Pet Obesity

Did you know that obesity affects more than 50 percent of America’s dog population? If your pooch is overweight, he can develop all kinds of health problems, such as painful arthritis, heart disease, breathing difficulty, diabetes and even bladder cancer. For your dog, the excess weight and the resulting health problems can mean less play time and depression.

What causes weight gain?

Weight gain is the result of an increase in body fat. This is usually caused by eating too much, especially when combined with lack of exercise. But there can be other contributing factors too.

Age: Older dogs are less active, have less energy, and require fewer calories.

Breed: Some dog breeds are more likely to gain weight. These include Labrador retrievers, and cocker and Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

Neutering/ spaying: Clinical studies have shown that the basic metabolism of neutered dogs is lower. Neutered dogs actually require fewer calories.

Medical Problems: Very occasionally weight gain is associated with a medical disorder that may require specific treatment

Overfeeding: Dogs with unlimited access to food understandably eat more than they need

Overeating: Many commercial foods are loaded with salt and fat. This improves taste, which means your dog will want to gorge

Feeding habits: Feeding table scraps and “people food” can lead to obesity

Lack of exercise: Too much food and too little exercise produces a typical result: Obesity


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


Our Services

Our services include:

Health Paws Savings Plans incorporating the services and savings you need for a year

  • Healthy Paws Puppy and Kitten Classic and Optimal Care Savings Plans
  • Healthy Paws Classic and Optimal Care Savings Plans for Adults
  • Healthy Paws Internal Health Savings Plans
  • Healthy Paws Dental Savings Plans

Doctors’ Appointments scheduled for 30-45 minutes to ensure we meet all your needs

Urgent Care appointments daily until 7 pm

Routine and Emergency Medical and Surgical Services

  • Spay and Neuter Packages
  • Emergency Surgical Procedures
  • Dental Care Programs
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Weight Management Programs
  • Pain Management and Mobility Rehabilitation Services

Bathing and Pampered Boarding Care

Intensive and Critical Nursing Care from 6 am until 11 pm daily

Outpatient Convalescent and Hospice Programs

Full Service Diagnostic and Treatment Center

  • Extensive In-house Laboratory for rapid detection of disease
  • Radiology, Ultrasound, and Endoscopic Imaging
  • Tele-medical Referrals to Board Specialists throughout the United States
  • Allergy Testing and Desensitization
  • Cardiac Evaluations and Treatment Programs
  • Oncology Consultations and Treatment Programs

We understand the special role your pet plays in your family and we are dedicated to becoming a valuable partner in your pet’s health care needs.


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

Our Dedicated Staff

Our staff’s professionalism, dedication to service, and enthusiasm for excellence will make your visit a rewarding, unique experience. Our doctors are dedicated to educating our clients on the health care needs of their pets through every stage of life. 25299397_1600081170051015_7065629068173945184_n

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.

In addition, 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. With our wide range of services and extended hours for routine and urgent care appointments, we are able to provide all the care your pet needs, when they need it the most.

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

Dog Showers Are The Latest Home Trend Among Pet Owners

Ask any pet owner and they’ll tell you: Furry friends are just as much a part of the family as actual humans.

And this interior design trend proves it.

A recent New York Times report pointed out that there’s a growing demand for designated showers for dogs in homes. Yes, you read that right: dog showers. Instead of giving pups a bath in the regular tub, some are opting to build a separate shower just for their pooch.

As excessive as it might sound, it does make sense. William Harrison, principal architect of Harrison Design, said his firm has been designing dog showers for clients for many years. dog-showers-today-180314-tease_fcbdb44a973ec80e8fdb6f7f90cfb183.focal-1000x500

“In the beginning, some clients asked us to design a shower with a higher platform so they could more comfortably wash their dog,” he told TODAY Home. “Now it’s morphed into a highly desired feature.”

The appeal of a dog shower is usually for bigger breeds, not Yorkies, he explained.

“You try bathing a big dog at home; it’s a big mess! Not only is the dog unhappy in the tub, but the suds, fur and water get everywhere,” Harrison said. It can also be unsafe as wet dogs can get hurt trying to jump out of a slippery bathtub.

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

Cat Patios

A trend is sweeping the feline living scene, and if you want your cat to be one of the happiest on the block, you may be in for a minor home-renovation project. Say hello to the catio, aka, a cat patio.

According to a 2016 trend piece in The Washington Post, catios are not only a fun way to give your pet a luxe outdoor space; they’re also a safe option since they keep your pet from roaming or getting into trouble with other animals, like birds.

Catios are screened-in structures ranging in sizes, shapes and designs that allow cats to take in the fresh air and lounge in their own space.

Some companies even specialize in these custom-built enclosures. Catio Spaces in Seattle, for example, offers small options such as the “Window Box Veranda” all the way to a larger ground-level “Sanctuary Condo,” which includes a human-sized door and an upper catwalk.


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


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.

Steps to Minimize Shedding
While you cannot stop a healthy dog from normal shedding, you can reduce the amount of hair in your home by brushing your dog regularly. Ask your veterinarian or groomer to recommend a specific type of brush or comb that will work best for your dog’s hair type.


Excessive Hair Loss
Shedding is a normal process for pets. Excessive shedding can also be circumvented with proper nutrition. Quality pet-food manufacturers work hard to include the right amount of nutrients so that supplements are not needed, but pets with allergies or sensitivities might need to experiment with different brands to discover which food works best for them.

However, excessive hair loss or bald patches may be due to one of the following:

  • Parasites (fleas, lice or mites)
  • Fungal or bacterial infections
  • Inhalant- or food-related allergies
  • Kidney, liver, thyroid or adrenal disease (including Cushing’s)
  • Pregnancy or lactation
  • Certain medications
  • Self-induced trauma due to licking
  • Cancer
  • Immune disease
  • Sunburn
  • Contact with irritating or caustic substance

If you notice any of the following conditions, consult with your veterinarian for treatment.

  • Skin irritation, including redness, bumps, rashes or scabs
  • Open sores of any kind
  • Bald spots or thinning of coat
  • Dull, dry hair that pulls out easily
  • Scratching
  • Constant foot licking or face rubbing

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

Bathing Your Dog

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.

  1. First, give your pet a good brushing to remove all dead hair and mats, and then put him or her in a tub or sink that’s been filled with about three to four inches of lukewarm water.
  2. Then, use a spray hose, large plastic pitcher or an unbreakable cup to completely wet your pet.
  3. Take care to not spray or pour water directly in his ears, eyes or nose.
  4. Gently massage in shampoo, working from head to tail, and rinse and repeat as needed.
  5. Dry him or her thoroughly by giving your pet a good rub with a large towel. Voila, clean pet!

Dogs with loose facial skin or wrinkles—such as Shar Peis and Pugs—will need special attention. To prevent dirt and bacteria from causing irritation and infection, clean the folds with damp cotton. Always thoroughly dry the areas between the folds.


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