Yearly Archives: 2011

Planning a trip with your furry family member in 2012? Make sure you think about this.

Are you considering an international trip with the family pet in 2012? Here are a few things you should consider. First, you’ll need to consult the embassy or consulate of the country you’re visiting to learn what’s needed for your furry friend to enter their country. Second, contact all airlines that will transport you. They’ll let you know their requirements, one of which usually is a health certificate. An international health certificate also must be completed by a veterinarian accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), who attests that your pet is healthy, has no contagious diseases and is unlikely to carry rabies. Several of the veterinarians at the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County are accredited and can make sure everything is up to date and conduct whatever tests the destination country requires. Then you must have the signed health certificate endorsed by Pennsylvania’s Veterinary Services Area Office. We suggest that you contact the lead veterinarian there, Dr. Brown, and talk through the specific requirements. His phone number is 717-787-5101. Contact us early in the planning so there’s time to get everything done. And have a great trip!

Keep Your Cats Safe At Christmas

Inquisitive cats that like to explore have a favorite season, and it’s upon us now. To protect your cats from themselves over the holidays, keep these pointers in mind as you decorate. Secure the Christmas tree to the wall with heavy cord to thwart cats who like to climb. If your cats bat at ornaments along the bottom of the tree, hang glass and other breakables high, and secure low-hanging ornaments with green pipe cleaners instead of hooks. Cover the Christmas tree stand so your cats can’t drink the water, which sometimes upsets feline stomachs. Don’t bring tinsel into the house, and don’t leave ribbon lying around, even if it’s attached to a package. Cats are attracted to tinsel, ribbon and yarn, which can cause life-threatening intestinal damage if it’s eaten. Candle flames, hot wax and potpourri liquid pose additional risks, so light candles and use potpourri warmers only when you’re there to supervise your cats. Keep your kittens away from mistletoe, poinsettias, holly and Christmas cactus, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, diminished appetite and lethargy if ingested. Use common sense with light cords and other potential holiday hazards. If it’s not safe for a child, it’s not safe for inquisitive cats.

The Truth about Christmas Plant Toxicity

Poinsettias are generally quite safe, despite rumors to the contrary. The rumors are traced to the 1918 report of a child’s death involving a plant erroneously identified as a poinsettia. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, vomiting with loss of appetite and energy can occur after a pet ingests poinsettia, but these effects are mild and resolve on their own. The same signs, along with diarrhea, have been reported after ingestion of Christmas cactus and holly. Again, signs are generally mild and resolve without specific treatment. The toxicity of mistletoe, a parasitic vine, is influenced by the plant on which it is growing. Serious poisonings, which are infrequent, are characterized by vomiting and decreased energy. If your pet eats any of these plants and then vomits, restrict access to food and water for a couple of hours to quiet the stomach. If signs persist, call us at 717-652-1270.

We're Improving!

This week marks an important milestone for our hospital. We are upgrading our computer software system. The new system ultimately will allow us to serve you better and faster. For the first few days of the transition, we are extending some of our appointment times to allow our staff time to adjust to the new system. We hope this decreases any delays in serving you, but we do expect there may be some longer wait times. Also, some of your favorite staff may be in training this week and unavailable to meet with you. We apologize ahead of time and ask for your support as we work on this critical project. Thank you for your understanding!

15th Annual Penguin Plunge

AHDC’s own Dr. Sarsfield and Stacey Colm, one of our Veterinary Technician Assistants, are just crazy enough about animal welfare to be participating in this year’s Penguin Plunge to benefit the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area (HSHA). Both Dr. Sarsfield and Stacey participated last year and we guess they didn’t get enough! They will be venturing into the icy Susquehanna River at noon sharp on New Year’s Day to raise money for the homeless pets in the care of HSHA. Any donations will be accepted at the front desk and are greatly appreciated. What a great way to welcome in the new year!

Holiday Advisory: Grapes/Raisins

Happy Holidays from the doctors and staff at AHDC! It’s that special time of year again. Time for family, friends, decorations, and good food. One family member that is important to keep in mind this holiday season is the family cat or dog. With the house being filled with good sights and smells, it is essential to keep in mind the potential dangers that certain delicious temptations can bring to our furry friends. This is the first informative post of many!

Grapes and raisins can be toxic to both cats and dogs. Grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure. At this time, the toxic component is not known. Additionally, there is a large range of the “toxic” dose of raisins and grapes. Some animals can be affected after eating just one grape, others more. Signs of raisin/grape toxicity include vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea within hours of ingestion and last for weeks post-ingestion.
  • What to do: contact your veterinarian immediately. If it has been a recent ingestion (<4 hours), your veterinarian may need to induce vomiting and protect the GI tract by administered activated charcoal which helps bind toxins. Afterwards, your veterinarian may suggest bloodwork to obtain baseline values of the kidney and the treat aggressively with intravenous fluids for 2-3 days. If kidney failure does not occur, the prognosis for recovery is fairly good.
  • Caution: fruitcakes definitely contain raisins and sometimes cranberry sauces contain raisins too, please be sure to keep the holiday treats out of reach.
Next time: turkey and turkey bones