Proper Bathing Techniques for You Feisty Feline

Cat Bath Funny

With her built-in grooming tools (tongue and teeth, of course), your “faster than lightning” feline is well-equipped to tackle her own hair-care needs. But if she is very dirty or gets into something sticky or smelly, you may need to give her a bath. Read the following tips before you begin to ensure minimal stress and maximum efficiency.  Remember the old adage the “6 P’s”- Proper Planning Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance!

  1. Perfect timing: Schedule baths when your cat’s at her most mellow. A play session with your cat’s favorite toy or other toy of choice can help tire out even the friskiest of felines.
  2. Clip, snip: For your own protection, Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians recommend trimming your cat’s claws before bath time.
  3. Provide your cat a good brushing to remove any loose hair and mats. Now’s also a good time to gently place some cotton in her ears to keep the water out.
  4. Affix a rubber bath mat in the sink or tub where you’ll be bathing your kitty so she doesn’t slip. Fill with three to four inches of lukewarm (not hot, please!) water.
  5. As necessary, utilize a hand-held spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes and nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup works just as well.
  6. Delicately and gently massage your pet with a solution of one part cat shampoo (human shampoo can dry out her skin) to five parts water, working from head to tail, in the direction of hair growth. Take care to avoid your cat’s face, ears and eyes.
  7. Thoroughly rinse the shampoo off your cat with a spray hose or pitcher. Be careful again to make certain that the water is lukewarm. Take good care that all residue has been removed, as it can irritate the skin and act as a magnet for dirt.
  8. Use a soft washcloth to carefully wipe your cat’s face. Plain water is fine unless her face is very dirty—in which case, we recommend using an extra-diluted solution of shampoo, being very cautious around your cat’s ear
  9. Wrap your cat in a large towel and dry her with it in a warm place, away from cold drafts. If your kitty doesn’t mind the noise, you can use a blow dryer—on the lowest heat setting. And please note, if your pet has long hair, you may need to carefully untangle her fur with a wide-toothed comb.
  10. Your little bathing beauty deserves endless praise—and her favorite treat—after all this! And with such a happy ending, next time she may find that bath time isn’t so bad.

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

Ten Most Common Pet Toxins of 2014

toxic foods

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, IL handled more than 167,000 calls involving pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances in 2014. Nearly 16% of those calls were from pet parents whose pets got into medicines intended for human use, putting this category at the top of the toxin list for the seventh year in a row.

Here are the 10 most common pet toxins of 2014 ranked in order of call volume:

  • Human prescription medications are most often exposed to pets, as mentioned above. The prescriptions that caused the most concern correlated with the most popular medications prescribed to humans.
  • Over-the-counter medications, including herbal and other natural supplements, attracted greater concern this year than in previous years resulting in approximately 25,000 calls. This category is exceptionally large, encompassing more than 6,900 different products.
  • Insecticides dropped to the third slot this year, comprising 9.1% of calls to the APCC (15,000 cases). These products can be very dangerous, especially if the label directions are not followed.
  • Household items were the cause for concern in more than 13,500 cases, especially paints and cleaning products.
  • Human foods are appealing to pets, especially dogs. Dogs can get into serious trouble by ingesting onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and xylitol, a sugar substitute which can be life-threatening for animals. Approximately 13,200 cases involved human foods in 2014.
  • Veterinary medications made up 7% of total cases in 2014. Pet parents should be aware that chewable medications are very tasty and pets might ingest an entire bottle if it is not kept out of their reach.
  • Chocolate ingestion is very common. At the APCC, chocolate calls make up 6% of the total call volume—more than 30 calls a day! The darker the chocolate, the more potential it has to do harm.
  • Plants represent approximately 5% of the calls to the APCC and moved up a spot since 2014. Most of these calls involve cats and houseplants.
  • Rodenticides are made to kill mice and rats, but they can also kill pets if ingested. APCC handled more than 7,500 calls about rodenticides last year.
  • Lawn and garden products round out the top ten, accounting for about 2.7% of all calls. Many of these exposures occurred because people did not store lawn and garden products out of the reach of pets.

If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.


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

How to Clean Your Dog or Cat’s Ears

Ear Cleaning
There are three very important things that you need to know about dogs’ and cats’ ears before reading these guidelines being presented.  If you are not comfortable performing an ear cleaning on your own or wish to see a demonstrations on how to do so- contact a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian:

–  Pets’ ears are sensitive, so they need regular maintenance to prevent infections.
–  Dogs or cats don’t want their ears cleaned, so you’re going to have to work with them.
–  If you don’t do it the right way, you can cause serious damage.

Regular routine cleaning of your dog or cat’s ears is recommended as part of his grooming protocol. Regular cleaning will help keep your pet’s ears healthy, clean and free of disease.  There are numerous ear cleansing solutions that can be used to clean your dog or cat’s ears that we have in stock. If in doubt, speak to one of our associates to recommend an appropriate cleanser for your pet.

  1. Start the cleaning process by filling your pet’s ear canal with the cleansing solution.
  2. Massage the outside of the ear canal gently to break up any debris within the canal. If you release your dog or cat’s head at this point, he will likely shake his head and send cleansing solution and debris everywhere.
  3. Use a cotton ball and your finger to swab the inside of your pet’s ear to remove the excess cleansing solution and debris from your dog or cat’s ear. Repeat this process until your pet’s ear is clean.
  4. Proceed to the opposite ear. Never use Q-Tips or similar types of products to clean your dog or cat’s ears. These tools can rupture your pet’s ear drum if used incorrectly.

Clean your pet’s ears as often as necessary to keep them free of debris and wax. Some pets may need to have their ears cleaned as often as once or twice a week.

Examine Your Pet’s Ears for Signs of Infection, Inflammation or Other Ear Disease While Cleaning

While you are cleaning your dog or cat’s ears, take a moment to look closely at them.  Healthy ears should have little to no discharge, should not reddened or inflamed, and should not have an unpleasant odor.  These signs may an indication of infection or other disease and should be checked by a Lange Animal Clinic Veterinarian if present.  Also, check your pet’s ears for lumps and bumps that are not part of the natural contours of the ears, for foreign bodies and other abnormalities.  Spotting the signs of ear disease early, before the disease has become severe, can make management of the disease much simpler and save your pet from needless pain and discomfort as well.

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

Springtime Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Allergies in pets

Seasonal allergies not only affect us but they can also affect pets as well.  In the spring, when many of us simply get the neti pot or Benadryl going- we also need to remember our pets with springtime allergies.  It may be a little harder for dogs and cats with environmental allergies to avoid the elements. Fortunately, veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL offer cool tips to help keep hot spots and other problems at bay during allergy season.

Be Alert and Monitor for Allergy Symptoms

Is your dog or cat’s itching keeping you up at night? Or, does your dog or cat have frequent ear or skin infections? If so, your dog or cat may have allergies.  Many times, we hear owners say “they kept me up all night because every five minutes they were chewing on their skin”.  Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians notice an uptick in pets with skin allergies this time of the year.

Allergies in cats are less common than in dogs.  Though cats with true allergies will typically show signs of hair loss and have scabs or open sores. Discharge in a cat’s ears or excessive scratching also are common symptoms.  Allergy symptoms in dogs can include excessive licking, redness in areas of the skin known as “hot spots” or hair loss.

Observe the Pollen Count

Allergy season for dogs and cats are similar to humans, so keep a close eye on the pollen forecast in Central IL area and monitor your pets for symptoms.  If your pets are outside gallivanting in the flower garden then be certain to get a damp cloth and wipe down your dog or cat’s paws to remove any pollen.  Additionally, help your family and your pets by remembering to take your shoes off at the door so that

After tiptoeing through the tulips, Dr. Robert O. Schick, a dermatologist with Georgia Veterinary Specialists, suggests wiping your dogs’ paws with a cool towel to remove pollen residue or scheduling a weekly cool water bath. Also, help all the animals (and humans) in your house and avoid tracking pollen into the house by removing your shoes at the door.

Ongoing Spring Cleaning

Traditional Spring cleaning will reduce the amount of dust in your home.  But continuous cleaning by dusting, vacuuming carpets, and sweeping/mopping floors will help minimize dust.  Your cat or dogs’ favorite areas should be cleaned well- especially around windows and by cleaning window treatments regularly.

Call Us Prior to Administering Medications

Be cautious about administering any over the counter medications to your pets and if you are unsure about doing so always contact one of our veterinarians first.  Antihistamines may help but proper dosages for your pets need to be closely observed.  Side effects are similar to humans such as drowsiness when using medications such as antihistamines.

Topical solutions provide limited relief

There are various topical solutions that may be used to provide limited relief for allergies and many contain hydrocortisone and are oatmeal-based.  These shampoos and solutions can help relieve itching and irritation.  Lange Animal Clinic carries a wide variety of topical solutions such as HyLyt Shampoo and Vetoquinol Aloe & Oatmeal Shampoo.

Where conditions are more uniquely severe, an intradermal skin test (allergy test) may help determine the cause of your pet’s symptoms. This test is usually conducted by a veterinary dermatologist specialist, and involves shaving a patch on the skin and injecting various allergens such as grass, pollen or dust.  Through process of elimination, the specialist can isolate the allergen and plan a course of action such as allergy shots or a vaccine. Keep in mind, treatment can be costly as the test alone can cost more than $225. 

Maintain monthly flea and tick treatment

Fortunately, there are many effective flea and tick preventives on the market to help control the pests and prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. Knowing what kind of product to use, and how to use it, is critical to the health and safety of your pet. Many are spot-on (topical) products that are applied directly to your pet’s skin, but there are some that are given orally (by mouth). Although medicines and pesticides must meet U.S. government-required safety standards before they can be sold, it is still critical that pet owners carefully consider their flea and tick preventive options (and closely read the label) before they treat their pets with one of these products.

There is no cure for allergies but proper preventive measures can be taken to minimize the negative effects they cause in dogs or cats.  For more information, please contact a Lange Animal Clinic associate.

Ensuring a Smooth Adjustment When Bringing a New Dog Home

New Dog

Lange Animal Clinic Veterinarians in Pekin, IL believe that it is very important to follow steps to make a successful adjustment for a new dog being brought into one’s home.  Patience is a very important facet for success as it can take anywhere from two days to two months for you and your dog to adjust to each other. The following tips can help ensure a smooth transition.

Gather your dog’s supplies

Prepare the things your dog will need in advance. You’ll need a collar and leash, food and water bowls, food, and, of course, some toys. And don’t forget to order an identification tag right away.

Establish house rules in advance

Work out your dog-care regimen in advance among the human members of your household. Who will walk the dog first thing in the morning? Who will feed her at night? Will Bella be allowed on the couch, or won’t she? Where will she rest at night? Are there any rooms in the house that are off-limits?

Plan your dog’s arrival

Try to arrange the arrival of your new dog for a weekend or when you can be home for a few days. Get to know each other and spend some quality time together. Don’t forget the jealousy factor—make sure you don’t neglect other pets and people in your household!

Be prepared for housetraining

Assume your new dog is not housetrained, and work from there. Read over the housetraining information given to you at the time of adoption and feel free to contact one of the Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians or technicians for ideas to help with housetraining. Be consistent, and maintain a routine. A little extra effort on your part to come home straight from work each day will pay off in easier, faster housetraining.

Make sure all your pets are healthy

Animal shelters take in animals with widely varying backgrounds, some of whom have not been previously vaccinated. Inevitably, despite the best efforts of shelter workers, viruses can be spread and may occasionally go home with adopted animals. If you already have dogs or cats at home, make sure they are up-to-date on their shots and in good general health before introducing your new pet dog.

Take your new dog to one of our veterinarians within a week after adoption. Here, we will perform a new pet wellness exam and administer any necessary vaccinations. If your dog has not been spayed or neutered, make that appointment! There are already far too many homeless puppies and dogs; don’t let your new pet add to the problem. Most likely, the shelter will require that you have your pet spayed or neutered anyway. If you need more information about why it is so important to spay or neuter your dog, consult with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian.

Give your dog a crate

A crate may look to you like the canine equivalent of a jail cell, but to your dog, who instinctively likes to den, it’s a room of his own. It makes housetraining and obedience-training easier and saves your dog from the headache of being yelled at unnecessarily for problem behavior. Of course, you won’t want to crate your dog all day or all night, or he will consider it a jail cell. Just a few, regular hours a day should be sufficient.

The crate should not contain wire where his collar or paws can get caught, and should be roomy enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around, and sit comfortably in normal posture. If a crate isn’t an option, consider some sort of confinement to a dog-proofed part of your home. A portion of the kitchen or family room can serve the purpose very well. (A baby gate works perfectly.)

Use training and discipline to create a happy home

Dogs need order. Let your pet know from the start who is the boss. When you catch him doing something he shouldn’t, don’t lose your cool. Stay calm, and let him know immediately, in a loud and disapproving voice, that he has misbehaved. Reward him with praise when he does well, too! Sign up for a local dog obedience class, and you’ll learn what a joy it is to have a well-trained dog.

Games and Activities

Dogs need an active life. That means you should plan plenty of exercise and game time for your pet. Enjoy jogging or Frisbee? You can bet your dog will, too. If running around the park is too energetic for your taste, try throwing a ball or a stick, or just going for a long walk together. When you take a drive in the country or visit family and friends, bring your dog and a leash along.

Be patient with Your New Dog

Finally, be reasonable in your expectations. Life with you is a different experience for your new companion, so give him time to adjust. You’ll soon find out that you’ve made a friend for life. No one will ever greet you with as much enthusiasm or provide you with as much unqualified love and loyalty as your dog will. Be patient, and you will be amply rewarded.

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

Springtime Pet Safety and Tips

Spring Dog

Spring has sprung, and with the change of season, it’s time to start spring cleaning and allowing the fresh outside air indoors.  But the new balmy weather can prove problematic for curious pets—or their parents. Before you embark on seasonal chores or outdoor revelry, take inventory of potential springtime hazards for your furry friends. To help you out, Veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic have come up with a few seasonal tips that will help prevent accidents or unfortunate situations.

Windows and Screens

Many pet parents welcome the breezy days of spring by opening their windows. Unfortunately, they also unknowingly put their pets at risk—especially cats, who are apt to jump or fall through unscreened windows. Be sure to install snug and sturdy screens in all of your windows. If you have adjustable screens, make sure they are tightly wedged into window frames.

Restrain in Car Rides!

While every pet owner knows dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them to ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or poke their heads out of moving-car windows is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse! Pets in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.

Spring Cleanup

Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many households, but be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals away from your pets! Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. The key to using them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage.

Home Improvements

Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated pet-friendly room during home improvement projects.

Let Your Garden Grow—With Care

Pet parents, take care—fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren’t meant for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them.  Always store these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully. Check out our full list of garden care tips.

Poisonous Plants 

Time to let your garden grow! But beware, many popular springtime plants—including Easter lilies, rhododendron and azaleas—are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten. Check out our full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your home and garden.

Sneezing… Ah… Ah…. Achoo!

Like their sneezy human counterparts, pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and pollens. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can cause minor sniffling and sneezing as well as life-threatening anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your pet has a springtime allergy, please visit a Lange Animal Clinic Veterinarian as soon as possible.

Bugs and Little Critters

April showers bring May flowers—and an onslaught of bugs! Make sure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick control program.   Ask a Lange Animal Clinic to recommend a plan designed specifically for your pet.

Outdoor Activities

Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information.  Canines should wear flat (never choke!) collars, please.  Lange Animal Clinic can microchip your pet for the low cost of only $39 and it is painless and provides that added security you need.

If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with or ingested a potentially poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

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

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Strikes Chicago Metropolitan Area

canine influenza
Article published by Chicago Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)

Chicago, IL – The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association recommends dog owners take immediate, precautionary measures to prevent their dogs from exposure to Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD). There is an increase in the number of severe respiratory cases which are being reported throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

Dr. Donna Alexander, Director of Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control, is working closely with the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association. Based upon the preliminary data from Chicago area veterinarians that has been reviewed and compiled by her through March 31, 2015, Dr. Alexander has stated:

“The summary of those hospitals that reported through the CVMA to our offices and those who reported directly to this office indicates that 73% of those responding note an increase in CIRD. For those that supplied exact number of animals, we can report that there have been 1,013 cases of CIRD since January and 5 mortalities. The age of the animals presenting vary but show more severe forms in dogs under 1 year of age and greater than 7 years of age. Few veterinarians are submitting diagnostic specimens for evaluation. Of those submitted for PCR or other testing, the majority came back negative, some are still pending. Of those reporting positive, 93% are positive for Canine Influenza.”

Information to date suggests that the canine influenza virus may be the primary causative agent associated with the increased number of severe respiratory cases currently being seen by Chicago area veterinarians. Due to the extremely contagious nature of the canine influenza virus, all dogs are at serious risk of infection when exposed to this virus. Even dogs exhibiting no signs of illness can be contagious, asymptomatic carriers to other dogs.

Pet owners should contact their veterinarian immediately if they see any of the following symptoms in their dog(s): persistent, hacking cough, lethargic behavior, a poor appetite, nasal discharge, trouble breathing, or a fever. Testing for canine influenza is available, and best results are obtained from samples taken very early in the onset of the illness. Sick dogs should be isolated from other animals.

Dr. Brendan McKiernan, Director of the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana and internationally renowned specialist in respiratory diseases of dogs and cats, states that “Avoidance of exposure is the name of game for now.”

Due to the high risk of canine influenza virus spreading from dog to dog, pet owners should not allow their dogs to either socialize with other dogs or participate in any group dog training activities. Pet owners are advised to not board their dogs at kennels and to avoid doggie day care, dog parks, and grooming facilities at this time.

In addition to the canine influenza virus being transmitted directly from dog to dog, the virus can live on hard surfaces and fabric materials making these items contaminated as well. To help minimize the spread of disease, it is also crucial that everyone should observe basic sanitation protocols, such as washing hands after touching animals or handling any items like food bowls, water bowls, toys, crates, and cages. These items should also be thoroughly cleaned. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “The canine influenza virus appears to be easily killed by disinfectants in common use in veterinary clinics, boarding facilities, and animal shelters.”

Vaccines are available for some of the causative agents responsible for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD). The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pet owners speak with their veterinarian about available vaccinations based upon lifestyle and risk exposure of their pets.

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