Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Parvo Kills


Parvo and Kennel Cough - Is your dog protected?
7 Tips for a Happy Howl-o-ween
Meet our Vet Techs!



Parvo and Kennel Cough - Is your dog protected?

Recently there was an article in the News Gazette about outbreaks of Parvo and Kennel cough. Yes, I too have seen cases of these preventable infections. These diseases can be serious and are relatively easy to prevent and more difficult to treat. The first line protection is being sure your dog's vaccinations are current and protective. That is accomplished by proper booster vaccination and or vaccination titer blood testing.

Parvo is one of the core vaccinations all dogs need to receive at appropriate times throughout their life. Vaccination has helped to prevent and limit the spread of Parvo in our pet dogs. If you have not had your dog to the veterinarian for booster vaccination, it is very important for you to get your dog checked up and discuss vaccination with your veterinarian. If you do not have a veterinarian, most veterinarians in the area will gladly fit your pet in for exam and vaccination. Combined with the parvo vaccine is part of the vaccination to protect from kennel cough. There is a second oral part to the kennel cough vaccine is the bacterial portion that needs to be boostered every 6 - 12 months depending on the lifestyle of the dog.

Parvovirus is spread by the stool or vomit of an infected animal. Dogs are the primary pet infected,but other wild canids such as coyotes can carry the virus. Squirrels may carry the infection from one yard to another when they run through infected soil and carry it on their feet. Parvo can live for a short while outside of the body. Free roaming dogs, or dogs that are just "let out" to go in the yard are at the most risk of exposure.

Puppies, older dogs or dogs with other health problems are at the highest risk of infection. Puppies do not have all the protection from vaccines and often have worms that complicate Parvovirus infection. Older dogs have a less protective immune system, and may also have other health problems that make it harder to fight off infection. 

Parvo infection signs typically include vomiting, diarrhea,fever, lethargy and dehydration.  The disease spreads rapidly through the body so it is important that you do not wait to get to the veterinarian. Survival depends on the age of the dog, if it has ever been vaccinated,if there are worms also present, or other concurrent disease.

Kennel cough is easily spread by a dog coughing and the droplets of sputum spraying in the air. Licking another dog, sharing food or water dishes can also be a means of spread.  Kennel cough causes a deep,hacking cough that can last for weeks. Older dogs with heart disease or lung problems can become very ill.  If you board your dog, have your dog groomed regularly or at a dog park it is essential to have this vaccine boostered regularly.

Over vaccination is a concern in our pets. While we want to protect them we do not want to harm them. A blood test can be run on your dog to check the levels of antibody - the protective chemical in the body made by vaccines - and see if the level is protective. Some dogs may only need booster vaccinations every 2-4 years while others need annually. It depends on that dog's body, immune system and what they are exposed to. Many veterinarians offer these titer tests and boarding kennels are now accepting the report or even requiring themas a better knowledge of that dog's health.

If your dog is having any vomiting, loose stool, coughing or acting tired do not wait. The fever and damaged caused by these diseases can cause many other problems. Please take your pet in for care as soon as you notice any illness.

You can read more about these diseases at our library.



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 putout 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 12 - 18 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

10 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, sketch, tat and crochet. I also spend time on Facebook.


Debbie Gass
9 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 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 5 years. Crafting with plastic canvas, learning how to knit and reading are favorite things as well. We have 2 feline children that keep us busy as well as entertained.
Lazarus 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 first wedding anniversary present to ourselves. We adopted her at PetSmart through Prairie-Land Anticruetly cat rescue. Her grey & white markings reminded us of Hoppy, one of our previous cats, 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
4 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 too 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. 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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