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Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

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Capitol Illini Newsletter
In the FALL 2012 Issue ...


Enter our Annual Halloween Contest: Bring your pet into either location dressed up in a
Halloween costume during the month of October for a chance to win a great gift basket!!!

Halloween Safety Tips for your pet...

Veterinarian SprinfieldThe biggest veterinary problems seen related to Halloween are frightened pets and poisoned pets. While pets may not like holidays as much as we do, any celebration can be made pet-safe with a few precautions.

Young costumed visitors and increased activity may make cats and dogs nervous. Some frightened pets may run off or escape out the door, resulting in injuries from cars or other animals. The best solution is to place your pet in a quiet room away from the front door or other activities.

 DO license your pet early. You can do your best to keep your pet indoors, but your cat or dog may speed past a herd of candy-seeking kids. Be sure you’ve registered your pet with the city, attach up-to-date ID tags on your pet’s collar, or have your pet microchipped.

 DO protect pets from pranks. Don’t leave an-mals unattended outdoors on Halloween, the day before, or the day after. Cruel pranksters can hurt your animals, especially black cats.

 DON’T mix pets and trick-or-treaters at the front door. Cats and dogs can frighten young children and vice versa.

 DO keep pets away from lit pumpkins. Candles and jack o’lanterns can singe pet’s noses and light fur on fire.
Candy is more of a problem for dogs than for cats. Cats tend to be pickier about what they eat than dogs. However, cats tend to be intrigued by candy wrappers and eat them. Any candy can trigger an upset stomach, but chocolate can do much worse. A large amount of chocolate to a small

Veterinarian in Springfield IL DON’T feed candy to an-mals. Pets can choke on wrappers, and chocolate is poisonous to dogs and cats.

 DO put Halloween candy in scent-proof baggies, and put a lid on your candy cauldron next to the door.
Some pet owners like to put cos-mutes on their pets. This is safe enough if common sense is used. Costumes should be comfortable, nonrestrictive, and not involve anything hazardous.

 DON’T put a reluctant pet in a Halloween costume. Some cats and dogs don’t mind a few accessories, but don’t force an anxious an-mal into a constricting out-fit.

 DO have pet Halloween clothes that allow your pet to breathe, hear, see, and move freely.
(Compiled from Online sources, including the American Veterinary Medical Association)

Feline Stomatitis

Stomatitis in CatsFeline stomatitis is a severe, pain-fool inflammation of a cat’s mouth and gums. In most cases, the condition causes painful ulcers to form in the mouth; these ulcers can be proliferative and involve the lips, tongue, gums, and the back of the throat. Cats of any age and any breed can be affected.

There is no single cause of feline stomatitis. Dental disease (particularly periodontal disease) is commonly implicated as a cause. In many cases, the cause is assumed to be immune mediated, meaning that the cat’s immune system attacks its own oral tissue as an abnormal response to bacteria in the mouth. Other medical conditions that can be associated with stomatitis include viral infections (such as feline leukemia virus [FeLV], feline immunodeficiency virus [FIV], and calicivi-rus) and bartonellosis (cat-scratch fever).

Feline stomatitis is extremely painful. Some cases, a cat with stomatitis may be in too much pain to open its mouth to even eat. Other clinical signs in-clued:

 Drooling (sometimes with blood)
 Unkempt hair coat
 Refusal to eat
 Bad Breath
 Weight loss
 Pawing at face or mouth

Examining the mouth of a cat with stomatitis can be difficult because the cat may be reluctant to open his mouth. Your veterinarian may recommend sedation to facilitate a more thorough examination. Specific testing for underlying diseases such as FeLV, FIV, and bartonellosis would be recommended. Sometimes, a small tissue sample is submitted to a laboratory for biopsy. How-ever, diagnosis is commonly based on clinical signs and physical examination findings.

Since this condition is very painful, initial treatment generally includes medication for pain and inflammation. Managing the cat’s dental disease may be part of the overall treatment. A complete dental cleaning may be recommended, and many cats do well if the molar and premolar teeth are removed. Removing teeth can help control periodontal disease and minimize the bacteria that provoke the immune system. Cats tend to do very well without
their teeth. Should the cat have an underlying illness that can be treat-ed, such as bartonellosis, treatment should be pursued.

Long-term outcome may vary. Many cats with stomatitis require long-term treatment with anti-inflammatory medications to control . At home tooth brushing and other dental care are recommended to reduce plaque accumulation.

Introducing: Royal Canin Calm

Springfield VeterinarianRoyal Canin introduces a nutritional solution to help cats and dogs maintain emotional bal-ance: CALM
Modern lifestyles involve disruptions that can be a source of considerable stress for cats and dogs.

Clinical signs of a stressed pet include:
 Changes in eating behavior
 Excessive salivation
 Vomiting or diarrhea
 Compulsive licking in cats
 Atopy in dogs

CALM contains ingredients that creates a sense of well being with anti-anxiety effects.
Royal Canin introduces a nutritional solution to help cats and dogs maintain emotional balance: CALM

Modern lifestyles involve disruptions that can be a source of considerable stress for cats and dogs.
Additional key benefits include:

 Support of skin function
 Support of digestive function
 Urinary tract protective
 Tartar deposit prevention (dogs)
 Hairball elimination (cats)

For further information, dis-cuss this new food option with your pet’s veterinarian.

Bordetella bronchiseptica

BordetellaVaccination is the best prevention of kennel cough

Bordetella bronchiseptica (B. bronchiseptica) is a bacterium commonly associated with respiratory disease in dogs. It is one of the most common causes of canine infectious tracheobronchitis, more commonly called “kennel cough.” B. bronchiseptica is highly contagious and is easily trans-mitted through the air or direct contact.

Signs of kennel cough typically develop 2 to 14 days after exposure. In mild cases, signs usually resolve within 10 to 14 days. Clinical signs include a dry hacking cough that could be followed by a retching or gagging. Sometimes pressure on the trachea will trigger a coughing spasm. Other possible clinical signs include nasal discharge, cough, lethargy, pneumonia and a fever.

Diagnosis is generally based on a history of exposure to infected dogs combined with clinical signs presented on a physical exam. In healthy adult dogs, B. bronchiseptica causes no more than a mild illness where treatment is generally supportive since the disease typically resolves on its own. Precautionary antibiotics to prevent subsequent infections may be prescribed. If appropriate, cough medication may be prescribed as well.

Although commonly called “kennel cough”, dogs don’t necessarily contact the disease as a result of being kenneled. Any place where numbers of dogs gather together increases the risk of transmis-sion. Stress suppresses the immune sys-tem, increasing susceptibility, and kennels can be a stressful environment for some dogs and increases risk for infection.

Vaccination is the best way to protect your dog from illnesses associated with canine infectious tracheobronchitis, espe-cially if your dog frequents dog parks, groomers, kennels, or dog shows. An intranasal vaccine along with a traditional injectable vaccine for B. bronchiseptica are available. Ask your veterinarian whether vaccination is recommended; if so, which type is best for your dog.

Welcome Dr. Helgen to Capitol Illini!!
(aka Dr. Roy-she got married!)

Dr. Helgen was born in Lexington, Kentucky, but raised in Greensbo-ro, North Carolina. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biol-ogy from Emory University in At-lanta, GA. After spending most of her life down south, Dr. Helgen moved to the Midwest to attend veterinary school at the University of Illinois. She completed her DVM degree with honors in 2012, and now considers herself an Illini for life. During her time in veterinary school, Dr. Helgen served as the AAHA student chapter president and was active in the internal medi-cine club, surgery club, and a mem-ber of the Phi Zeta Honor Society.

She developed a special interest in cardiology, oncology, and ophthal-mology; however, she genuinely enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine. Dr. Helgen joined the team at Capitol Illini in June 2012, and now calls central Illinois home. Dr. Helgen, her husband, Eric, and their two labs live south of Spring-field where Eric farms with his fami-ly. In her free time, she enjoys trav-eling to visit family, spending time on the Outer Banks of North Car-olina, cooking, and cheering for the Cardinals and the Illini. She is excit-ed to expand her career in veteri-nary medicine at both the Chatham and Springfield Capitol Illini Veteri-nary Hospitals.


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  • Two Convenient Locations

    Capitol Illini Veterinary Services

    1711 Wabash Avenue
    Springfield, IL 62704
    Ph (217) 546-1541
    Fx (217) 546-9020

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    Capitol Illini Chatham Veterinary Services

    1020 Jason Place
    Chatham, IL 62629
    Ph (217) 483-6830
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