Importance of Wellness Exams

Veterinarians recommend regular wellness exams for the same reason your physician and dentist recommend them – if you can detect a problem in its early stages, it’s more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Vaccinations, heartworm prevention and routine deworming are important components of wellness care and can prevent diseases that are not only life-threatening, but very expensive to treat.

Your veterinarian can recommend a wellness program based on your pet’s breed (some breeds are predisposed to certain health problems), age, lifestyle and overall health.

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By |2019-01-08T19:58:14+00:00January 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Vaccination FAQ

Dog being vaccinated

Q: What are vaccines?

A: Vaccines are health products that trigger protective immune responses in pets and prepare them to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines can lessen the severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether. Today, a variety of vaccines are available for use by veterinarians.

Q: Is it important to vaccinate?

A: Yes! Pets should be vaccinated to protect them from many highly contagious and deadly diseases. Experts agree that widespread use of vaccines within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Even though some formerly common diseases have now become uncommon, vaccination is still highly recommended because these serious disease agents continue to be present in the environment.

Q: Which vaccines should pets receive?

A: When designing a vaccination program, veterinarians consider the pet’s lifestyle, related disease risks, and the characteristics of available vaccines. “Core vaccines” (e.g., rabies, feline panleukopenia, feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus infection, canine distemper, canine parvovirus infection, and canine hepatitis) are recommended for most pets. Additional “non-core vaccines” (e.g., feline leukemia, canine kennel cough and other vaccines) may be appropriate based on the pet’s particular needs.

Q: How often should pets be revaccinated?

A: Veterinarians have traditionally vaccinated annually; however, they are now learning that some vaccines induce immunity that lasts less than one year, whereas others may induce immunity that lasts well beyond one year. The AVMA recommends that veterinarians customize vaccination programs to the needs of their patients. More than one vaccination program may be effective.

Q: How does my pet’s lifestyle affect its vaccination program?

A: Some pets are homebodies and have modest opportunity for exposure to infectious disease, whereas others have a great deal of exposure to other pets and/or wildlife and infectious disease by virtue of their activities. Still other pets live in geographic areas that place them at greater risk for contracting some infectious diseases. Differences in lifestyle illustrate the importance of customizing a vaccination program to individual patients.

Q: Are there risks associated with vaccination?

A: Vaccines have protected millions of animals from illness and death caused by infectious diseases. All medical procedures, however, carry with them some risk. Fortunately, in the case of vaccination, serious adverse responses are very infrequent. Veterinarians minimize risk by carefully selecting vaccines on the basis of a pet’s individual needs and by choosing appropriate injection sites. In an effort to find ways to prevent even these limited numbers of adverse responses from occurring, the AVMA is working with government and industry to redefine how information regarding adverse responses is gathered, analyzed, and disseminated.

Q: What should I expect after my pet’s vaccination?

A: It’s common for pets to experience some mild side effects after receiving a vaccine. You should talk with your veterinarian about what to expect after vaccination, and be sure to inform him or her if your pet has had prior reactions to any vaccine or medication. More serious, but less common side effects, such as allergic reactions, can be life-threatening and are medical emergencies. Seek veterinary care immediately if any of these signs develop:

  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Itchy skin that may seem bumpy (“hives”)
  • Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
  • Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Collapse


Q: Is serologic testing useful to evaluate immunity to some diseases?

A: Theoretically, tests that measure antibody response (i.e., serologic titers) may help veterinarians determine the need for revaccination in some cases. Unfortunately, veterinarians cannot be certain that a specific concentration of antibody is always protective or that a lower concentration leaves an animal unprotected.

This information has been prepared as a service by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Redistribution is acceptable, but the document’s original content and format must be maintained, and its source must be prominently identified.

By |2019-01-08T19:53:30+00:00January 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Cold Weather Pet Safety

You’re probably already aware of the risks posed by warm weather and leaving pets in hot cars, but did you know that cold weather also poses serious threats to your pets’ health?

Here are some tips to keep your pets safe during cold weather:

Winter wellness: Has your pet had his/her preventive care exam (wellness exam) yet? Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure (s)he is ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.

Know the limits: Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. If you need help determining your pet’s temperature limits, consult your veterinarian.

Stay inside. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods in below-freezing weather.

For more information on Cold Weather Pet Safety or to continue reading this article,  go to

By |2019-01-08T19:38:52+00:00January 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus

Canine influenza (CIV), or dog flu, is a highly contagious viral infection affecting dogs and also cats. Influenza viruses belong to the family Othomyxoviridae. Canine Influenza is a Type A influenza virus and is further identified based on the composition of two specific proteins in the lipid outer layer of the capsid: hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). At present, two strains of canine influenza virus have been identified in the United States: H3N8 and H3N2.

Influenza viruses are able to quickly change and give rise to new strains that can infect different species. Both strains of canine influenza identified in the U.S. can be traced to influenza strains known to infect species other than dogs. At some point, these viruses acquired the ability to infect dogs and be transmitted from dog to dog.

Click Here to Learn More About Canine Influenza

By |2017-08-23T00:57:27+00:00August 23rd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Welcome to the NEW Hickory Veterinary Hospital web site!!!

Hickory Veterinary Hospital is a part of Harford County’s largest pet care complex! We are a full service companion animal hospital serving Harford County, Cecil County, Baltimore County and Southern Pennsylvania since the early 1980’s. Our services and facilities are conveniently located at 534 East Jarrettsville Road & Business Route 1, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050.

Please contact us at 410-838-7797 ext. 2 for all your pet health care needs.

We Consider Pets Family!

Please bear with us as we work to refine our content.  Be sure to check back frequently to see updates.

By |2017-09-20T16:42:47+00:00August 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Visit the NEW Hickory Pet Food and Supplies Web Site

At Hickory Pet Food and Supplies we make your pets’ health and happiness our number one priority! We carry a wide variety of all natural, USA made pet foods and treats to meet the needs of dogs, cats, small animals, and birds. From gluten free and grain free to GMO free or dehydrated, we’ve got what you’re looking for. We also carry an array of toys, veterinary exclusive toys and products, crates, beds, collars, leashes and accessories to keep your furry (or feathered) loved ones wagging their tails with joy. Not to mention live crickets for critters with scales and tails! Stop by and meet our knowledgeable staff and let us show you how we can be your go-to for pet care.

Please contact us at 410-838-7797 for all your pet supply needs.

We Consider Pets Family!

Please visit our NEW Pet Food and Supplies site at

By |2017-08-12T03:11:02+00:00August 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Visit the NEW Hickory Kennels & Grooming Web Site

Hickory Kennels & Vanity Fur Grooming is a part of the Hickory pet Care Complex. It is a large facility with approx 100 runs, a large grassed yard and a separate cat room with spacious kitty condo housing. The kennel facility also incorporates Vanity Fur Pet Grooming. We offer pet boarding as well as daycare.

We will provide your pet with the one on one attention he/she deserves.  They will be provided spacious accommodations with clean, comfortable bedding in one of our two heated & air conditioned kennels. Walks, food, and administering medicines are just some of the perks that come with your stay with us. We even provide a courtesy bath free of charge with every 10 night stay (PM pickup required).

We welcome tours at any time. Please stop by at your convenience to be shown our facility or contact us at 410-838-7797 with any questions you may have.

We Consider Pets Family!

Please visit our NEW Kennels and Grooming site at

By |2017-08-12T03:09:48+00:00August 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments