Category Archives: Uncategorized

Our Amended Declaw Philosophy

Recently, our doctors and staff made the unanimous decision to amend our declaw philosophy.  We want to make sure our clients are aware of our amended policy, and also understand the purpose behind this compassionate change for our feline companions.

The declaw procedure itself is performed by amputation of the cat’s third toe bone.  This is comparable to amputating the last joint of a human finger.  Declawing is a serious surgery and can cause post-operative complications.  Recent studies have shown that as many as 30% of cats develop long-term negative effects from this procedure – including behavioral changes, life-long chronic pain, and refusal to use the litterbox.  As a result, many countries, regions in the U.S., and cat groups have already banned the practice of declawing in cats.   Upon taking our patients best interests in mind, our hospitals have decided to support the decision to offer alternatives to declawing. 

Cat Scratching

You may be wondering what kind of alternatives there are.  Cat scratching is a completely normal and instinctual behavior – it conditions the nails, allows the cat to protect itself, aids as a visual and scent territorial marker, and allows healthy muscle engagement through the act of stretching. 

Just as dogs can be trained, so can cats!  Our feline friends can be trained to scratch only appropriate surfaces like scratching posts.  We recommend the strategic placement of scratching posts, specifically horizontal posts, around where the cat sleeps, and close to surfaces you wouldn’t want your cat to scratch, like the corner of the couch!  This allows cats to perform what is natural for them while keeping our furniture damage-free.  Our hospitals now provide natural horizontal scratching posts, which are available for purchase at any of our three locations. 

In addition to training, our team recommends routine nail clipping.  Although it is best to begin trimming your cat’s nails as a kitten to allow them to become familiar with this gentle procedure, adult cats can also become accustomed to having their nails trimmed at home.  If you are unsure of how to trim your cat’s nails, we would be happy to demonstrate!  We also now carry cat clippers which are available for purchase.

We do realize there may be some situations due to a medical condition within the family, and your loved one’s safety is very important to us.  Under these special circumstances, our doctors are willing to consult with you regarding this decision.  For more information, please contact one of our customer service representatives today.

Cat on it's back

Why does my indoor cat need to see the Vet?

If this question has ever crossed your mind, then you are not alone. It seems obvious, my cat stays inside all day every day, so why do they need to come in for vaccines? The short answer is because disease-causing organisms can live anywhere. Protecting the health and wellness of your feline companion is what we strive for as Veterinary purr-sonel.


So, what’s the purpose of a physical exam? Just like us, cats should get a yearly checkup with a doctor to ensure ongoing good health. Your Veterinarian will provide a nose to tail exam including listening to the heart and lungs, checking hydration status, and looking for weight loss or gain which can be indicators of illness. In addition, checkups help to catch and prevent diseases in their early stages when they are most manageable. Cats’ are extremely skilled in hiding their illnesses. Many times, when it becomes obvious to us humans that our cat isn’t feeling well, they have been sick for a good while. Silly, sneaky meows.


The term vaccine has come to be a scary word for many people. For our feline friends though, these can truly be lifesaving! Many people are surprised to learn that the rabies vaccine is required by law in most states, including Pennsylvania. This is because rabies is not only a deadly disease with no cure but can be passed onto humans through a bite wound. Through strict vaccination programs here in the United States we are fortunate that rabies incidences continue to decline (CDC). Even strictly indoor only kitties can be exposed. Have you ever had a mouse, bat, racoon, or other small creature somehow find its way into your house? That’s right, these critters can pass onto rabies your pets. In 2017 racoons represented the largest number (50.7%) of positive rabies cases in Pennsylvania (PA Department of Health). In addition, if your feline ever ventures outside, even supervised by their humans, they run the risk of being exposed. Keeping your pet up to date on their rabies vaccine can protect them and you from this deadly disease.


In the end it all boils down to the simple fact that regular checkups keep animals (and humans) healthier, happier, and living longer. A yearly physical is a simple and effective way to catch problems early and help prevent illness. Vaccines play a huge role in keeping kitties safe from many diseases, including rabies. For more information or if you have questions please call our office and we can help you understand the best options for your pet. Getting your feline to the Vet may be a hassle, but worth it so your companion can live all nine lives to the fullest.


Works Cited
“Pennsylvania Animal Rabies 2017 Report.” Pennsylvania Department of Health, Apr. 2018,


“Rabies.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 Apr. 2011,

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Preventative Medicine and Testing in Dogs

By Scott Pandya, VMD

Wellness vaccines, testing, and preventative products are all important parts of having a healthy pet. It is almost always easier to prevent health problems in pets than it is to treat illnesses later. For this reason, your veterinarian may recommend a variety of preventative health measures to ensure that your furry friend is as healthy as possible. Here are some common vaccines, tests, and products that are frequently used to help keep your dog healthy.

dog with needle 2Vaccines
One of the simplest and most important ways to keep your pet healthy is to keep them up to date on vaccinations. Vaccines work by stimulating your pet’s immune system to help protect against a variety of infectious organisms. Below are some commonly administered vaccinations in dogs:

– Rabies: This is the most important vaccine in dogs. Rabies, which is transmitted through saliva, is universally fatal if infection occurs. This is a disease that can be spread to all mammals, including humans. In Pennsylvania, all dogs over 12 weeks of age are required to be vaccinated against rabies.
– Distemper (also known as DA2PP or DHPP): This combination vaccine protects against a variety of organisms such as the distemper virus, adenovirus type 2, parvo virus, and parainfluenza. All of these viruses, particularly distemper and parvo virus, can make dogs extremely sick and may even lead to death.
– Leptospirosis: The leptospirosis vaccine is very important for protection against a genus of bacteria know as leptospira. This bacterium can lead to a variety of serious problems including kidney and liver failure and can lead to infection in humans as well.
– Lyme: Lyme disease is a very common illness in dogs. This illness is spread by deer ticks, and can lead to a variety of symptoms including joint and kidney problems. The risk of contracting Lyme disease can be greatly reduced in dogs by yearly administration of the Lyme vaccine and proper tick prevention products.
– Bordetella (also known as kennel cough): The bordetella vaccine is useful for reducing the risk of catching common upper respiratory infections in dogs. These upper respiratory infections can often be spread between dogs at parks, kennels, and any other situation in which dogs are in close contact with one another.

A number of other vaccines exist as well. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what vaccines are right for your pet.

dog blood2Wellness Testing
Many diseases, illnesses, and disorders in dogs can be detected through wellness testing. To ensure that no underlying problems exist, your veterinarian may recommend a variety of tests. If abnormalities or diseases are detected, we are often able to treat the patient before clinical symptoms develop. Below are some commonly performed tests in dogs:

– Wellness Bloodwork: This test allows us to asses many different parameters in dogs, and also gives us an idea of how your pet’s internal organs are functioning. Wellness bloodwork can be useful in screening for and diagnosing several different issues such as anemia, infection, liver disease, kidney disease, metabolic disorders, cancers, and autoimmune problems.
– Heartworm and tick-borne illness testing: Heartworm is a severe parasitic disease in dogs that is spread through mosquito bites. Heartworm primarily affects the heart, lungs, and circulatory system and can be fatal in some cases if not detected early. Tick-borne illnesses commonly tested for include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichia. These diseases can make your dog very ill and can lead to symptoms such as fever, joint and kidney disease, and anemia.
– Fecal testing: This test allows us to check your dog for a variety of intestinal parasites such as worms and protozoa. These parasites can lead to symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, and vomiting.
– Urine Testing: In some cases, your dog’s urine can be used to screen for many different diseases, such as diabetes, infections, and kidney issues.

Preventative Products
Fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites, and heartworms can all be prevented by placing your dog onto preventative products. Flea and tick preventatives come in a variety of forms such as oral tablets, topical liquids, and collars. Some of these products can only be obtained via prescription, while others can be obtained over the counter. Just be sure to ask your veterinarian’s opinion prior to administering a flea and tick preventative product. Many over the counter and natural formulations are not very effective and, in some cases, can even be harmful.

Heartworm preventative products are obtained through prescription only. Most of these products also help to kill intestinal worms too. Before starting heartworm prevention, your veterinarian may need to perform a heartworm test to assure that your dog is not currently infected.

So What Do I Do Now?
The bottom line is that many different vaccines, tests, and products exist to help keep your furry friend healthy. At your appointment, your veterinarian will be able to provide guidance towards the proper preventative steps to keep your dog healthy!

Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog where we will focus on our feline friends!

Effects That Human Medications

by Elizabeth Charles, Tech Supervisor

pills-1885550_640As Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and family members of young children we always make sure our household items and medications are out of the reach of little hands – BUT, did you ever think about what these items can do to your furry, four-legged loved ones? Although some medications are shared by both humans and animals, most are toxic. Even shared medication in the wrong dose can be toxic.

Some medications that pose a high risk are:

• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories – Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen
• Acetaminophen
• Diet Pills / Vitamins
• Cold medication
• Antihistamines
• Prescription drugs
• Antidepressants

These medications can make your pet very sick. The signs and symptoms may vary depending on the medication but you may see vomiting, excessive drooling, shaking/seizure activity, diarrhea, hemorrhaging / bloody diarrhea and lethargy. Narcotics, including marijuana can be life-threatening if ingested.

Never give your pet any medication, including over-the-counter medications unless directed by your veterinarian. Keep all medication tightly secured and stored where your pet cannot reach them.

So, now we come to the question of what to do if you think your pet has ingested any of these things. First, DON’T WAIT!! Time is critical for successfully treating an accidental poisoning. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435 – there may be a consultation fee, but this will be cheaper than the loss of your fur baby). Be prepared to provide your pet’s breed, age, weight, and symptoms. Keep the product container with you to assist in identification so appropriate treatment recommendations can be made.

REMEMBER our babies don’t realize that these things are bad for them, it is up to us to make sure they are safe.

Information for this blog was obtained from the American Veterinary Medical Association. More information can be found at or by calling Shippensburg Animal Hospital at 717-532-5413.

Your Impact on Wildlife

by Amanda, LVT

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, the great outdoors are just a few steps out your front door. A part of the great outdoors is wildlife. Many of us take for granted that little squirrel in the tree, the birds by the bird feeder at the kitchen window, or that occasional raccoon that landed in your headlights crossing the road at night. We take many of the squirrels, possums, deer, and birds for granted that they will always be there to view. But, many of the native species to PA are endangered or extinct due to a growing population, deforestation, and wildfires.

The week of March 12th is National Wildlife Week, when the National Wildlife Federation dedicates for all ages to take some specific time to devote to seeing how our ecological footprint is impacting the wildlife we are used to seeing daily. To kick-off this week, let’s dive into the various species native to PA that you might find when you enjoy the great outdoors with also a peek into the species that desperately need help to thrive.

Night Heron re-sizedSome of the endangered species in PA include bitterns, shrews, night-herons, flying squirrels, warblers, terns, wrens, upland sandpipers, egrets, and everyone’s favorite, Indiana Bats. One animal you might not have heard of before is the Dickcissel, which is a bird that loves grassy fields and similar to a sparrow. They sing to one another in tones that are similar to its name. They made it on the list due to human populations growing and pushing into their natural habitats.

There are a few species on the threatened list including harriers, bats, Alleghany woodrats, and the long-eared owl. These owls are very secretive and shy which makes observation hard to determine what is causing this species to decline in numbers. The small-footed bat is native to Cumberland and Franklin counties in the small caves but their numbers are declining.

Some of the species in PA that are on the recovery list include the Bald Eagle and the osprey. One special window into the bald eagles and the recovery process is the Hanover Bald Eagle Nest cam. It is a great and safe way of watching the eagles in action without interrupting their natural habitat. You can visit the webcam on Facebook or on the PA Game Commission website.

Why do I bring these endangered species up? Or, maybe you are thinking why it’s important to learn about wildlife conservation? What is my impact on wildlife in PA? One key way to make a difference is to learn what wildlife species are on the lists and to know what their natural habitats entail. Other suggestions from the PGC include the following: contribute, be ethical, monitor for changes in your community, and manage the environment- this could include protecting grassy fields, protecting wetlands and other forest lands.

Take time this week and throughout the year to dig deep into what your impact is on the environment and how that correlates to the wildlife close to your home and work.

National Adopt a Guinea Pig Month

guinea pigsIn 2002 the ASPCA declared the month of March “National Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month”. This was developed because of the overwhelming number of guinea pigs entering shelters. A guinea pig may be the perfect pet for you if you are not quite ready for the commitment of a dog or a cat.

Don’t get me wrong, guinea pigs are a big commitment just like our other household pets. They require a large space to live in and do best when they are around other guinea pigs; so usually adopting a bonded pair is best. According to the Humane Society of the United States, one guinea pig needs a cage that is 30”x36” to comfortably live. It is also strongly recommended that guinea pigs have at least one hour per day of play time outside of their cage in an even larger play area. Guinea pigs love to run around and explore new places! It’s also important to pick a good location to put your guinea pig cage in your house. They are very social animals and love to be around activity. A living room would be the best place for them since this area sees the most traffic from an average family. They are also very vocal (especially when they know it’s time for their veggies), so your bedroom may not be the best place for them to live. It’s also good to remember that guinea pigs are very sensitive to noise, so avoid putting your pig next to the TV. Also, be sure to keep them away from drafty areas, direct sunlight, and other pets in the home.

guineapig2Before adopting a guinea pig, it’s important to understand their dietary needs. A guinea pig’s diet has 4 requirements: fresh hay, fresh water, pellets, and fresh vegetables. As a general rule, guinea pigs should be offered 1/8th of a cup of a good quality pellet every day. They should always, and I mean always, have access to fresh timothy hay. Guinea pigs are hindgut fermenters, which means they digest their food in the latter part of their digestive tract. If a guinea pig stops eating for a long amount of time it can cause what is called “gastro-intestinal stasis”. This means that the stomach is not properly emptying and the movement of food through the intestines drastically slows. This can cause back up of food in the stomach which causes a major medical problem because guinea pigs are not able to vomit the contents up once their stomach fills. Therefore, it’s important to always have hay available to your pigs. Another staple in your pet’s diet will be fresh vegetables. About 1 cup of leafy greens or other veggies (carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers) daily are necessary for your pet’s health. Guinea pigs are not able to produce vitamin C naturally so they must get this important vitamin through external food sources otherwise they may develop a deadly disease called “scurvy”.

Guinea pigs make great pets. I adopted my two guinea pigs, Lenny and Bentley, in 2016. I graduated from the Veterinary Technician program at Wilson College and these two brothers were a part of our Laboratory Animal class. I fell in love with them immediately and decided to adopt them. They spend most of their days lounging in their pig-loo’s, eating vegetables, and popcorning around their play pen. They made a great addition to my family!

Valentine’s Day – Toxic Foods For Pets

valentines-day-2057745_640As Valentine’s Day approaches many yummy candies and foods will find their way into our homes. You know the ones I’m talking about….. they typically come in those adorable little heart-shaped boxes. For us, those wonderful treats are an amazing delight, however, they can also be toxic foods for pets.

Chocolate is probably the most common toxin. It contains methylxanthines which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures and even death. Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines. The most dangerous is baking chocolate, it contains the highest amount of the toxin.

Outside of chocolate, there are many other toxic foods that we see around Valentine’s Day. They are grapes and raisins, nuts (macadamia nuts are the worst), and coconut or coconut oil. Lastly, let us not forget about those alcoholic beverages and things with the artificial sweetner Xylitol.

• Grapes and Raisins – cause kidney failure.
• Nuts (including almonds, pecans, and walnuts) – cause vomiting, diarrhea and potentially pancreatitis.
• Macadamia nuts – cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. They can also cause neurological signs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last 12-48 hours.
• Coconut and Coconut Oil – cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea (Coconut Water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet).
• Alcohol – causes vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
• Xylitol – Anything with this sweetener can cause low blood glucose and/or liver failure. Initial signs are vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, and seizures. Liver failure can start within a few days.

Let’s give our furry friends a safe, love-filled Valentine’s Day….

There are many other things that are toxic to our furry friends. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions if your little one has ingested a potentially toxic food, plant, or other agent.

Information courtesy of and Shippensburg Animal Hospital 717-532-5413.

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.*

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

Help Animals in Need this Holiday Season

Help us fill an animal’s food bowl and spread some holiday cheer this season! From December 9th to January 9th, every time we get a like on Facebook we will donate a scoop of food in partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter – an animal shelter in our area.

Please help us by spreading the word! When we post on any of our social media accounts, please share, retweet, or create something on your own. We’re aiming to get 1,000 likes (that equals about 10 40-lb bags of dog food!) and we can’t do it without you! So please let all your friends, family, coworkers, and anyone else know so we can make this holiday season just a little bit better for these animals in need. Visit our Facebook page to make a difference!

The Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, Inc. is an independent, non-profit, community-supported animal shelter that provides humane services for animals in need. Early grassroots efforts for the shelter actually began in the 1970’s, and throughout the years, the shelter has been maintained by a number of different organizations. In 1994, CVAS established itself as an independent, non-profit entity. The mission of the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter is to protect, shelter and adopt homeless animals in the northern Franklin and parts of southern Cumberland county service area.