September is Animal Pain Awareness Month

Pet Pain1

While we are different species, we all process and feel pain similarly. As advances in modern medicine have increased our lifespan, our animal family members are also reaping the benefits of advances in modern veterinary medicine. More of our beloved pets are undergoing elective surgical procedures to treat a variety of disease processes, from a torn cruciate ligament to extractions of infected teeth.

Pain management has become an important specialty area in veterinary medicine just as it has in human medicine. You want the best for your family members and that includes top-of-the-line treatments for pain management.

Because their pain is our pain

It was once thought that animals did not experience pain in the same way people do. But research supports that if a procedure is thought to be painful to us, it will also be painful to our furry friends as well, even though they may go to great lengths to hide it from us. So proper pain management must be offered to all of our patients.

What you can do

  1. Ask our veterinary team about the customized steps we will take to manage your pet’s pain.
  2. Talk to our veterinary team about common signs of osteoarthritis pain in senior pets, such as reluctance to go up or down stairs, being slow to rise after sleeping and loss of interest in playing, running or jumping.
  3. Request a pain consultation for your pet. Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians offer tailored pain management protocols for patients at risk for chronic pain such as osteoarthritis.
  4. Ask about rehabilitation options and other steps to manage any chronic pain your pet experiences.

Pain management is an important aspect of any surgical or medical procedure.  Together with our veterinary team, you can make your pets as comfortable as possible in the postoperative period or into their senior years.

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  

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Ear Infections in Dogs- Causes and Treatments


How common are ear infections in dogs?

Infection of the external ear canal (outer ear infection) is called otitis externa and is one of the most common types of infections seen in dogs. Some breeds, particularly those with large, floppy or hairy ears like Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles or Old English Sheepdogs, appear to be more prone to ear infections, but ear infections may occur in any breed.

What are the symptoms of an ear infection?

Ear infections are painful. Many dogs will shake their head and scratch their ears trying to relieve the discomfort. The ears often become red and inflamed and develop an offensive odor. A black or yellowish discharge commonly occurs. In chronic cases the ears may appear crusty or thickened and the ear canals often become narrowed (stenotic) due to the chronic inflammation.

Don’t these symptoms usually indicate ear mites?

Ear mites can cause several of these symptoms, including a black discharge, scratching, and head shaking. However, ear mite infections are more common in puppies and kittens. Adult dogs may occasionally contract ear mites from puppies or cats that are infected. Ear mites create an environment within the ear canal that often leads to a secondary bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection.

Since these symptoms are similar and usually mean an infection, why can’t I just get some ear medication?

There are several kinds of bacteria and at least one type of fungus that commonly cause ear infections. Without knowing EarInfection-ImgAthe specific kind of infection present, we do not know which medication to use. In some cases, the problem is a foreign body, a polyp or a tumor. Treatment with medication alone will not resolve these problems. It is important that your dog be examined to ensure that the eardrum is intact. Administration of certain medications can result in loss of hearing if the eardrum is ruptured. This can only be detected by a thorough ear examination by your veterinarian.

How do you know which drug to use?

First, the ear canal is examined with an otoscope, an instrument that provides magnification and light. This examination allows your veterinarian to determine whether the eardrum is intact and if there is any foreign material in the canal. When a dog is in extreme pain and refuses to allow the examination, it may be necessary to sedate or anesthetize the dog for a thorough examination.

The next step is to examine a sample of the material from the ear canal under a microscope to determine the type of organism causing the infection. Microscopic examination is important in helping the veterinarian choose the right medication to treat the inflamed ear canal. Culture and sensitivity tests are often used in severe or chronic ear infections.

How are ear infections treated?

The results of the otoscopic and microscopic examination usually determine the diagnosis and course of treatment. If there is a foreign body, wax plug or parasite lodged in the ear canal, it will be removed. Some dogs must be sedated for this, or to allow a thorough ear flushing and cleaning. Microscopic study of debris from the ear canal helps determine which drug to use. Many dogs will have more than one type of infection present (e.g., a bacterium and a fungus, or two kinds of bacteria). This situation usually requires the use of multiple medications or a broad-spectrum medication.

“Many dogs with chronic or recurrent ear infections have allergies or
low thyroid function (hypothyroidism).”

An important part of the evaluation of the patient is the identification of underlying disease. Many dogs with chronic or recurrent ear infections have allergies or low thyroid function (hypothyroidism). If underlying disease is suspected, it must be diagnosed and treated or the pet will continue to experience chronic ear problems.

What is the prognosis?

Nearly all ear infections that are properly diagnosed and treated can be successfully managed. However, if an underlying cause remains unidentified and untreated, the outcome will be less favorable. Several recheck examinations may be needed before the outcome is successful.

How important is it to treat an ear infection?

Dogs with ear infections are uncomfortable. Their ears are a source of constant pain and they frequently scratch them and shake their head. This can cause a condition called an “aural hematoma”, in which blood vessels in the ear flap break, causing a painful swelling that requires surgical treatment. Deep ear infections can damage or rupture the eardrum, causing an internal ear infection and even permanent hearing loss.

My dog’s ear canal is nearly closed. Is that a problem?

Closing of the ear canal is another result of a chronic ear infection. This is known as hyperplasia or stenosis If the ear canal is swollen, it is difficult or impossible for medications to penetrate into the horizontal canal. Anti-inflammatory medications can sometimes shrink the swollen tissues and open the canal in some dogs. Most cases of hyperplasia will eventually require surgery.

What is the goal of ear canal surgery?

There are several surgical procedures that are used to treat this problem. The most commonly performed surgery is called a lateral ear resection. The goal of the surgery is to remove the vertical part of the ear canal and to eliminate the swollen tissue from the horizontal canal. It is relatively easy to remove the vertical canal, but removal of large amounts of tissue from the horizontal canal is more difficult. In some cases, it is necessary to remove the entire ear canal (total ear ablation), which may result in permanent impairment of hearing.

Is there anything I need to know about administering medication in the ear?

It is important to get the medication into the horizontal part of the ear canal. Unlike our ear canal, the dog’s external ear canal is “L” shaped. The vertical canal connects with the outside of the ear and is the upper part of the “L”. The horizontal canal lies deeper in the canal and terminates at the eardrum. Our goal is to administer the medication into the lower part of the “L” – the horizontal ear canal.

The ear canal may be medicated by following these steps:

  1. EarInfection-ImgB1Gently pull the earflap straight up and slightly toward the back and hold it with one hand.
  2. Using the other hand, apply a small amount of medication into the vertical part of the ear canal while continuing to keep the earflap elevated. Hold the ear up long enough for the medication to run down to the turn between the vertical and horizontal canal.
  3. Put one finger in front of and at the base of the earflap, and put your thumb behind and at the base.
  4. Massage the ear canal between your fingers and thumb. A “squishing” sound tells you that the medication has gone into the horizontal canal.
  5. Release the ear and let your dog shake its head. Many medications will contain a wax solvent and you may observe debris dissolved in this solvent leaving the ear as your dog shakes its head.

If a second medication is to be used, apply it in the same manner. Typically, you should wait 5-30 minutes before applying additional medications. Be sure to ask your veterinarian for specific directions regarding any ear medication or cleansing agents.

“Do not use cotton tipped applicators to do this, as they tend to push
debris back into the vertical ear canal.”

When all medications have been applied, clean the outer part of the ear canal and the inside of the earflap with a cotton ball soaked in some of the medication. Do not use cotton tipped applicators to do this, as they tend to push debris back into the vertical ear canal.

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  

About Us 
Our Services
Setup an Appointment



C.A.N.I.  What do those initials stand for?  Constant And Never-ending Improvement!  Our new website will host a number of brand new features, tools and resources for our clients and will be launched Monday, September 14th.  You will be able to download our new mobile app to have access from your tablet or smartphone.  Stay in the loop with all of the latest & greatest information concerning your pets’ health needs and take advantage of a number of useful tools for your convenience.


Pet Owner Resources– Now Lange Animal Clinic clients can register and login directly to ePetHealth directly from our website to manage their pets’ health.  View your pets’medical history & upcoming reminders, access countless pet care videos/guides, print pet ID cards, and more.

Expanded Online Store- Shop from over 4,000 prescription pet products online with free home delivery with Vets First Choice!* Purchase dietary products, refill prescriptions, flea, tick and heartworm preventatives… and much MORE!

Online Library- Explore local preferred pet care businesses such as groomers, kennels/boarding facilities, pet sitters, dog training centers, and more.  Learn more about your breed of pet and gain insightful information from various veterinary associations and organizations.


Career Opportunities– View and apply for career opportunities at the clinic!  We post open positions as they become available.  To apply for a position, provide your contact information and upload your resume and/or cover letter.

Write a Review– We want your feedback!  Now it’s easier for our clients to write their honest and open reviews about their experiences at our clinic. Reviews may be posted on Google Reviews or Yelp.

Blog Posts– Read interesting articles and gain insights from articles in our blog that cover such topics as:  scientific pet health studies, helpful tips for treating or caring for your beloved fur babies, national events/pet holidays, pet safety articles, and a lot of great tools to help provide your pets with the best care possible.

Be sure to mark your calendar and go to on Monday, September 14th to explore our new and improved website!  Please feel free to share your feedback by emailing us at

Considerations & Tips For Having Rabbits as Household Pets


Some bunny out there wants to be a part of your family—but he has special requirements to stay happy and healthy. They can be trained to use a litter box, they’ll come when called, and some will engage their owners in a daily game of tag! Domestic rabbits are delightful companion animals. They are inquisitive, intelligent, sociable and affectionate—and if well-cared for, indoor rabbits can live for seven to ten or more years.

There’s a lot of variety among domestic rabbits. The more than 60 breeds include the Dutch, who’s very popular in the United States, droopy eared German lops and furry Cashmeres. Rabbits range in size from teeny two-pounders to the 13-pound Flemish Giant.

Rabbits and Children: Some Words of Caution

Our culture is so filled with images of children and rabbits together (think the Easter bunny and Peter Rabbit) that many parents see rabbits as low-maintenance starter pets for kids. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rabbits are physically delicate and fragile, and require specialized veterinary care which Lange Animal Clinic provides. It’s true that children are naturally energetic and loving, but “loving” to a small child means holding, cuddling, or carrying an animal around—precisely the things that frighten most rabbits. Rabbits can’t cry out when distressed. Instead, they may start to scratch or bite to protect themselves from well-meaning children. Thousands are abandoned at animal shelters every year for this reason. Many rabbits are also dropped accidentally by children, resulting in broken legs and backs. While a rabbit may be a great pet for your family, an adult should be the primary caretaker.


When you first get your rabbit, you’ll need to spend about $90 for a cage, $30 for a carrier and $25 for a litter box. Food runs about $125 a year, plus $25 annually for toys and treats, $125 for veterinary care and $400 annually for litter and bedding material.

The best place to get your bun? Adoption is your first, and best, option! There are many homeless companion rabbits at shelters and rescue groups all across the country.

Housing and Exercise

Where’s the only place for your rabbit’s cage? INDOORS! Although an outdoor hutch has been the traditional housing for a rabbit, today we know better. A backyard hutch forces these social critters to live in unnatural isolation. Furthermore, rabbits can die of heart attacks from the very approach of a predator or vandal. Keep your bunny safe indoors, where he can have plenty of interaction with family members.

They may be small, but rabbits require a lot of room for housing and exercise. They have powerful hind legs designed for running and jumping. Get your pet a cage that allows him to move freely. The minimum recommended cage space for a single rabbit of a small- to medium-sized breed is four feet wide, two feet deep and two feet tall. Although wire-bottom cages are common, they can ulcerate a rabbit’s feet. If you have a wire cage, cover the bottom with a piece of wood or corrugated cardboard. Better yet, buy a cage with a solid bottom. Please put down plenty of straw, hay or aspen shavings so your pet can make a cozy nest.

Please note, rabbits should not be housed with other rabbits unless all are spayed and neutered. Introductions are often difficult and injuries can result, so please introduce them in neutral territory, under careful supervision.

Did you know that many rabbits have been surrendered to shelters because of destructive behavior? In most cases, their owners failed to provide them with appropriate toys to fulfill their natural urges to dig and chew. Safe chew toys include cardboard boxes, an old telephone directory (that’s no joke!) and commercially made chew sticks. You buny will greatly appreciate his own digging box, such as a cardboard box filled halfway with soil or shredded paper.

Your rabbit needs a safe exercise area with ample room to run and jump, either indoors or out. Any outdoor area should be fully enclosed by a fence. Never leave a rabbit unsupervised outdoors—even for a few minutes! Cats, dogs and even predatory birds can easily get around fencing material. Also, rabbits can dig under fences and get lost. You can rabbit-proof an indoor area by covering all electrical wires and anything else your pet is likely to chew. Recommended exercise time for pet rabbits is several hours per day.


The most important component of your rabbit’s diet is grass hay, such as timothy or brome. This is crucial for keeping his intestinal tract healthy. Unlimited hay should be available at all times.

You’ll also need to feed your bunny good-quality rabbit pellets. Opt for a formula with at least 15 to 19 percent protein and 18 percent fiber. Until your pet is fully grown (around six months), he can have all the pellets he wants. After that, pellets should be limited to 1/8 to 1/4 cup per day per five pounds of bunny body weight. Pellets should be fresh and plain, without seeds, nuts or colored tidbits.

Fresh leafy greens make up a third component of your pet’s diet. He’ll enjoy dark leaf lettuces, collard greens, turnip greens and carrot tops. We recommend a minimum of two cups per six pounds of rabbit.

Clean, fresh water, dispensed in a bottle or sturdy bowl, should be available at all times.

Litter Training

Rabbits are very clean by nature, and will do their best to keep their living quarters clean. Most rabbits will choose one corner of the cage as a bathroom. As soon as your rabbit’s choice is clear, put a newspaper-lined litter box in that corner. Fill it with timothy hay (or any other grass hay except alfalfa) or pelleted-newspaper litter. If the litter box is changed daily, your rabbit’s home will stay fresh and odor-free. Don’t use pine or cedar shavings! The fumes may affect your rabbit’s liver enzymes, which can cause problems if the animal needs anesthesia for surgery. Avoid using clay cat litters (both clumping and non-clumping), as these may result in respiratory or gastrointestinal problems.

Handling and General Care

Rabbits can be messy, so you’ll need to clean your pet’s cage once or twice weekly. Put your rabbit in a safe room or alternate cage as you sweep out the cage and scrub the floor with warm, soapy water.  Pick up your rabbit by supporting his forequarters with one hand and his hindquarters with the other—failure to do so can result in spinal injuries to the rabbit. Never pick up a rabbit by his ears; this can cause very serious injury.  Brush your rabbit regularly with a soft brush to remove excess hair and keep his coat in good condition. Brush from the back of the head down to the tail. Ask your veterinarian how to clip your pet’s nails.

Health and Veterinary Care

Rabbits should be spayed or neutered by one of our Veterinarians who is experienced with rabbit surgeries. Spaying or neutering prevents unwanted litters, spraying in males and uterine cancer in females. Our primary rabbit Vetarinarian is Dr. Grimm.  Feel free to contact Dr. Grimm if you have any questions regarding proper care and health for rabbits or if you are considering adopting one.  You can reach her by email at

You should bring your pet to Lange Animal Clinic for a check-up at least once a year. If your rabbit stops eating or moving his bowels for 12 hours or longer or has watery diarrhea, don’t wait—contact us immediately. Other signs of illness include runny nose and eyes, dark red urine, lethargy, fur loss and red, swollen skin.

Rabbit Supply Checklist

– Cage, preferably solid-bottom

– Carrier

– Good-quality rabbit pellets

– Litter box with hay or pelleted bedding

– Grass hay and hay rack

– Sturdy ceramic or metal food bowl

– Ceramic water bowl or water bottle that attaches to cage

– Grooming brush

– Digging box and safe chew toys