Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Flea and Tick Season

Flea and Tick Season

Now that it’s finally spring, fleas and ticks are out in even greater number. It’s important for all pet owners to understand these parasites as well as the symptoms they transmit. Although these parasites can be annoying and even deadly, taking a proactive approach to parasite management will ensure they don’t harm your pet.

Symptoms of Fleas in Companion Animals

Fleas are wingless creatures that can survive for up to 12 weeks. Although they are microscopic in size and usually not visible to the human eye, fleas can jump as high as two feet. They attach to your dog or cat because they can’t survive for long or reproduce without a living host. The following symptoms are common indications of a flea infestation:

  • Sneezing, watery eyes, or a runny nose
  • Licking, biting, or scratching more than usual
  • The appearance of sand grains or dark specks in your pet’s fur
  • The appearance of tiny white eggs in your pet’s feces
  • Patches of missing fur
  • Scabs or hot spots
  • Pale appearance to the gums

Fleas continually reproduce after locating a living host. They can store blood at a rate that’s 15 times the weight of their own body, which puts your pet at risk of anemia from the blood loss. If your dog or cat is already prone to allergies, he could develop allergic flea dermatitis due to flea infestation. This can cause serious health complications.

A Tick Bite Can Be a Death Sentence

Ticks typically live in bushes, trees, and grass. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for them to land on your pet’s body without you knowing it. A tick is a parasite that requires blood from its host for survival. Although ticks are larger than fleas, you probably won’t notice one on your pet until it has become engorged with her blood. This is called the incubation period. During this time, your dog or cat could develop tick paralysis, Lyme disease, or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It’s important to check your pet for ticks daily so you can remove one before it has the chance to inflict such damage.

The most common symptoms of a tick bite include appetite loss, fever, swelling, arthritis, and general lethargy. The exact symptoms often depend on which type of disease the tick has transmitted to your pet.

Do Your Part to Prevent Fleas and Ticks

Keeping your grass, trees, and bushes well-maintained in the warm weather months is essential to cut down on the tick population. It’s also a good idea to use a special flea comb on your pet daily. If your pet spends time outdoors, be sure to wash his bedding and toys in hot water once a week.

If you don’t already have your pet on year-round flea and tick control, we recommend that you start now. Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo would be happy to recommend a parasite prevention plan based on your pet’s lifestyle and other individual factors.

Photo Credit: Pixabay


Spring into Summer Safety

When you see 15 inches of snow fall in the middle of April, it’s hard to believe that summer will ever arrive. Yet here we are in May with temperatures frequently above 80 degrees. That means that we finally get to spend time outside with our pets. It can be hard to switch to a mindset of warm weather safety when we have experienced cold for so long. The tips below will help you and your pet to have a safer summer.

Spring into Summer Safety

Dogs and Swimming

While many breeds of dogs can swim instinctively, this isn’t true of all breeds. Those with broad chests or small hindquarters can have an especially difficult time. We encourage you to remain in the water with your dog and to stay an arm’s length away or less to ensure you can reach her if you notice signs of distress. Your dog should wear a (dog-approved) life vest when on a boat just like all other passengers.

Lawn and Garden

When you mow the lawn or work in your garden, keep your pet in the house if possible. Several types of chemicals and lawn and garden products can be harmful to her, including slug and snail bait, insecticides, and mulch. The chemicals contained in some of these can cause tremors, seizure, and even death. Using organic products is a good alternative. It’s also important to be aware that your pet could investigate outdoor rodent traps or poisons and become injured or significantly ill. If you do choose to use them make sure that your pet can’t access those specific areas.

Picnic Food

Summer is a wonderful season for having outdoor get togethers with friends. If your pet is around, she will probably be ever vigilant for people dropping a tasty morsel or two. The smells could get so tempting that she might even go after what’s on the grill. To avoid illness, a burn injury, or a choking situation, keep your pet contained away from the food or in the house. You should also let your guests know that they shouldn’t feed her any human food. (And, keep an eye on the trash - a curious and quick pet can get into garbage when you least expect it!)

Summer Parasite Control

Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and heartworm can be a huge problem for pets during the summer because they’re more prevalent in the warmer weather. Their presence has become much more visible in the past couple of weeks, due to our warmer temperatures.

Unfortunately, fleas can survive a couple of months, even without a living host. They can easily get into your bedding, carpet, or furniture, so make sure that you vacuum frequently and wash anything your pet has touched in warm water. A dog or cat with fleas may display excessive itching and body sores. If you think your pet could possibly have fleas, please contact us, as both your pet and your home will need treatment.

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, AnaplasmosisEhrlichiosis and other serious health conditions to your pet. The warmth of your pet’s skin folds is especially attractive to them. Don’t forget to do a tick check of your pet’s body daily by running your hands from his head to tail and checking the underside, paws, and ears as well.

Heartworm is just one of several types of worms that can inflict serious damage. Some of the indications your pet could have heartworm are fatigue, difficulty breathing, refusal to eat, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fortunately, with monthly preventive medication, the risk of contracting heartworm is very small.

Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo carries several parasite control products and at your next visit, we'll assess your pet and then make appropriate recommendations. Prevention is definitely the best course of action to keeping your pet flea, tick and heartworm free. Our Cedar Pet Clinic Veterinarians will suggest a product for your pet based on her age, health and lifestyle.

If you experience an emergency with your pet this summer or would like more seasonal safety tips, please contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo at 651-770-3250.

Photo Credit: mheim3011

Get to Know Your Lake Elmo Vets on World Veterinary Day

Celebrates World Veterinary Day

April 28th is World Veterinary Day. Every April, we take a day to celebrate how important veterinarians are for the health of not just our pets, but for all animals. Our doctors are a group of curious, committed and passionate people with lifelong love for animals. They are dedicated to providing the best care possible for your pets, through continuing education, high standards, and commitment to ongoing education.

This year on World Veterinary Day, we asked our veterinarians to tell us what inspired their veterinary career. Read on to learn how each of our veterinarians at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo got started in their career as advocates, healers, and scientists - a.k.a. veterinarians.

Dr. John

Dr. John Baillie

As a child, I got interested in veterinary medicine because of a old beagle named Penny who would seek the neighborhood veterinarians help for her ear problems. I thought that anyone who got that kind of reaction from his dog must work in a really great profession. After graduation from vet school in 1972, I worked at several practices on a relief basis before starting Cedar Pet Clinic in 1973 in South Minneapolis, and opening the second location in Lake Elmo in 1996. I like to say that being a veterinarian at Cedar Pet Clinic is the only full time job I’ve ever had, and our attitude towards veterinary medicine has always been “we’ll see anything that fits through the door” which has made for a very interesting career treating dogs, cats, and many exotic animals as well. I have guest lectured at the University of Minnesota since 1978, and I am especially proud of the number of employees that have gone on to become veterinarians and continue to practice and care for animals including two of my current associates, Dr. Plantz and Dr, Keller.


Dr. Noemi

Dr. Noemi Plantz

When I was about 10 years old, my cousin and I spent the majority of a summer helping my Aunt Joyce bottle raise a litter of 4 kittens whose mother cat had been hit by a car and died. I picked my favorite kitten, which was a brown tabby with an abnormal eye and named him Tiger. Throughout the summer he flourished and I convinced my mom to let me take him home when he was old enough. He got the goofy eye removed when he was neutered and that one eyed cat lived with me for 19 years. Watching him survive from a situation many kittens wouldn’t have and live a normal life despite only having one eye (and later we realized, probably only one kidney), inspired me to go into veterinary medicine and become a veterinarian. I will never forget those days where I first started to learn the importance of caring for animals.


Dr. Erika

Dr. Erika Olson

I have always been the type of person who loves to understand how things work and why things are the way they are, especially in nature. The more you know about how something works, the easier it is to solve problems when things go wrong. In high school and college I really enjoyed all my biology classes, here was a subject that helped me explore the how and why of the natural world. Veterinary medicine was a natural fit for me as someone with an interest in animals, domestic and non-domestic, and an interest in understanding how things work. The field of veterinary medicine is always changing; there is always a new drug or new test or a new type of equipment to lean about that makes it easier, safer or more efficient for us to provide care for our patients. This is another aspect of veterinary medicine that has always appealed to me. I loved the idea of getting into a field that would always have new things to offer and would constantly give me opportunities to continue to learn and improve.


Dr. Kirstin

Dr. Kirstin Keller

Ever since I was a child, I have always had a love of animals, large or small. At get togethers, you could always find me snuggling with the animals instead of playing with the other kids (or even to this day, socializing with the other adults!) I was never sure I wanted to go into veterinary medicine, because I wasn’t sure I could work somewhere I would see animals hurting. It was not until I started working at Cedar Pet Clinic that I began to understand how much of veterinary medicine is about solving puzzles and helping animals. From that point on, I could not get enough. Every day in veterinary practice brings something different; I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Dr. Charlie

Dr. Charlie Cosimini

As a child I grew up with a bit of a menagerie in my house. Birds, lizards, fish, frogs, rabbits, and dogs all shared the house with my family at one point or another. But as a child I never really thought about being a veterinarian, and it wasn't until high school when I had my first biology class that I became enamored with pursuing a career in science and medicine. Around this time I was reading books by James Herriot, which take place in a veterinary field predominated by cattle and horses, and not the exotic spectrum of life I loved as a child. So for awhile I thought I would work with animals in some other capacity, either as a researcher or zoologist. It wasn't until college when I was inspired by a class on comparative vertebrate anatomy that I realized the best way to work with and help animals directly was to pursue veterinary medicine. As a veterinarian, I could work with all the myriad animals of my childhood and help other families keep their furry, scaly, and feathered friends happy and healthy. After that point I focused exclusively on getting into veterinary school and soon enrolled at the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. But the reality of veterinary medicine soon came into focus; there aren't many places where you can really work with the full diversity of life. Fortunately, I did find out about one such place during a lunchtime lecture on exotic animal medicine from Dr. Plantz; Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo, and that's where I am today.


The Best Care for Your Pet

All of our veterinarians at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo are dedicated to providing outstanding care for your pet. Their love of animals and their commitment to delivering top-quality veterinary services is evident at every appointment. Contact us (https://cedarpetclinic.com/contact-us) to learn more or to book an appointment for your pet.

Photo Credit: didesign021 / 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)