Our Services

You can greatly reduce your pet’s chances of illness and injury by ensuring he/she is receiving proper care. This includes appropriate vaccinations, healthy nutrition, parasite control, obedience training, and spaying or neutering. Every furry friend we see has unique needs, and our doctors treat them as individuals. We will work with you to create a lifetime wellness plan for your pet to ensure you both enjoy many years of happy, healthy companionship. We offer excellent in-house digital radiography and we have a well-equipped laboratory on site.

Wellness Exams

Dogs and cats age at a much faster rate than we do, so taking your pet for a yearly exam is the bare minimum. At Horton Animal Hospital-Central, we emphasize the importance of preventative and wellness care and strongly recommend biannual examinations, so little problems like weight gain or hair loss do not turn into bigger problems like diabetes or Cushing’s disease.

Part of our thorough approach is establishing a “normal” benchmark for your pets so we can identify “abnormal” events down the line. This can include genetic testing, blood typing and/or blood testing.

Surgery

Every one of our veterinarians is qualified to perform routine elective procedures such as mass removal, spaying, neutering and declawing, and each of our doctors has their own surgical area of expertise and interest (Dr. Hussey, for example, has performed well over 500 anterior cruciate surgeries to repair torn ligaments in animals’ knees). It is rare that we need to refer a surgical case to a specialist, although we have access to the excellent professional staff at the University of Missouri Veterinary Teaching Hospital, if needed.

We use isoflurane inhalant anesthesia and other injectable anesthetics to keep your pet safe. Please keep in mind that protocols and price vary with the age and health status of the pet, as well as the procedure being performed.

A NOTE ABOUT DECLAWING CATS:  This procedure is highly controversial and many veterinarians have stopped performing it altogether. Our practice philosophy is this: while we do not believe in the wholesale declawing of all cats, there are circumstances where the procedure is necessary in order to allow the cat to continue living in its current home. Some landlords do not permit cats with claws in their buildings, and some people are extremely susceptible to infection and cannot be scratched. It is important to realize that if you choose to have your cat declawed, the cat will need to be an indoor cat for the remainder of its life. It can be harder to place a declawed cat in a new home, so please carefully consider your commitment to your cat before you elect to have the procedure done.

Our approach is to declaw only the front feet of the cat, unless there are extenuating circumstances that require all four paws be declawed. We use a scissors dissection technique that spares the pads, and we suture the pads with a soft, absorbable material.  All cats undergoing the procedure are given injectable pain medication at the time of the surgery and sent home with oral pain medication if needed, as well as with a special litter that will not adhere to the healing paws. It is true that in the procedure the distal-most bone (farthest from the knuckle) of the cat’s “finger” is disarticulated and removed; this is necessary because if only the claw is removed, the germinative cells still present on the base will cause distorted re-growth of the claw.

Deworming

While some worms may be visible in your pet’s stool, worms often live in your pet’s intestines and only pass their microscopic eggs.  Deworming is important because many of the worms that infest cats and dogs can also affect people, especially young children.  We recommend yearly fecal examinations to check for parasites and a regular parasite control program. There are different requirements for outdoor and indoor pets, and our doctors can work with you to find a program that best fits your pet’s needs. While over-the-counter deworming medications are available, make sure to check with us before using them because dosage and treatment schedules are critical to their success. Plus, these medications don’t work on all the parasites your pet might have.

Heartworm prevention is important for some cats and all dogs year-round. Heartworms are carried by mosquitoes and are eventually fatal to dogs and cats if left untreated. Our knowledgeable staff is happy to talk with you about the preventative measures most suitable for your pet’s needs.

Hospitalization

We have recently installed a state of the art air purification system throughout the hospital, which reduces airborne pathogens and odors and greatly reduces the chance of disease transmission, including kennel cough and canine influenza virus. Our climate-controlled wards offer our patients security, comfort and a quiet recovery environment. A separate isolation ward ensures that potentially contagious cases are held in a different wing of the hospital and have no contact with other pets. Intensive care cages complete with oxygen supplementation and fluid pumps are also utilized for serious cases. Hospitalization charges include feeding appropriate prescription diets if indicated and administration of medications.

Dentistry

Proper dental health can do more than freshen your pet’s breath—it can stave off chronic heart and kidney disease as well. Regular dental examinations and prophylactic cleanings are vital to your loved one’s overall health. Dirty, infected and abscessed teeth can ultimately be fatal, and prevention is easier than treatment. The earlier a problem is caught, the more likely it is to be solved. Your pet can keep his or her white, healthy teeth for a lifetime with proper nutrition and care.

We use a combination of hand and ultrasonic scaling to remove deposits under the gum line. Gingival pockets are probed and cleaned as needed, and high-speed polishing is used to smooth the surface of the teeth and combat plaque accumulation. Because of animals’ ultra-sensitive hearing, the ultrasonic scaling is very uncomfortable and pets must be sedated. Today’s anesthetic agents are the safest yet, and allow us to reverse the effects with a second injection.

While no anesthetic event can be considered completely risk-free, the chance for any anesthetic complication during dental procedures is extremely low. If our doctors feel that any given patient is at higher risk, we will recommend pre-anesthetic blood work and other tests to make sure we can minimize any potentially dangerous surprises.

Vaccinations

For dogs and puppies, we recommend vaccination with a distemper combination (canine distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, hepatitis) beginning two weeks after weaning—usually between 6-8 weeks of age. At least two booster vaccinations are recommended at two-to-three-week intervals, and for high-risk breeds we usually extend parvovirus vaccination out to four months. Rabies vaccinations should be given any time after 12 weeks of age. Booster vaccinations may be needed depending on the pet’s age. Yearly re-vaccination is usually necessary, although rabies vaccinations may be given at three-year intervals after the first vaccination if allowed in your municipality.

Other non-core vaccinations that may be necessary include Bordatella (kennel cough); corona virus; Lyme disease; and canine influenza.

For cats and kittens, we recommend vaccinations with feline distemper combination (rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, parainfluenza) beginning two weeks after weaning with booster vaccinations given at two-to-three-week intervals until at least 12 weeks of age. Rabies vaccinations may be given any time after 12 weeks of age. Yearly vaccination is recommended in most cases.

Other non-core vaccinations that may be necessary include: feline leukemia; feline immunodeficiency syndrome; and Bordatella. We strongly recommend all kittens and cats new to a household be tested for feline leukemia prior to contact with other cats. This is a simple blood test that can be run in the clinic while you are waiting. The results of the test can determine how you should best manage your cat’s health.

Radiography/X-Rays

We offer excellent in-house radiography and have a laboratory on site for performing fecal examinations, complete blood counts, heartworm testing and cytology. We also can schedule ultrasounds through one of our clinic partners, and we’re happy to facilitate referral to the University of Missouri Veterinarian Medical Teaching Hospital for nuclear scans, MRI, CAT scans or other procedures.

Microchipping

Injecting pets with a microchip gives them the best chance of getting home safely if they get lost. Modern microchips are migration-proof and can be read by any digital reader. The procedure involves injecting a tiny chip underneath your pet’s skin in the area between the shoulder blades; we often perform the procedure during elective spay or neuter surgery during a pet’s first year.

The microchipping fee includes a year’s registration with the parent company, which allows easy tracking through the largest national database. The microchip itself is not a GPS locator; it won’t tell you where your pet is at all times, but it will drastically improve the odds of your pet finding his or her way back home.

At-home end of life care

We understand the stress and sorrow of losing your best friend, and we want to make a difficult situation as easy as it can be for both you and your pet.  Our doctors and staff are committed to allowing our patients to pass with dignity and in as little pain as possible. Because of this, we believe that at-home euthanasia should be offered to our existing clients if it’s in the pet’s best interest.  We can also help with various at-home treatments and procedures that could help make your pet’s last days more comfortable.