M - Th 7:30 - 7:00, F 7:30 - 5:00, Sa 7:30 - 12:00, Su CLOSED573.474.95082608 Paris Road, Columbia, MO 65202


We’ve provided some links that will help you properly care for your pets, as well as answers to some of the most common veterinary questions from concerned pet owners like you. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, don’t hesitate to call or email our office.

If you ever feel like your pet’s symptoms may be the sign of a serious issue, don’t rely on self-diagnostic tools. Bring your animal in for a check-up right away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your furry friend’s health.

  • Tips for a successful vet visit
  • Links to pet stores and dog parks
  • What to do if your pet has been lost
  • Local shelters
  • Other helpful links
Tips for a successful vet visit

Here are some tips to help the visit be smooth and as comfortable as possible for yourself and your beloved pet.

1) Try to think of any problems with your animal before scheduling the appointment. Making a list before calling to schedule the exam, and then telling the receptionists a brief description of the problem will allow them to schedule adequate time for the exam. Rushing creates stress for you and your animal.

2) Keep your pet a little hungry. Feeding a very small breakfast to your pet instead of the normal amount will make our treats much more enticing. We offer a variety of treats as a way of comforting, greeting, distracting and gaining trust with your animal. If your pet is hungry, they will love the vet and our staff that much more! Feel free to bring some of your pet’s favorite treats also.

3) If you feel your animal easily gets stressed, you can call ahead and we can prescribe a light oral sedative. This medication will need to be given at least 2 hours before the appointment. The animal needs to have had a at least one exam at our office in the past to get medication. This medication can really make a difference for reducing stress!

4) Remain calm and speak softly before you get here. Your animal picks up on your stress levels and will get stressed too. Know that your pet will meet caring individuals who will give the most respect and comfort possible to your animal. Speak softly and caring to your animal as if you were talking to an infant.

5) Arrive early but consider keeping your animal securely in the car, keeping in mind the temperature outside. A lobby full of other animals can be intimidating for your pet. Please check in with the front desk and then have a seat in the lobby or return to your car. We can come get you and your pet when a room is ready for you to go directly into. This is important even with animals in pet carriers, such as cats, who can become easily stressed around other animals.

6) It is really important to have all cats in a carrier and have all dogs on a short leash.

7) Remain calm during the exam and speak softly. Keep most of the conversation for after the exam. You and the doctor will have time after the exam to discuss any information at length and determine the best option for caring for your pet.

8) If the doctor asks you to help hold the animal, please don’t move excessively while the doctor is doing the examination. Pointing out a wound on the back while the doctor is examining the teeth could be disastrous!! Usually the exam is started at the head with the owner holding their animal firmly by the hips. After the head is examined, then the pet is rotated to examine the rear end while the owner holds firmly the head or the collar. If we have a technician holding, please let them do their job. Keep your fingers and face away from your pet’s mouth. Sometimes even the nicest pet may snap if they are hurt or scared.

9) When bringing multiple pets, it is best to have only one animal in the room at a time. The other animal can remain in the car or outside with a family member. Please have one family member per dog. If too many family members such as children or relatives come to the appointment, your dog or cat may feel distracted or protective. We may ask to take your animal to the back for the examination if the rooms get too crowded.

10) Please keep non-medical stories to a minimum. The doctors love to hear stories about the animals, but sometimes other patients need our attention.

11) Please be understanding if we have an emergency that needs our attention. We would give your pet the same attention in an emergency, and we will be back very shortly.

We are here to serve you and your pet to the best of our abilities and will do what is necessary to give your pet the best medical attention available. These “Tips for a Successful Vet Visit” help us to serve you better.

What to do if your pet has been lost

No Kill Columbia Lost a Pet? – http://www.nokillcolumbiamo.org/lost-your-pet.html
This page from No Kill Columbia gives eight important steps to follow if you believe you have lost your pet.

No Kill Columbia Found a Pet? – http://www.nokillcolumbiamo.org/found-a-pet.html
This page offers 6 important steps to follow if you believe you have found someone’s pet, again from No Kill Columbia

Columbia Animal Control – https://www.como.gov/health/animal-control/
Central Missouri Humane Society –  https://www.cmhspets.org/
Local shelters

Columbia Second Chance – https://columbia2ndchance.org
Central Missouri Humane Society – https://www.cmhspets.org/
Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue – http://awos.petfinder.com/shelters/MO487.html
Callaway Hills Animal Shelter – http://www.callawayhillsanimalshelter.com/

Other helpful links


  • What types of pets do you see at your location?
  • I just started going to Horton Animal Hospital—does this mean all three of the locations have my information?
  • I see little black specks on my pet’s skin – what could these be?
  • I have recently found some full-grown fleas on my pet. Have I found them in time, and how do I make sure no one else in the house contracts them?
  • What plants are toxic to my pets?
  • How can I tell if my pet has a dental problem?
  • How can I make sure my pet’s teeth stay healthy? What is the best way to manage gum disease?
  • I have missed two months of heartworm prevention for my dog. What should I do?
  • I have a cat. Should I still worry about heartworms?
  • What if my cat stays indoors? Does she still need a heartworm preventive?
  • When is a good age to spay or neuter a new puppy or kitten?
  • Why is spaying or neutering my pet recommended?
  • I see “worms” in my pet’s feces. What should I do? Can all worms be seen easily?
What types of pets do you see at your location?

We are happy to offer services for dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, chinchillas, hedgehogs and sugar gliders. We also do wing and nail trims for birds. We refer sick birds to a specialist.

I just started going to Horton Animal Hospital—does this mean all three of the locations have my information?

No, each of the three Horton Animal Hospitals in Columbia is independently owned and operated, although we can transfer your records if the need arises.

I see little black specks on my pet’s skin – what could these be?

Most likely, these poppy seed-sized specks are flea feces, composed of digested blood. If it’s hard to tell whether you’re seeing flea “dirt” or actual dirt, place the specks in a damp paper towel. If they truly are flea feces, a small red spot will show up as the blood re-hydrates and diffuses in the paper towel. If this is the case, it’s time to bring your pet to the vet for flea treatment. Without treatment, the fleas will breed, and your pet may experience fleabite dermitis, a syndrome that causes itching, inflamed skin and discomfort. 

I have recently found some full-grown fleas on my pet. Have I found them in time, and how do I make sure no one else in the house contracts them?

By the time you see fleas on your pet, they most likely already have a 6-to-12-week head start on any flea-control treatment. On average, a flea’s lifespan is 2-3 months; however, flea eggs (those not yet living on a pet) can survive undistributed and without a blood meal for about a full year.

We offer several flea-treatment options, including both topical and oral tablet medications. Our staff will be glad to help you find the right flea product to protect your pet against these pests.

So you’ve treated your pet for fleas, but what about your house? It needs treatment, too. Treat your yard using Sevin dust, which includes flea and tick chemicals (just follow the instructions on the bag). You can also use an insecticidal bomb or premise spray to clean your house. All pets in the family should be treated with flea preventative measures regularly.

Be sure to clean your animal’s bedding, as well as your own, with hot water and detergent at least three times per week. Vacuum at least three times a week, too. Make sure to get the dark areas under your furniture, as this is where fleas thrive. You can also place a flea collar in your vacuum bag if you like—just remove the bag and place it in an outdoor trash can afterward.

What plants are toxic to my pets?

Dogs: Some of the most common plants that are toxic to dogs include carnations, chinaberry tree, baby’s breath, aloe, apples, iris, Jack-in-the-pulpit, avocados, coleus, daisies, foxglove, garlic, leeks, limes, mums, peonies, St. John’s Wort, geraniums, gardenias and tulip plants. For a complete list, including pictures, visit the ASPCA website.

Cats: Some of the most common plants that are toxic to cats include aloe, fig, garlic, apples, gardenias, apricots, avocados, azaleas, baby’s breath, peonies, carnations, periwinkle, daisies, hydrangeas, dahlias, holly, Jack-in-the-pulpit, oranges, lilies, onions and mums. For a complete list, including pictures, visit the ASPCA website.

If you suspect your pet is ill or may have ingested a poisonous or harmful substance, contact us right away. If you have a pet emergency after our office is closed, please call the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine at (573) 882-4589. You can also call the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at (888) 426-4435 in the case of an after-hour, poisonous-substance related emergency.

How can I tell if my pet has a dental problem?

It’s easy: just lift the lip and sniff. It’s normal for your pet to have slightly less-than-fresh breath, but a horrible odor is an early indicator that the mouth is harboring bacteria. You can also easily visually identify dental calculus: while normal teeth are white and shiny all the way to the gum line, yellow or brown deposits near the gums indicate a problem. Finally, look at your pet’s gums. They should be pale rose in color and taper down to a knife’s edge where they meet the tooth. If you see a bright red line where the teeth meet the gums, your pet is developing gum disease.

How can I make sure my pet’s teeth stay healthy? What is the best way to manage gum disease?

The key to managing gum disease in your pets is to prevent it in the first place. As long as you clean the surfaces of your pet’s teeth frequently, the gums will stay healthy. We recommend daily brushing and chewing activities to maintain your pet’s oral health. Many pets, especially middle-aged and older cats and dogs, also require periodic professional scaling in addition to on-going plaque control, which we offer at our location.

I have missed two months of heartworm prevention for my dog. What should I do?

You need to consult your veterinarian right away and start your dog back on monthly preventative treatments as soon as possible. If your dog is infected, heartworm disease will progress and damage the heart and lungs, which leads to life-threatening, serious problems. Retest your dog six months after resuming treatment. (Heartworms must be approximately six months old before the infection can be diagnosed.)

I have a cat. Should I still worry about heartworms?

Yes. Heartworm infection in cats is on the rise, and it’s harder to detect than heartworms in dogs. The preferred method for screening cats includes the use of both an antigen and antibody test. Your vet may also use x-rays or an ultrasound to look for heartworm infection. Since there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is absolutely critical.

What if my cat stays indoors? Does she still need a heartworm preventive?

Cats can be exposed to mosquitoes carrying heartworm disease whether they live indoors or outdoors. While the outdoor cat is more likely to be bitten, multiple studies have reported a significant number of heartworm infections in cats living exclusively indoors. If dogs in your area are found to have heartworm disease, your cats are also at risk and should be placed on preventative medication immediately. Even a single heartworm can cause severe consequences and possibly death.

When is a good age to spay or neuter a new puppy or kitten?

We recommend spaying or neutering all dogs and cats by the age of six months. The minimum weight for surgery is 3 pounds and we recommend completing the puppy or kitten vaccine series prior to surgery. Our staff will help you determine the best time to schedule this important procedure for your individual pet.

Why is spaying or neutering my pet recommended?

“The Top Ten Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet” provided by the ASPCA:

Your female will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.

Neutering provides major health benefits for your male. Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion helps prevent testicular cancer.

Your spayed female won’t go into heat. In an effort to advertise for males, female cats in heat will yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house! Female dogs in heat bleed for several days, which can be very messy.

Your male dog won’t want to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate. That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.

Your neutered male will be much better behaved. Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by neutering by the age of 6 months.

Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat. Don’t believe that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.

It is highly cost effective. The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!

Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community. Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the street.

Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth. Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.

Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation. Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

I see “worms” in my pet’s feces. What should I do? Can all worms be seen easily?

We recommend a fecal exam to check for intestinal parasites every 1-2 months for puppies and kittens and twice yearly for adult dogs and cats. Some parasites are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Parasites are shed intermittently so a negative fecal exam does NOT mean there are no parasites anywhere in your pet’s body.

The most common types of intestinal parasites include:

Roundworms. A puppy or kitten infected with roundworms may display the following symptoms: abdominal discomfort, a dull coat and a pot-bellied appearance. Common in puppies and kittens, these long, cylindrical worms are transmitted in a variety of ways. Because larvae can cross the placenta, puppies and kittens can actually be born with a roundworm infection. The larvae can also be ingested in milk while the newborn nurses. Infective eggs can be ingested from the soil contaminated by the feces of an infected dog or cat, or a puppy or kitten can become infected by eating a mouse or bird containing roundworm larvae.

To help prevent roundworm infection of both your pet and your family, be sure to bring your new pet, along with its de-worming history, to us as soon as possible after acquiring your new friend. Keep your yard and kennel area clean. Because it takes two to three weeks for eggs to become infective for both humans and animals, proper disposal of your pet’s feces will greatly reduce the number of larvae in your soil. Make sure that any sandboxes are covered when not in use, and be sure to change the sand if feces are found in the box.

It’s very important that your children wash their hands before eating, especially after playing in the soil. Park soil in particular can be heavily contaminated with roundworms.

Finally, make regular de-worming part of your pet’s health program. Bring in fecal samples and have your pet checked for worms at whatever frequency your vet directs, based on your pet and its history. You should also use a heartworm preventative that helps control roundworms as a precautionary measure.

Hookworms “graze feed” off the intestinal wall of your pet, inducing many punctures in the lining of the small intestine. The resulting loss of blood into the digestive tract may give a blackish appearance to your pet’s feces, which can become foul-smelling and fluid. Puppies especially may develop symptoms of pale mucus membranes, weakness and anemia. Severe hookworm infection in puppies can even result in death.

Should your pet become infected, we can prescribe a variety of effective drugs. In most cases, we de-worm your pet twice within three weeks to ensure that all worms are gone, including those that may have not matured yet at the time of the first de-worming. Make sure to bring in a stool specimen six weeks after the second de-worming to verify the infection has been completely cleared.

Preventative programs for hookworms are similar to those for other worms and parasites and include routine fecal examinations, prompt treatment of infected pets, proper disposal of infected pets’ feces and the use of a heartworm preventative that also helps control hookworms. Ask your veterinarian for brand recommendation for these preventative programs.

Whipworms. Infection in dogs can only be determined by microscopic examination of a fecal flotation. Whipworms are spread by the ingestion of eggs from the feces of an infected dog. These eggs hatch in the small intestine before migrating to the cecum, a pouch located between the large and small intestines, after about a week. They develop into adults here and begin passing eggs within three months.

We will recommend a treatment for whipworms based on several factors, including the age and condition of your dog. Whipworms can be very difficult to eliminate due to their location in the cecum, so we may wish to test fecal samples periodically after treatment to determine if further treatment is needed.

A preventative program to control the occurrence of whipworms should include routine fecal examinations and prompt treatment of infected dogs. Properly dispose of feces from infected dogs and thoroughly clean their housing and run areas. Trifexis and Advantage Multi, monthly heartworm preventatives, will help to control whipworm infections.

Tapeworms are different than other worms in that they require an intermediate host to be transmitted from pet to pet. The most common intermediate hosts include fleas and small rodents. Your pet must actually ingest the intermediate host in order to become infested with tapeworms. This is fortunate if you have more than one pet, because it means you only need to treat the animal that is infected; the parasite cannot be transmitted through contact with stool alone.

Unlike other types of worms, tapeworms cannot often be diagnosed by checking a stool sample. Instead, you may find segments of these flat, parasitic worms in your pet’s bedding or in the fur around the rectum and tail. These segments are yellowish to white in appearance, and approximately one-fourth inch long, and may expand and contract. When dry, they resemble grains of rice.

To treat a tapeworm infection, we put your pet through two stages of treatment. First, we destroy any tapeworms currently infecting your pet. Next, we control reinfection by eliminating contact with the intermediate host. All the medicines we prescribe are extremely effective, but they will not prevent reinfection if your pet continues to have contact with the intermediate host. For this reason, it’s of utmost importance to limit your pet’s contact with possible hosts, such as fleas and small rodents.

Client Testimonial

“We can only say amazing things about Horton Animal Hospital Northeast! All the staff are truly wonderful and caring. Dr. Meyers has been our vet for many years and we have the utmost trust and confidence in him. He has taken care of our two dogs with compassion, care and love! We can’t recommend them enough.“

– Gregory

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