Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Fascinating Facts About Chickens

From Silkies to Bantams, chickens are eggcellent pets. They’re bright, goofy, social animals, and of course, they lay eggs! What more could you ask for in a feathered friend? We love caring for birds of all sorts, but especially chickens!

1. Chickens Outnumber People

There are over seven billion humans on Earth, but there are even more chickens. For every person roaming our planet, there are three chickens, totaling around 23 billion. Not only are there more chickens than people, but there are more chickens than any other bird species. If you added up every chicken’s weight and ALL other bird species’ weight, chickens would topple the scale. Now that’s a lot of clucking.

2. Chickens Have Been Part of the Human Experience for Quite Some Time

It’s difficult to imagine wild chickens, but a long, long time ago, they roamed freely. Chickens were domesticated between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago. More fascinating is that chickens were not a primary food source for much of that time. Archeologists believe that it was only 2,200 years ago that chickens became a popular meal for humans. Before that, they were used for entertainment and rituals.

3. Chickens Can Live Longer Than Most People Realize

When well-cared for and protected from predators, chickens can live between 10 and 12 years. To ensure your chickens live their best lives, they’ll need regular vet visits. We love chickens and are happy to be a part of keeping them happy and healthy.

4. What Do a Chicken, Ostrich, and T-Rex Have in Common?

They’re all related! While you may not see this unusual group gathering around a grill for a family reunion, chickens and ostriches are the closest living relatives of the T-Rex. In 2003, two scientists named Jack Horner and Mary Schweitzer discovered collagen in a T-Rex femur. When they tested the material, they found that its genetic make-up was most similar to these two very different modern birds.

5. Chicks Can Recognize Their Mother’s Voice at Birth

Have you ever wondered how a mother hen can tell her chickens apart from the rest? There’s a good chance that the chicks are doing all the work. Before hatching, chicks can hear their mother’s clucks and coos, and by the time they break through their shells, they have memorized that voice. Recognizing their momma helps chicks stay close and safe, playing a significant role in surviving chick-hood.

6. Chickens Can See More Colors Than Humans

Unlike many other animals, chickens can see the full red, blue, and green wavelengths that human eyes can. But what is even more impressive is they can also see ultraviolet wavelengths, which we cannot. This neat superpower allows them to experience life in chicken-HD.

If you have chickens ready for their annual exams, we are happy to provide your feathered friends with eggcellent care. Just give us a call!

Photo Credit: Souvik Pradhan / Pexels

When Your Dog Gets Tricked Instead of Treated: Xylitol Poisoning

You may have never heard of xylitol, but we sure have. Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in a wide range of commonly used products like toothpaste and sugar-free candies. While this substance makes brushing your teeth more pleasant, it is highly toxic to dogs. Before your little ones bring home their Halloween haul or Grandma arrives for Thanksgiving with a handbag full of breath mints, plan to protect your pets from a life-threatening accident. What do dog dads and moms need to know about this hidden household poison?

Why Is Xylitol Dangerous for Dogs?

Over 6,000 dogs experience xylitol poisoning each year. This fake sugar is more toxic than chocolate to pups.

When a dog eats a product that contains xylitol, it’s rapidly absorbed into their bloodstream. It then triggers the pancreas to release a significant amount of insulin. The sudden rush of insulin causes a drop in blood sugar, resulting in hypoglycemia and a dangerously low level of phosphate and potassium. This disruption to your dog’s system can cause liver damage, liver failure, and even death.

Xylitol’s destruction is quick. Your dog can go into hypoglycemic shock in as little as ten minutes, and most dogs experience toxicity symptoms within 30 minutes.

How Much Xylitol Is Too Much?

Any amount of xylitol is dangerous for pets. The equivalent of half of a sugar packet can cause hypoglycemia for a dog that is ten pounds or lighter, and about two packets can be fatal. Just under one and a half packets of xylitol are enough to cause hypoglycemia in a 30-pound dog. This is all to say that allowing your dog to access any products with xylitol is extremely risky.

Is Xylitol Dangerous for Other Pets?

As of this publication, studies show that xylitol is not toxic for cats, and there are not any cases of small companions like ferrets or rabbits being poisoned by this sweet substance. However, all pet owners should be cautious and not allow their furry friends to nibble on food or treats sweetened with xylitol.

What Products Contain Xylitol?

Many sugar-free products use xylitol as an alternative sweetener. While it can be found in gum, sugar-free candies, gummy vitamins, it’s not always listed as “xylitol” on the ingredients list. It can also be called “birch sugar” and “alcohol sugar.”

The most common household products that contain xylitol include:

  • Sugar-free candy and chewing gum
  • Breath mints
  • Mouthwash
  • Vitamins
  • Cough syrup
  • Sugar-free peanut butter
  • Sugar-free baked goods, ice cream, and other desserts
  • Toothpaste
  • Supplements

What Are the Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning?

The most common symptoms of xylitol poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination
  • Lethargy
  • Seizure
  • Collapse 
  • Trouble Walking

Dogs will often look drunk, out of it, and stagger around after consuming xylitol.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Experiencing Xylitol Poisoning?

If you suspect your dog has consumed a product containing xylitol, rub corn syrup or real maple syrup on their gums to try raising their blood sugar level. Then bring your dog into our office or an emergency vet ASAP. If you find wrappers or evidence of what your dog ate, take them with you.

How Can You Prevent Xylitol Poisoning?

Keep your dog’s paws off xylitol. Keep all sweets and dental products in a safe, secure location where your dog cannot get into them. If you’re expecting house guests for the holidays, be sure their luggage and handbags are securely kept away from your curious canine, and remind them of your human-food hand-out policy.

When brushing your dog’s teeth, never use toothpaste made for humans. Pet-friendly toothpaste is the only appropriate choice for brushing your buddy’s teeth.

Always read the labels of any products you give your dog. Sugar-free peanut butter is one of the most common culprits of xylitol poisoning in canines.

Have a Happy Howl-o-Ween and Thankful Thanksgiving

Keep your best buddy safe by keeping the candies out of paws’ reach. If you have questions about xylitol poisoning, we have answers. If you suspect your dog isn’t feeling well or is acting funny, give us a call immediately. Your quick action could save their life.

Photo Credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

What You Should Know About Pet Laser Therapy

Veterinary laser therapy is an innovative way to promote healing and improve a pet’s quality of life. This sophisticated treatment can do wonders for senior pets, post-operative patients, and companions that struggle with chronic pain. If you’re curious about this exciting and effective technique, keep reading to learn the secrets behind veterinary laser therapy.

How Does Laser Therapy Work?

Lasers have been used to help humans heal and recover quickly for decades, and they’re not the scary sci-fi ray guns one might imagine. These lasers are designed to operate at specific wavelengths that promote healing and encourage cells to regain healthy function.

The light used in laser therapy penetrates skin to reach joints and muscles, causing a chemical reaction within cells. Known as “photobiostimulation,” the reaction stimulates cells to increase their metabolic rate and release pain-relieving endorphins. When cells become active and repaired, inflammation is reduced, and the body begins healing itself.

Laser therapy not only improves cell function but reduces pain through “vasodilation,” the increase of blood flow from relaxed blood vessels. The treatment also decreases pain by activating the lymphatic system, moving fluid away from tissues to reduce inflammation.

Laser therapy has a cumulative effect: the more treatments, the better the results. Sessions are pain-free, and most pets find them extremely relaxing. Often pet parents see an immediate improvement in their pets’ mood, mobility, and level of pain.

What Conditions Can Laser Therapy Treat?

Laser therapy is a non-surgical, medication-free way to improve mobility, quality of life, and healing in animals with a variety of issues, including:

  • Post-operative healing
  • Tissue trauma
  • Muscle, tendon, or ligament injury
  • Arthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Skin infection
  • Gingivitis
  • Hot spots
  • Open wounds or skin irritation
  • Ear infection
  • Musculoskeletal issues
  • Chronic or acute pain

Can Laser Therapy Help Your Pet’s Condition?

If your pet struggles with chronic pain or mobility issues, laser therapy may be a great way to help your best friend get back on their four feet. Unsure if your pet is bothered by aches and soreness? Look for these common signs of chronic pain:

  • Odd gait or limping
  • Difficulty getting up or lying down
  • Circling and trouble getting comfortable
  • Favoring one side while sitting or lying down
  • Less tail-wagging or purring
  • Shaking or trembling muscles
  • Whining, whimpering, and vocalizing
  • Restlessness
  • Licking of paws and joints
  • Lack of appetite
  • Change in mood or disposition

If your pet has any of these symptoms, they may be experiencing pain from aging or undiagnosed illness. Besides helping older pets, we often suggest laser therapy for conditions like injuries and post-operative recovery.

How Can You Schedule an Appointment for Your Pet’s Laser Therapy?

If your pet is suffering from aches and pains, we can help them find relief right away. Scheduling an appointment is easy; give us a call at (651) 770-3250. You can book a consultation to learn more about if laser therapy is right for your pet or schedule their first laser therapy session. Get started on a pain-free life for your pet today.

Photo Credit: Anastasia Zhenina / Pexels

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)