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Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

By Autumn Bowers, Shippensburg Receptionist



If you have ever visited our Shippensburg location for your pet’s exams, chances are I have talked to you at one point or another about my beloved cat Roland.  He is a one-year old Ragdoll, and he is quite the character.  Like most of your pets, he immediately greets me at the door when I return home. Roland always makes it a point to chirp at me and tell me how his day was and if any of his “fur siblings” had misbehaved while I was gone.  He never misses a chance to “help” me make my bed or be by my side during my morning routine in case I ever need his advice while applying my makeup.  His newest quirk is looking into the mirror and giving himself a motivational “pep talk” each day.

Not only is Roland my cat, but he’s also one of my best friends.  To celebrate the joys that he and pets everywhere bring to our lives, I would like to share a few facts about how pets better our health!

    • According to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, pet ownership has been linked to a decreased risk of a heart attack.  Relatedly, our “fur children” can even help us to lower our blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels.  Not only do our pets warm and fill our hearts with joy, but they also help to keep us heart healthy!

    • Have you ever arrived home after a bad day and been cheered up after spending a few minutes talking to and petting your “fur baby?” Among those individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate depression, pet ownership has been shown to improve their mood! Researchers have concluded that the unconditional love, companionship, social interaction, and responsibility that pets afford us are powerful agents in helping to alleviate depression. So the next time you are having a difficult day, look forward to improving your mood by taking your pet on a walk or snuggling up to him/her on the couch when you get home!

    • Do you have young children and are currently debating whether or not to introduce a pet into their life? It should be noted that pets have many health benefits for children, too! In addition to the comfort and nurturing that pets can provide for young children, they can also lower their risk of developing common allergies (e.g., ragweed, grass, and dust-mite allergens). In a study led by Dr. Dennis Ownby, children with at least two pets were found to be less than half as likely to suffer from common allergies when compared to children who did not have any pets in their household. Not only may your new cat or dog become your child’s new best friend, but he/she could also help to boost their immune systems!

In conclusion, pets do not only provide us hours of entertainment and laughs, but they also have many physical and psychological health benefits for pet lovers of all ages.  Sure, taking your dog outside to go to the bathroom on a cold winter night probably isn’t your favorite thing to do.  Nor is having your cat meow and climb all over you when you try to sleep.  With all things considered, however, they sure are quite remarkable characters that I know my life wouldn’t be complete without. 🙂

Change to After-Hours Services


shutterstock_152665622Effective December 23, 2016, Shippensburg Animal Hospital, Allen Road Veterinary Clinic, and Mount Rock Animal Hospital will be suspending our full-scale after-hours emergency services for small animal patients.  Our doctors will continue to remain available to our clients for after-hours phone consultations Monday through Thursday from 7pm – 10pm.

Emergency cases needing medical attention outside of regular operating hours will be referred to one of our local veterinary emergency resources: Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center in Mechanicsburg, PA at 717-796-2334, or Mountain View Animal Emergency in Hagerstown, MD at 301-733-7339.

*We will continue to provide on-call for large animal clients according to the same structure as previously offered.*

Grooming – Meet Mallory

Help us welcome our newest groomer, Mallory!

shutterstock_115000861Mallory has been grooming for 3 years and has her certification for grooming. She began working at the grooming room as of August 2016 and her passion is to make your pets look and feel great! She loves being creative with breed trims and some of her favorites to trim are Bichons, Pomeranians, and Golden doodles.

In her free time, Mallory likes to paint, bike, and spend time with her animals at home. She has a Boxer, pug, 2 cats, and a fish.

She is currently booking appointments Monday – Friday from 7:30am – 3:30pm and one Saturday a month. Call now to schedule your pet’s grooming appointment at 717-532-5413!

Thanksgiving Tips to Keep your pet Happy and Healthy this Holiday Season

shutterstock_12404275Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family to get together and give their thanks, all while feasting on the traditional culinary delights.  This time can also be potentially harmful for our animal companions if they get their paws on the wrong treats. The following are tips for a rewarding Thanksgiving that your fur kids can enjoy too.

Turkey.  Small amounts of cooked turkey may not be harmful for our pets, just make sure the piece(s) given are boneless and well-cooked.  Bones and undercooked turkey can cause serious gastrointestinal issues for your pet.

Bread.  While cooked breads are not a potential health hazard for our animals, uncooked bread dough is.  Uncooked yeasty bread dough, if consumed, can cause the dough to rise in the stomach resulting in gastric-dilation volvulus (GDV), commonly known as bloat. 

Stuffing.  Stuffing may be delicious for us, but is high in sodium, and can contain onions, leeks, and garlic.  These vegetables, known as alliums, can cause a host of illnesses including gastric distress and blood disorders.

Desserts.  A lick of pumpkin or apple pie may not be harmful, but desserts generally are high in fat and sugar, which can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, or even worse, an inflammatory condition known as pancreatitis.

To enjoy Thanksgiving with our animals, treat them to their own pet-friendly Thanksgiving feast.  Offer them their favorite pet treats during the main meal while the family is gathered around the table, or add bits of veggies to their regular dinner – like green beans or sweet potatoes, just be sure they are plain. 

A few small bites of cooked turkey, some veggies, and perhaps a lick or two of pumpkin pie may not be problematic for our fur kids, but it is important to not let our pets overindulge this holiday season.  It is best to have our pets stick to their regular diets throughout the holidays, but if you think your pet had a little too much turkey and is not feeling well, please contact our office immediately.

Halloween Safety Tips

Fall is in full swing and Halloween is just around the corner.  This time of year is perfect for scary movie marathons, Halloween tricks and treats, silly costumes, and eerie decorations. For pet owners, it is very important to keep our furry critters in mind during this spooktacular time of year!

While tasty for us humans, chocolaty Halloween treats can pose serious health risks for our four-legged canine and feline companions.  Most people understand that chocolate ingestion in pets can be serious, but at what point does chocolate become toxic?

Toxicity levels vary depending on the weight of the animal, the type of chocolate consumed, and the amount of chocolate ingested.  For milk chocolate, consumption of more than 0.5 ounces per pound of body weight can put dogs and cats at risk for toxicity.  Ingestion of more than 0.13 ounces per pound of body weight of dark or semi-sweet chocolate can cause toxicity.  Animals with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for toxicity than healthy, adult dogs and cats.

Signs of chocolate toxicity in pets may include vomiting, diarrhea, excitement, elevated heart rate, tremors, seizures, and collapse.  If you think your pet has ingested chocolate, it is important to contact us immediately.

Another festive yet dangerous element for our pets are costumes and decorations.  Although it’s adorable to dress our dogs up for Halloween as your third black cat or Abraham Lincoln Beagle:  Rabbit Hunter, leaving our pets unattended while in costume can cause serious choking hazards if they start chewing at them.  If you are planning on dressing your pets up this Halloween, make sure to supervise them at all times while they are presiding beagle president of the United States, I mean, in costume. Also make sure to snap a picture and send it to us for our Halloween costume contest! To avoid pets chewing on Halloween decorations, it is best to keep them out of reach, ideally by hanging. 

Halloween can be a fun time for owners and pets alike.  Being aware and cautious of the dangers that lurk to keep our furry companions happy and healthy are key to enjoying this holiday season.  For more information on Halloween with our pets, please contact us today!



Halloween Photo Contest

Calling All Halloween Lovers!
Send us a photo of your pet in a costume and you could win a $50 gift card to our hospital!

To enter:
Like our Facebook page and send us a direct message on Facebook with your pet’s photo by Sunday, October 23rd.

On Monday the 24th we will post all of the photos in an album and then voting will begin! Vote for your favorite photo(s) by “liking” them or using your favorite reaction. The photo with the most “likes”/”reactions” will be our winner and will be announced on October 31st!

We encourage you to share your picture, or the album, with your friends and family to increase your chances of winning.

Good luck and may the best costume win!

*One photo per pet. If you have won a contest more than once, we ask that you please split the prize with the 2nd place winner. To keep this lighthearted and fun, pictures shared to “like for like” groups or those similar, or others deemed unfair or inappropriate, will be disqualified.

2015 Halloween Contest Winner – Brandi

Mac and Me: An Adoption Story

By Kasey Karlin

When it happens, you feel it. You know when you are ready to open your heart to a new dog. And there is nothing more rewarding than rescuing from a shelter. Silly mutts, regal purebreds, bouncing puppies, and grey-haired senior dogs all fall victim to bad situations and need someone like us to help them.

IMG_5379I knew I was ready to adopt, I felt it. I had lost my American Staffordshire Terrier the previous year and I cried every time I thought about it (and still do). Nothing prepares you for that kind of loss, and nothing completely heals you, but I was ready to move forward. I volunteered at the local SPCA occasionally and got my dose of cuteness when I could. One day, I went to the shelter to play with a dog that I had seen on the website, a Chihuahua name Flossy, with the intention of bringing her home with me.  I took her outside, we ran around, she snuggled on my lap, she was a great dog! She had these giant ears and a tongue that went the whole way up your nose, but after 15 minutes of licking and bouncing around, I knew we weren’t meant to be, there just wasn’t a spark.

As I took her back inside, I looked around at the other dogs. A couple boxers had surgery and weren’t allowed to come out and play. A family with two younger boys had their eyes set on an elderly basset hound. I had seemingly no one else to play with! I was a little heartbroken about Flossy not being my soul mate.  As I went to leave, I saw a little black dog in the last kennel, the paper on the door said his name was Mac, a 6 year old French Bulldog/Boston Terrier mix who came in as a stray. His little smushed nose and bug eyes were… charming. I took him out to the play area, not expecting much more than a little exercise.

Mac was not very interested in me at first. Tennis ball? Nope. Pool full of water? No thanks. There were smells and sounds more exciting than what I had to offer.  After a couple minutes of peeing on every upright object, he seemed to notice I was there. I coerced him to sit on the bench with me, he laid back and accepted some chin scratches.  He had a very pronounced under bite that showed 5 little “toofies”, a distinguishing grey beard, and a belly to be rubbed. I felt that spark with this little old dog. After all the necessary paperwork and landlord approvals, that little old dog came home with me. He had his head out the window the whole way home, and has ever since.

IMG_5380I just celebrated Mac’s 1 year Adopt-iversary with a car ride through the country, a walk in the woods, a run in the dog park, and even had special doggy ice cream cake! (Peanut butter flavored, I may have tried it…) I reflected a lot on the past year of having him in my life that day. We have had ups and downs, no doubt, but he has taught me a lot of patience. He has been my hiking buddy, lap-warmer, biscuit eater, ball (and squirrel) chaser, and one of my best friends.

When it is time to open up your home to a new pet, dog or cat, please consider your local shelters. You never know what treasures are waiting behind the cage door!

Moving Preparedness with Animals

By: Tasha Grafton, Reception Supervisor

Moving, although incredibly, ridiculously stressful, is a momentous occasion.  For me, I will be moving from a borough with barely any land to a property with wide open space; almost two acres!  My beagle Hunter is going to love sniffing and rolling on every square centimeter of our yard.  I have done so much planning for this move, but never took into consideration what kind of outcome this would have on Hunter and my two cats.

Through the packing process, Hunter has started acting out behaviorally, even more so than his typical ornery beagle self.  For instance, last Sunday while packing he managed to jump up on the counter and eat a pack of tic tacs (not toxic by the way), got into the cat food (that’s not so good), and tore open a packed away box to eat ALL of his treats (holy GI distress).

Moral of my story, don’t forget that moving affects your pets too!  Now that I’m cognizant of how packing everything up is upsetting Hunter in particular, I am using natural calming remedies to ease his anxiety from this environmentally-induced stress.  The product I am currently using is Adaptil, which uses synthetic pheromones to simulate the pheromones the mother releases after giving birth to make their puppies feel safe and calm.  For the cats, come moving day I will have Feliway on hand, which is similar to its canine counterpart in that the active ingredient mimics a natural facial pheromone to promote a feeling of security.

With this new found awareness, I am and will be equipped with the comforting remedies to hopefully soothe both Hunter and my cats to aid with a less stressful housing transition, at least for them.

If you’re in the process of moving or want more information about these or other remedies you can use to comfort you pet, feel free to give us a call! 

Adams County SPCA Loyalty Walk

A few weeks ago Tasha, our reception supervisor, attended the Adams County SPCA Loyalty Walk as a part of her charitable giving day.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

GOPR0041The Adams County SPCA held its 26th annual Loyalty Walk on April 16th at the Oakside Community Park in Biglerville, PA.  The Loyalty Walk is a pledge walk for people and their canine friends, and was originally formed to honor the faithful devoted companions who fought alongside the soldiers in the Civil War.

The most infamous of service dogs was Sallie the war dog who belonged to the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry. The dedicated Staffordshire Bull Terrier was known to provide companionship to the Infantry, and unsurmountable loyalty to her fallen comrades, as she stood over the wounded and departed.

Today, the Loyalty Walk represents the undying devotion and camaraderie our four legged friends provide to us.  Participants of the walk collected donations prior to the event.  Those who collected over $50 were given a Loyalty Walk t-shirt to commemorate the event.  Following registration, there were doggy contests, and of course, the walk with our pooches.



Animal Safety Month: National Animal Safety and Protection Month

October was deemed National Animal Safety and Protection Month by the PALS Foundation to promote treating animals with kindness and care. We encounter animals in our everyday lives even if we don’t own any. Whether it is a wild or domestic animal, please treat them all with the same respect and courtesy you would to a human. They can’t speak up for themselves so we have to do it for them.

There are many ways you can participate in National Animal Safety and Protection Month. Some are as simple as bringing your pet to the veterinarian regularly to ensure they live a long, healthy live. Others are more in depth and require you to create an evacuation/disaster plan should an emergency occur.

Other ways you can participate in this event include:
Microchipping your pet
Making your pet wear a collar with identification tags on it
Calling and getting help for injured wildlife
Volunteer at your local animal shelter
Pet-proofing your home (electrical wires, small toys/clothing items they can choke on or that may obstruct their bowels, candles, toxic foods and plants)
Adopt a pet (but please do not adopt a pet for someone else. Owning a pet is a big responsibility and must be a decision the owner makes for him or herself)
Donating money or supplies to a shelter (blankets, pet food, pet beds, etc)
Educate your children and family on how to properly treat an animal
Have a pet first aid kit
Getting pet insurance. Having to choose between getting your pet good veterinary care and maintaining financial stability is never something we want you to experience. Visit our Trupanion page for information on getting a free 30-day trial
Securing your pets properly when traveling
Giving your pet a nutritious and balanced diet

The list goes on and we hope you’re able to come up with some creative ideas on your own!