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.  

About Us 
Our Services
Setup an Appointment

Advertisements

The Incredibly Wonderful Benefits of Exercise for Dogs

Dog Exercise

With the nice warm weather here- Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL wants to promote the importance of exercising your dog(s).  Dogs are born to work for a living a very active lifestyle. They’ve worked alongside us for thousands of years, and most are bred for a particular purpose, like hunting, herding livestock or providing protection. Dogs’ wild relatives spend most of their waking hours scavenging and hunting for food, caring for offspring, defending territory and playing with each other. They lead busy, complex lives, interacting socially and solving simple problems necessary for their survival.

The most common job for our domesticated companion dogs today, however, being a lazy “couch potato”! They no longer have to earn their keep and instead have to adjust to our more laid back lifestyles.  They don’t have to seek out their own food as it is handed to them and are often confined, alone and inactive, for most of the day. This lack of purpose leaves dogs no outlet for their naturally active tendencies—physical and mental—and it contributes to the development of behavior problems.

Another problem modern dogs’ face because they rarely work anymore is a lack of opportunities to exercise. Some pet parents make the mistake of assuming that if a dog has access to a yard, she’s getting exercise. But your dog doesn’t run laps by herself in your yard—or do much of anything besides waiting for you to come outside or let her back inside. It’s the interaction with you that counts!

Problems That Result from Lack of Exercise and Play

Dogs can be like young children. If you don’t give them something constructive to do with their energy, they’ll find something to do on their own—and you may not like it! Some of the most common behavior problems seen in dogs who don’t get enough exercise and play are:

  • Destructive chewing, digging or scratching
  • Investigative behaviors, like garbage raiding
  • Hyperactivity, excitability and night-time activity
  • Unruliness, knocking over furniture and jumping up on people
  • Excessive predatory and social play
  • Play biting and rough play
  • Attention-getting behaviors like barking and whining
  • Benefits of Exercise and Play

The good news is that keeping your dog healthy, happy and out of trouble with daily exercise is a lot of fun and provides many benefits, including:

  • Helps to reduce or eliminate the common behavior problems listed above, such as digging, excessive barking, chewing and hyperactivity
  • Helps to keep dogs healthy, agile and limber
  • Helps to reduce digestive problems and constipation
  • Helps timid or fearful dogs build confidence and trust
  • Helps dogs feel sleepy, rather than restless, at bedtime or when you’re relaxing
  • Helps to keep dogs’ weight under control

Check with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian before beginning an exercise program. One of our veterinarians can check your dog for any health issues that may be aggravated by exercise and suggest safe activities. Some size, breed and age considerations are:

  • Breeds with short or flat noses (brachycephalic breeds) can have trouble breathing when exercised vigorously, especially in warmer climates.
  • Exercise is great for energetic young dogs, but sustained jogging or running is not recommended for young dogs (under 18 months) whose bones haven’t finished growing.
  • Because large dogs are more prone to cruciate ligament injuries, arthritis and hip dysplasia, sustained jogging can be hard on their joints and bones, too. If you’ve got a large dog, make sure she’s well-conditioned before you start jogging together.
  • Once a dog reaches her golden years, osteoarthritis can cause pain and lameness after strenuous exercise. It’s much better to discover that your once-sprightly dog’s joints can no longer handle long hikes, for example, before you hit the trail.

Exercising Your Dog

With today’s more relaxed lifestyles, dog parents are often challenged to find enough outlets for their pets’ considerable natural energy. Dogs are more athletic than us. But take heart—there are a variety of ways to exercise your dog, from activities that don’t demand much energy on your part to activities that exercise both you and your dog.

Exercise that’s Easy on You

  • Giving your dog enough exercise doesn’t mean you have to be athletic yourself. If you’d rather not run around or take long, brisk walks, consider two approaches to exercising your dog:
    • Focus on brain, not brawn. Exercise your dog’s brain with food puzzle toys, hunting for dinner, obedience and trick training, and chew toys instead of excessive physical exercise.
    • Focus on games that make your dog run around while you mostly stand or sit still. Games that fit the bill include fetch with balls, Frisbees or sticks, Find It, Hide-and-Seek, catching bubbles (using a special bubble-blower toy made for dogs), chase (a toy on a rope or stick), and round-robin recalls for the whole family.
    • If your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, other easy options include taking her to the dog park, organizing play groups with friends or neighbors who have dogs or signing her up for dog daycare a few days a week. These options give your dog a chance to experience invigorating social play with other dogs.

Exercise for Extra Playful or Active Guardians

On-leash walks
Did you know that dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes per week, whereas people without dogs walk only about 168 minutes?  On-leash walks give dogs lots of interesting sights and smells to investigate. They may provide enough exercise for some toy breeds, senior dogs and other inveterate couch potatoes. Use an extendable leash to give your dog more freedom to explore, and walk briskly for 30 minutes.  If your dog is old, not accustomed to exercise, overweight or has a health problems, start with a 10-minute walk each day and gradually increase the duration. For healthy young or middle-aged dogs, leashed walks alone probably won’t provide enough exercise.

On-leash running
Inline skating or bicycling are great ways to exercise a healthy dog and keep yourself fit, too. Teaching your dog how to walk without pulling on her leash is the first essential step to creating a safe and enjoyable on-leash jogging, inline skating or bicycling companion. If your dog forges ahead, pulls to the side or lags behind you when you walk, imagine the problems that could result when you’re moving faster! Constantly pulling on the leash can damage your dog’s throat, and it’s no fun for you either.

People are actually better suited for jogging or long-distance running than dogs are. Even when hunting or herding, dogs tend to move in short, intense bursts of speed with intermittent stops. Playing dogs do this as well, stopping to sniff around, eliminate and enjoy the scenery. If you jog with your dog on leash, be careful not to overestimate her abilities and go too far. If she seems stiff, sore and exhausted for hours afterward, scale back next time. Also, be careful to check your dog’s paws after a run. Dogs get blisters on their pads, just like people get blisters on their feet. Dogs with white or light-colored footpads and some breeds, such as border collies, can be prone to this problem. If you usually run, cycle or inline skate on paved roads, avoid doing so on very hot days.

If your dog normally gets to sniff around on your daily walks, she’ll probably try to do the same when the two of you are running, skating or cycling. You’ll have to teach her to pay attention to you during your outings. The best way to do this is by regularly rewarding her with small treats for not pulling. Pick the position you want her to run in and give her treats when she’s in that spot. Before you set off, give your dog ample time to relieve herself and sniff around. And after you finish your outing, you can give her another chance to eliminate and sniff before bringing her inside.

Again, sustained jogging or running is not recommended for young dogs whose bones haven’t finished growing. It can also be hard on large dogs’ joints and bones. If you have a young dog, check with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian to find out when it’s safe for her to start running. If you have a large dog, ask one of our veterinarians if it’s safe for her to run with you.

It’s important that you monitor your dog’s physical exertion while you’re on a bike or inline skates. It’s easy to over-exert your dog when you’re on wheels while she’s running. To avoid this, start with short distances at first and gradually increase them as your dog’s endurance increases. If your dog starts to lag behind a lot, you may be pushing her too hard or she might not be enjoying your outings. Slow down or consider taking your dog with you only when you plan to skate or cycle for short distances.

Off-leash exercise
Off-leash walking, running, hiking or bicycling in a large, safe fenced property or park or in a forest are ideal activities. Your dog can set her own pace, sniff and investigate to her heart’s content, stop when she’s tired and burst into running whenever she likes. Be sure to have your dog well-trained to reliably come when called before you give her off-leash privileges. Dogs should be allowed off leash only in safe areas where regulations permit. As you would during on-leash activities, be careful not to overestimate your dog’s abilities. If she seems stiff, sore and exhausted for hours after exercising, you’ll want to scale back next time.

Swimming may also be a great off-leash and fun activity for your dog.  Some breeds are natural water dogs and require no training or acclimation to water, but even dogs who aren’t bred for water activities can learn to enjoy a swim now and then. Here are some tips for fun and safe swimming with your dog:

  • Introduce your dog to water as early as possible, preferably when she’s still a puppy. If you do, she’ll probably be more confident about swimming as an adult.
  • Regardless of your dog’s age, make sure her first experiences with water are pleasant ones. Look for a quiet place with shallow water. With your dog on a long leash (about 15 to 20 feet long), start your dog at the water’s edge. Wade in with her and encourage her with play and praise.
  • Never force your dog into the water, and don’t let her get in deep water over her head until you’re confident about her swimming abilities. Belly-deep is deep enough at first. As she becomes more comfortable, you can toss a ball a couple of feet to encourage her to venture in a little deeper.
  • If you swim with your dog, be careful that the two of you don’t get over your heads. Many dogs will try to climb on their guardian’s head or shoulders when they tire.
  • Bring fresh water for your dog to drink. Even freshwater streams and lakes can contain parasites and unhealthy bacteria.
  • Don’t allow your dog to jump into deep water in a pool or lake. A dog can panic and possibly drown. Without an easily accessible ramp, she may not be able to get out of a swimming pool or climb back onto a dock.

Exercise will help in so many ways in terms of maintaining proper health and weight for your dogs.  As well, it can help pet owners maintain and improve their health 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

Vaccinations and Their Importance for Our Pets’ Health

Puppy Vaccination

Lucky for us, there are vaccines to help prevent many illnesses that affect dogs and cats and cats. Vaccinating your dog or cat has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help him live a long, healthy life. Not only are there different vaccines for different diseases, there are different types and combinations of vaccines.

Although vaccination has the potential to protect pets against life-threatening diseases, vaccination is not without its risks. Our veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic have heard been some controversy regarding the duration of protection and timing of vaccination, as well as the safety and necessity of certain vaccines. What does this all mean for your dog or cat? Vaccination is a procedure that has risks and benefits that must be weighed for every dog relative to his lifestyle and health.  Any of the Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians can determine a vaccination regime that will provide the safest and best protection for your individual pet. Here are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions regarding vaccines:

What Exactly Are Vaccines?

Vaccines help prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like the disease-causing organism to the immune system but don’t actually cause disease. When the vaccine is introduced to the body, the immune system is mildly stimulated. If a dog or cat is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness.

How Important Are Vaccines to the Health of My Dog or Cat?

Bottom line—vaccines are very important in managing the health of your dog or cat. That said, not every dog or cat needs to be vaccinated against every disease. It is very important to discuss with one of our veterinarians or veterinary technicians a vaccination protocol that’s right for your dog. Factors that should be examined include age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle. Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians highly recommend administering core vaccines to healthy dogs and cats.

What Are Core Vaccines for dogs?

Recently, the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Task Force published a revised version of guidelines regarding canine vaccinations. The guidelines divide vaccines into three categories—core, non-core and not recommended.

– Core vaccines are considered vital to all dogs based on risk of exposure, severity of disease or transmissibility to humans. Canine parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis and rabies are considered core vaccines by the Task Force.
– Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk. These include vaccines against Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira bacteria.

What Are Core Vaccines for cats?

The American Association of Feline Practitioners divided vaccines into two categories-core and non-core. Core vaccines are considered vital to all cats and protect against panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calici virus, feline herpes virus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the cat’s lifestyle; these include vaccines for feline leukemia virus, Bordetella, Chylamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus.

One of the Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians can assist with questions regarding core vaccinations for your dog or cat.

Are Any Vaccines Required By Law?

Each state has its own laws governing the administration of the rabies vaccine. Some areas require yearly rabies vaccination. Other areas call for vaccines every three years. An up-to-date canine rabies vaccination is a legal requirement. Be sure to keep proof of your dog’s rabies vaccines with his medical records.

How Often Should My Adult Dog or Cat Be Vaccinated?

Our veterinarians and veterinary technicians can best determine a vaccination schedule for your dog or cat. This will depend on the type of vaccine, your pet’s age, medical history, environment and lifestyle. Some adult dogs and cats might receive certain vaccines annually, while other vaccines might be given every 3 years or longer.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Vaccines?

Immunizations mildly stimulate an animal’s immune system in order to create protection from specific infectious diseases. This stimulation can create mild symptoms, ranging from soreness at the injection site to fever and allergic reactions. Another less common side effect is the development of immune mediated disease following vaccination.

That said, it is important to realize that vaccines have saved countless lives, and play a vital role in the battle against canine infectious disease. Additionally, rabies vaccinations have saved the lives of countless dogs and cats—and many humans as well. In some developing countries, hundreds of people die each year due to rabies contracted from dog or cat bites.

As with any medical procedure, there is a small chance of side effects. In most cases, the risks are much smaller than the risks of disease itself. But it is important to talk to your veterinarian about your dog or cat’s medical history before he is vaccinated.

What Symptoms Should I Look For?

Most dogs and cats show no ill effect from vaccination. Vaccine reactions may be minor and short-lived or require immediate care from a veterinarian. Clinical signs include:

  • Fever
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Facial swelling and/or hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain, swelling, redness, scabbing or hair loss around the injection site
  • Lameness
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

It is best to schedule your dog or cat’s appointment so that you can monitor him for any side effects following administration of the vaccine.

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog or Cat Is Having an Adverse Reaction to a Vaccine?

If you suspect your dog is having a reaction to a vaccine, call one of the Lange Animal Clinic’s veterinarians immediately.