sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or caring for puppies. Be cautious around strange dogs. Always assume that a dog who doesn’t know you may see you as an intruder or a threat.

Pay attention to the dog’s body language

Put a safe amount of space between yourself and a dog if you see the following signals indicating that the dog is uncomfortable and might feel the need to bite:

  • tensed body
  • stiff tail
  • pulled back head and/or ears
  • furrowed brow
  • eyes rolled so the whites are visible
  • yawning
  • flicking tongue
  • intense stare
  • backing away

Teach Your Children to Interact with Dogs Correctly

Even if you trust your pet, more than 70 percent of dog bites happen at home. Your family pet may not mean to harm you, but often times children don’t know how to approach a dog or know when to stop bothering them.   When a child is very outgoing, they forget that the animal may not want to be approached at certain times, and that it may react because it’s startled or protecting its food. The good news is, kids can learn the right way to interact with animals.

The ASPCA says some things to remember when dealing with children around pets are:

  • Always supervise children around pets, even if that pet belongs to you
  • Never surprise or scare a dog who is sleeping, eating or not expecting you
  • Never take food, toys or bones away from a dog
  • Do not let your child approach, touch or hug a dog that does not belong to them unless the owner gives permission

What to do if you think a dog may attack

If you are approached by a dog who may attack you, follow these steps:

  • Resist the impulse to scream and run away. When putting space between yourself and a dog who might bite, never turn your back on him and run away. A dog’s natural instinct will be to chase you.
  • Remain motionless, hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog.
  • Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until he is out of sight.
  • If the dog does attack, “feed” him your jacket, purse, bicycle or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around.

What to do if you’re bitten by a dog

If you are bitten or attacked by a dog, try not to panic.

  • Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Contact your physician for additional care and advice.
  • Report the bite to your local animal care and control agency. Tell the animal control official everything you know about the dog, including his owner’s name and the address where he lives. If the dog is a stray, tell the animal control official what the dog looks like, where you saw him, whether you’ve seen him before and in which direction he went.

Safety and proper interaction with dogs can prevent bites from occurring.  To learn more, speak with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian.


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Eye Care for Your Dogs from the Comfort of Your Home

Dog Eyes
Almost daily, associates at Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL receives a call about canine eye problems; and the diversity of concern expressed by the dog’s owner runs a wide spectrum.  There are times when our veterinarians will check a frantic and anxious owner’s dog only to discover an insignificant soreness in the dog’s supporting tissues around the eye (called conjunctiva).  Alternatively, our veterinarians may discover more severe eye problems such as an advanced corneal ulcer that has allowed internal contents of the eye to actually protrude through the corneal surface.  Veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic strongly encourage owners to give your dog(s) regular home eye exams which will help keep you alert to any tearing, cloudiness or inflammation that may indicate a health problem.

There are some methods that you as a dog owner can follow to perform regular checks of the health of your dog’s eyes.  These methods that follow may be performed every 6 months- as recommended by Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians:

Look closely and directly at your canine’s eyes

Face your dog in a brightly lit area and look into his eyes. They should be clear and bright, and the area around the eyeball should be white. Your dog’s pupils should be equal in size and there should not be any tearing, discharge or any crust in the corners of the eyes.

Lower eyelid check

With your thumb, gently roll down your dog’s lower eyelid and look at the lining. It should be pink, not red or white.

Keep your eyes on your dog’s eyes (watch for signs/symptoms)

The following are signs that something may be wrong with one or both of your dog’s eyes:

  • Discharge & crusty gunk
  • Tearing
  • Red or white eyelid linings
  • Tear-stained fur
  • Closed eye(s)
  • Cloudiness or change in eye color
  • Visible third eyelid
  • Unequal pupil sizes

A gentle cleaning

A gentle wipe with a damp cotton ball will help to keep your pooch’s eyes gunk-free. Wipe outward from the corner of the eye and be careful not to touch the eyeballs.  Touching the eyeballs puts you at risk of scratching the cornea. If your dog constantly suffers from runny eyes and discharge, please contact a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian. In that case, it is possible that your dog may have an infection.

Trim and groom any fur near the eyes 

Long-haired breeds can get eye damage if the fur surrounding or near the eyes aren’t properly tamed. Using scissors with rounded tips, carefully trim the hair around your dog’s eyes to keep vision clear and prevent hairs from poking and scratching.

Pain-free grooming & maintenance

Shampoos and topical medications may be major irritants to a dog’s eyes. Make certain to protect your dog’s eyes before bathing, applying ointments or administering flea-control formulas.

Driving your pooch around with the windows open

Most dogs enjoy the open road and the wind blowing through their fur.  However, if debris or an insect touches your dog’s eye, it may cause pain & suffering and possibly a long-lasting injury. It’s much safer to drive with the windows only partially down and your dog’s head stay inside the vehicle. The wind can also dry out your dog’s eyes, possibly causing irritation and infection.

Specific dog breeds are more inclined to experience eye problems

Do some research to find out if your dog’s breed is predisposed toward any eye conditions- such as glaucoma or progressive retinal atrophy. Of course, your pet should have his eyes checked by following through on annual wellness exams, but knowing about possible inherited problems will help you take important precautions.

Behavioral signs of possible eye problems

Pay attention to your dog’s body language—pawing or rubbing the eye area may alert you to possible problems.

Learn a bit about the different types of common eye problems in dogs

The following eye-related disorders are commonly seen in dogs:

Conjunctivitis: One or both of your dog’s eyes will look red and swollen, and there may be discharge.
Dry Eye: Diminished tear production can cause corneal inflammation, squinting and discharge.
Cherry Eye: An enlarged tear gland forms a cherry-like mass on the dog’s eye.
Epiphora: An overflow of tears creates stains on the dog’s facial fur.
Glaucoma: The cornea becomes cloudy and the eye enlarges due to an increased pressure in the eyeball.
Ectropion: A turning outward of the upper eyelid causes the lower lid to droop.
Entropion: A rolling in of the eyelid causes discharge and tearing.
Cataract: An opacity on the lens of the eye can cause impaired vision and possible blindness.
Progressive Renal Atrophy: Caused by degeneration of retinal tissue—night blindness is often its first sign.

Of course, if you are unsure or not comfortable performing the above eye checks than we can certainly perform them for your dog or even demonstrate how to perform them for you.  If that is something you are interested in, contact your Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian at 309-347-4679 to setup an appointment.


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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The Severe Dangers of Lilies to Cats

No Lillies

Plants and flowers can be toxic to pets and we find that most pet parents are fully aware of that. In fact, pet owners are so aware of certain toxicities that it’s not uncommon come December for Lange Animal Clinic to start receiving calls from our clients who are worried because their cat was seen nibbling on the leaf of a poinsettia plant.

The truth is that there are other plants and flowers that are more common and more dangerous to pets than poinsettias. One such flower is the lily.  Bottom line… cats and lilies don’t mix!

It only takes a nibble or a lick:

  • Lilies are one of the most dangerous flowers to have around cats. It takes only a nibble or lick to send a cat into acute kidney failure, which can be fatal.
  • If you live with cats, never have lilies in the home. When sending flower bouquets to friends or family members with cats, specifically request no lilies.

Type of true lilies include the Stargazer lily, Tiger lily, Easter lily, Day lily, Japanese show lily, Asiatic lily, Rubrum lily, and others – are beautiful, sweet-smelling flowers that are so common, you’ll find them everywhere from your own backyard to bouquets.  The unfortunate reality is that they are one of the most dangerous flowers to have around cats. It takes only a nibble on one leaf or stem, or the ingestion of a small amount of lily pollen (easy to do when a cat grooms itself) to send a cat into acute kidney failure and you rushing to the emergency vet.

Acute kidney (renal) failure is always debilitating to your pet and is expensive for you. The outlook for cats with acute kidney failure resulting from eating lilies can be good, so long as early and aggressive treatment is pursued by a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian. But if too much time passes before ingestion is recognized and appropriate treatment is started, the outlook becomes much worse and death from the disease or from euthanasia is more likely. The harsh truth is that without proper treatment, acute kidney failure is going to be fatal.

Treatment for lily-induced acute kidney failure involves aggressive IV fluids, injectable medications, nutritional support, and very close monitoring by Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians. If such treatment is proving unsuccessful, advanced options, such as peritoneal dialysis, continuous renal replacement therapy, or renal dialysis are also considered.  Referrals to specialists may be necessary for these types of treatments and they are quite costly to perform

Hospitalization and treatment costs for this condition will depend on the severity of the case and the cat’s response to therapy. It can safely be assumed, though, that a hospital bill will likely start at $2,000, and could increase to $4,000 or more. This is not a condition that can be conservatively treated – delay in starting the appropriate treatment both worsens the cat’s prognosis and increases treatment costs.

As you are hopefully appreciating, preventing your cat’s exposure to lilies is truly of the utmost importance, and there are several easy ways you can help prevent this toxicity.

  •  If you live with cats, never have lilies in the home. Regardless of how out of reach you think they may be, it’s just not worth the risk. Cats jump, dead leaves fall, vases spill, and pollen travels on breezes – any of these scenarios can kill your cat.
  • Keep your cats indoors. Many people have lilies in their garden. If your cat is outdoors, unless they are in a secure outdoor enclosure, there is no guarentee to ensure that they will not eat or rub up against those lilies.
  • When sending flower bouquets to friends or family members with cats, specifically request no lilies to be sent. To make sure they listen to your request, tell them that the recipient is deathly allergic to the flowers. Some florists may not be aware of the dangers of lilies to cats, and they don’t need to know that the ‘recipient’ you are referring to is your friend’s cat.
  • Inform your friends and family members of the dangers of lilies to cats through social media or by simply in conversation. The more people that know about the risk, the more cats we can save from lily toxicity and possible death.

Again, take every precaution necessary to avoid any exposure to lilies with all of your furry felines!


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

About Us 
Our Services
Setup an Appointment

Proper Care for Guinea Pigs as Household Pets

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs, or cavies, are small mammals native to South America. They first came to Europe about 400 years ago, and have been cherished as pets ever since. Guinea pigs are often calm and docile, but still make lively pets. They are vocal when excited and will make a variety of sounds when they see their favorite people or when the fridge door is opened (they love treats!).

Housing

Guinea pigs need a minimum of eight square feet of floor space in their cages. They are very social and will be happier if housed with another guinea pig, but this doubles the amount of space that they will need in their cages. Guinea pigs have sensitive paw pads and need solid flooring. They cannot be housed in a wire-bottomed cage.

Furnishings the Housing Area

When guinea pigs are frightened, they either freeze in place or run away, and they prefer to have a hiding place in their cage. Plastic tubes and wooden or woven hay boxes are available in pet supply stores. A good, free alternative is using a cardboard box with the bottom cut out of it. Many guinea pigs love to chew on cardboard boxes and, while you may need to replace it regularly, this chewing will help keep their teeth worn down to a good length. Small pieces of untreated wood can also be provided to help satisfy your guinea pig’s need to chew and keep their teeth from getting overgrown as well.

Paper or pine bedding should be several inches thick and should be changed twice weekly. Cedar shavings should not be used as bedding, as they contain phenols, which can be harmful to guinea pigs. Remove soiled bedding, droppings and stale food from the cage daily. Clean the cage completely once a week by replacing dirty bedding and scrubbing the bottom of the cage with warm water. Be sure everything’s dry before adding fresh bedding.

Comfortable Temperature for Good Health

Make sure that your guinea pig doesn’t get overheated or chilled, as they are susceptible to both. In general, if you are comfortable, they are probably at a safe and comfortable temperature. If you need to venture out with your guinea pig in cold weather, make sure to cover the carrier with a warm blanket. On hot days, the car should be pre-cooled for them. Remember to never, ever leave your guinea pig unattended in a car for any reason even for just a few minutes, especially if it is a hot or cold day.

Nutrition and Diet

Commercial guinea pig pellets should make up the bulk of your pet’s diet. Nutritionally complete, they’re available at pet supply stores, and are made from plants, seeds and veggies. Feed your guinea pigs twice daily, in the morning and in the evening.

Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians recommend offering small amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables to your guinea pigs every day. These pets need to a good supply of Vitamin C.  Try grapes, cucumbers, corn, peas, carrots and pears. Half a handful of veggies and a slice of fresh fruit per pig is plenty. Always make sure to clean up any leftover fresh food before it spoils. You’ll also need to make grass hay available to your pets at all times. It’s great for the digestive system, and will also satisfy your pet’s need to gnaw.  Guinea pigs can be very picky eaters. They will often decide which foods they like early in life, and it is often difficult to change their diets. It’s a good idea to expose young guinea pigs to a wide variety of foods, so that they will be more accepting of changes in diet when they’re older.

Adult guinea pigs should have access to good quality grass hay at all times. Alfalfa hay is generally not recommended, as it can lead to obesity. Pellets are typically limited to help prevent obesity as well. Pet parents can offer fresh, clean greens to their guinea pigs daily diet. Fruit can be offered in small amounts as treats, but shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your guinea pig’s diet. Growing, pregnant or nursing guinea pigs have higher calorie requirements and can be offered more fruit, pellets and alfalfa hay.

Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. Use an inverted bottle with a drinking tube, and change the water daily.  Be certain to clean the water bottle to ensure good sanitary conditions.

General Care

It is important that you get your pets used to you—and used to being handled. Start by feeding them small treats. When they’re comfortable with that, you can carefully pick up one pig at a time, one hand supporting the bottom, the other over the back.  Once you have hand-tamed them, you should let them run around in a small room or enclosed area to get some additional exercise every day. You will need to carefully check the room for any openings from which the guinea pigs can escape, get lost and possibly end up hurt. These animals must be supervised when they are loose because they will chew on anything in their paths—including electrical wires.

Guinea pigs that are on bedding will also need to have their nails trimmed. Typically trimming 1-2 times a month with a small cat nail trimmer will keep the nails at a good length.

Guinea pigs should see a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian once a year. We are here not only to heal your guinea pig when they are ill, but also to help keep them healthy and strong! Our veterinarians can spay or neuter your guinea pig, help ensure that your guinea pig’s teeth are wearing evenly, that his or her weight is appropriate, and that they are not showing any signs of disease or nutritional deficiencies.


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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