Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Oh! My Achy Paws



Paw and Pad Care
Fighting Fleas the Right Way
7 Tips for a Happy Howl-o-ween
Meet our Vet Techs



Paw and Pad Care

The other day a client and I were talking at the local grocery store. She asked if she could pose a question to be answered in my articles published in the paper. I love it when people give me topics, or ask questions that can become the topic of writing. I know I am addressing what concerns you ? local pet owners who care about your pet.

So the question ? ?What can I put on my dog?s pads to help decrease cracking and dryness that would be safe if he licks at it?? 

This is an excellent question not only about paw care but it also points out the acknowledgement that pets will lick off medications and that may lead to problems. Licking the paws or other parts of the body is a normal grooming behavior of dogs, cats and others animals. When a salve is put on the body, this may prompt the pet to lick more because they sense that something is there. Salves and creams can be useful for treatment yet we have to be mindful of all that is in these products to avoid problems when they are licked. 

If your dog or cat has very dry, cracked or even bleeding around the pads have a checkup. This is not normal, and even in aging pets may indicate that their protein levels are low or they lack essential fatty acids in the skin. The reasons for that often lie deeper in how they are digesting their food, how the liver or kidneys are working or even perhaps early diabetes.

If the pads are just mildly dry, you can try these suggestions. Fast absorbing heavily penetrating type emollient moisturizing creams can be helpful when massaged into the pads. Vaseline petroleum jelly is very safe and when well massaged into the pads will also stand up to licking and wear. One has to use this perhaps 2-3 times a week for a few weeks to see if there is improvement. Olive oil would be helpful also if the dog or cat does not walk on concrete much. Some Vitamin supplements such as fish oil or flax seed can also help but consult your veterinarian before starting to use these for proper dosage. Do not use any cortisone cream, tea tree oil, or other herbal products especially in cats!!!!!  Herbal does not mean totally safe. When eaten the body absorbs much more of the herbal product which can over load the liver or other organs to detoxify them. Veterinarians are here to help, and you may cause problems which will harm your pet and cost a lot more money that a checkup and good advice. 

Many pets resist handling the feet so you need to make massaging the paws nice for them with every step of handling the feet. Get their favorite treat that they will only get for feet handling. Break that treat into the size of half of a cheerio and feed them tidbits as you touch the paw, pick the paw up and rub the top. Stop there. Give this reward based training a couple of days to help the dog or cat learn paw handling means yummies. As the pet is not struggling then apply a small amount to the pad and massage. Only treat a pad or 2 at a time. It is better to break up the treatment into a couple of times an avoid struggles than to fight at all with your pet. You possibly be doing this regularly so it has to be calm and nice for your pet.

I hope this helps answer one common pet care question. I welcome any that you may have. Please email questions to okawvetstaff@mchsi.com, mail them into my office at 140 W. Sale Street Tuscola, IL 61953 or call us at 217-253-3221. I love to hear from you!



Fighting Fleas the Right Way

Late August, September and October are the most intense months for fleas. You may bring them in from the outdoors even if your pet does not go out. There is a huge array of flea products to choose from. What is best? Ask your veterinary office first. Some of the pet store products can be toxic to cats or some dogs. There are combination products as well that also protect from heartworm and these are only available with prescription.

Treating the pet is easy now with liquids you just put on the neck or a pill to give. The household actually holds many more fleas than the pet. If you see any flea or flea dirt - the black peppery looking debris in the fur - treat the house. Fleas jump on and off your pet laying eggs, feeding the young with that flea dirt. One flea can lay up to 100 eggs a day. Then those eggs hatch into larvae , then pupae, then finally the adult. Each shift in the life cycle takes about 10-14 days. So the eggs laid in July is hatching into a flea about 3 weeks later. This is why we see the rise late in the summer.

So treating the pet is just one step. Treating the home is really important but often overlooked. There is also a difference in flea products for the home. Home treatment sprays or bombs must contain a growth inhibitor - IGR- and say so on the label for any effective flea control. Precor is the trademarked name of the most effective growth inhibitor that will kill the eggs and larvae. Most veterinary clinics carry the house treatment spray with the IGR but few hardware stores have this level of home treatment. Don't be cheap. Vet Kem is one leading brand available at most veterinary clinics.    Nothing will kill the pupae stage which so you must retreat in 2 weeks. Do not skip this part!!! When you do, you will see adults come back biting your pet.  

Pets can also be allergic to the saliva of the flea. For these pets, even one bite can set their skin on fire. Flea control on the pet and in the home is essential for cats and dog with skin conditions. No, you may not see the fleas because are small and the pet is grooming them off of themselves.

Lastly, fleas carry tapeworms. Again you may not see the worms because they do not pass every day and the segments crawl off the stool after it is passed. If your dog or cat has had fleas, bring them into the veterinarian for deworming. Tape worms can be passed to humans and the wormers are safe.

For more flea and tick information visit our flea page.

*Image of a flea from www.capcvet.org


7 Tips for a Happy Howl-o-ween

  1. Keep candles out of your pet's reach. Your pet may be burned by the candle. Dogs and cats can also knock over the candle and may start a fire.

  2. Keep fake cobwebs out of your pet's reach. Dogs and cats may eat the webbing. The webbing can cause a blockage or cut off blood to part of your pet's intestines.

  3. Put your pet in a bedroom, kennel or other confined area during Trick or Treating. Your pet won't be able to dart out the door when you open it for Trick or Treaters. Your pet may get scared by the funny and scary costumes children wear.

  4. Keep candy away from your pet. Chocolate and sugar free candy containing Xylitol can make your pet very sick. Your pet can eat candy wrappers which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

  5. No nuts from the yard. Falling walnuts, hickory nuts, buckeyes and other nuts may be fun to play with, but they can cause your pet to become sick. The nuts and shells can scratch and get stuck in your pet's intestine. Buckeyes are poisonous to dogs.

  6. Do not let your pet eat Asian beetles (orange lady bugs). The bugs secrete an irritating liquid that will make your pet sick.

  7. Be aware of rat and mouse poison. Neighbors may put out poison to control these pests. If your pet eats the poison or a mouse or rat that ate the poison, your pet will get sick.



Meet our Vet Techs!

October 13 - 19 is National Veterinary Technician Week. We are celebrating it here by telling you a little bit about what a technician does and a little bit about our technicians. To become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), you must go through a Vet Tech course at a college and then pass a certification test to be licensed in your state. Parkland College has a Veterinary Technology course. Most tech courses are two years of intense classes and an internship at a veterinary clinic. After receiving the college degree, we study for the state test. After passing the state test, we are now a CVT. We must earn 15 hours of continuing education every two years to keep our license. To earn our continuing education, we attend educational seminars and read articles. CVTs can do many tasks at a veterinary clinic including drawing blood, administering and monitoring anesthesia, assisting during surgery, performing dental cleanings, evaluating slides of urine, skin and other samples under the microscope, giving injections and many other tasks.

We have three CVTs at our clinic. All three attended Parkland College and are licensed by the state. Get to know our techs:

Rachael Green
9 years at Okaw Vet Clinic

I grew up in a small town and have had pets my entire life. We have always had at least one dog and outdoor cats. We live on a farm so I also grew up around horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, chickens and a goat. I decided to work in an animal related field when I was in high school. We had a sick cow on our farm. She was pregnant and was having a difficult time walking. She had fallen down. We were trying to help her stand up, but we couldn't get her up. So I started massaging her legs to help stimulate blood to flow to her muscles. My brother said I should be a veterinarian. I laughed, but thought maybe I should go into the veterinary field. I could help animals stay healthy and help them when they are sick.

I started looking into the veterinary field and I found out Veterinary Technicians. I did a bit of research and found the Vet Tech program at Parkland College. I thought this would be a great way to help animals. I applied and got into the program. It was a tough - lots of studying and long hours of classes. But it was worth it. I have enjoyed working with animals and helping keep them healthy.

I have one cat named Effie that lives with me in my apartment. I also have two dogs, Keyser and Mac, who live at home with my parents. Effie was found as a stray in Tuscola. Keyser and Mac were found as strays where my parents live. In my spare time I like to take photos and sketch and tat. I also spend time on Facebook.

Debbie Gass
8 years at Okaw Vet Clinic

From a very young age, I just knew that I was going to work with animals. Back in 1988, I had the opportunity to work at an Animal Emergency Clinic. Oh boy, was I hooked! I just knew that this was what I was meant to do.
Upon arriving in Illinois (from my native Rhode Island), I learned about Parkland College's Veterinary Technology program. I jumped at the chance to learn more and get some more training. It was great to know there was a program to gain more knowledge and training for the field I had come to love.
Every day as a veterinary technician is a learning experience. There are always new medicines, techniques, diagnostics out constantly coming out to keep this field so fresh and exciting. (Not to mention all the great animals and people I meet!)
In my spare time I spend time with Brad, my husband of 4 years. Crafting with plastic canvas, learning how to knit and reading are favorite things as well. Going to Craft Night at Vintage Karma Wednesdays evenings are also a favorite thing to do. We have 3 feline children that keep us busy as well as entertained.
The oldest is Hoppy, 14 years, whom I adopted thru Prarieland-Anticruelty cat rescue. Lazarus was adopted at a very young age by me.
Laz was 5 weeks old when I got him. He was a C-section kitty that I assisted in, he had a heart beat, but was unable to breathe on his own, it took me 30 minutes of CPR to get him to breathe on his own. At the time his mom's owner said " If he lives his name will be Lazarus and Debbie should be the only one to get him as she brought him back from the dead"

Our little girl, Simone was adopted by Brad & I together as our 1st wedding anniversary present to ourselves. We adopted her at PetSmart through Prairie-Land Anticruetly cat rescue. Her grey & white markings reminded us of Hoppy, but then she turned her head showed us her "torti mask" we knew we had to have her.
I am blessed that I love my job and look forward to going to work to see what each day will bring.

Leeza Chapman
3 1/2 years at Okaw Vet Clinic

I have wanted to work in the veterinary field for as long as I can remember. I used to bring home stray animals. My mother wasn't to happy, but I wanted to keep them. In second grade, I announced that I wanted to be a vet. In fifth or sixth grade I decided that I would like to work in a vet office, but not be a vet. I decided to look into other jobs that would allow me to work in a vet office. I found information about veterinary technology and decide to be a veterinary technician.
I have a dog named Delilah, she graduated from the Parkland Vet Tech program and came home with me. I also have a guinea pig named Duck. She also graduated from the Parkland Vet Tech program and came home with me. In my spare time I like to scrapbook and spend time with my nieces and nephews.




Okaw Veterinary Clinic
140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953
(217) 253-3221


Mon & Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Tues & Wed 8 am - 5 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Closed Thurs & Sun

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