Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Keeping Your Chickens Cool and Safe in the Summer

Back in January, we published a blog post called Caring for Your Chickens in Cold Weather. Now that summer is finally here to stay for a while, we thought it would be a good idea to review some warm weather tips for keeping your chickens comfortable. This is essential because chickens can die from heat stress and hens may not be able to lay eggs. 

It can be hard to know when your chickens are overheated because they don’t have the ability to sweat. That means you have to watch for certain behavior. Just like domesticated animals, chickens pant to release excess body heat. A chicken may be experiencing heat-related illness if it pants heavily and holds its wings away from the body. Listlessness and labored breathing are signs of heatstroke as well. Here are several things you can to do prevent that from happening:

  • Make sure your chickens have plenty of space in their coop. Because a chicken’s natural body temperature is 107 degrees, they release a lot of heat and moisture in a small space. It will be hard for them to stay cool if you have too many birds in too small of a space. If you keep full-sized birds, plan to allow four square feet for each one. 
  • Place the coop and run in the shade if possible. Under a tree is ideal, as is the shade thrown by another building. Setting up the coop and run to take advantage of a natural breeze can also help to keep chickens cool and comfortable. Good ventilation is essential, so make sure air moves freely to remove heat and moisture. If the air seems stifled, consider placing a fan in the coop to improve ventilation.
  • Your chickens need access to fresh, clean drinking water to stay healthy and hydrated in the summer months. Be sure to check the temperature of the water often and replace if it has become too warm to drink. Your chickens will drink more when the water is cool. Keeping drinking water in the shade helps to keep it cool naturally.
  • A layer of fabric or straw on top of the run provides additional shade for your chickens. Tarps can serve this purpose also and have the added benefit of blocking the sun’s heat. You may also want to consider keeping a mist bottle in the coop and spraying it throughout the day.

Please schedule an appointment with Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you’re concerned that your chickens have become overheated or would like more information on their care. 
 
Image Credit:  Getty Images

Summer Pet Safety

Like the other three seasons, summer presents unique challenges for pet health and safety. Below are some best practices to ensure a fun and stress-free summer for your entire family, including your pets. With Memorial Day coming up, the official start of summer is just around the corner.

Summer Pet SafetyFlea and Tick Control During the Summer
Fleas and ticks don’t take seasons off, but they’re especially bothersome in the summer months. Fleas are wingless, microscopic parasites that require a living host for long-term survival and the ability to reproduce. However, they can survive without a host for several days or weeks. That means you may have fleas in your furniture, carpeting, pillows, and any other place that offers them warmth and a place to burrow.

We recommend frequent baths for your pet during the summer to kill fleas. It’s also important to wash his bedding in hot water and vacuum your carpet often. Untreated fleas can cause your pet significant discomfort from itching and possible allergies. Be sure to use a flea prevention product for your pet all year round. We can recommend a flea collar, shampoo, spray, chewable tablet, or another product that fits with your family's lifestyle.

Ticks can introduce life-threatening conditions like Lyme disease to your pet. Although ticks are larger than fleas and easier to see, they can easily hide in the folds of her skin where it’s warmer. Tick control products are essential to keep your pet disease-free this summer. You also need to be vigilant about checking your pet for ticks each day.
If you find one, use a tweezers to remove it quickly with one pull. Twisting as you pull could cause you to leave part of the tick’s body lodged in your pet’s skin.

Lyme Disease Prevention
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to get routine vaccinations for your pet and make sure he uses a tick prevention product. The veterinarians at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo are happy to recommend the best product for your dog or cat based on lifestyle. Keeping your yard well-manicured can discourage ticks as well. If your pet displays any of these common signs of Lyme disease, contact us immediately for an evaluation:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Pain and obvious stiffness when walking
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dramatic change in behavior or personality
  • Swollen lymph nodes or joints

Never Leave a Pet in a Hot Car
On an 80-degree day, it takes just 10 minutes for the interior of your car to reach 120 degrees. A 90-degree day is even more dangerous, with interior temperatures reaching 160 degrees within minutes. Since dogs and cats lack the ability to sweat, they can develop heat stroke quickly. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Extreme thirst
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Refusal to eat
  • Dark tongue and thick saliva
  • Appearing uncoordinated

Make Sure Your Pet Has a Microchip
Fireworks and thunderstorms are both common in summer. Along with loud noises, the general busyness of the season can cause your pet to run off due to the stress. While you can’t always control stressful events for your pet, you can make sure that he has proper identification. Unfortunately, a collar and tag isn’t always adequate since they can slip off.

A microchip embedded in your pet’s skin links to your contact information and can’t be lost. The person who finds your dog or cat just needs to take him to a clinic or shelter to get scanned for a microchip. However, you need to make sure that you keep your contact details up-to-date.

Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo wishes you a happy and healthy summer with your pet. Please contact us at 651-770-3250 with additional questions or to schedule vaccinations or a routine check-up.

Image credit: damedeeso | iStock/Getty Images Plus

What You Need to Know About Canine Distemper

Canine DistemperCanine distemper is an extremely contagious viral disease that can wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal, nervous, and respiratory systems of dogs and puppies. Because of routine vaccinations for distemper, it’s possible that you may have never heard of a dog with the disease. At Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo, we review your dog’s vaccine status at every preventive care exam. We encourage you to get your dog’s original vaccine and boosters on time since not being vaccinated is the biggest risk factor in acquiring this serious disease.

How is Canine Distemper Spread?
Your dog can acquire distemper through contact with the saliva, urine, or blood of another dog who already has it. The disease is not spread between people and animals. Something as simple as being near an infected dog who sneezes or sharing a food bowl may be all it takes for your dog to get distemper. Once she has the virus, it moves quickly through the body and can cause the following symptoms:

  • Persistent coughing or sneezing
  • Loose stools
  • Noticeable discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting

Several species of wild animals can also acquire the virus for distemper. For this reason, it’s important to prevent your dog from having contact with coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and other wild animals commonly found in wooded areas.

A pregnant dog can pass the distemper virus to her unborn puppies via the placenta. An infected dog or puppy can continue to shed the distemper virus for many months. In addition to unvaccinated dogs, puppies who are under four months old are at the highest risk of suffering with the symptoms of distemper.

Treating the Symptoms of Distemper
Please contact us to schedule an appointment if you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog. They don’t necessarily mean he has distemper, but it’s important to rule it out. Our main tools of diagnosis include clinical observation and laboratory testing. At present, no cure for canine distemper exists. We seek to treat your dog’s symptoms and make him as comfortable as possible. This may include anti-nausea medication, medication to stimulate appetite, IV fluids to avoid dehydration, and other methods related to specific symptoms.

When to Get Your Dog’s Distemper Vaccination
If a female dog has been vaccinated for distemper, her puppies receive natural immunity from it. Unfortunately, the protection only lasts about six weeks. This makes the window from six to nine weeks the ideal time to get the first vaccination. It is one of five parts of a core vaccination that also includes adenovirus, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. The second dose should occur by 12 weeks and then the first booster at 12 months. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, adult dogs over age one should get a booster every third year.

Image credit: rabbit75_ist | iStock/Getty Images Plus

After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species
651-487-1941

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128
651-501-3766

 

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
651-293-1800