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Posts for category: Pet Care

By Oak Park Animal Hospital
December 15, 2014
Category: Pet Care
If your pet requires surgery or another procedure, your veterinarian in Oak Park will most likely need to utilize anesthesia, which is the process of blocking the perception of pain and other sensations.  With the use of anesthesia, your Oak Park veterinarian is able to complete your pet’s procedure without your pet experiencing distress or pain that they might otherwise experience. The choice of anesthetic technique is a complex one, and the best approach involves the individual assessment of your pet and the procedure in order to plan the anesthetic properly. 

During Anesthesia

While your pet is under anesthesia, they will receive proper monitoring and care.  This is similar to if you were to undergo a procedure that required anesthesia.  Throughout the procedure, your veterinarian in Oak Park will utilize intravenous fluids and/or medications to support your pet’s circulation and blood pressure.  An endotracheal tube will also be inserted into your pet’s trachea (windpipe) to deliver the anesthetic gas and provide oxygen to your pet’s lungs.  Pulse oximetry will be used to measure the oxygenation of your pet’s blood, and your pet’s blood pressure will be properly monitored in addition to temperature monitoring and warming blankets to prevent low body temperature.  

After Anesthesia

Once your pet’s procedure is complete, it will be time for your pet to wake up from the anesthesia.  Your pet will typically be placed in a quiet, semi dark care or kennel to recover.  During the recovery, your pet will be closely monitored to make sure they are recovering normally and that care is provided quickly if any problems were to occur.  Pads and blankets will also be used to keep your pet warm during the recovery, but it is not uncommon for a pet to shiver while recovering from anesthesia—this does not always mean your pet is cold.  Depending on the procedure and your pet’s medical condition, he or she may be sent home later in the day or they may need to remain in your Oak Park veterinarian’s office. 
If you have any questions about anesthesia or your pet’s procedure, talk to your veterinarian in Oak Park for more information.  Your veterinarian will be able to give you the information you need to ensure your pet receives the best procedure. 
Oral HealthFido, man’s best friend, our fur babies—whatever nickname you want to give your pet, one thing is for certain: they mean the world to you. They are your loyal companion and trusty sidekick. They seem to instantly cheer you up just by greeting you at the door or snuggling up with you on the couch. Pets offer us a lifetime of memories, so it’s important that we offer them something in return. Make sure they live a long and healthy life (so you can keep creating memories) by ensuring they maintain good dental health.
You might be wondering why your pet’s smile is so important. However, if you consider how much stock you put into your smile, you’ll soon realize that you and your pet aren’t much different. At our Oak Park office, we’ll tell you how to properly examine your pet’s teeth to pinpoint dental changes before they become full-blown problems.

At your next visit, we’ll address a variety of dental issues:

Periodontal disease

You aren’t the only one who can develop gum disease. Your faithful pet can, too! By the age of two, most dogs and cats already have some dental plaque buildup. This buildup, along with bacteria, can cause infections within the gums. Chronic bad breath can often be a sign that your pet has some form of gum disease or at least some nasty bacteria.
Just like with humans, untreated gum disease can wreak havoc in a pet’s mouth. This will often lead to teeth extractions, which will only make it more challenging for your pet to eat. Eating challenges means that it could make it harder for your pet to get the nutrients he/she needs to maintain a healthy body. By checking your pet’s teeth on a regular basis, you can ensure that their gums stay disease-free.


While good oral hygiene in your pet can prolong his/her life, bad oral hygiene can have the opposite affect. If your dog or cat has an unhealthy mouth, this will affect other organs like the lungs, heart, liver and kidneys. And if your pet already suffers from a preexisting condition or disease, this will only aggravate the problem more.

So what can you do to help your pet maintain healthy teeth and gums?

  • Visiting your pet’s veterinarian regularly. We’ll answer any questions you have and provide a thorough examination.
  • Buy a veterinarian-approved pet toothpaste (don’t use human toothpaste!), which your pet can swallow safely.
  • Purchase bones or chew toys to help fight plaque and tartar buildup.
  • Find pet food that touts dental benefits.

Call Oak Park Animal Hospital Today!

If it’s time to schedule your pet’s next dental cleaning, then give us a call at (708) 383-5542. Are you a patient of Oak Park Animal Hospital? If so, we would love to hear about your experiences below!
By Oak Park Animal Hospital
September 15, 2014
Category: Pet Care
Similar to people, dogs’ behaviors and health change through different stages of their lives. Puppies are demanding and energetic, while adolescents are often unpredictable.  Adult dogs are eager and self-assured, and by the time they’re seniors, they will have slowed to a comfortable lazy pace.  As with human relationships, ups and downs are guaranteed throughout your years together, but knowing what to expect will keep you one step ahead of the pack.  Your veterinarian in Oak Park gives a rough breakdown of the stages of canine life:
  • Puppyhood ends between six and 18 months of age
  • Adolescence starts between six and 18 months of age
  • Adulthood starts between 12 months and three years of age
  • The senior years begin between six and 10 years of age

All About Your Puppy

Puppies are unbelievably cute, and you can literally watch them grow.  Your puppy begins learning at birth, with research suggesting that they are most receptive to learning between eight and 16 weeks of age.  This is also an important time to begin their socialization in order to avoid creating fears. In many communities, socialization of puppies can be completed through classes that are available for pets as young as eight to nine weeks old.  Plan on beginning their training from the first minute you take charge, and use lots of praise to teach your puppy the behaviors you want it to learn.  
Your puppy will need a lot of attention—especially during the first few weeks you bring him or her home. According to your Oak Park veterinarian, you may need to take your puppy outside as frequently as once an hour plus immediately after feeding.  Typically they will learn to hold it and get down to about five to eight times a day after a few weeks.  Be sure you have lots of treats on hand form the start to reward and train new behaviors, but use other rewards as well, like positive comments, petting and cuddling.  


Adolescence is as physically and mentally challenging and confusing for dogs as it is for people.  Both male and female dogs go through hormonal changes that can be disturbing.  Dogs reach adolescence between six and 18 months, during which your dog will go through rapid growth spurts, which may cause some mild pain.  When permanent teeth come in, your dog will need chew toys to relieve the pressure on the jaw.  Be careful about any extreme activity, because growth plates are fragile and susceptible to injury.  During this period your dog’s baby coat falls off and the adult hair comes in.  If your adolescent dog exhibits destructive behavior, it is likely a sign of boredom or anxiousness.  Your Oak Park veterinarian recommends giving your adolescent dog more exercise to help counter all their physical changes, provide the mental stimulation they need and tire them for calmer times at home. 

Old Age

A dog’s senior years are golden, as they tend to be happy because they are settled into a familiar routine and become particularly affectionate during this time in their lives. Different breeds reach this phase in life at different times, but it is important for you to know when your dog reaches this advanced stage of life because of the changes needed to its diet, nutrition, exercise and health.  Your veterinarian in Oak Park can help you identify when your dog needs to make these adjustments. 
  • Some common problems dogs may develop as they age, include:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Orthopedic problems in joints and bones
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Eye problems
  • Cancers
Bottom line:  Dogs age at different speeds, with large dogs generally maturing more slowly than small dogs.  However, timing aside, dogs all go through the same stages – puppyhood, adolescence, adulthood and senior years.  Talk to your veterinarian in Oak Park today for more information on your dog’s stages of life and how proper care can ensure more quality time with your pet. 
By Oak Park Animal Hospital
August 19, 2014
Category: Pet Care
Tags: Poison   Pet Safety  

Our pets are curious and unpredictable, which makes poison proofing your home an essential part of owning a pet.  Taking simple steps such as making sure the plants in your home are non-toxic or storing your medications in secure areas will significantly reduce the chance that your pet will come in contact with a toxic substance.  

Your home may not seem like an accident waiting to happen, but to a curious dog or cat, dangers can be lurking around every corner.  When owning a pet, it is important to be alert to common household dangers, and how to avoid them.  Protect your pet this season by poison proofing your home—room by room. Your veterinarian in Oak Park is available to help you poison proof your home. 

The First Stop: Living/Family Room

If you keep plants in your home, especially your living room, learn about them.  Some common household plants may be toxic to pets, and not people.  For example, lilies are especially poisonous to cats, so it is important to quickly eliminate them from any bouquets.  The ingestion of just one or two petals can be fatal to a cat.  
Be sure to keep home fragrance products, such as simmering pots of liquid potpourri, well out of reach of your pets.  These products may cause chemical burns if ingested.  Additionally, don’t spray aerosols, or any heavily fragranced products around caged birds, as they are especially sensitive to airborne products.  Keep ashtrays and smoking cessation products such as nicotine chewing gum or patches out of reach as well.  Even cigarette butts contain enough nicotine to cause poisoning in pets.  

Next: Check the Kitchen

It is also important to beware of what human foods are poisonous to pets.  Watch out for raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, unbaked yeast bread dough, fatty foods, coffee and chocolate. The artificial sweetener, xylitol is also toxic.  More information about human foods that are toxic to pets can be found by contacting your Oak Park veterinarian.  
Keep garbage cans behind closed doors.  Trash and compost bins can contain many pet toxins such as cigarette butts, coffee grounds, moldy foods, and chicken or turkey bones.  In addition, keep alcoholic beverages out of reach.  Alcohol can cause low blood sugar in many pets.  

Don’t Forget the Bathroom

When in the bathroom, make sure you keep medications safely locked up in secure cabinets.  Do not leave them on countertops or tables or store them in plastic zippered bags, which are easily chewed through.  Never medicate your pets with human products without first contacting your veterinarian in Oak Park.  Some common human medications are extremely poisonous to pets.  
Always check the container before giving medication to your pet to make sure it is the correct medication, and correct dose.  Also, it is best to store your own medications in a separate cabinet than your pet’s medicine.  Keep your pet away from cleaning products and shut them out of the room while spraying bathroom cleaners or other products.  
Talk to your veterinarian in Oak Park for more information on how to poison proof your home inside and outside.  It is always important to take extra precautions when protecting your pet this season.
By Oak Park Animal Hospital
August 06, 2014
Category: Pet Care
Tags: Vaccinations   Rabies   Immunizations  

Vaccinations for Your Dog

Thanks to the recent development of vaccines, dogs can now be protected from numerous disease threats, including rabies, distemper, hepatitis and several others.  Some of these diseases can be passed from dogs to people – so canine vaccinations protect human health as well.  Recently, studies have shown that vaccines protect dogs for longer than previously believed.  It is important to consider age, breed, health status, environment, lifestyle, and travel habits of your dog as health threats vary from city to city and even in various sections of each city.  Working closely with your veterinarian in Oak Park at Oak Park Animal Hospital will help to tailor an immunization program that best protects your dog based on their risk and lifestyle factors. 

The Importance of Rabies Vaccinations

Rabies continues to remain a major concern worldwide, killing more than 55,000 people every year.  In the United States, one to two people die annually with more than 6,100 reported cases of animal rabies in the U.S. in 2010. 
It is important to vaccinate your animals and keep them away from wildlife that can spread the disease.  Rabies is 100% preventable and your local veterinarian in Oak Park plays a key role in controlling rabies.  The requirements for rabies vaccinations vary by region, but typically it is given at 3-6 months of age, one year later and then at 3-year intervals for optimal protection. 

Vaccines: The Canine Basics

A combination vaccine is given to puppies once a month from two months through four months and is repeated according to current guidelines of vaccination protocol.  By vaccinating your puppy appropriately, they can be protected from leading infections and illnesses, including distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and para influenza.  If your dog is older than four months old and has not been vaccinated, your veterinarian will use a different protocol, such as two vaccinations given two to three weeks apart, followed by annual vaccinations.  
 There are two general groups of vaccines to consider – core and noncore vaccines.  Core vaccines are typically recommended for all dogs and protect against diseases that are more serious or potentially fatal.  These are the diseases that are found in all areas of North America and are more easily transmitted than noncore diseases.  The AAHA guidelines define the following as core vaccines – distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and rabies.  
Noncore vaccines are those that are reserved for patients at specific risk for infection because of their exposure or lifestyle.  The AAHA guidelines classify kennel cough, Lyme disease and leptospirosis vaccines as noncore diseases. 
Regular wellness examinations of at least once or twice a year are the most important preventive measures that you can provide for your dog.  Vaccinations are just one component of the wellness visit that help to keep your dog in optimum health.  Visit your Oak Park  veterinarian today to schedule your pet’s vaccinations.