Category Archives: Patients

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.

An Amazing New Treatment for Hyperthyroidism

The vets at the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County have been evaluating a new cat food that is the first clinically proven diet to treat a medical condition. We’re very excited about the results. The new food was designed, researched and tested by the Hill’s Pet Food company for more than 10 years. It is used to treat feline hyperthyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland is considered the “regulator” of the body. It determines how quickly the body uses energy, digests food, and makes proteins for other parts of the body to use. When a cat has hyperthyroidism, they can drink more water, urinate more, vocalize/meow more and have a big appetite despite losing weight. If you suspect your cat may have this condition our veterinarians can run blood tests to measure the amount of thyroid hormone produced in the body. There are four ways to treat hyperthyroidism: surgery to remove the thyroid gland, an injection of radioactive iodine which stops the overactive thyroid gland from producing too much hormone, a medication which suppresses the production of too much hormone and — now — the new Hill’s diet, called Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d. Hill’s y/d contains low iodine levels which “starves” the thyroid of its building block (iodine) which it uses to make thyroid hormone. It is clinically proven to lower the thyroid hormone level in as little as three weeks. Newly diagnosed cats can be started on the food and cats received anti-thyroid medications can be transitioned to the new diet. Even cats with normal thyroid function can eat it! The “normal” cats just need 1 tablespoon of regular cat food daily. Above is a picture of Cleo, one of the first patients at AHDC to be placed on Hill’s y/d. Her thyroid level went from 11.9 to 3.5 in 8 weeks. She loves the y/d and is doing great! If your cat has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, call us to discuss the option of Hill’s y/d diet!

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

Thankful for a Microchip!

Something as small as a microchip might not seem that important when you bring your pet in to see the vet, but it can be the best investment you make. This Thanksgiving, one family will say thanks that their dog GZ was brought back to them because the rescue they got him from microchipped him prior to his adoption in 2006. GZ came into the Animal Hospital of Dauphin on Monday, November 14th after being bitten by another dog. The person who brought him in was a good samaritan who had found him after the flooding in September. He named him Lucky and took care of him since he couldn’t find the owner. He brought Lucky in after he was bitten by a dog that had come onto his property. Routinely, any found pet is scanned for a microchip when they are brought in to the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County. When we found a microchip on Lucky, we started to track down the owner. We were able to reunite GZ with his family who had been looking for him for about 2 months when he ran off chasing something on September 9th and couldn’t find his way home. GZ is happy to be back with his family in Pillow, PA and is healing well from his bite wounds. His family still can’t believe that they were able to find him again thanks to a little microchip.

Allergic Reactions in Your Pet: What to watch out for

This poor guy came to AHDC after his owners noticed his face and eyes were swelling. We do not know what caused the swelling, but after treatment by the AHDC team, this patient’s face returned to normal. Severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylactic reactions, can occur in dogs and cats (more common in dogs). The symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction is swelling around the eyes, muzzle/lips, severe itchiness and bumps that form under the skin. Boxers and pitbulls are most often affected with the type of reaction that forms large bumps under the skin. In our patient to the left, note the swelling around his eyes and lips. In addition to facial swelling and skin bumps, other signs include fast heart rate, excitability, pale gums, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea and most concerning, sudden collapse. There are many causes of severe allergic reactions, although sometimes the cause is never found for an individual patient. Some causes include insect bites or stings, snake bites, fabric softeners or other chemicals or even some food ingredients. Anaphylactic reactions, although quite uncommon, are potentially life-threatening and need medical attention immediately. Once your pet arrives at the hospital, they will likely be taken to the treatment area to immediately be assessed by one of our veterinarians. One of our veterinarians will likely give injections of a steroid, an antihistamine and an antacid (it is very important to let the veterinary team know if your pet is currently taking any medications especially a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, or aspirin). The steroid and the antihistamine will stop the swelling and itchiness. The antacid protects the GI tract during this shocking condition in the pet. In severe cases, the veterinary staff may need to place an IV catheter and give IV fluids. The allergic reaction will likely start to resolve in the first 1-2 hours and completely over the next 24 hours. The veterinarian will likely prescribe some medications to give to the pet for the next few days at home. It is possible for an allergic reaction of this type to happen again if they are exposed to the cause, but cases in which the cause is unknown, may never have it occur again.

Country Meadows George

George is a 15 year old cat who lives at Country Meadows Retirement Community. He was originally found abandoned in one of the rental units. He is a “personal assistant” of sorts around the office. The office personnel at Country Meadows noticed he was losing weight, drinking a lot of water and urinating large amounts in his litter box. His haircoat also seemed to be dry and rough. They brought him to AHDC where George had a physical exam, a blood panel and a urine test performed. It was discovered that he had diabetes mellitus. We immediately started him on insulin treatments (injections under his skin twice per day) and he is doing great! The staff at Country Meadows has truly embraced his treatments and even have a George “calendar” which tracks where they have given his previous insulin injections. Now that his diabetes is starting to become controlled, George is able to focus his time and energy on helping the wonderful staff with payroll at his new home.

A Very Talented Patient

Nicky is a year old standard poodle that visited us today for his annual Heartworm test. His mom, Judy Riley, explained that she trained him at 7 weeks of age to ring a bell to alert her that he needed something. He learned to ring the bell when he needed to go outside, wanted attention, or was hungry for a treat. Today at his visit, he sat by the front door to greet us as we walked in and we asked if we could hire him as our hospital greeter. Sadly, he declined our offer at this time due to a busy social schedule. Nicky- it was a pleasure to meet you!

A Word to the Wise on Buying Your Pet’s Preventatives

When you purchase your preventative medications in the hospital, not only do you benefit from special promotions but you also have a manufacturer’s guarantee that can prove invaluable. The manufacturers of Frontline, Heartgard, and Revolution have upped the ante and now when you purchase from AHDC you get: One free dose of Frontline when you purchase 3 Two free doses of Frontline when you purchase 6 A $10 rebate when you purchase 12 months of Heartguard One free dose of Revolution when you purchase 6 Equally as important, but often overlooked, is the manufacturer’s guarantee when you purchase your preventative medications from a veterinary practice. Manufacturers only sell to licensed veterinarians directly and cannot guarantee products from pet stores or online pharmacies. The guarantees are as follows: Frontline if, after 3 months of proper treatment to all pets in the household, you are unsatisfied with the product you may be eligible for a free home inspection, and if necessary, treatment by Terminix. Heartgard – if your pet tests positive for any parasites while using Heartgard correctly – Merial will cover costs to treat your pet. Revolution – will also cover costs to treat your pet if he or she has a positive test, and in certain circumstances will give you free year’s supply of product. If you have any questions about preventative medications for your pets, please ask our staff!

Pennies: A danger to your pet!

Did you know that eating a penny could seriously harm your pet? We recently had cute little Chiquita in the hospital for this very reason. Her owner brought her in because she was not acting like herself. She was tired all the time and her gums weren’t as pink as they should be. When we x-rayed her stomach…an object the size and shape of a penny was revealed. Continue reading Pennies: A danger to your pet!