Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Top 10 Signs of Cancer in Pets


Our pets suffer from many of the same diseases that we do, including cancer. However, their human family members sometimes mistake cancer symptoms for typical signs of aging since cats and dogs age at an accelerated rate compared to human aging. While some of the symptoms described below can also occur with aging, it’s important to schedule an appointment for your cat, dog, or exotic pet at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you notice new or unusual symptoms.

Unfortunately, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in companion animals and it is especially prevalent in older dogs. As with most diseases, early detection greatly increases options for treatment and improved quality of life and time with you. We urge you to familiarize yourself with these common cancer symptoms, especially since November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.

  1. Any appetite change, including the refusal to eat or showing little interest in eating
  2. Bodily discharge such as vomit, pus, blood, or diarrhea
  3. Persistent cough, difficulty catching their breath, and sometimes gasping to get air into the lungs
  4. Offensive odor emanating from open masses or wounds
  5. Lethargy, included an unwillingness to play or exercise. If your pet is suddenly sleeping more or seems depressed, don’t write it off to old age. It could be one of the earliest signs of cancer
  6. Enlarged or bloated abdomen
  7. A wound that doesn’t heal as expected could be one of the first signs of skin cancer in pets. A cut or wound could also heal initially and then return and scab over repeatedly
  8. Suddenly favoring some limbs over others or a limp when walking
  9. Unexpected and sudden weight loss
  10. Any new mass on your pet’s body

These ten items are not an exhaustive list of cancer symptoms, and may be signs of other disease. It's important to pay attention to any clues your pet provides to you about his or her health, and call us if you've noticed changes.

A Proactive Approach is Best

Even if you feel sure that your pet is simply aging and doesn’t have cancer, it’s better to rule it out than to assume. A cancer diagnosis catches most pet owners by surprise. The good news is that pet cancer doesn’t always mean a fatal outcome. The earlier we can diagnose a specific type of cancer in your pet, the more likely we will be able to treat it and help him feel comfortable. Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo will do everything possible to give you more years with your beloved companion.

Image credit: Neniia Lanti / iStock / Getty Images Plus

How to Help Your Pet with the Stress of Halloween


Halloween can be a stressful holiday for pets. They have no way of understanding why kids dress in costumes or why the doorbell doesn’t seem to stop ringing. The weeks leading up to the holiday can make them feel anxious with the new-to-them decorations, goodies, and other objects which may heighten curiosity. Fortunately, you can take several steps to make the season more enjoyable for your dog or cat.

Never Share Halloween Treats with Pets

It can be hard to resist sharing a piece of candy with your pet when he looks up at you with sad eyes. You might think it’s harmless, but even a small amount of a treat meant for people can be toxic for your pet. He could suffer immediate gastrointestinal distress, which could include symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. An increased heart rate, rapid rate of breathing, and even seizures can also happen.

Dogs and cats don’t always know what’s good for them and often watch carefully for someone to drop a treat on the floor. Your pet may feel so tempted that she breaks into a candy bag and ingests wrappers or sticks along with the treats. It can quickly turn into a life-threatening situation if something becomes stuck in your pet’s throat and blocks her airways. To avoid these problems, don’t give in when your pet begs and keep all seasonal treats out of her reach.

Costumes: Yea! or Nay?

Few things are as adorable as a pet in a Halloween costume. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun as long as you’re careful. Be certain that the costume doesn’t cover your pet’s eyes or prevent breathing in any way. Also, supervise him closely to ensure that he doesn’t chew off parts of the costume and potentially choke on it. Pay attention to your pet's comfort level, and if you notice extra stress, remove the costume.

Keep Your Pet Away from Lit Pumpkins

A carved, lit jack-o-lantern is a beautiful, festive sight on Halloween night! If you choose to place a burning candle inside a pumpkin, make sure that your pet doesn’t go anywhere near it. A dog could knock it to the ground with an enthusiastic tail wag and a curious cat could burn herself sniffing a new object. An artificial candle that you can turn on and off (but still kept far out of reach) might be a better idea.

Keep Your Pets Indoors

The commotion at the front door could cause even the most docile pet to act aggressively or escape out the door to get away from it. Before Halloween arrives, select an area of the house well away from the door for your pet to hang out until after the trick-or-treating ends, perhaps enriched with calming music and a favorite toy or treat. The same is true if you decide to host a party. Another good reason to keep your pets inside is that someone could steal them or play a cruel prank. Black cats are especially in danger this time of year.

Seek Immediate Help for a Sick or Injured Pet

Some dogs and cats are very determined and their curiosity can get them into medical trouble despite your best efforts. If your pet becomes sick or injured on Halloween, be sure to contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo during regular business hours at 651-770-3250 or one of the following after-hours emergency veterinary clinics:

  • After Hours Veterinary Care, St. Paul, 651-487-3255
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center, Oakdale, 651-501-3766
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center, St. Paul, 651-293-1800

We wish your entire family (both two-legged and four!) a safe and happy Halloween!

Image credit: Adogslifephoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Veterinary Technician Week


Veterinary technicians work hard every day to support the veterinarians they work with and to provide sick and injured animals with the best possible care. Recognizing this, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians started an appreciation week in 1993. 

Now in its 25th year, National Veterinary Technician’s Week is an opportunity for clinic staff and pet owners to show their appreciation for the excellent service that vet techs provide every day. At Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo, we would not be able to provide the level of care you have come to expect for your pet without the support of our nine vet techs.

No Two Days are the Same in the Life of a Vet Tech

As anyone who works in the veterinary field can tell you, the days move fast and unexpected changes are par for the course. That means veterinary technicians must be experts at prioritizing care and managing stress. They also assist in facilitating routine pet health care, including the following:

  • Administer medication, give vaccines, take X-rays, and collect laboratory specimens
  • Provide first aid 
  • Speak to pet owners to learn more about the animal’s health history
  • Help to prepare pets for surgery
  • Assist with keeping pets calm and restraining them for their safety

Veterinary technicians are often the first point of contact that our clients have with our staff beyond our client care team. Our Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo veterinary technicians have a special gift of helping both you and your pet feel comfortable in our care.

What Makes a Good Veterinary Technician?

People typically go into this line of work because they love animals and want to help them. When hiring a new vet tech, one of the first things we look for is a sense of compassion for pets and their families. Other important skills include the ability to communicate important information to clients, problem-solving abilities, and detail orientation. At Cedar Pet Clinic, all of our veterinary technicians are certified, meaning they attended either a two-year or a four-year education program and participate in continuing education every year.

Meet Our Team

We are proud of our team of dedicated veterinary technicians at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo. Please allow us to introduce them to you:

  • Jayde, 11 years of service
  • Kathleen, 6 years of service
  • Kelly, 6 years of service
  • Kristen, 7 years of service
  • Maggie, 5 years of service
  • Michelle, 10 years of service
  • Roxy, 1 year of service
  • Sarah, 6 years of service
  • Sue, 32 years of service
  • Nancy, our newest team member, since July 2018

Each of our vet techs loves pets so much that she shares her home with at least one furry friend!

Feel Free to Express Your Thanks

Veterinary Technician Week 2018 runs from Sunday, October 14 to Saturday, October 21. Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo plans to celebrate throughout the week. We also encourage you to thank a vet tech if you get the chance, and we thank you for entrusting our clinicwith the care of your beloved pets.

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)