Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Five Common Myths About Rabies


Thanks to mandatory rabies vaccination laws and widespread compliance, rabies is not the prevalent disease that it once was. Even so, it is a deadly and frightening disease. People often fear what they don’t understand, and rabies is no exception. We encourage you to learn the truth about rabies so you can feel confident you’re doing everything possible to protect your pet. We debunk five of the most common myths about rabies below.
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About Rabies

Many people believe that an animal who is bitten by another animal with rabies doesn’t have the disease until the infection spreads to the brain. The reality is that your pet would have rabies from the moment of contact with an infected animal. The disease has an incubation period ranging from 10 to 60 days. Not only does the infection reach the brain in that time, it can also spread to your pet’s central nervous system and muscle tissues. The location and severity of the bite can affect the length of the incubation period and where the infection spreads.Five Common Myths About Rabies
Unfortunately, a bite from an animal infected with rabies is not the only way your pet can acquire it. The other animal can transmit rabies just by having saliva on the claws and scratching your pet. Many pet owners are unaware of this and continue to believe a direct bite is the only method of transmission.

Another common fallacy people believe about rabies is that stray dogs are the only carriers. Any unvaccinated pet can potentially be a carrier, as can wild animals such as foxes, wolves, and racoons. 

The media often portrays a dog with rabies foaming at the mouth, which means some people are only familiar with this symptom. This is a late-stage rabies symptom and animals this far advanced need to be euthanized for their comfort and the safety of others. A domestic pet infected with rabies will show other symptoms long before this. The most common ones include abrupt changes in behavior, lack of appetite, seizures, disorientation, and paralysis in the hind legs. 

Protect Your Pet Today
The myth we really want to put to rest at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo is that getting a rabies vaccine is painful for your pet and causes serious side effects. While a vaccine could cause mild effects such as fatigue, this passes quickly. We check your pet’s rabies vaccine status at every preventive care exam and give a shot or booster accordingly. The mild discomfort she may feel is much better than acquiring the painful, deadly disease of rabies.
Image credit:  SasPartout | iStock / Getty Images Plus

Could Your Dog or Cat Have Hot Spots?

Acute moist dermatitis is a skin condition in dogs and cats that develops in response to bacteria and moisture. It’s more commonly known as hot spots. If your dog has this common problem, you will probably notice him biting, licking, or scratching the area to make it feel better. This doesn’t work and can make the hot spot even more uncomfortable. Allergies to outdoor allergens, grooming products, fleas and less commonly food are common causes of hot spots, as are bites from a tick.
Hot Spots
Although your dog or cat can get hot spots any time of year, they’re more prevalent in the summer months. Animals get overheated too, but they don’t sweat like we do. This creates a moist and warm environment for bacteria to develop and grow. We encourage you to stick to a consistent grooming schedule for your pet as this can help you detect hot spots sooner or even prevent them in the first place. 
How to Know if Your Pet Has Hot Spots
In addition to intense biting, licking, or scratching mentioned above, dogs and cats with hot spots typically exhibit some of these symptoms:
  • Red, scaly, or raised scabs
  • Skin around the hot spot appears red or brown
  • Unexplained swelling
  • Unpleasant odor coming from a specific area on your pet’s body
  • Oozing or pus-filled sores
Please contact us for an immediate evaluation if you notice some or all of these symptoms. We also check for hot spots during your pet’s routine physical examination.

Hot Spot Treatment and Prevention
Regular grooming and practicing year-round parasite protection are both essential to prevent hot spots. Matted fur attracts moisture and parasites, so be sure to keep it combed and free of knots. Occasionally, a pet develops hot spots due to biting, licking, and scratching caused by a behavioral concern rather than having moisture and bacteria on the skin. We can help you whether the cause is a medical or behavioral one.

When the staff at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo notice a hot spot on your dog or cat, we trim the fur surrounding it and use a mild anesthetic to clean in. We may prescribe cortisone cream for pets who can’t seem to stop itching. We can also recommend parasite prevention and grooming products to help you keep your pet as comfortable as possible this summer. After all, it’s a short season and we want to see both of you enjoy it. 
Image Credit:  dimirek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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

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