Maple River Migration tour

Photos by Ducks Unlimited local Clinton County Chapter chairman, Chris Mikula and Dave Bowers, DU volunteer.

The Maple River Migration tour last Saturday morning was hosted by Ducks Unlimited and partners from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan DNR, and the Audubon Society at the Maple River State Game Area located North of St Johns off of US 127.

It was another huge success with a large gathering of folks coming out to tour and learn about this unique place and the conservation efforts behind it on a nice, sunny, but cool spring day. This was the third year for this event.

These wildlife photos show just a few of the diverse array of what can be seen at Maple River during a tour and chance to see this great habitat right in our own back yard. Many ducks, geese, swans, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, ospreys, a northern harrier, red-winged blackbirds, kingfishers and many other different birds were seen during the tour. It was a great opportunity to see the Maple River State game area and all of the unique wildlife and habitat.

Big Lug helps celebrate March is Reading Month

Here are some pictures from our March is Reading Month Celebration Assembly. A special thank you goes out to Mr. Ferden, Ms. Harrant, and Ms. Moran for organizing the activities this month. Organizers would also like to thank Farm Bureau Insurance, Lansing Lugnuts, Ryan’s Roadhouse, Detroit Pistons, and St. Johns-Ovid Masonic Lodge for donating prizes for the event.

Chamber Ambassadors help celebrate Grand Re-Opening

The Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors joined the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store for their Grand Re-Opening Celebration on Tuesday. Special thanks goes to Fr. Mike Williams for blessing the new space in service to others.

If you couldn’t make the open house, you are welcome to stop by Mon- Fri 10-5 and Sat 10-1 at 1009 S. US-27 in St. Johns.

A Look Back – Husband and Wife

by Barry Clark Bauer

The only information we have on this photo is that this is Mr. and Mrs. Douglas and they’re sharing the same hospital room. We don’t usually see this.

My guess it’s the results of an automobile accident. Hopefully the readers will know more about it.

Bennie and Jessie’s Pet Info – Dog Constipation and How to Treat It

Dog constipation is defined as the inability to defecate normally. Much like humans, older dogs are more prone to this condition, though it can happen to any breed of dog at any age. Constipation in dogs should not be ignored, as extended periods of distress can cause serious health concerns.

What To Watch For

A constipated dog, especially if it is well-trained and evacuates at regular intervals daily, is described as being constipated if it is experiencing difficult bowel movements and physical distress. (In addition, severe diarrhea and colitis may lead to straining.) Grass particles, matted feces, string, or other objects in or around the anus is also indicative of constipation. The size of the feces will be abnormally small and once the condition has progressed, lethargy, vomiting, and loss of appetite may develop.

Primary Cause

The most common cause of dog constipation is swallowing objects that are not easily digested, if at all, such as a piece of dry bone. However it can also be caused by:

– Slower intestinal processes
– Enlarged prostates
– Concurrent kidney disease
– Hernias
– Simply swallowing grass or hair

Immediate Care

If you can see a thread or string in the anus, do not pull it. This can cause internal damage. Other important things to note:

– Always wear rubber gloves when dealing with feces and related anal problems.
– If you can see grass in the anus, gently ease it out.
– If feces are matted around the anus, trim carefully with scissors. (For long-haired dogs, see below.)
– Wash the anal region with warm, soapy water and apply a soothing, water-soluble jelly (such as K-Y) to the inflamed area.
– Take the dog’s temperature. If it is abnormally high or there is blood on the thermometer or resistance when inserting the thermometer, see your veterinarian immediately (within 24 hours).

Long-haired dogs, especially small ones like Yorkies and Lhasa Apsos, can become frantic with the discomfort caused by matted feces around the anus and the trimming process. You may need to soak the dog’s posterior in warm water before you begin trimming to make it more comfortable.

Veterinary Care


Radiographs, abdominal ultrasound and blood work are some of the more common tests recommended for identifying the underlying cause of the constipated dog.


In some cases, a dog may need to be hospitalized and given enemas to remove or pass an obstruction located in the anus. If in doubt, or in the cases noted above, call your vet and have the dog examined. Fluids under the skin may be administered to ensure good hydration to the intestinal tract. In cases of intact males where the prostate is the cause of the constipation, castration will be recommended. And in severe cases of constipation, your veterinarian may administer fluids intravenously.

Living and Management

Some dogs have a history of periodic constipation, especially as they get older. Adding a little mineral oil to the dog’s meal can help in these cases. The proper dosage for a dog is 1 tsp for every 11 lbs (5kg). However, you should never administer the oil orally; if it ends up in the lungs, which can occur easily, it can cause pneumonia. Your veterinarian may also recommend stool softeners as well as fiber supplementation to assist in the intestinal transit.


Although it is natural for a dog to eat grass on occasion, this habit should be controlled as much as possible. Avoid giving your dog bones; substitute a nylon chew toy instead. Use purpose-made laxatives to soften the stool and above all else, provide your dog with water regularly. Neutering your dog at an early age will also prevent growth of the prostate, which can lead to constipation in dogs.

Letters – Relay and Fowler K of C say thanks

Relay For Life of Clinton County would like to recognize Dana and the great employees at Swany’s Pub for hosting this year’s Community Give Back / Stick A Fork In Cancer event on March 26th.

If your business is interested in hosting a Stick A Fork In Cancer event or any other sponsorship questions please contact Winn at 517.204.0565 or


The Fowler Knights of Columbus would like to thank everyone that helped make this year’s Easter Egg Hunt a success. A special thank you goes to McDonalds of St. Johns for donating gift certificates, Fowler Public Schools for allowing us the use of their grounds and to the Knights of Columbus members and their families who volunteered their time to help with this event.

Thank you all,
Scott Schrauben
Fowler Knights of Columbus

Maralyn’s Pet Corner – 7 Common Cat Tail Injuries
courtesy of Maura McAndrew

A cat’s tail is often inextricable from his personality, whether it is curled peacefully around him in repose or flicking impatiently as he waits for food. “A cat’s tail has multiple functions,” says Teri Skadron, doctor of veterinary medicine at Skadron Animal Hospital in West St. Paul, Minnesota. She notes that tails are used for balance, communication, to keep warm, and for self-expression.

Because of these reasons, it’s important for pet owners to keep their cats’ tails free from injuries and infections. Thankfully, says Heather DiGiacomo, veterinarian and owner of Newtown Square Veterinary Hospital in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, tail injuries are relatively uncommon in cats. “Outdoor cats are more at risk,” she says, “so keeping cats indoors can dramatically reduce the incidence of tail injuries.”

If you can’t keep Felix from exploring the outdoors, it’s useful to be aware of the dangers. With the help of our experts, we’ve compiled a list of common cat tail injuries so you can best prevent and treat them, and keep that expressive appendage in optimal health.

Bite Wounds

DiGiacomo explains that bite wounds are one of the most common cat tail injuries seen in her practice. “Presumably this happens when the cat is running away and the other animal latches on to the tail,” DiGiacomo explains. Even if the bite wound is small and can heal on its own, Skadron emphasizes that more serious problems can arise. “It is important to make sure the wound doesn’t get infected,” she says. “Signs of infection include redness, heat, pain and inflammation.”

To minimize the risk of infection, it’s best to have a cat with a significant bite wound treated by a veterinarian. DiGiacomo explains that vets will often sedate a cat with a serious wound in order to “flush” the area completely. The cat will then likely be prescribed antibiotics and possibly pain medication. Depending on the situation, Skadron adds that pet owners may have to clean the tail at home to prevent infection. Outdoor cats should be kept indoors while healing, to prevent fly larvae from growing in wounds.

Given the high risk of cat fights between outdoor cats, it’s also important to keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations current.


If your cat has a simple abrasion, whether it’s a scratch or small cut, this is one case where it’s probably okay to keep your cat at home and monitor her healing. “For minor abrasions or wounds, owners can use hydrogen peroxide to keep the tail clean,” Skadron says. Be as gentle as possible while cleaning, and use a clean cloth or gauze. If it isn’t too severe, the wound will likely heal in time with minimal treatment.

However, “it is important to watch for any signs of infection,” Skadron notes, “or if the cat holds or moves the tail differently.” This behavior can indicate a more serious injury and is a worth getting checked out by a professional.

Skin Infections

While some skin infections result from the aforementioned types of trauma, like an untreated wound from an animal bite, the most common causes are flea bites or allergic reactions. Whatever the cause, if the skin becomes inflamed, red, and itchy, it’s best to consult your vet about treatment.

“Cats with flea dermatitis require treatment for the fleas to eliminate the primary inciting cause,” DiGiacomo says. “Many of these kitties will also need steroids to help reduce their severe itching and sometimes antibiotics if they have a secondary skin infection.” Keeping pets on year-round flea prevention medication can prevent this problem in cats.

And while you may be inclined to treat your cat’s skin infection at home with over-the-counter ointments, DiGiacomo advises against it. “Topical medications such as antibiotic creams and ointments should be avoided in cats, as most cats will lick and ingest the topical medication,” she warns.

Fracture or Dislocation

Fractures and dislocations of the tail are often seen with trauma, such as getting hit by a car or getting the tail inadvertently stuck in a door, says Skadron. Sometimes symptoms—such as a drooping tail—make this type of injury easy to spot. But these injuries are not as obvious as something like bite wounds, so a veterinarian may need to perform an x-ray to discover a fracture or dislocation.

While minor tail fractures can often heal on their own, more serious injuries might require amputation, Skadron says. While this may sound scary, she notes that most cats “do just fine” after surgery and that they’re able to adapt and function surprisingly well without a tail.


Although not as common as other injuries, your cat may experience a degloving injury if he or she is hit or dragged by a car. Degloving is when “an extensive amount of skin is torn away from the underlying tissue on the tail,” Skadron explains. These injuries can be very serious, and require immediate treatment by a veterinarian. According to an article on treating degloving injuries from the peer-reviewed journal Clinician’s Brief, skin, tissue, muscle, and even bone can be torn away by friction, and debris and bacteria can be embedded in the wound, causing infection.

Due to these factors, degloving injuries in cats usually require surgery. “The treatment for a degloving injury is usually amputation of the tail to the point where there is normal tissue,” Skadron says.

“Fan Belt” Injuries

“I’ve also seen a number of cats with what we call ‘fan belt’ injuries,” DiGiacomo says. “This happens in cold weather when a cat seeks out the warmth of a recently parked car engine. When the car is re-started, the tail can be trapped and pulled into the running car engine.” This type of injury can cause paralysis of the tail and nerve damage. And even more concerning, “this can sometimes injure the nerves that supply the bladder, so the cat may be unable to urinate,” DiGiacomo explains.

The usual treatment for fan belt injuries is tail amputation. It’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary care, especially if your cat is unable to urinate. While tail amputation can be effective in restoring a cat’s bladder function, fan belt injuries sometimes do irreparable damage and may even lead to death.

Self-Mutilation of the Tail

Some cat tail injuries are also the result of self-mutilation. Flea allergies, food allergies, and stress may contribute to this type of injury, says DiGiacomo. “But less commonly, self mutilation of the tail may be caused by a condition called feline hyperesthesia syndrome,” she says.

Feline hyperesthesia syndrome, DiGiacomo explains, is a “poorly understood condition where cats exhibit twitching or ‘rolling’ of the skin and fur along the spine.” This can cause the cat extreme discomfort, which may prompt him or her to “severely self-traumatize the skin.” Veterinarians will often treat this condition with gabapentin, she says, a pain relief medication also used to treat seizures.

Self-mutilation related to simple skin irritation can be treated the same way as a skin infection, with antibiotics and occasionally steroids prescribed by a veterinarian. And with any kind of self-mutilation, you may have to employ the trusty “cone of shame” as well: “Sometimes an Elizabethan collar [is required] to prevent self-trauma until the skin heals,” DiGiacomo says.