There are 85 million pet owners in the United States. That means 68% of people own at least one pet—animals ranging from dogs to fish to everything in between. All of those pets need food, shelter and love. And although it’s true that it may be easier to show love to a dog or cat than to an aquarium full of fish, the one way we can ensure our pets are cherished is to provide them with quality veterinary care. After all, they depend on their owners for everything, including routine checkups and guidance from a trusted veterinarian like Dr. Peter Hill at PetCare Animal Hospital.
Growing up in a rural area, Dr. Hill found himself surrounded by animals from a young age. He was the caretaker of his family’s dogs and cats and developed an interest in farm animals and wildlife. He credits spending his days in the woods, kicking around in creek beds and undergrowth bursting with flora and fauna, for helping stoke his fascination with wild animals.
But it wasn’t until he started college that he decided to become a veterinarian.
“I enjoyed being around animals … when I started college, I looked for a profession that could afford me the ability to work pretty much anywhere I wanted to go. Considering my attraction to animals, I thought vet medicine would be a very good thing,” Dr. Hill says.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in dairy science with a focus on reproductive physiology from the Ohio State University, Dr. Hill traveled overseas to study veterinary medicine at the University of the Philippines College of Veterinary Medicine, receiving his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1983.
While in the Philippines, he met a collector of tropical birds and other wild animals who owned a small farm. He went to work for him, taking care of the animals and managing the property. It was there that he established an additional interest and background in exotic creatures, as he found himself caring for breeding birds and animals such as orangutans, big cats and reptiles.
A year later, Dr. Hill came back to the states, practicing at a veterinary hospital for a few years before opening his own practice in the late '80s. PetCare now has two offices—one in Loveland and another in Blue Ash.
Part-Time at the Newport Aquarium
A few decades later, Dr. Hill again found himself being tasked with the chance to work with exotic animals on a larger scale, this time quite a bit closer to home. When the Newport Aquarium underwent management changes several years ago, they went on the hunt for a new veterinarian as well. After fishing around town for a reputable vet with the right background, they offered the position to Dr. Hill, asking him to work for them on a part-time basis.
Eleven years later, he’s still at it, traveling to the aquarium once a week to care for all the animals housed there with the help of the staff.
“I've gone through the collection over the years, many, many, many times,” Dr. Hill says. “I handle any medical cases that arise throughout the week. We do routine physical exams on all animals that are practical. We take blood, look for intestinal parasites, manage any mortalities and of course correct related problems where we can … water quality, disease conditions, etc.”
Volunteer RAPTOR Doctor
As if traveling around to three different offices throughout the city to provide quality animal care wasn’t enough, Dr. Hill also volunteers with RAPTOR, a nonprofit volunteer organization in Milford dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey. They achieve this through education, research, community service and the rehabilitation of sick or injured birds. RAPTOR sometimes finds these birds via phone calls from concerned citizens who have seen an animal down or who’ve captured one and need RAPTOR to come pick it up.
When a bird needs help, Dr. Hill is one of the veterinarians RAPTOR counts on. He’s worked on birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and owls.
“I find birds very challenging because if they can’t be rehabilitated or repaired to the point where they can go back to the wild, then under federal wildlife law, they have to be euthanized,” he says. “We try to get these animals as best we can back on the wing.”
Although Dr. Hill has been presented with many complicated cases throughout his career, he says he really enjoys working with birds.
“Birds are certainly a very challenging species to diagnose and treat,” he says. “Oftentimes when birds are sick, they are far along in the disease process—people think they’re perfectly healthy until they’re not. And when they’re not, they’re really not because they hide their symptoms … I find unique challenges in all different kinds of pets.”
Through all of his life’s work, whether at his own practice, the Newport Aquarium or RAPTOR, what he values most is the interaction he has with people and their pets. He appreciates just how important the human-animal bond is.
“I really enjoy helping people improve their pets’ quality of life … through education, health care and advising them on preventative measures.
“People treat their animals like their kids in a lot of respects, so a client that’s compliant in doing the things we recommend will have an animal that is going to be happy and healthy … one that’s going to stay in their hands much longer,” Dr. Hill says. “I think the biggest reward is getting to the endpoint of a sick animal and seeing them healthy and back in their owner’s hands.”
“We are stewards of animal care, and our job is to inform people about what they can do to improve an animal’s life ... or at least make it the best possible.”
10555 Loveland-Madeira Road | 513.677.2930
8610 Blue Ash Road | 513.793.3032