Kingstonist’s Wizard of Paws

By Dr. Ryan Llera

Veterinarian Ryan Llera with puppy patient, Enzo.

Whiskers, tails, and paws – oh my!  Just a few of the special parts that make the world with animals so amazing. As a veterinarian, I get to experience a whole gamut of emotions and celebrate the world of pets. And now I want to share it with you!

Pets have become more than just animals, they are now family. This is far different from how things were 25 to 30 years ago or more. Our pets sleep in our beds, get premium clothing wear, get pampered way more than they used to, and seem to have an endless supply of toys or treats. What has also changed and improved is the level of medical care we can provide to Rover or Fluffy. The access to care and the type of things we can do to keep your pets healthy is tremendous.

What is also new is the availability of information on the internet. The web can be a scary place (as scary as in being attacked by flying monkeys), and that’s where I want to help. The source of information out there is something to always be taking into account when browsing the web for health related info for your pet. Remember that Facebook post from a few years ago about ice water causing bloat (stomach torsion) in dogs? It went viral… and it was false. It happened to be one person’s coincidental experience with no real medical background to it, but everyone believed it, causing widespread panic among dog owners during a summer heat wave. That being said, ice cubes can cause damage to the teeth and gums either by breaking the teeth or cutting the gums. If you must search on the internet, look for veterinary-authored sources or, even better, don’t hesitate to ask your trusted family veterinarian.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a big fan of the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ So I hope you’ll join me here as we travel our own yellow brick road to find the knowledge, heart, and courage to discuss anything and everything concerning pets (primarily cats and dogs) and veterinary medicine. Almost everything is fair game. If there’s something you’ve often wondered or have questions about, let us know by email at [email protected]

* Please note that specific medical questions about your pet cannot be addressed and you should speak with your personal veterinarian. Disclaimer: All columns are personally written and my opinion and may not necessarily reflect those of current or former employers.

Dr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with two cats, two dogs, two horses, and a rabbit. Dr. Llera also contributes writing to various other animal and veterinary related blogs. You can find more of his writing at, or see what else he is up to on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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