Saturday, October 3, 2015

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Halloween can be fun and festive for people, but for pets it can also be dangerous. There are many Halloween pet safety hazards that are well-known (such as chocolate toxicity) and some that are not (like xylitol toxicity). Here are some tips to help you ensure that your pet has a happy and safe Halloween.
Things to Watch For on Halloween
Halloween is fun for kids and adults, but it can be scary and stressful for pets.
  •   A constant ringing doorbell strangely dressed people at the door can be stressful
    for a pet. Some pets may experience diarrhea or even injure themselves if crated/ contained. Consider keeping your pet in a separate quiet room, away from the door, when trick-or-treaters arrive. Strange people in even stranger clothes can frighten some pets.
  •   Strangers in Costume may provoke an otherwise friendly pet into unexpectedly aggressive or fearful behavior.
  •   Pumpkins or candles within a pet’s range are a fire hazard. Wagging tails and frightened cats zipping through the house can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and cause a fire.
  •   Keep your pets indoors. Halloween pranks committed against pets can be vicious, and black cats are particularly at risk. Also, make sure that your pet doesn't run out of your home when you answer the door. In case your pet does escape, make sure it is wearing proper identification. Pets with identification are much more likely to be returned.
  •   Halloween treats are for people, not pets. Be sure to warn children not to share their treats with pets. Candy wrappers and lollipop sticks can be hazardous if swallowed and chocolate is poisonous for some types of pets.
    Candy Concerns
     Candies, gum, mints, baked goods and chocolate containing the “sugar-free” sweetener Xylitol are highly toxic, causing rapid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure in dogs and possibly other species (ferrets). Chocolate is also toxic to pets. A 50-pound dog would have to eat about 50 ounces of milk
    chocolate (but only 5 ounces of baking chocolate) for a toxic dose, but much smaller amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Signs of chocolate toxicity: tremors, nerv- ousness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures and
    death. If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, contact your veterinarian. Lollipop sticks and other plastic parts can cause intestinal obstruction and poten- tially rupture the intestines, which is a life-threatening emergency.
    Pet Costumes vs. Safety
    If you dress your pet in a costume, be sure that it doesn't interfere with the pet's ability to breatheseehearmove, or bark. Also, consider reflective collars/gear for pets (and people).
    For more information and tips about holiday safety for pets, call or visit your family veterinarian. Remember, your veterinarian is your very best source for advice on keeping your pet safe, healthy, and happy!
    Provided by Chicago Veterinary Medical Association

Friday, August 21, 2015

Yard Sale Sunday August 23rd at Niles Animal Hospital from 9 AM til 3 PM

Yard Sale Reminder

A reminder about our yard sale. The yard sale will be at Niles Animal Hospital in the parking lot on Sunday August 23rd from 9 AM to 3 PM. The sale will benefit "A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife" a parrot rescue organization in Northbrook.

We will be collecting the materials this week before the yard sale at the hospital. We will be open until 6 PM today and until 2 PM this Saturday before the sale to ease the gathering of materials. We will also be at the sale at 7 AM to also ease drop off of materials if you want to drop materials off in the AM. 
Stop on by to find some treasures and also support a great cause. We would also appreciate any volunteers who would like to help the set up and sale as well.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dr. Sakas Back on National Catholic Radio Monday August 24th at 1 PM CST

Dr. Sakas is Back on National Catholic Radio Monday August 24th

Dr. Sakas will be back on the radio again next Monday.

Dr. Sakas will be on the nationally broadcast radio show, "On Call" hosted by Wendy Wiese, on Relevant Radio, Monday, August 24th from 1-2 PM CST. It can be heard on 950 AM, 930 AM, 1270 AM or accessed through your computer at and listened to online. It is a call in show and Dr. Sakas had been a regular guest on the show in the past. Their phone number for call ins is 1-877-766-3777.

Future dates are being set up....all between 1-2 CST. We will keep providing updates.

If you cannot listen to it live, go to the "On Call" portion of the Relevant Radio website at, where you can hear an archived version of this show. (Typically it is posted a day or two after the broadcast and then kept up for a few months).

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A chicken rescue we were involved in with Robert Grillo from "Free from Harm" a chcicken rescue organization

Backyard chicken rescuer tries to seed compassion for birds

Backyard chicken trend's sad consequence: Abandoned birds.
The orphan chicken came to Robert Grillo in the usual way.
A woman who'd found the injured bird slumped on the side of the road on Chicago's South Side scooped up the chicken, came across Grillo's name online and sent an email. It happens about five times a week to Grillo, a soft-spoken, part-time graphic and Web designer who has a pet white king pigeon named Elba and a chicken run in his backyard.
Grillo rescues chickens, a mission that exposes an unsettling consequence of the popular backyard poultry movement. For a number of reasons, would-be urban and suburban chicken farmers ditch the birds in significant numbers.
But Grillo is attempting to do something more than save a few chickens from a catastrophic end. He's using the rescues as marketing device, trying to foster widespread compassion for an animal he says is largely underappreciated and mistreated.
"Backyard chickens need to be rescued for the same reasons as other animals we care about need to be rescued," Grillo said one recent afternoon in his backyard. The rescued South Side chicken, who Grillo named Rosa for the reddish hue of her feathers, rolled in the dirt in her enclosure.
"They have the same kind of needs," Grillo said. "They have the same capacity to form companionship and lifelong bonds with us." When those bonds are established, he added, humans value the birds differently and care for them more deeply.
"And, that's the vision we're aspiring to," Grillo said, "a different vision for chickens; not just as resources but as animals that actually have tremendous capacity to be loving, affectionate, wonderful companions with us."
Precisely how many chickens are abandoned is unclear. News reports as recently as 2013 said hundreds were being returned each year to individual sanctuaries and rescue centers across the U.S.
In the Chicago area, Cook County animal control reported it receives very few calls to pick up abandoned chickens. A spokesman for DuPage County Animal Care & Control said the office has received five calls this year. But Richard Weiner, CEO of the Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, a parrot rescue nonprofit based in Northbrook, said he gets one to two calls a week from people who want to get rid of a chicken.
Grillo is selective about which chickens he brings to his neat, brown shingle house in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood. Each month, he said, he receives nearly two dozen calls from various sources for rescues and ends up taking on two or three that are in the most dire need. There was a badly neglected hen a farmer abandoned after the animal stopped laying eggs; a severely injured chicken found in an alley on Chicago's Northwest Side; a rooster that lost its feet and part of a leg to frostbite and gangrene.
In most cases, Grillo arranges for treatment with Dr. Peter Sakas, a veterinarian at Niles Animal Hospital who has been working on birds for 32 years. Once the chicken is on the road to recovery, Grillo often houses the animal in the enclosure behind his back porch for a few days until he places the bird in a compassionate setting.
And, for each rescue, Grillo composes a blog post, including photos and, if possible, video, of the entire experience. That message delivery system is aimed at promoting sympathy for the birds.
Each individual story, he said, is much more effective at creating affection for chickens than video of hundreds of them on a farm.
"It's important," Grillo said, "because reconnection is the key step in overcoming the prejudice, the obstacles that we have, the biases that we have, the reasons these animals are treated the way they are. If we can reconnect with them, that's the first major step to progress in that direction."
Born and raised in Chicago, Grillo came to the work in 2009, when "on an impulse" he adopted three chicks from a teacher friend who had used them in a classroom program.
"It was baptism by fire," Grillo, 50, said, adding that his perceptions of the animals as dirty, mean and stupid changed quickly. The chickens followed him around his place, hopped in his lap and took naps.
"They just bonded with me," said Grillo, who practices a vegan lifestyle. "They became members of the family, like a cat or dog."
The same year he adopted the three chicks, Grillo established Free From Harm, a nonprofit charitable organization that its Web site says promotes "farmed animal rescue, education and advocacy." And, he started rescuing chickens. He estimates that he has saved about 45 of them.
The conventional explanation for why abandonment occurs is that the would-be caretakers were caught up in the popular movement of raising backyard chickens and then became decidedly less enthusiastic after discovering — too late — that the birds require a fairly complicated commitment.
But Jennifer Murtoff, an urban chicken consultant in Oak Park, said the reasons vary. Some chickens wander away; chicken owners move to an area that prohibits the birds; hens stop laying eggs and the owners no longer want to care for the chickens; people mistakenly purchased a rooster.
It's a problem that worked its way up to the governor's mansion. In spring 2014, then-Gov. Pat Quinn welcomed nine chickens to a pen in the home's rose garden. When Quinn left office, the chickens were left behind, and Gov. Bruce Rauner returned the birds to the woman who had provided them.
The solution to the problem of chicken abandonment, Murtoff and others say, is taking a class on raising them before acquiring a bird, or reviewing various websites.
Grillo's efforts also include an online educational component, part of which he uses to cast a critical eye on the commercial poultry industry. It already has a dubious reputation in the U.S.
The Humane Society of the United States reports that "hundreds of millions of chickens" in the egg industry spend their entire lives in extraordinarily harsh, filthy conditions, many packed in spaces so tight they are unable to spread their wings.
"It's a moral race to the bottom," said Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society.
At the same time, recent research indicates that the birds are smarter, more social and more complicated than had been thought.
"Our attitudes toward these animals may stem in part from simple lack of understanding," the society stated this year in a report on chickens, "and this has largely led us to disregard their suffering as they are raised for meat and egg production."
The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association disputes those depictions, contending that the animals are raised in spacious, sophisticated, climate-controlled barns where they have 24-hour access to clean water and feed, spokeswoman Gwen Venable said. Chickens also benefit from professional veterinary attention, advances in nutrition and protection from predators and disease, she added.
Against that backdrop, Grillo wages his campaign, one chicken at a time.
Rosa, his latest, is making progress. A couple of days after he retrieved her from the animal hospital, Grillo let the chicken roam his fenced backyard while he sat on a lounge chair.
The bird hopped in Grillo's lap, made herself comfortable and started purring. When he went to place her in the coop, she resisted, climbing up his arm.
"You can't help but be moved by their connection to us," Grillo said, "when we open ourselves up to the possibility."
Twitter @tgregoryreports

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Yard Sale at Niles Animal Hospital 8/23/15

Finally, our long awaited yard sale. We will be holding a yard sale at Niles Animal Hospital in the parking lot on Sunday August 23rd from 9 AM to 3 PM. The sale will benefit "A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife" a parrot rescue organization in Northbrook.

So bring your material for the sale to the hospital for donation to the sale. We will be collecting the materials the week before the yard sale at the hospital. We will be open until 4 PM the Saturday before the sale to ease the gathering of materials. We will also be at the sale at 7 AM to also ease drop off of materials.

Stop on by to find some treasures and also support a great cause. We would also appreciate any volunteers who would like to help the set up and sale as well. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dr. Sakas Speaking at National Avicultural Convention July 30th

Dr. Sakas will be speaking at the American Federation of Aviculture National Convention on Thursday July 30th at 10:45 AM in the London Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont. The topic will be "The Amazing Cloaca and the Fine Art of Poopology (The Importance of Dropping Evaluation).

The convention speaker schedule -

The main convention info site -

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Natural Dog Company Recalls Treats Over Salmonella Risk

The Natural Dog Company Recalls Treats Over Salmonella Risk
By Lauren Coffey

The Natural Dog Company, Inc. is recalling 12oz bags of 12" Tremenda Sticks over Salmonella concerns.
Updated at 3:19 PM EDT on Tuesday, Jul 21, 2015

The Natural Dog Company, Inc. is recalling some dog treats due to a possible contamination with Salmonella.

The Colorado-based company is recalling its 12oz bags of 12" Tremenda Sticks after a Colorado Department of Agriculture inspection showed a presence of Salmonella in a sample taken from one of the packages, according to the company's press release.

The Salmonella could affect the dogs as well as humans handling the treats, especially if the person did not thoroughly wash their hands after being in contact with the Tremenda Sticks.

Common symptoms in infected people with Salmonella include, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Consumers exhibiting those symptoms should contact their doctor. If a pet has been infected, they may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. If a pet has consumed the recalled treats and has these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian.

No illnesses have been reported in connection with the recalled product, the company said.
The recalled treats were distributed in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Montana,

North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, and Washington. The product comes in a 12oz bag without a lot number or expiration date with UPC number: 851265004957. Products with new packaging, which includes both a lot number and expiration date but the same UPC are not affected by this recall.

Product production has been suspended while the FDA conducts an investigation. Consumers are encouraged to return the treats to the place of purchase for a refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-888-424-4602/