Okaw Veterinary Clinic

140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953

(217)253-3221

www.okawvetclinic.com

Ball Launcher for your Dog


Contents:

Automatic Play for your Dog - Ball Launchers
Rabies Kills Two Cats
Stop the Turkey Trots - Go Easy on the Thanksgiving Food

Automatic Play for your Dog - Ball Launchers

Bella PetSafe ball launcherMy staff has a great knack for requesting toys, equipment and such that can help improve dog behaviors for our pets to test out for recommendations for our clients. We received 2 different ball launchers to try out on my dog Bella. Bella loves to catch tennis balls in the yard so she was a good candidate for testing. We do not have a fenced in yard, so Bella does her ball play on a long lunge line. 

One ball launcher is the Automatic Ball Launcher by Pet Safe. This launcher has both a corded plug in as well as battery run. It can be set for distance for the ball to fly out, as well as height it will arc at. What I also liked about this product it has an electric eye so if your dog is close to the launcher it will not go off. That avoids the dog from getting hit by the ball coming out. This one can hold 3 balls (included)  that will  be launched automatically. When you load the balls into the machine, there will be a short beep then a second or two delay for the ball to launch off. This is telling the dog that the ball is coming. Bella caught on to this very fast. She really liked the way the balls could come at varying height and distance. Some dogs can be trained to drop the ball into the launcher themselves. Bella was not catching onto that in the one session I worked with her but I am sure in time she would. 

We did play with this in the house too. I set the distance to be short and we have a large recreation room without anything breakable. I did try a nerf type ball but the advancer squished it down so it would not launch. 

Cost is about $150 depending on your source.

The second launcher I tried was the iFetch Too by iFetch. This one has to be run on a cord - there is not a battery option. This one came with the 2 balls that it can hold to launch. There is not the height or range setting. It is pretty straightforward as a launcher. There is noise to the rotor right before launching that also announces that a ball is coming. This one was not good for us in the yard. Bella's lunge line got wrapped around the extension cord I needed to use in the yard. For a fenced in yard it would be fine. Inside this one had a lower arc and did not pop the ball out as hard so it was better for indoor use.

This product retails for about $200.

Comparing the 2 products and my dog's experience - Bella is a 45 lb Labrador - Blue Heeler mix. She really likes to jump high, and is very fast to catch anything. The more challenging the better. She liked the Pet Safe product best. It was also easier in our yard setting with her on a leash since it had the battery option. For indoors I felt better using the ifetch system.  Despite not having much to destroy in the indoor room, I could imagine a ball flying into a window with the Pet Safe system. 

I think these are great products for enriching a dog's home and life. Especially if you can train your dog to drop the ball in themselves. Both products have instructional booklets but do not show you how to train this but they do suggest it is possible. For people who have trouble throwing a ball; if you have shoulder pain for example, this would be a great product. If you lack time to give your dog lots of exercise this can also help. For bad weather this would also break boredom. 

Rabies Kills Two Cats

Illinois state mapCases of Rabies in animals and humans have decreased dramatically because we have a vaccine to protect animals and people. However we still see cases of Rabies. Two cats in Northern Illinois tested positive for Rabies in October. So it is important to keep your pets vaccinated and protected against Rabies. The map to the right shows counties, in pink, where animals tested positive for Rabies in 2014.

What is Rabies and how can my pet get it?

Rabies is disease caused by a virus that is almost always fatal. Infected dogs, cats, skunks, foxes, bats, raccoons and other animals can spread the disease. The virus can be transmitted through saliva, blood and nerve tissues (brain, spine, nerves). So, for example, your neighbor has a dog Fluffy and does not keep Fluffy up to date on her Rabies vaccine. Fluffy is in the back yard playing and an infected skunk wanders into their yard. Fluffy doesn't like this intruder so she attacks the skunk. During the fight, the skunk bites Fluffy. The skunk's saliva and the Rabies virus enters Fluffy's body through the bite wounds. In a few days Fluffy may start to behave differently (hide and act nervous), snap at her owners, wonder around the house, stumble as she walks and drool. Fluffy will die from her Rabies infection. If Fluffy had her vaccine, she would have been protected. We do not have a cure for rabies and it is almost always fatal. This is why vaccinating for Rabies is so important!

What are the symptoms of Rabies?

Some of the symptoms an animal with Rabies show include a change in attitude, difficulty swallowing, trouble walking, drooling, paralysis and restlessness. Wild animals will often lose their fear of humans and may wander into your yard. Never approach a wild animal that is acting friendly or is hurt. Contact your local Animal Control Department or the Department of Natural Resources at (217) 345-2420 if you see a wild animal that is hurt or acting strangely.

Why should I vaccinate my dog or cat?

Dogs in the state of Illinois are required by law to be vaccinated for Rabies. Cats vaccination requirement varies depending on what county you live in. Champaign County requires cats to be vaccinated. Douglas County does not require cats to be vaccinated. We highly recommend having cats vaccinated for Rabies. Cats who go outside are exposed to Rabies, just like dogs. Dogs and cats are given their first Rabies vaccine when they are four months old. The vaccine is boostered every one to three years, depending on the type of vaccine given. It is important for your pet to have an exam prior to receiving any vaccination. If your pet is ill, the vaccine can make them sicker. Giving a vaccine to an ill pet can also cause the vaccine to not be effective at preventing the disease.

My cat never goes outside, so I don't need a vaccine, right?

Wrong. Even cats who live indoor only should be vaccinated. Mice and bats can come inside the house and bite your cat. Your cat cat also catch or kill mice and bats and become infected. Inside cats can can also sneak out of the house, without anyone knowing, and be exposed to Rabies.

What do I do if my dog or cat is bitten by an animal?

If your pet has been bitten by any animal, bring him or her to the vet. We will wash out the wounds and prescribe medication. Tell us what happened to your pet (what animal bit yours, was the animal acting strange). If the other animal may be rabid, and your pet has been vaccinated, we will vaccinate your pet again and send him or her home for confinement. If your pet has not been vaccinated, we will send him or her home for confinement for up to six months and vaccinate your pet. Unvaccinated pets will usually die if they have been bitten by a rabid animal.

What if do I do if I got bit by an animal?

If you have been bitten by an animal, you should go to the doctor. The doctor's office can treat your wound and may prescribe medication. Tell your doctor what happened and, if you were bitten by a dog, they need to contact Animal Control. You can reach the Douglas County Animal Control at 253-4921. Animal Control will issue a quarantine notice for the dog. The dog can be quarantined for 10 days at a vet clinic or in the owner's home, depending on if the dog has been vaccinated.

What else can I do to protect my pet and myself?

Encourage your neighbors to have their pets vaccinated. Always take your pet out on leash, so you can keep an eye on your pet. Don't let your pet interact with other dogs or cats who haven't had their vaccine. Don't let your pet chase or have contact with wildlife. People can protect themselves by not petting strange animals. Don't touch wild animals. Don't handle dead wildlife.

For more information about Rabies, visit the Center for Disease Control's website. For more information about the number of cases of Rabies reported in Illinois, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health's website.

* Graphic courtesy of Illinois Department of Public Health

Stop the Turkey Trots - Go Easy on the Thanksgiving Food

Ranger at ThanksgivingWe love our pets and want to involve them in our every day lives. Thanksgiving is a day filled with family and lots of yummy food. You want to include your dog or cat in the celebration. But resist the temptation to give your dog or cat too many goodies during the holiday. 

Turkey, chicken and other bird bones can splinter as your pet chews on the bone. These splinters can pierce your pet's intestine causing a life-threatening infection. The bones can also become stuck in the intestines and cause your dog or cat to become sick. The bones can also cause vomiting and diarrhea by irritating your pet's stomach.

Giving your pet the fat from your meat may be tempting, but you will pay for it later. Fatty foods can cause several problems. The fat causes many pets to vomit or have diarrhea. The fat can also give your dog or cat pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a serious illness and will mean your beloved pet will be spending some time at the veterinary clinic. Learn more about Pancreatitis in Dogs and Cats.

Thanksgiving foods are full of calories. A four ounce piece of turkey is 200 calories. Giving a cat a four ounce piece of turkey is like you eating an 3 3/4 Big Macs. Giving a 10 pound dog a four ounce piece of turkey is like you eating a McDonald's Hamburger. The calories add up. You can give your dog or cat some healthy vegetables. You may not think veggies are a treat, but your pet does. Green beans (not green bean casserole), carrots, celery, are a few lower calorie veggies that your pet can enjoy without packing on extra pounds. Making a apple or pumpkin pie? Give your pet a slice of apple or a teaspoon or two of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix).