(618) 344-4096 | 2330 South Center, Maryville, Illinois 62062

Great picture of handsome happy Rott’n. tail up and wagging while lodging at the Critter Camp 5/2014. Please note left side of face is clean and healthy.


The following is once again recirculating on the internet from 4 years ago (5/20/14). Our response remains the same:

Rott’n, a 1 ½ year old, 117-pound Malamute was left in our care May 7, 2014. I was in the office with an employee when the Browns came to pick him up on May 13, 2014. There was no mention of him smelling at that time nor did he smell. Very few boarders smell on pick up, except for a few ‘campers’ that are just plain messy. The Critter Camp provides grooming services six days a week however the Browns declined grooming on pick up. Rott’n was ‘happy, waggy’ on pick up and received excellent care during the seven days he was at the Critter Camp. The Browns were pleased and paid $174 cash for the care of Rott’n.

Approximately two and a half hours later I received a call from Ms. Brown, regarding a sore on his face. I advised her that I was not a veterinarian; however it may be a ‘hot spot”, also known as Acute Moist Dermatitis. I advised Ms. Brown that she should call her vet and let me know what they say. Hot spots can appear in mere hours. They look horrible, can become infected and can be painful for the pet. My own lab had one recently at the exact same spot, and I have seen and treated several over the years of being in the pet profession. Please see definition and images of ‘hot spots on dogs’ on the internet.

Dog Owner’s Guide

“Superficial pyoderma, a skin infection known to veterinarians as acute moist dermatitis and to dog owners as hot spots. Hot spots are surface skin infections caused when populations of normal skin bacteria grow and overwhelm normal resistance. They are generally circular patches that lose hair, can be swollen, may exude a smelly pus, and can be painfully itchy, causing the dog to scratch, lick, or bite to the point of self-mutilation. Untreated hot spots can provoke a normally even-tempered dog to growl or nip when touched. These troublesome sores can arise in a matter of hours with no warning.

Dogs most susceptible to hot spots are those with heavy coats and histories of allergies, ear infections, and grooming problems such as hair tangles and mats, but any dog can develop this infection. Dogs may develop hot spots when they shed their undercoats if the dead hair is trapped next to the skin, and dogs with behavior problems may mutilate themselves and thus encourage an infection to become established.”

Rott’n – Continued

On May 14th, the Browns returned to the Critter Camp. I listened to their concerns however when Ms Brown began to become verbally abusive, unreasonable, hostile and I felt threatened, I returned her $174 cash and instructed her to leave the property or else the police would be called.

The Critter Camp provides individual, private kennels for all boarders and rescues. They are free to go in and out at will. I love the ‘fresh air’ and ‘potty when I want’ concept for the dogs. Boarders and rescues are also given daily supervised yard time. Double wide spaces are available for the larger dogs. Rott’n had a double wide. Our kennels are thoroughly cleaned inside and outside daily and all dirty bedding is changed and laundered daily as well. Our staff are pet owners themselves and they are dedicated to the proper and loving care to all our animals, as if they are their own.

There is no time or reason ever that a dog is locked out. The entire premise is climate controlled for the comfort of the animals and our staff. There are 5 central air/furnace units – 2 in the dog kennel area, 9 fans and 3 dehumidifiers. In the event of extreme weather of any kind, procedures are implemented for the safety and comfort of the pets.

The Critter Camp feeds Purina One dry and canned and all boarders are given the opportunity to use our food or bring their own from home. Rott’n brought Alpo and Pedigree canned and Beneful dry. This food has not a preferred brand for the pets we care for but he was given his food as requested by his owners. Rott’n was also given his Prozac medication as instructed by his owners.

Cindy’s Critter Camp has been in the business of boarding, grooming, training, day camp and rescue since 1994. We groom on the average, 20 pets/day/6 days/wk. We have 6 pet behavior (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced)/ week. Cindy provides space for training service/therapy dogs for veterans (Got Your Six Support Dogs) and the general public. Our pet kennel has a capacity for 80 dogs and cats. We are full on holidays and summer weekends. We manage an average of 15 homeless pets, ‘vet’ them and rehome them year-round. (1,507 have been rescued and rehomed since keeping track in 1994). I spend many hours/wk helping many many pets with their people problems (no charge), enabling the pet to stay at home vs being surrendered to a shelter. An added bonus for this pet care facility is a nice 3 bedrooms, 2 story apartment for the two overnight caretakers and their personal pets.

We are also contracted with the Maryville police department to help with the lost/found pets of the village. Instead of going to the county animal control facility, we find their owners or ‘vet’ them and place them in new homes.

We are confident that when this is all said and done, good will prevail and we will be exonerated of these horrendous untrue statements and will continue in our mission of helping many people with their pet care needs and homeless pets.

Cindy’s Critter Camp is truly grateful to all the employees, family, friends, and wonderful customers for their support and the opportunity to serve you for 23 years.

Cindy Kuschel – owner/operator. 05/31/2017

You Asked – What’s Up with Hot Spots?

Tis the season for dogs to get hot spots! What are they exactly? The medical diagnosis is “moist pyoderma.” This loosely translates into “Gooey, seriously infected skin.”

Gross. And itchy. And painful.

People often think hot spots are related to hot weather. While they do seem to occur more in summer, it isn’t the temperature outside that’s causing them. There is usually an underlying allergy that makes the dog itch. Most commonly, its fleas (or a flea allergy), but it can also be seasonal allergies (ragweed, pollen, grass, etc.). For whatever reason, the dog gets itchy and starts to lick and bite that area, which damages the skin. This allows the normally harmless bacteria that live on the protective outer layer of the skin (typically staph or strep) to set up house BELOW the outer layer of the skin. This is a whole new environment, and the bacteria go a little crazy. The result is a deep skin infection that itches and hurts! It’s a vicious cycle, as the more the dog licks and chews, the more infected the skin gets. In some dogs, these are so painful the dog may stop eating, lie around, and the particularly melodramatic can act like they’re absolutely dying. (You know who you are!)

These are frustrating because they can develop so quickly! I’ve had people leave for work in the morning with a seemingly normal dog, and come home at the end of the day to a dog with a sore the size of my palm! The best bet is to have them seen by a vet. Oral medications are the most effective at treating these deep infections, as anything topical tends to slide off. If your dog has one, never use any kind of alcohol or peroxide on it! Sometimes a cool cloth can feel good. Bottom line: if your dog suddenly develops one of these, you’ll know there’s something wrong. Have him or her treated promptly… for all of your sake!

For more information, please visit vetchick.com.