Pets Top 10 List





Dr. Ali Travis of River Road Animal Hospital breaks it down for owners and their pets.


It’s always hard to decide what to write about when you’re so passionate about your work and there’s always such interesting and cool stuff happening in veterinary medicine. So, I selected 10 things – some old, some new – that seem the most important to the bond we have with our pets. If only I could make these as funny and memorable as David Letterman!


We love our pets so when they look hungry, we want to give them more. In one landmark study, researchers investigated 24 litter pairs over their entire lifetime. One dog in the pair was allowed to eat as much as they wanted, while the other got only 75% of what the first ate. The results were startling: the lean-fed dogs lived 1.8 healthy years longer. Before you overfill the bowl next time, think about whether you’d choose to show your love with extra food, or extra years!


There’s no way around it: you’ve got to brush teeth. Every day. I know, that sounds awful. But bad teeth lead to bad health and lots of expense. If your vet recommends cleaning, remember this is a much more involved procedure than in people. They must be under general anesthesia with a tube to prevent the bacteria from getting into the lungs. Procedures can be long so monitoring of the kind that people get during surgery is needed: intravenous fluids, ECG, etc. And if teeth have to be pulled they need x-rays – would you let your dentist determine what needs to be done without an x-ray? So re- solve this year to put your pet’s (yes, even cats can do this) toothbrush next to yours and brush theirs when you do.


They may not just be getting old or lazy or cantankerous , they might be in pain. No, they don’t cry, or moan. They limit what they do. Please don’t be afraid of the wonderful and amazing meds and therapies out there to help! Please! If your pet is slowing down have your vet look for pain – it can be subtle, because they hide it. But once it’s treated, you’re going to be amazed!


These are 2 diseases on the rise that have vaccines. There have been a bunch of cases of Leptospirosis in Wilmington. 2 were fatal – People can also get this. Lyme is carried by ticks. Vaccination with 100% tick prevention is the gold standard since ticks in NC also carry diseases like Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.


Most pets really don’t get prevention every month on time. But even when the history is perfect, we have seen positive tests. This is a nasty disease! Make sure your pets are tested every year and con- sider a product that makes remembering easier, like the once every 6 months Pro- Heart injection.


Itchy pets with skin and ears that are constantly infected? There are so many new opportunities to fix these! Advances in allergy testing and serum, new diets that make food trial MUCH less painful, and new drugs instead of steroids….


Probably the number one thing clients ask me about is food. It’s crazy. So, let’s quell a few myths:

Myth: Dogs are usually allergic to corn, wheat and grains.

Truth: In studies, beef was by far the biggest culprit. Dairy was number two. Wheat came in third. Soy and corn were actually minimal offenders.

Myth: “It can’t be a food allergy. He’s eating the same thing he always has”.

Truth: Dogs and cats, like people, can become allergic to anything, anytime.

Myth: “By-products are bad.”

Truth: Complete hype. By-products are mostly internal organs and bones, which can be way more nutritious that muscle meat alone. Ever watch a video of a lion eating it’s prey? What does she eat first? Hint: not the leg meat.

Cats: People think that indoor cats don’t need to come to the vet. Although outdoor cats are more prone to trauma, indoor cats are more prone to disease. Obesity, arthritis, diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney disease, urinary problems – all more common in indoor cats. We can fix or manage these if we catch them in time. Call your vet if you have trouble getting your cat to the hospital. Let’s see some kitty love in 2016!


Plan ahead. Talk to your vet, especially if your pet is sick, and know what you’re going to do, when. There’s nothing more heartbreaking to me than a traumatic weekend trip to the e-clinic after a long battle with disease because we didn’t plan ahead.


Age is not a disease. There are plenty of things we can fix or manage. If you see subtle signs – weight loss, lethargy, changes in eating, drinking, urination…call your vet!


To make your life easier: a once every 3 months flea and tick chewy for dogs. Since it’s oral, you can’t accidentally wash off with the wrong shampoo.

You can find Dr. Ali at River Road Animal Hospital. 8593 River Rd SE, Southport, NC 28461. p 910-454-8910. f 910-454-8912. Friend us on Facebook!

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