Category Archives: Services

House Calls Come to AHDC!

Did you know Dr. Zajac now makes HOUSE CALLS?!

Do you receive Fluffy’s yearly reminder that her annual visit and vaccines are due and worry about making it into the hospital? Or perhaps your normally mild mannered kitty turns into a wild tiger when she goes to the vet! A house call may be a good solution for you!

Is Scruffy having an issue you would like us to address, but you’re unable to get to the hospital for one reason or another? Give us a call to discuss scheduling a house call. Keep in mind, though, that some illnesses are best treated in the hospital where we have the equipment to best care for your pet.

When it comes time to say goodbye to your beloved pet, the thought of taking him or her out of his home and his comfy bed may be too much to bear. We can come to your home so that you may say your goodbyes while your pet is in the comfort of familiar surroundings.

If you are interested in scheduling a house call with Dr. Zajac and live in the Harrisburg or Hershey area, please call 717-652-1270 to discuss the options with one of our Customer Service Representatives.

By Dr. Audrey Zajac

As many of you may know, February is National Pet Dental Health month. Our pets’ dental health is very important but it can be difficult to tell if they are having issues with their teeth or mouth. Many pets will continue to eat, play and chew normally, and not act any differently even if their mouths are hurting. Look for subtle changes in your pet, including chewing on only one side of the mouth, not allowing the head or face to be touched, or preferring to eat softer foods. Another telltale sign of dental disease is bad breath, especially if it is something that you have been noticing gradually. Many people think that bad breath comes from the food our pets eat, but if they have been eating the same or similar foods for years and you are now beginning to notice bad breath, it may indicate that something new and not good is going on in the mouth.

Dental disease does not only involve problems with the teeth. It also includes gum disease and bone loss in the jaw. Also, bacteria from the mouth can spread from diseased gum tissue into the bloodstream and seed to the internal organs, including the kidneys and heart.

Dental disease is recognized in pets as young as 3 years old (and sometimes even younger depending on breed). If your pet is good with having the mouth and face touched (safety first!), one simple thing you can do at home is flip the upper lip and look for red or irritated gums, brown staining on the teeth, or brown plaque buildup that may be obscuring the teeth. If you see (or smell) anything suspicious, contact your vet. A dental cleaning may be warranted.

As with most diseases and health issues, prevention is key. There are a variety of foods, treats, chews and other products marketed to improve oral health. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has a list of approved products on their website that have been shown to help fight plaque and tartar buildup. The list of products is available at You can also look for the VOHC seal on products, foods, and treats claiming to improve oral health. Of course, these products are not the cure-all for every pet’s dental disease. Talk to your veterinarian before deciding which products may be beneficial to your individual pet. As mentioned earlier, your pet may require a dental cleaning under anesthesia. This is the best way to assess the full health of the mouth. Many vets now have dental radiographs (similar to what our dentists use on us!) to assess the roots of the teeth and the jawbone. The portion of the teeth that you can see above the gumline is the tip of the iceberg!

Brushing teeth is also an excellent way to prevent dental disease. Some owners are intimidated by the thought of brushing teeth though. If your pet is head shy, has been known to nip or become fearful when manipulating the mouth or face, then teeth brushing is probably not the best prevention for them (again, safety first). If you are comfortable with this process, just start slowly and do not allow your pet to become scared or upset. Even if you just hold the toothbrush on the teeth for a few seconds and let your pet go until the next day, that is progress! Always use a pet-friendly toothpaste (our toothpaste is harmful even to humans if swallowed). This way you can let your pet lick the paste as a treat during the process. As your pet gets used to having the paste and brush on the front teeth, you can slowly advance further back in the mouth. Always stay on the outside of the teeth and do not allow your pet to gnaw at the brush or your hand. If your pet does not have the patience to sit for a full session of teeth-brushing, don’t give up. You can always do half of the mouth one day and the other half the next. (Yes, you should be brushing teeth daily. Having the groomer brush teeth 6 times a year is NOT enough).

At AHDC, we are offering a 20% discount on dental procedures from January until March 31st. Please call us today to schedule an exam to assess your pets’ oral health or schedule online!

We Now See Birds and Reptiles!

Dr. Balmer is now seeing birds and reptiles at our hospital!

At Animal Hospital of Dauphin County, we recommend scheduling yearly wellness exams for all birds and reptiles so we can help you keep your fun pet as healthy and happy as possible. Dr. Balmer will also be glad to see your bird or reptile for a problem exam if your friend is feeling sick or is hurt. As such, in addition to your donations of old towels and blankets, we will now also accept any perches or enclosures you no longer have use for. Our patients appreciate your thoughtfulness in helping to keep them as comfortable as possible during their time with us.

Call us at 717-652-1270 or click here to schedule an appointment today. For all first time reptile and bird patients, we have history forms that will need to be filled out prior to the appointment time. You can find them on our website here, or plan to arrive at the Hospital 15 minutes before your appointment time to fill them out.

Laser Therapy

The Animal Hospital of Dauphin County is excited to offer laser therapy to our patients. We use a state of the art Companion Therapy Laser® class IV laser that is a drug-free, surgery-free, and non-invasive means of treating inflammatory and painful conditions in dogs and cats. It works at the cellular level to increase blood flow, decrease inflammation and speed up healing. It can be used for temporary and chronic problems, from “hot spots” to arthritis! Most owners see noticeable improvement in chronic problems within 3-4 treatments. Here are just a few of the conditions that can be treated with laser therapy:

• Arthritis
• Fractures
• Wounds
• Gingivitis/stomatitis
• Lick granulomas
• Ear infections/ear hematomas
• Hot spots (dermatitis)
• Sprains/strains
• Post-surgical pain

If you would like more information on how laser therapy can help your pet, please let us know! You can give us a call at 717-652-1270.

Clients in their doggles (yes, doggles not goggles) to protect their eyes during laser therapy!

Check The Chip Day is August 15th!

Is your dog or cat microchipped? In a study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters, only 22% of dogs and less than 2% of cats that were not microchipped were reunited with their owners. The return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52% and for cats it was about 38.5%. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have joined together to create a day for reminding pet owners to have their pets microchipped and to keep the registration information up-to-date. “National Check the Chip Day” is this Friday, August 15th. A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the size of a grain of rice. Instead of running on batteries, the microchip is designed to be activated by a scanner that is passed over the area and then it transmits radiowaves that send the identification number to the scanner screen. Microchips are also designed to work for 25 years. Implanting the microchip is as simple as a quick injection between the shoulder blades and can be done in a routine appointment. No surgery or anesthesia is required and it is no more painful than a typical injection. You can take advantage of the day by making an appointment with us to have your pet microchipped. Then be sure to immediately register the chip. There are many databases that allow you to register your pet’s microchip but the one that animal shelters and veterinarians search first is AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool. Or, if your pet is already microchipped, you can check the chip’s registration information by going to the manufacturer’s database and making sure everything is up-to-date. Most of the time if an animal is microchipped and not returned to their owner, it’s because the information is incorrect or there isn’t any information provided. A microchip does not replace identification tags or rabies tags. Identification tags are the easiest and quickest way to process an animal and contact the owner. If the pet is not wearing a collar or tags, or if either the collar or ID tag is lost, a microchip may be the only way to find a pet’s owner. Rabies tags allow to others to quickly see that your pet is vaccinated against the disease. It is more difficult to trace a lost pet’s owners with rabies tags as it can only be done when veterinary clinics or county offices are open. Microchip databases are online or can be reached through the phone 24/7/365. You can use this useful flyer from the AVMA to keep a record of your pet’s microchip number and manufacturer.   The Animal Hospital of Dauphin County has been caring for pets in the greater Harrisburg and Hershey communities since 1962. We started out in a small, three-bedroom house (now home to our business offices) and have transformed into a 6,000 square-foot, fully equipped animal hospital. Our knowledgeable veterinarians and dedicated tech staff provide the best care possible for your pets with state-of-the art diagnostics and wellness care. It also includes listening carefully to you, our partner in your pet’s healthcare. Our focus on prevention and early detection of diseases allows for more effective treatment and a longer life for our pets. We update our testing methods and treatments through continuing education and by consulting with specialists in many disciplines.