Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

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

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

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

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
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)