Thursday, November 5, 2015


Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific anatomic points of the body (acupoints). Acupuncture has been used for both humans and pets for thousands of years in China. Modern research shows that acupoints are located at areas of the body where there is a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, small arterioles and lymphatic vessels. Many acupoints affect the musculoskeletal system. A number of modern studies indicate that stimulation of acupoints results in the release of beta-endorphins (anti-pain, increased feeling of well-being, relaxation, slow growth of cancer cells), seratonin (cardiovascular health, gastrointestinal regulation) and other neurotransmitters. Numerous studies show that acupuncture induces pain relief, anti-inflammation, gastrointestinal tract regulation and immune system regulation.

The Ancient Chinese discovered that the health of the body depends on the state of Qi (pronounced "chee"). Qi is the life force of energy. There are two opposite forms of Qi: Yin and Yang. Qi flows constantly throughout the body. Balanced Qi results in health. Blockage of Qi results in pain. Imbalance of Qi results in disease. Thus, acupuncture often focuses on resolving Qi blockage to relieve pain or balancing of Qi to relieve disease.

Acupuncture is a safe medical procedure when practiced by a qualified doctor. Few, usually temporary side effects have been observed.

Acupuncture can be used with any other therapy, medication or supplement your family veterinarian recommends.

-Dr. Morgan Dixon, DVM, CVA

Dr. Dixon named her practice "Shay Shay". It means "Thank You" in Chinese. She chose the name in memory of her Chow Chow, Hayle who is the inspiration of her life's work. Dr. Dixon was born and raised in Pennsylvania and currently resides in Charlotte with her many rescued, fur babies. She is passionate about her work and also enjoys yoga and meditation.

She obtained her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from the University of Florida. She has been practicing emergency medicine, primary care medicine and exotic pet medicine for over 14 years. She has practiced acupuncture and herbal therapy in Charlotte for over 7 years. Her certification in Veterinary Acupuncture was obtained from Chi Institute of Chinese Veterinary Medicine and is a member of the American Association of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Dixon also has her certification in Pet Loss Grief Counseling and is a member of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. She is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society.      

At Monroe Road Animal Hospital we believe in a team approach to veterinary medicine and have found that acupuncture has been an extremely useful tool. Dr. Dixon routinely see patients here in our office. She also makes house calls. For more information, visit her website at  

-Your Friends at Monroe Road Animal Hospital

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Protect Your Pet Against Rabies

While the number of animals positive for rabies in the southeast has been reduced over the last several years, there is still a substantial rabies problem in the southeast. Please keep in mind that the purpose of this topic is not to provoke fear of every wild or unknown domestic animal you come across, but to stress the importance of rabies vaccines in pets.  

The best way to keep your pet safe from rabies is to make sure he/she stays current on their vaccinations. In fact, it is the law in NC that any dog, cat or ferret over four months of age, residing in North Carolina be kept current on their rabies vaccines. According to NC law, when a cat, dog or ferret that has not been previously vaccinated receives it's initial rabies vaccine, the animal is considered "currently vaccinated" 28 days after the date of the initial vaccine. In most cases, initial rabies vaccines are good for 1 year, subsequent vaccines are good for 3 years as long as there is no lapse in time from when the vaccine is due. Since there are different manufacturers of rabies vaccine, the state defers to the label of the particular vaccine your pet received.    

Within the first 28 days of the initial vaccine, owners should be particularly careful that their pets are not exposed to wild animals/feral animals, unvaccinated animals and any animal that may have exposure to any of the above. If an exposure situation takes place and your pet is not past the initial 28 days, in the eyes of the law your pet is not considered current and could be ordered euthanized or quarantined for up to six months by the state, at your expense. The ultimate decisions in these cases are made by the public health director in your county, not by your family veterinarians who are under very strict guidelines regarding cases like these. Also, your family veterinarian can not under any circumstances exempt your pet (in the eyes of the law) from the rabies requirement even if the pet is ill or has a reaction to the vaccine itself.

Some Examples to Consider:
Keep in mind these are just basic examples and that further measures may apply, as per the public health director.

Situation: A pet that is current on its rabies vaccine bites someone (even the owner).
Per NC Law: The bite must be reported to animal control and the animal must be quarantined for 10 days at the owners expense. Depending on the situation, an in home quarantine may be allowed.  

Situation: A pet who is current on its rabies vaccine catches and kills a bat that comes back positive for rabies.
Per NC Law: The pet must have a rabies booster within 5 days of exposure. Other confinement measures may apply.

Situation: A pet who is not current on its rabies vaccination attacks a wild animal. The wild animal escapes, rendering it unavailable for testing.
Per NC Law: The pet must be quarantined in an approved quarantine facility for six months at the owners expense or euthanized.

The list goes on and on and we see these things time and time again in the veterinary industry with variations here and there. The indisputable facts are: Six month quarantines are extremely expensive. The animals are not allowed family visits. It is very difficult for the animal as well as the family when their pets are in long term quarantine. If you are treated at a hospital or urgent care for an animal bite, by law it is automatically reported to the health department and animal control for follow up. If your veterinarian is made aware that you have been bitten by your pet, your pet has been attacked by a wild or feral animal or your pet bites a staff member, the veterinarian is required by law to report it.

The bottom line is that rabies vaccines are relatively inexpensive in relation to quarantines and other issues that come along with these situations. It is not only the right thing to do for you, your pet and your family, but it is also the law.

For more information on rabies, vaccines and North Carolina law on this subject, please visit

Monroe Road Animal Hospital will be offering a reduced cost rabies vaccine clinic from May 4th through May 9th. The cost is 10.00 and no appointment is required.

-Your Friends at Monroe Road Animal Hospital

(Michelle Ray-Hospital Administrator)      

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I Found a Wild Animal-Now What?

Spring and Fall are the wildlife baby seasons in the southeast and are the busiest times of the year for licensed wildlife rehabilitators. If you find a baby wild animal, the first question to ask is "Does this animal need help?"

Baby squirrels sometimes fall from their nests. If the mother is around, she will retrieve it. Place the animal in a box (without a lid), tape it to the tree near where it was found and watch it. If the mother has not returned within a few hours, it likely needs intervention.

Bunnies leave the nests at about the size of a tennis ball. This is normal and no intervention is needed. If your cat brings you a baby bunny,it must be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator, as it will require antibiotics. Cats carry pasteurella in their mouths and without antibiotics, the baby will die. If you find a nest of bunnies and you do not see the mother, it does not mean they are abandoned. The mother bunny does not stay with the nest in order to keep predators away. She will normally come at around dusk and dawn to feed and care for them.

If you find a fawn, please leave it alone unless it is injured or is covered in flies or fly larvae, or a laying flat instead of in a curled up position. Like bunny moms, fawn moms do not stay with their babies because it draws predators to them. Rest assured she is near by. If you have reason to believe the mother is not returning, watch for at least 6 hours before intervening unless the baby seems injured.      

Baby birds jump from their nests as soon as they are able to hop. Their family members stay close by, following them around and feeding them. This is simply a part of baby birds growing up. Intervention is not needed. If you have outdoor cats, bring them indoors for a few weeks until the babies have grown enough to fly away. In a rehab setting, most baby birds have to be fed every 15 to 20 minutes from sunup until sundown. A federal license is required to rehabilitate migratory songbirds and licensed bird rehabbers are not abundant in NC. "Kidnapped" babies overload these rehabbers and make it difficult to care for all of their charges efficiently.

Opossums smaller than a nerf football should be with their mother and need intervention if found alone.

Any adult or baby found injured, cold, emaciated or with maggots or fly larvae on them is in need of immediate help.

If you find a wild animal in need of assistance, carefully (without getting bitten) place the animal in a warm, dry, safe place and contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Larger mammals such as groundhogs and otters can cause severe damage if they bite and should be handled with extreme caution. Please do not attempt to feed a wild animal any milk products, as this does more harm than good. Do not handle or play with them and do not allow anyone else to either. Wild animals do carry internal parasites, external parasites and diseases.

Monroe Road Animal Hospital does have a licensed wildlife rehabber on staff. (That's me). Hours for accepting wildlife at the clinic are Tuesday thru Friday from 7:45 am until 12 pm. Please call first to make sure I am in before bringing animals to the clinic. If you find a wild animal and I am not available, go to On the left of the page, click on "have a wildlife problem". The site then takes you to a page to locate a wildlife rehabilitator by county.

Please keep in mind that wildlife rehabbers do not get paid or even reimbursed for feeding, housing and providing medications and care for the animals they receive. In most cases, all expenses are paid by the individual rehabber. Donations are not required, but are appreciated and enable us to continue to take care of these animals.    

It is illegal in the state of North Carolina to keep an indigenous wild animal as a pet, or to be in possession of one without the proper licenses and no matter how cute they are, they are not meant to be pets. All animals in our care are released back into the wild for a second chance,

-Your Friends at Monroe Road Animal Hospital

(Michelle Ray-Hospital Administrator)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Senior Pet Care

Preventative medical strategies that address the needs of senior pets are at the forefront of senior pet care. Laboratory testing for early signs of disease is one of the most important things that you can do for the overall health of your senior pet. Early detection of disease is key in the successful treatment or control of many conditions affecting older pets. Therefore, we recommend routine comprehensive lab testing. The information gained from the results can be priceless in regard to your pets overall health.

Nutrition is a key factor in keeping your senior pet fit and in good health. Like humans, as pets age, their nutritional needs change. Obesity is a common problem for pets of all ages, but it can be especially debilitating in older pets who may already be experiencing arthritis. Obesity also increases the risk of serious disease and various other problems.

Due to the reduced activity levels of older pets and slower metabolism, feeding should be reduced to an amount and a diet that best fits your senior pets needs. If your pet is already overweight, we can help to begin a weight loss program that will benefit your pets health and quality of life.

Exercise is also a very important part of keeping your older pet healthy and trim. Start slowly with leisure walks in the park or your neighborhood. Not only will it benefit their health, but they will enjoy spending the extra time with you.

If your senior pet is experiencing one or more of the following signs, be sure to set up an appointment for a veterinary exam. What might look like simple aging could be a manageable health condition: Difficulty climbing stairs or jumping, increased stiffness or limping, loss of house training, increased thirst, excessive panting, circling, tremors or shaking, altered appetite or change in weight.

April is Senior Wellness Month. For more information on discounts available to your senior pet throughout the month of April, give us a call at 704-333-3336. 

-Your Friends at Monroe Road Animal Hospital

(Michelle Ray-Hospital Administrator)

Monroe Road Animal Hospital
"Where Pets are Family"
3736 Monroe Road, Charlotte NC 28205