Horse Care

Dr. Preston Thornton travels to farms and stables throughout Roanoke, Salem, Franklin County, Botetourt and Fincastle. Whether on the farm or in our fully equipped Hospital on Hite Street, they are committed to providing the medical, dental, and surgical care your pet deserves. Our entire staff is dedicated to developing an important, lasting health care partnership with you by earning and keeping your trust.

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Southern Hills Animal Hospital
3827 Hite St. SW
Roanoke, VA 24014-2377
540-343-4155
Southern Hills Animal Hospital

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Preventative Care

Offering pediatric preventive care, maintenance adult care, and early intervention to senior health issues, we are here to help you navigate the daily advances in veterinary medicine so your pet is provided with optimal care. Our doctors and staff are continuously adding to their medical and surgical knowledge to help ensure your pet is given every medical opportunity and advantage.

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Southern Hills Animal Hospital
3827 Hite St. SW
Roanoke, VA 24014-2377
540-343-4155
Southern Hills Animal Hospital

Dog Grooming Tips

Have you ever watched your dog roll on the ground, lick her coat or chew at her fur? These are her ways of keeping clean. Sometimes, though, she’ll need a little help from you to look and smell her best. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Read on for ways to keep your dog’s fur, skin, nails, teeth, ears and paws healthy and clean.

The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog at least once every three months, but some may require more frequent baths if he or she spends a lot of time outdoors or has skin problems. Here are some steps to help you get started.

Regular grooming with a brush or comb will help keep your pet’s hair in good condition by removing dirt, spreading natural oils throughout her coat, preventing tangles and keeping her skin clean and irritant-free. Plus, grooming time is a great time to check for fleas and flea dirt—those little black specks that indicate your pet is playing host to a flea family.

Although shedding old or damaged hair is a normal process for dogs, the amount and frequency of hair shed often depends upon their health, breed type and season. Many dogs develop thick coats in the winter that are then shed in the spring. Dogs who are always kept indoors, however, are prone to smaller fluctuations in coat thickness and tend to shed fairly evenly all year.

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Southern Hills Animal Hospital
3827 Hite St. SW
Roanoke, VA 24014-2377
540-343-4155
Southern Hills Animal Hospital

Emergency Care For Your Pet

Unfortunately, accidents do happen. When a medical emergency befalls our furry friends, pet parents may find it difficult to make rational decisions, especially if something occurs during the middle of the night. That’s why it’s crucial to have an emergency plan in place—before you need it.

Finding 24-Hour Emergency Care for Your Pet

Talk to your veterinarian about an emergency protocol. Does your vet provide 24-hour service or does he or she work with an emergency clinic in the area? Some practices have multiple veterinarians on staff who rotate on-call services after hours. Check to see if your primary care vet has partners who might answer an emergency call. It’s also a smart idea to keep the name, number and address of your local emergency clinic tacked to the refrigerator or stored in your cell phone for easy access.

Signs Your Pet May Need Emergency Care

Your dog may need emergency care because of severe trauma—caused by an accident or fall—choking, heatstroke, an insect sting, household poisoning or other life-threatening situation. Here are some signs that emergency care is needed:

  • Pale gums
  • Rapid breathing
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Change in body temperature
  • Difficulty standing
  • Apparent paralysis
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Excessive bleeding

Next Steps

Pets who are severely injured may act aggressively toward their pet parents, so it’s important to first protect yourself from injury.

For dogs: Approach your dog slowly and calmly; kneel down and say his name. If the dog shows aggression, call for help. If he’s passive, fashion a makeshift stretcher and gently lift him onto it. Take care to support his neck and back in case he’s suffered any spinal injuries.

For cats: Gently place a blanket or towel over the cat’s head to prevent biting; then slowly lift the cat and place her in an open-topped carrier or box. Take care to support the cat’s head and avoid twisting her neck in case she’s suffered a spinal injury.

Once you feel confident and safe transporting your pet, immediately bring him to an emergency care facility. Ask a friend or family member to call the clinic so the staff knows to expect you and your pet.

First Aid Treatments to Perform At Home

Most emergencies require immediate veterinary care, but first aid methods may help you stabilize your pet for transportation.

  • If your pet is suffering from external bleeding due to trauma, try elevating and applying pressure to the wound.
  • If your pet is choking, place your fingers in his mouth to see if you can remove the blockage.
  • If you’re unable to remove the foreign object, perform a modified Heimlich maneuver by giving a sharp rap to his chest, which should dislodge the object.

Performing CPR on Your Pet

CPR may be necessary if your pet remains unconscious after you have removed the choking object. First check to see if he’s breathing. If not, place him on his side and perform artificial respiration by extending his head and neck, holding his jaws closed and blowing into his nostrils once every three seconds. (Ensure no air escapes between your mouth and the pet’s nose.) If you don’t feel a heartbeat, incorporate cardiac massage while administering artificial respiration—three quick, firm chest-compressions for every respiration—until your dog resumes breathing on his own.

What To Do If Your Pet Eats Something Poisonous

If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. Trained toxicologists will consider the age and health of your pet, what and how much he ate, and then make a recommendation—such as whether to induce vomiting—based on their assessment. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.

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Southern Hills Animal Hospital
3827 Hite St. SW
Roanoke, VA 24014-2377
540-343-4155
Southern Hills Animal Hospital

Doggy Behavior

Not all behaviors are due to mental or brain disease. Often animals will act out or demonstrate pain in a way that gets our attention. A classic example is urinary tract infections. Often pets will urinate in abnormal places but otherwise act normal. Owners can easily misconstrue this for spiteful behavior. Fear and pain can be demonstrated by aggression or hiding.

We will work with you to determine the cause of the unwanted behavior that your pet is exhibiting then develop a strategy for success. We incorporate training techniques as the foundation of our success. Although there isn’t a magic pill, sometimes we will use medications for a short period of time to make our training techniques more successful.

It will take dedication to a simple program to make significant strides with behavior issues, and if persistent, your hard work and our assistance will lead to a more rewarding relationship for you and your pet.

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Southern Hills Animal Hospital
3827 Hite St. SW
Roanoke, VA 24014-2377
540-343-4155
Southern Hills Animal Hospital

Traveling With Your Cat

The very first rule of traveling with your cat is to have an ID tag or other means of identification securely affixed to the kitty. Thousands of dogs and cats end up in shelters simply because the owners never dreamed the pet would get loose or become lost while on a trip. There are few disasters in a person’s life that are worse than having to drive off without a pet because all means of locating and recovery have failed.  This kind of tragedy will haunt you for the rest of your life; don’t let it happen. Get an ID tag, or at the very least microchip your cat!

Before you leave make sure you consider the option of leaving your cat in a hometown boarding facility  Many are just for cats and do not board dogs. Others have the cats well away from any sight, sound or smell of a canine. In fact, go and visit your local boarding facility and see what goes on there.

Also, there may be a pet sitter in your area who would tend your pets in your own home. With a pet sitter you can even call home and tell your cat how much fun you’re having … Oh, and also how much you miss the rascal — of course.

Below we’ll list a few troublesome areas when it comes to traveling with a cat and how to best facilitate a safe and enjoyable road trip. It’s important to note that you should first take a number of local short trips before you go out on an all-day trip. An “all-dayer” is basically just a bunch of short trips anyway, right.

Travel Crates

These inventions are very handy. Your cat, if happy and comfortable in a crate, will be safer and you will have the peace of mind knowing it is secure when you must leave your friend alone for short periods. Using a travel crate is important for both your safety and the safety of your cat, as a cat that roams around a car while it’s in motion can be potentially distracting to the driver and could cause serious harm to the cat. If you do use a crate, be certain that the cat is totally accustomed to it well prior to the trip.

Motion Sickness or Hyperactivity?

Anyone can get carsick, even humans. Most cats can overcome motion sickness by desensitizing them with repeat short, uneventful trips. Gradually accustom your cat to spending time in the car with the engine off, then with the engine on, then short trips, then the cross-country adventure. Prior to a long trip be sure the cat has had food and water available, then remove food and water at least three hours before you set off.

You can also use anti-motion sickness medications to help settle the stomach and prevent the sometimes prolific drooling that occurs in a nauseous cat.  Most medications used to prevent motion sickness are very safe antihistamines and many cats eventually will travel without the aid of medical assistance. Just in case, bring a roll of paper towels.

What if your cat goes bonkers when they are in a vehicle? S/he probably has hyperactivity. These cats aren’t sick, they’re possessed!  Salivating, panting, whining, jumping from front seat to back, swatting at non existent butterflies and trying to cling upside down to the roof of the car are common characteristics of the hyperactive feline traveler.

This is different than motion sickness. Cats with motion sickness are generally quiet and even a little depressed because they feel awful. They will drool all over the place, maybe even pass stool, and eventually start vomiting. (Even with an empty stomach the vomiting reflex can be very strong.)

How to Sedate a Hyper Cat for Travel

If you must bring the hyperactive cat with you, medication to sedate the kitty will surely make the trip safer, easier and less stressful for both you and the cat. Talk to your vet to see what options you have. Once you have the medication, the key is to give it to your cat well before the trip starts.

Some cats start their Tae Bo routine as soon as they hear the word car! Be nonchalant, sneak a little medication in a treat, and don’t mention the C-A-R anywhere near the cat prior to your trip. If you believe your cat may be a candidate for medication, be sure to do a leisurely pretrip trial well ahead of the time you really need it.

About one cat out of ten will not respond in the common way to a particular medication or a particular dose. You do not want to find this out the morning of an eight-hour, midwinter trip through the Rockies to accept that national writing award you won for the article on “Logical Steps To Effective Planning”.

Eyes on the Road!

Your attention should always be on the traffic, not on the cat! If your traveling pal is a good traveler, it might curl up next to you on the seat and, ah … well, take a cat nap. Do not ever allow a pet to go near the driver side floor where the brake and gas pedals are located. And the dashboard must be out of bounds for safety sake.

Seat Belts

Many veterinarians and pet owners believe strongly in buckling up pets in a car just as you would a child.  There are many types of restraining devices for dogs BUT FEW FOR CATS. You might consider using a padded fabric type of crate for your cat instead of the plastic or wire crates in order to keep your cat in place during a trip and to ensure additional safety in case of an accident. Collars, harnesses and leashes are a must for any travelin’ cat. The bottom line? Be prepared.

Plan Ahead

Plan ahead … well ahead. If you know you will be staying overnight somewhere, be sure to have reservations at an establishment that welcomes pets. A handy list of “Pet Friendly” motels or hotels can be found if you do a little searching. Don’t even think about it if you hope to hide your cat in your room or think you will launch a successful appeal to the motel owner’s sense of sympathy if you show up with an 25-pound Maine Coon!

And don’t forget to bring along some disposable “Scoop n Toss Bags”; you must be socially conscious about where your kitty chooses to relieve itself. Your portable litter box may not be the cat’s first choice. Be prepared!

Food, Water and Supplies

It wouldn’t hurt to pamper your pal — bring along your cat’s own food and drinking water from home and you will be better off. Not that you’re fussy, right? And a few old towels or rags will make good cleanup devices if the cat happens to discover a mud puddle or contacts something nasty like spilled ice cream sundaes!

Emergency first-aid kits are very handy for you and the cat if a sudden cut, sliver or rash intrudes upon your day. Anti-itch medication, bandages, and antibiotic ointments may save the day when you least expect something will go wrong.

It is also good idea to have your veterinarian give you a copy of the cat’s medical history to take with you just in case a visit to a veterinarian along the way becomes necessary.

Leashes

Yeah, that’s right … plural. Bring two leashes. That way you’ll have a spare when you misplace one. Cats are notorious for doing Houdini-like escapes from their collars. A harness is much more secure, especially the ones that will adjust according to the amount of tension placed against it. The harder a cat pulls the tighter and more secure the slip harness becomes.

Heat Stroke

Leaving a pet alone in a car has a number of potential risks, including heat stroke. Always be conscious of the effects of heat buildup in a parked car. It only takes a few minutes for the internal heat to build up 40 degrees above the outside air temperature, especially if the car is in direct sunlight. Even the cat’s body heat (expired air in the cat’s breath is 102 degrees!) will act like a heater inside the car. Symptoms of heat stroke include panting, rapid breathing, restlessness, drooling, bright red gums, vomiting, sweaty paws, fever, collapse.

Leaving windows open slightly at the top surely helps if there is a breeze. Be very cautious about leaving pets unattended in parked cars. Heat stroke is a dire emergency and one from which many pets do not recover. And you’d be shocked to find out just how fast it can happen.

Have Fun!

Don’t forget to bring along some fun toys and tasty treats … just so the kitty knows that this traveling stuff is really fun. Oh, and don’t forget the camera too!

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Southern Hills Animal Hospital
3827 Hite St. SW
Roanoke, VA 24014-2377
540-343-4155
Southern Hills Animal Hospital