ISVMA Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
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January 31 , 2011


Volume VIII, No. 10



An electronic newsletter highlighting veterinary issues for Illinois veterinarians

South Polar Skua
South Polar Skua
© Peter S. Weber

(click on photo to see larger image)

In this Issue

Central Illinois Bull Tests Positive for Rabies

Merrick Pet Care Recalls Jr Texas Taffy Pet Treat

Register for the ISVMA Winter 2011 Equine Meeting in Algonquin, IL on February 27, 2011

Become a Fan of the New ISVMA Facebook Page

About the Photo

Contact Us




Central Illinois Bull Tests Positive for Rabies

(SPRINGFIELD - January 28, 2011 - For the first time in six years, state officials are reporting that a domesticated animal has tested positive for rabies, prompting health officials to remind people to vaccinate their pets and livestock.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Department of Agriculture, a bull pastured in eastern Macon County developed signs of rabies on Jan. 24.

“The owner did not report any known exposure to odd acting wild animals, but reported many wild animals are sighted on his property,” noted an announcement issued Friday.

Although it is not uncommon for rabies to be found in wild animals, such as bats, skunks or raccoons, the last time a domesticated animal in Illinois was determined to be infected was in 2005, when a cow in north-Central Illinois tested positive. Any mammal can carry rabies.

The last human case in Illinois was reported in 1954.

To determine if the bull had rabies, the animal was killed and its head was sent to a Department of Public Health lab for testing. The body of the bull was buried.

The owner of the animal and exact location of the incident were not made available by the state Friday.

Health and agriculture officials encourage vaccination of domestic animals, including horses, dogs, cats and ferrets. Herd owners should consider rabies vaccination for valuable cattle.

Vaccinating dogs and cats is a crucial step in preventing transmission to humans, the McLean County Health Department said. In accordance with state law, McLean County requires that dogs and cats more than 4 months old be vaccinated and registered with the health department.

In 2010, McLean County had an above-average number of bats test positive for rabies.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system. Humans get the virus from the bite or scratch of an infected animal.

Merrick Pet Care Recalls Jr Texas Taffy Pet Treat (Item #27077), All Lots Up to and Including 10364) Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

January 28, 2010 - Merrick Pet Care, Inc. of Amarillo, Texas is recalling the Jr. Texas Taffy pet treat (ITEM # 27077, UPC # 02280827077, All Lots up to and including 10364) because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Merrick Pet Care has made the decision to recall all Jr. Texas Taffy pet treats in the abundance of caution. Salmonella can affect animals and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products. People handling the treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products. Consumers should dispose of these products in a safe manner by securing them in a covered trash receptacle.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers immediately.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

The Jr. Texas Taffy was shipped to distributors and retailers throughout the US. These individuals have been notified and have activated their recall procedures.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

Consumers who have purchased the Jr. Texas Taffy are urged to return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-664-7387 M-F 8:00am – 5:00pm CST.

Register for the ISVMA Winter 2011 Equine Meeting - February 27, 2011

The ISVMA is offering a full-day equine program in conjuction with the Illinois Equine Practitioners Association (IEPA) at Merritt Equine Associates in Wauconda, IL on February 27, 2011. The full program (including registration form) can be downloaded at

The speakers and topics for the program are:

Dr. Rich Redding -

• Diagnostic Analgesia of the Distal Limb
• Sonographic Examination of Joint Injury
• The Use of Advanced Imaging in Lameness of the Horse

Dr. Dan Burke -

• Nutritional Support for Select Metabolic Conditions in Horses
• From Conception to the Training Barn: Nutrition for Sound Development and Growth
• Why Fat-Enhanced, Lower Starch Diets Help Maximize Athletic Performance

Registration is limited to 50 participants. You can register online at:

Members please remember to Log In First to get the ISVMA member discount.

Become a Fan of the New ISVMA Facebook Page

The ISVMA just launched a new Facebook Fan Page. This new page will allow for more dynamic and interactive content for anyone that chooses to "Like" the page. Follow news about Illinois veterinary medicine, veterinary professionals in the news, USDA and other regulatory alerts, legal updates and more!

If you have a Facebook page, go to and choose to "Like" the new ISVMA Fan Page!

The new ISVMA Facebook Fan Page has links to many current articles and topics of interest to veterinarians. This E-SOURCE Newsletter will be cut short to encourage ISVMA members to become a fan of the new Facebook page and get regular updates from ISVMA, AVMA and other organizations that bring you news and information you want and need!

About the Photo

The South Polar Skua looks like a bulky, broad-winged gull with a short, wedge-shaped tail. Adults have both dark and light morphs. The light morph is pale gray on the head, neck, and underparts. The upperparts are darker, with narrow, whitish streaks. The dark morph is uniformly dark grayish-brown above with a pale yellowish nape. Juveniles are darker than light-morph adults and range from dark brown to dark gray. In flight, the South Polar Skua has a hunchbacked appearance, blackish underwing coverts, and a white patch in the primaries.


Away from their breeding grounds, South Polar Skuas are highly pelagic. They occur far offshore over warm or cold waters, especially near fishing vessels, small schooling fishes, and offshore shallows, but may occasionally be seen closer to land. They nest on barren ground in Antarctica.


South Polar Skuas forage by plunging into the water for fish, seizing prey on the surface, or by stealing prey from other seabirds. They may actually grab and violently shake other birds to force them to disgorge their food. South Polar Skuas are powerful and fast in flight. They are generally silent away from their breeding grounds.


Their diet consists mainly of fish for most of the year. On their breeding grounds, they nest close to penguin colonies where they feed on the eggs and the young. When they overlap with the larger Brown Skuas, which control penguin colonies, South Polar Skuas are forced to forage at sea.


South Polar Skuas begin breeding at 5-6 years, and keep the same mate and nest site year after year. The male begins the simple nest scrape in soil or moss, and the female finishes it. The female usually lays 2 eggs and both sexes incubate, the female more than the male. Both parents feed the young by regurgitation. The young are able to leave the nest soon after hatching, but remain in the vicinity of the nest. Usually only one chick survives to fledging, which occurs at 49-59 days.


South Polar Skuas migrate from the Southern Hemisphere into the northern Pacific Ocean in a clockwise loop from Japan to North America. Off Washington, peak migration occurs from late August to early October, although birds have been spotted as early as mid-May.


Numbers appear to be stable, and the remoteness of their range makes the South Polar Skua relatively safe from human impacts.


South Polar Skuas are usually observed more than 10 miles from shore, so an offshore boat trip is the best, if not only, way to find them.


I photographed this South Polar Skua about 80 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA in August 2006.

Contact Us

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Phone: (217) 546-8381

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