Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Carlson Animal Hospital Safety Procedures During Coronavirus/COVID-19

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

Dear Carlson Animal Hospital Pet Owners,

We would like to let you know that Carlson Animal Hospital will be remaining OPEN at this time. However, for the safety of our clients, staff, and the Oak Park community, effective today, Tuesday, March 17th, only hospital staff will be allowed in the building until further notice.

As always, please call ahead to make your pet’s illness appointment. We will not be scheduling any elective surgeries (spay or neuter), new preventive care, annual examinations with immunizations or wellness appointments for the foreseeable future.

We will still see puppy/kitten exams with immunizations as these are time-sensitive. We also ask you to continue to call ahead for refills (24 hours in advance for all medications.)

Please call the office at 708-383-3606 when you arrive at the hospital. We ask that you remain outside, preferably in your car when you arrive.


Valentine’s Day tips for safe and happy celebrations with pets

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Happy Valentines Day!

As we noted in our last blog, holidays can pose many hazards for our pets. Valentine’s Day is no exception.

Here are a few Valentine’s Day hazards to avoid to ensure you and your pet have a safe and stress-free holiday…

Lilies: If you are giving or receiving flowers for Valentine’s Day, beware that lilies can be extremely toxic to cats. Please keep cats away from lilies!

Chocolate: A Valentine’s Day staple, chocolate is toxic to pets. Please do not allow your pet access to chocolate. Any sweets sweetened with xylitol are also toxic to pets. If your pet does ingest chocolate or xylitol, please contact us immediately or call the ASPCA animal poison control center: 888-426-4435. (more…)

Have a healthy and happy holiday season – avoid these pet holiday hazards!

Monday, December 17th, 2018

The holidays should be full of good cheer, not stressful visits to the vet.  Don’t let a pet emergency ruin your holiday season.  Below are a list of holiday pet hazards to avoid this holiday season.

Table scraps: Avoid feeding your pet table scraps during holiday celebrations.  Some foods can be toxic to pets, like chocolate, onions, garlic, raisins and grapes.  Other foods can be too rich for your pet and can lead to pancreatitis.  Any foods offered to pets outside of their normal diet have the potential to lead to indigestion, vomiting and diarrhea.

Yeast Dough: If you are baking bread this holiday season, make sure you let it rise out of reach of your pets.  If ingested it can cause painful gas, deadly bloat and even alcohol poisoning.

Xylitol:  Ingestion of xylitol, an artificial sweetener commonly found in chewing gum, candy and baked goods, can be life threatening to dogs.  Be sure to keep any xylitol containing products away from pets. (more…)

The truth about pet foods: Are pet food manufacturers tricking you?

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Pet food labels can be deceiving

Most misconceptions and myths about pet foods arise from difficult to understand pet food labels and marketing efforts. There are very few regulations on pet food labeling practices, which makes informed decisions about pet foods even more challenging.  It is important to base decisions about pet foods on scientific research and nutritional expertise and not entertaining websites and buzz words.

What should you look for on a pet food label?

The most important thing you need to look for on a pet food label is the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement. (more…)

One of the most common reasons for visits to the animal hospital is gastrointestinal abnormalities

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

Did you know that that one of the most common reasons that pet owners visit an animal hospital is because of gastrointestinal issues?

Does your dog or cat have episodic loose stools? Is it difficult for you to pick it up on your walks or in the yard? Does your pet vomit with any degree of regularity?  If you answered yes to any of these questions we can help.

Dogs and cats should not be having loose stools or vomiting with any degree of regularity, since they are frequently eating the same diet every day. Certainly, young puppies and some dogs in early adolescence are less discriminate about their dietary habits and may develop very episodic gastrointestinal distress. (more…)

Are grain-free pet diets dangerous? 

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Are grain-free pet diets dangerous? 

The FDA reports a possible link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs.


There are a lot of buzz words when it comes to pet foods.  But what does it all mean?  There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about what to feed our pets.  Unfortunately, we are discovering that there may be some dangerous consequences to these hyped up food trends.

The FDA reports a possible link between grain-free diets and heart disease.


Right pawed or left pawed? Which is your pet’s preference?

Monday, August 6th, 2018

Is your cat or dog left-handed or right-handed? What can that tell you about his or her behavior and health?

Our handedness is a part of our identity.  For those of you lefties who make up approximately 10% of the population, your handedness can be a point of pride and a source of frustration, having to live in a world designed for right-handed people.  It is suggested that your handedness may even be linked to certain personality traits.  But have you ever thought about whether your furry friends might have a paw preference?  And if so, could there be a link to certain personality traits or health implications?

How do you know if your pet has a paw preference?

There are a number of tests that can give you a sense of whether your pet may have a paw preference.  It is best to track paw preference over time to determine if there is a strong bias.  Some dogs or cats can be ambidextrous, showing no bias.

For dogs, the first foot placed forward when walking from a standing or sitting position, is often the dominant paw.  Dogs will typically use their dominant paw to remove a blanket from the head, a piece of tape from the nose or to stabilize a toy. (more…)

Fireworks and Thunderstorm Fears and anxiety

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Get ready… firework and thunderstorm season is upon us! For many pet owners, this can be a trying time. The loud booms of fireworks and thunder leave many pets distraught. So what’s a pet owner to do?

How do I know if my pet has storm or firework anxiety?

Thunderstorm and firework anxiety is a type of noise phobia. Pets with noise phobias have an irrational fear of certain types of noises, often loud unpredictable sounds like thunder and fireworks. Animals can manifest this fear in many ways, but the most common behaviors that signal firework or thunderstorm anxiety in cats and dogs are pacing, trembling, hiding, panting, destructive behavior, drooling, dilated pupils, racing heart rate and sometimes urinary or fecal accidents. (more…)

Why do dogs eat grass?

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Grass certainly doesn’t seem like a delicacy.  In fact, it tastes downright terrible. (Who hasn’t tried grass sometime when they were a kid?).  So why do dogs tear into it with such passion?  Not much is known about why dogs eat grass, but studies indicate that it is a common and normal behavior of most domestic dogs.

It is estimated that 79% of dogs engage in plant eating behaviors, with grass being the most frequently eaten plant.  Of those grass eating dogs, 86% eat grass on a daily or weekly basis.  Grass eating is observed in both wolves and dogs, suggesting that the behavior was preserved through domestication and is innate (Price et al. 2009).

What drives grass eating?


Heartworm Awareness

Friday, May 18th, 2018

April is the official Heartworm Awareness Month, but whenever the temperature is above freezing it is Heartworm Awareness Month. 

At long last the winter chill is starting to abate! But with the coming of warmer weather, comes greater concern for transmission of heartworm disease to our pets.

Although heartworm disease is a concern year round, April is Heartworm Awareness month. We have discussed heartworm disease before (Carlson blog – heartworm prevention),  but we wanted to once again draw attention to this very concerning, yet very preventable disease.

How do our pets become infected with heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes.

Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. (more…)