Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

April is Heartworm Awareness Month

Your dog or cat can acquire heartworm disease from an infected mosquito. It takes just a single bite. Once inside your pet’s body, the heartworm can reproduce and grow up to 12 inches long. Now that the warm weather season is here, your pet has an even greater likelihood of being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Heartworm Awareness Month

When to Start Heartworm Protection
Heartworm are far more prevalent in dogs than they are in cats. However, a cat’s lower body weight and smaller size means that heartworm infestation is more likely to cause death. Prevention is essential since no heartworm protocol currently exists for cats. Puppies can start taking heartworm prevention medication by the age of two months. They don’t need to complete testing while still so young. We do recommend any puppy over age six months has a negative result on a heartworm test before starting any type of prevention product.

Getting a heartworm test for your dog or puppy is a simple procedure that only requires us to obtain a blood sample. With cats, several blood tests may be necessary before one of our veterinarians can make a definitive diagnosis. Kittens can begin a preventive product as soon as they meet the age and weight requirements printed on the product instructions. Most kittens are ready to begin heartworm prevention by nine weeks of age.

Heartworm Symptoms in Dogs and Cats
Dogs with heartworm tend to show varied symptoms due to where the heartworm is located within their body. Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue, with or without exertion
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

With cats, the first sign of heartworm can be difficulty breathing or sudden death. Some pets don’t show any signs of heartworm infestation at all. Keep in mind that even indoor pets still need protection from heartworm disease since it’s easy for infected mosquitos to get inside your home.

How We Treat Dogs for Heartworm Disease
The first step after we identify heartworm in your dog is for him to complete a course of heartworm preventives, antibiotics, and steroids. Once those are complete, he needs to come to Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo several times over the next 60 days for a series of injections that kill adult heartworms. We will need to observe your dog after each injection as well. Approximately six months later, we ask you to bring your dog in for a follow-up. We will check to make sure that no more adult worms or larvae are present.

We Are Happy to Recommend a Specific Heartworm Prevention Product
The effects of heartworm disease can be devastating, but the good news is that it’s entirely preventable. The staff at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo is happy to recommend a specific brand or type of heartworm prevention product based on your pet’s age, lifestyle, and other factors. If you have additional questions about parasite control or need a demonstration on how to administer medication, please contact us to request an appointment.

2017 Food Drive - The Numbers Are In!

2017 Food DriveFor the seventh consecutive year, Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo partnered with Valley Outreach to collect pet food during the Minnesota FoodShare drive in March. Valley Outreach is a community service organization in Stillwater that provides a food shelf, emergency assistance fund, and a clothing closet to people in the community experiencing temporary financial difficulty.

We are so pleased to announce that this year, thanks to the incredible generosity of our clients and community, we collected 1,080 pounds of food and more than $500 in cash and checks. These contributions support local families and individuals experiencing hardship and allow them to continue caring for their companion animals. We are awed and thrilled by the support this campaign received and sincerely thank everyone for participating.

Anyone can experience a hardship that makes it difficult to continue caring for their pet, such as losing their job or experiencing a health crisis. Helping our neighbors through the hurdle means they don't have to surrender the pet. It's better for the animal, the family, and our entire community to keep pets and their people together. Thanks to your support, that is exactly what what we were able to accomplish.

Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo looks forward to partnering with Valley Outreach again in 2018.

Calm During Thunderstorms


It’s early spring in Minnesota, which means that it will soon be thunderstorm season. As adults, we have the advantage of knowing that most thunderstorms just make a lot of noise and will soon pass. Since dogs and cats have no way of knowing that, they often become extremely frightened at the first sign of a storm. Having empathy for your pet is important, but offering too much comfort can reinforce her anxiety. Your pet can pick up your own nervousness, so be sure to take a matter-of-fact approach to the storm as you wait it out with your pet.

Provide a Safe Place for Your Pet to Retreat
You know your pet’s personality best. Some dogs and cats prefer to stay right by their owner’s side while others will run for a hiding place as soon as they hear thunder. If your pet falls into the latter category, prepare him a safe place indoors where he can retreat until the storm has passed. It can be a crate for dogs, a bathroom closet, the corner of a bedroom, or any quiet place where he feels safe. If you think your pet will feel trapped and become more anxious in a closet or bedroom, be sure to leave the door open just a crack.

Other At-Home Solutions
Soothing music, background noise from the television, or even the hum of a washing machine can drown out the noise from the storm and make your pet feel more at ease. If your pet stays close to you, try playing with her as you normally would. Toss a tennis ball for your dog or get your cat to chase some string to distract her from the anxiety she feels.

Thunder vests are another possible solution for your pet’s anxiety. They fit snugly on the body and target pressure points that calm the nerves. It’s similar to swaddling a crying baby. Thunder vests can help in other anxiety-provoking situations as well, such as fireworks and visiting the veterinarian.

Condition Your Pet to Accept the Noise
You may be able to train your pet to tolerate thunderstorms by conditioning him to the noise. Search online or at a local store for a compact disc that plays thunderstorm sounds. On the first day, play the sounds at a very low volume and go about your normal activities. If your dog or cat shows fearful behavior, re-direct him to a pleasant activity but otherwise don’t give the behavior any attention. Increase the volume of the CD each day until it approaches that of a real thunderstorm.

We Can Help in Cases of Severe Anxiety
Some pets won’t respond to any of these methods to reduce anxiety and may need medication to cope with storms. We encourage you to schedule an appointment at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo to discuss your concerns. We can prescribe anti-anxiety medications if your pet needs it or help you come up with other solutions.


Image credit: sadetgr / 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

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1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128


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