All posts by kimberly

Caring For Your New Reptile

Your new reptile can be a great addition to the family. Since they are cold -blooded, they depend on their environment for all their comforts and needs. Here are some tips to help your new relationship get off to a great start:


        • Choosing the right cage ensuring the proper size and substrate.

            • The preferred optimal temperature range (POTR) that your reptile requires

                • What is an appropriate diet for your reptile; and does it change as they mature

                    • How to provide humidity/water. For aquatic reptiles, ensure the water is properly cared for.

                        • The lighting and UVB requirements for your pet


                                  • A reptile’s body systems are closely related to the conditions of its environment. Ensuring proper husbandry is extremely important. The Veterinarian will work with you to make sure your reptile’s care and needs are optimized to ensure a healthy, long life.

                                            • Reptiles show illness in very subtle ways. Regular examinations will help to detect these conditions before they may be outwardly apparent to pet owners.

                                                      • As your reptile ages, its environmental and dietary needs may change. The Veterinarian can guide you through these transitions.

                                                                • It is difficult to perfectly mimic a reptile’s diet in the wild. Supplementation is often needed. The Veterinarian can explain what your new reptile may need and signs to look for that may show nutrient deficiencies.

                                                              IN ADDITION TO REGULAR WELLNESS VISITS,

                                                              YOUR NEW REPTILE SHOULD ALSO BE SEEN BY THE VETERINARIAN IF YOU NOTICE ANY OF THESE SIGNS:

                                                                    • Diarrhea or change in eliminations

                                                                        • Decreased appetite

                                                                            • Quivering or muscle tremors

                                                                                • Any swelling, especially on the limbs or around the face/head

                                                                                    • Decrease or change in activity level

                                                                                  PLEASE CALL ANIMAL HOSPITAL OF DAUPHIN COUNTY TO SCHEDULE YOUR NEW ADOPTION EXAM AT 717-652-1270

                                                                                  Caring For Your New Pocket Pet


                                                                                  Pocket pets include rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, chinchillas, mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, and the list goes on and on. Don’t let their small size fool you; they are a big responsibility! Here are some tips to help your new relationship get off to a great start:

                                                                                  MAKE SURE TO KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY CARE FOR YOUR PET. CONSULT A VETERINARIAN ON:

                                                                                    • Choosing the right cage ensuring the proper size, material, and substrate.

                                                                                    • Knowing of any specific requirements for your pet. For example: dust baths for chinchillas, vitamin C for guinea pigs

                                                                                    • Choosing a balanced diet for your pet that will meet its nutritional requirements without overfeeding.

                                                                                    • Ensuring that your pet receives appropriate exercise and stimulation to keep them fit and healthy.

                                                                                    • Learning about your new pet’s delicate GI tract. A healthy GI tract is essential to a pocket pet’s survival.


                                                                                  • Since many pockets pets are prey animals, they have adapted to hide signs of illness. For this reason, regular examinations are helpful to uncover illnesses that may not be outwardly visible.
                                                                                  • Many pocket pets have teeth that grow continuously. Chewing inappropriately, or misaligned teeth can result in serious dental injury. The Veterinarian can check for, and address, these problems.
                                                                                  • Nail trims are a regular part of owning pocket pets. The Veterinarian can show you how to perform this procedure to avoid injuring your pet. Many people opt to have the Veterinary Team perform these procedures instead of doing them at home.
                                                                                  • Since a pocket pet’s life span is much shorter than ours, every year of their life is equivalent to up to 50 years of our life. Since our pets age much faster than we do, it is important to have regular visits to the veterinarian to check their overall health.

                                                                                  IN ADDITION TO REGULAR WELLNESS VISITS, YOUR POCKET PET SHOULD ALSO BE SEEN BY THE VETERINARIAN IF YOU NOTICE ANY OF THESE SIGNS:

                                                                                    • Abnormal of decreased eatingrabbit-2431030_1280

                                                                                    • Sneezing or trouble breathing

                                                                                    • Overgrown front teeth or trouble chewing

                                                                                    • Sores on the feet

                                                                                    • Loose or soft stool*

                                                                                    • Not eating for 24 hours*

                                                                                    • Small, dry, or decrease stool production

                                                                                  • Hunching in a corner or lack of energy

                                                                                  *While loose/soft stool or not eating may not be emergent for larger mammals, these issues can be life-threatening for pocket pets.

                                                                                  PLEASE CALL ANIMAL HOSPITAL OF DAUPHIN COUNTY TO SCHEDULE YOUR NEW ADOPTION EXAM AT 717-652-1270.


                                                                                  When you live in Pennsylvania, you are probably familiar with Lyme Disease, a common disease that is transmitted by ticks. However, there is a less familiar disease that can be transmitted to our pets. That disease is Anaplasma.

                                                                                  Anaplasma, like Lyme Disease, is a tick borne disease.

                                                                                  This means that certain types of ticks can infect our pets with the disease if infected. There are two types of Anaplasma: Anaplasma Phagocytophilum and Anaplasma Platys. A. Phagocytophilum is carried by the deer tick and the western black legged tick,which are the same ticks that carry Lyme Disease. This form of Anaplasma affects the white blood cells, causing loss of appetite, lethargy, lameness, neck pain and possible neurological symptoms. A. platys is carried by the brown dog tick. This form decreases the platelets, which are the cells that clot blood. Symptoms of this form of Anaplasma are nose bleeds and bruising. It can take 1-2 weeks to see symptoms after Anaplasmagetting bitten by an infected tick, but some dogs and cats can be infected without showing any signs of illness.

                                                                                  Anaplasma is extremely common in the northeastern United States, and Pennsylvania’s tick population is out of control. In 2016 the Companion Animal Parasite Council named PA as one of the few states where tick borne diseases, especially Anaplasma and Lyme disease, are rising significantly.

                                                                                  Diagnosis is made by a blood test that is run in our office and takes about 10 minutes. This test detects antibodies to the Anaplasma organism that have been made by your dog’s immune system. A positive test indicates that your dog has been exposed to Anaplasma; it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is an active infection. Your veterinarian will determine if the infection is active and if treatment is needed. It is highly recommended to test yearly; the test also screens for heartworm disease, Lyme disease, and another tick borne disease called Ehrlichia. Since Anaplasma and Lyme can be carried by the same tick, it is possible to have been exposed to both diseases. Diagnosis is more difficult in cats. There are more sensitive tests that can be done at an outside lab.

                                                                                  If your dog or cat does become infected with Anaplasma, there is good news. The disease is treatable if caught early. Symptoms usually resolve within 48 hours after treatment begins. The treatment is a 30 day course of an antibiotic called Doxycycline.

                                                                                  Since you now know the causes and treatment of Anaplasma, the next question is how can you prevent your pet from contracting the disease. Keeping your pet on year-round tick prevention is the best way to protect your pet. There are many different preventives available. At the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County, we recommend the following:

                                                                                  Bravecto – a chewable tablet for dogs that kills fleas and ticks for up to 12 weeks. The medication in Bravecto is stored in your dog’s tissue right under the skin. When a flea or tick bites your dog, it ingests the medication and dies. This medication can be used in dogs 6 months of age and older.

                                                                                  Frontline Plus – a monthly topical treatment for dogs and cats. This medication is applied to your pet’s skin near the base of the neck. The medication is stored in the oil glands for 30 days and self-distributes to the hair and skin through the hair follicles. Fleas and ticks that come in contact with the hair and skin die – no biting is necessary.

                                                                                  Nexgard – a chewable tablet for dogs that kills fleas and ticks for up to 30 days. This medication works like Bravecto but is safe for puppies as young as 8 weeks.

                                                                                  Vectra 3D – a monthly topical treatment for dogs. This medication kills fleas and ticks through contact with the skin – no biting is necessary.

                                                                                  Checking your pets for ticks is a very important step to remember as well. Check for ticks between toes, under collars, behind ears, and in the armpit area. Check the body by running your hands through your pet’s coat, feeling for bumps. If you find an attached tick, you can remove it by grasping it close to the skin and pulling straight out. There are also “tick twisters,” which are handy tools to remove ticks. Submerge the tick in alcohol or flush it down the toilet.

                                                                                  Ask your veterinarian about keeping your pets safe from these serious diseases.

                                                                                  Caring For Your New Bird


                                                                                  Birds are intelligent and beautiful animals. They can make great pets, but require a lot of responsibility to keep them healthy and happy. Here are some tips to help your new relationship get off to a great start:

                                                                                  MAKE SURE TO KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY CARE FOR YOUR PET. CONSULT AN AVIAN VETERINARIAN ON:

                                                                                  • Choosing the right cage ensuring the proper size, material, and appropriate perches and toys.
                                                                                  • Consider the location where your bird will live once you bring him/her home.parrot-997977_1280
                                                                                  • Avoid exposure to toxins, including fumes and foreign objects, since birds have sensitive lungs and are very inquisitive.
                                                                                  • Choose a balanced diet for your bird to keep your bird healthy for years to come
                                                                                  • How to provide your bird with regular sunlight (UVB) and bathing as needed.


                                                                                  • Signs of illness are often visible on regular examinations before they are outwardly seen by pet owners. This is because birds are very skilled at hiding their sickness and symptoms.
                                                                                  • Many bird behavior or physical problems could be related to their environment and husbandry, so it is essential to have the Veterinarian review these regularly
                                                                                  • Birds need grooming too. It is important to have your bird’s nails trimmed regularly. Some birds may also need their beaks or wings trimmed. It is important to have a Veterinarian show you how to do these procedures to avoid injuring your bird. Many people opt to have the veterinary team perform these procedures instead of doing them at home.
                                                                                  • In larger birds, it is also a good idea to get baseline bloodwork. This allows for levels to compare to in the event your bird becomes ill since all birds are different. This may also uncover illnesses that have yet to show outward signs.
                                                                                  • Once you own your bird, the leg band is no longer necessary. We advise having the Veterinarian remove the band to avoid injuries such as broken or sprained legs. Never try to remove the band on your own.

                                                                                  IN ADDITION TO REGULAR WELLNESS VISITS, YOUR BIRD SHOULD ALSO BE SEEN BY THE VETERINARIAN IF YOU NOTICE ANY OF THESE SIGNS:

                                                                                  • Puffed up or ruffled feathers
                                                                                  • Open-mouth breathing
                                                                                  • Tail bobbing
                                                                                  • Decreased appetite
                                                                                  • Bleeding
                                                                                  • Unable to perch or perching abnormally

                                                                                  PLEASE CALL ANIMAL HOSPITAL OF DAUPHIN COUNTY TO SCHEDULE YOUR NEW ADOPTION EXAM AT 717-652-1270.

                                                                                  Clinical Trial: Dogs with Seasonal Allergies

                                                                                  Does your dog have seasonal allergies?

                                                                                  The Animal Hospital of Dauphin County is participating in a clinical study for dogs a clinical study for dogs with seasonal allergies that are two years of age or older. The dogs must weigh 11-110 pounds.

                                                                                  This will be a 112-day study with 6 potential visits; compensation in the form of clinic account credit will be provided for each visit. Your pet will receive free physical examinations at scheduled study visits, lab work, and may receive free investigational product. These dogs with seasonal allergies will be medicated once daily by mouth. Half of the dogs with seasonal allergies will receive the investigational product and half will receive a placebo.

                                                                                  The patient must have been seen and treated for seasonal allergies in 2015 and 2016. There are restrictions on other drugs that may be used prior to or during the study.


                                                                                  If you believe your dog may qualify

                                                                                  and are interested in participating in the study,
                                                                                  please contact us at 717-652-1270.

                                                                                  dogs with seasonal allergies

                                                                                  Dogs with Seasonal Allergies

                                                                                  Heartworm Disease

                                                                                  Spring is in the air! The weather is getting warmer and we are starting to head towards those summer months. With the warmer weather comes the flowers blooming, pools being opened, longer days outside, summer vacations, and also those annoying bugs come back from hiding away for the winter. Mosquitos are one of those bugs. Possibly even the most annoying of the insects to come out in the warmer months. April is National Heartworm Prevention Month, so this blog is to inform you of all of the basics of Heartworm in dogs and cats. Many people still only think that heartworm is a concern in the southern U.S. which sadly is incorrect. Heartworm is found in all 50 states and that is why EVERYONE that owns furry friends should be knowledgeable about the basics of heartworm disease.

                                                                                  Heartworm disease is a serious and even fatal disease that can affect dogs and cats. This disease is caused by worms that infect the blood and live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels. This infection can cause heart failure, lung disease and cause other organs in the body to be compromised.

                                                                                  Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. Mosquitos get infected by biting animals that have been infected with heartworm and currently have the baby worms or microfilaria living in their blood stream. When that infected mosquito bites another non infected animal the baby worms enter that animal by the bite wound.

                                                                                  The life cycle of heartworms simplified: Mosquito bites infected animal. Baby worms that are now in the mosquito develop into infective larvae stage over 10-14 days. Infected mosquito bites non-infected animal. Larvae are transmitted to non-infected animal through mosquito bite wound. The larvae then live in the tissues for around 2 months while developing. The adult worm is now living in bloodstream and heart for the next 4-5 months while it reaches full maturity. Mature worms now live in heart and bloodstream and can start producing larvae that can now infect another mosquito. Mosquito bites the now infected animal and the life cycle repeats.

                                                                                  Heartworms can live for 5-7 years in dog and 2-3 years in cats. Once an animal is infected with heartworm it can take months for symptoms to appear.

                                                                                  heartworm disease
                                                                                  Canine symptoms you may see could be the following:

                                                                                    • mild persistent cough

                                                                                    • reluctance to exercise

                                                                                    • fatigue after mild activity

                                                                                    • decreased appetite

                                                                                    • weight loss

                                                                                    • swollen abdomen(extra fluid)-severe cases

                                                                                    • caval syndrome-blockage of blood flow-severe cases

                                                                                  heartworm disease
                                                                                  Feline symptoms may include:

                                                                                    • coughing

                                                                                    • asthma-like attacks

                                                                                    • periodic vomiting

                                                                                    • loss of appetite

                                                                                    • weight loss

                                                                                    • difficulty walking/fainting

                                                                                    • fluid accumulation in abdomen

                                                                                  Diagnosis is made by a blood test looking for heartworm proteins. Cats are harder to diagnose and usually require a special blood test and even ultrasound/x-rays.

                                                                                  While it is true that the southern states are more known for heartworm infections solely because the temperature is warmer longer periods of the year. Warm weather = mosquitos. Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in every state of the US. The incidence for heartworm has grown dramatically in the last 5-10 years.

                                                                                  Current recommendations is year round heartworm prevention for all dogs and cats in all states. There are many options for preventives. The ones that we use at AHDC are-Heartgard (dog), Interceptor (dog), and Revolution (cats/dogs). These preventives also protect against certain intestinal parasites. Revolution also protects against fleas, and some ticks in dogs.

                                                                                  Testing should be done for heartworm disease every year, or before restarting prevention if a dose was missed. Even if your pet is on a preventative year round, testing should still be done to be sure of product effectiveness of prevention. Testing can be done at the vet office with a small amount of blood and results are available in as little as ten minutes! Some of the companies that sell preventatives will pay for all or a portion of treatment cost if proven that animal is on year-long prevention with no missed doses and has yearly testing documented in their medical records. Some of the medications can be harmful to animals that have active heartworm infections, which is why testing is required if doses are missed.

                                                                                  Treatment for heartworm is very expensive and required to prevent death from large worm burdens. Sadly there is no treatment approved in cats-the only way is prevention! Treatment can range in cost from $1200-$2000, and includes bloodwork, x-rays, multiple injections, oral medications, and many, many vet visits. When comparing cost of treatment vs cost of prevention there should be no question! Prevention is usually less than $300 for a whole year of protection. Prevention is the way to go!

                                                                                  As you can see it’s a little difficult to condense all the information of heartworm disease into a short blog, but all the information is extremely important and we want everyone to be fully educated! If interested in more information on preventions we have available, please contact our office to help your pet be the healthiest they can be!

                                                                                  Love Your Pet Day

                                                                                  National Love Your Pet Day


                                                                                  Did you know that February 20th is National Love Your Pet Day?!

                                                                                  Love Your Pet Day
                                                                                  Love Your Pet Day

                                                                                  Most of us don’t need an excuse to spoil our 4 legged friends, however if you do, here is a great reason!

                                                                                  <h2> Here are some good ideas on how to celebrate national love your pet day! </h2>

                                                                                  • Give them a special treat (even make homemade goodies for them)
                                                                                  • Take them for an extra walk, or a walk in a different and new exciting area
                                                                                  • Treat them to a new toy. A lot of pet stores allow pets so they can pick out their own toys
                                                                                  • Extra love and attention
                                                                                  • Try something new together
                                                                                  • Play date with other pet friends (as long as your pet plays nice with others)
                                                                                  • Try a pet related DIY project
                                                                                  • Love on shelter pets, volunteer to walk shelter dogs, or even play with shelter cats

                                                                                  There are a lot of reasons to celebrate this holiday. We need to be reminded every once in a while to show gratitude. We need to be reminded to show gratitude for the things that we love. On this day, we focus on the pets. It works for what what we love and sharing it with the world.