Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Why Water isn't Enough



Myth Busting Heat Stress in Pets
Feline Heartworms
Top 7 Things that Can Kill your Pet this Summer


Myth Busting Heat Stress in Pets

I had a call come into the office from a rightfully concerned business owner, witnessing two dogs closed up in a car. Most of the people I meet understand that leaving  a dog in a car AT ALL will be fatal. For those that don't, many people remove the dog or call the police who do have the authority to impound and press charges. Having water in a car, or yard is not good enough. Here are some facts to bust the myths and misconceptions about heat stress in pets.   

Myth - If they have plenty of fresh water in a big bowl, that will keep them cool.

Reality - drinking water replenishes thirst but does not cool them off. Dogs and cats cool off by laying on a cool surface to conduct heat away from the body. So they need constant cool earth that is in constant shade not  a dog house in the hot sun.

Myth - An outside dog is better off outside than to adjust to the indoors. 

Reality - If the indoors is giving the dog or cat what they need - cooling - the confinement will calm them not agitate them. So basements, garages with a concrete floor will be less stressful than the work they have to do to find cooling in hot weather

Myth - the little dogs and dogs with long hair have the hardest time in the heat.

Reality - the more dense the body - muscular large breed dogs such as boxers, bulldogs, pit bulls, Labradors, etc  have the hardest time. Older dogs, especially if they have collapsing trachea or heart problems also have a hard time and need have limited time outside in the day.

Myth - Riding in the back of a pickup truck is fine when it is hot - there is enough breeze to keep them cool.

Reality - Air does not flow into the bed of the truck, and the amount of heat reflected back up on the body can double the heat load on a dog. Sadly, we had a fatality that was due to riding in the back of a pickup. Sit in the back of a pickup on a hot day with a coat on and see how warm it gets.

Myth - panting cools dogs down fine.  As long as they can pant they should be fine.

Reality - panting does cool a dog down to a point then it heats them up. It takes work to pant and that generates heat. It also dehydrates the dog. A dog cannot pant and drink enough to keep up with  the heat so soon they are panting excessively and overheat.

Myth - shaving a long haired dog or cat will make them heat up more.

Reality - the long hair insulates against the heat only for a short while. Both dogs and cats need to get in contact with cool surfaces to cool off. The long hair prevents the conduction to the cool floor so get long haired pets a hair cut - most certainly the underside and sides of the body. No matter how silly they look, the hair will grow back by fall.

Myth - the shade of a building will be a good place to keep an outside dog cool.

Reality - the shadow of a building is cooler, but there is still the reflection of heat off the building coming onto the dog that limits the cooling.  I have had cases where a dog overheated in the shade of a metal out building due to this heat reflection.   Allowing this dog inside an insulated building is far better than the struggle to find shade and cooling earth outside.

These are some of the most common myths that my staff and I have encountered over the years of hot summers. Share this with your friends and neighbors. There are still too many pets hurting in the heat.

We still have a bit of summer to go.


Feline Heartworms

You have probably heard about dogs getting Heartworms, but did you know that cats can get Heartworms too? One of our feline patients just tested positive for Heartworm Disease.
Adult worms live in the heart, which is why we call them Heartworms. Heartworms, Dirofilaria immitus, attach to the wall of the heart and the right pulmonary arteries, the vessels leading from the heart to the lungs. They reproduce and the babies, called microfilaria, are released into the blood. The microfilaria travel around the body in the blood vessels.

Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. A mosquito bites the dog with Heartworms and sucks blood and microfilaria. The microfilaria grow for 10 - 30 days in the mosquito and are now called larva. They travel to the mouth of the mosquito. The mosquito bites another animal and the larva enter that animal. The larva travel through the blood for 3 - 4 months and continue to grow.

We in the veterinary community are continuing to learn about cats and Heartworms. We once thought that cats rarely had Heartworms and treatment was almost impossible. Cats are infected more often than we thought, they just have different symptoms than dogs. Cats have more trouble breathing, as though they have asthma. They may also cough, lay around more and have vomiting or diarrhea. The cat's lungs are irritated, inflamed and damaged by the worms. This part of Heartworm Disease in cats is called Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease.

We have two types of tests for Heartworm Disease that we use in our office. One is very similar to the one used for dogs. We draw a small sample of blood. The test is run in our clinic and is done in 10 minutes. This test also checks for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. The second test is also a blood test. We draw your cat's blood and then send it to a lab. We receive the results in a few days.
Preventing Heartworm Disease and Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease is easy. Revolution will kill the Heartworm larva. Revolution will also kill ear mites, fleas and ticks and prevent some intestinal worms. Revolution is applied to your cat's back once a month. If you come into our office and purchase 6 months of Revolution, you get 2 months FREE!


For more information about Feline Heartworms, visit the American Heartworm Society's website.



Top 7 Things that Can Kill your Pet this Summer

  1. Heat - Take your pet for a walk in the morning and evenings. Avoid walking on asphalt or roads. Don't leave your pet outside for more than 10 minutes.
  2. Cars - Don't leave your pet in the car. The temperature inside your car, even with the windows cracked, can reach over 100° in just a few minutes.
  3. Mosquitoes - Mosquitoes can give your pet Heartworms.
  4. Mouse and Rat poison - Your dog or cat will get sick if your pet eats the poison or eats another animal that ate the poison. Keep it out of your pet's reach.
  5. Plants - Lilies, ivy, hydrangea, palms and many other plants are hazardous to your pet. Check out the ASPCA's website for a complete list of poisonous plants.
  6. Fireworks - Fireworks can scare pets. Fireworks can also make your pet very sick if he or she eats them.
  7. Sugar free candy, gum and food - These cause pets to become very sick when they eat the item.

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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