Why Do I Have to Vaccinate My Pet?

Horn Lake pet owners, are you asking yourself, “Why do I have to vaccinate my pet?”

  • Vaccinations are the main fight against viral and bacterial infections in pets worldwide.
  • Millions of dog & cats worldwide have been saved through vaccines.
  • Vaccines are safe and well-tolerated by most dogs & cats.
  • Vaccines help your pet live a longer, healthier & happier life!

Vaccinations are highly important to puppies or kittens when their young immune systems are developing and need protection. Keeping your pet current as they age on their annual or scheduled vaccines is vital to your dog or cat’s health, the health of all pets and even the people in our northwest Mississippi community.

Our Horn Lake veterinarians will provide you with vaccine education, discuss the scheduling of booster shots (if necessary for puppies & kittens) and discuss the need to return annually or on a set schedule.

Our vets will discuss your pet’s history, age, lifestyle and other factors (location, the prevalence of diseases in Horn Lake, closeness to wildlife, where you go like dog parks, where you travel, etc…) and determine a proper vaccination guideline and schedule.

  • Vaccines required/recommended for most dogs (recommendations vary based on factors above)
    • Rabies
      • Rabies is required by state law.
    • Distemper
    • Parvo
    • Lyme
    • Leptospirosis
    • Bordetella “Kennel Cough”
    • Canine Flu
  • Vaccines required/recommended in cats (recommendations vary based on factors above)
    • Rabies
      • Rabies is required by state law.
    • Feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia (FVRCP) “Distemper”
    • Feline Leukemia
    • Feline IV (FIV)
    • Bordetella “Kennel Cough”


Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?

Horn Lake cat owners – Your cats need annual veterinary care!  Have we seen your cat lately?

Common Cat Myths:

  • Cats have fewer problems than dogs
  • Feline health problems don’t affect indoor cats
  • Cats will display visible signs of illness or you will know they are sick
  • Cats are self-sufficient
  • Cats do not need veterinary care like dogs

Cats are no more or less healthy than dogs and are notorious for hiding illness. You might not know your cat is sick until the illness has become critical and requires more extensive treatment.

To best serve your cat – we recommend an annual exam with vaccinations & parasite testing and prevention. For the best preventative care, we recommend annual blood tests to diagnose diabetes, kidney, liver, thyroid, renal and heart disease before they become advanced and regular dental cleanings.

All cats, even indoor, are susceptible to health conditions and parasites. Diagnosing illness through an examination and through laboratory tests & beginning treatment early can save your cat suffering later if the disease has progressed.

What are signs your cat might be ill?

  • Inappropriate elimination outside the litter box
  • Change in food/water consumption
  • Change in activity/interaction
  • Lack of self-grooming
  • Bad breath
  • Weight loss or gain (overweight cats have higher chance of developing diabetes)
  • Do not assume behavior or physical changes are just “old age”.  Many are medical problems that can be treated if caught early.

We realize coming to the vet can be stressful for you and your cat.   Here are some tips to ease that stress:

Before Your Vet Visit

  • Top-loading carriers make it easier to place your cat inside – those with top and side opening have additional versatility
  • Bring the carrier out several days prior and place a familiar blanket, treats and toys inside the carrier
  • Take frequent short car rides to places other than coming to see us
  • Practice regular care such as brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing and touching your cat’s face, ears, feet and tail at home
  • Check out products such as Feliway available to calm stress (available onsite or in our online store)

Coming to & At the Vet –

  • Horn Lake Animal Hospital is CAT-FRIENDLY!  We provide Feliway as you walk in if needed.
  • Use Feliway diffuser, sprays or wipes at least 15 minutes before introducing cat to the carrier –download Feliway tip sheet on how to use Feliway to reduce cat stress
  • Come to our vet clinic for visits that don’t involve exams or procedures (such as weighing the cat) to create positive associations or just stop by for treats
  • Cats travel best on an empty stomach
  • Place a towel or blanket over the carrier when driving
  • Reinforce your cat’s positive associations with the carrier using calm praise
  • Let the cat walk out or gently remove from the carrier with calm voices and movements
  • Speak softly, because if you remain calm, chances are your cat will too
  • After each successful car trip and vet visit, reward your pet with positive attention and treats

Update on Southaven Dog


Horn Lake Animal Hospital appreciates the community wanting to help Good Samaritan cases and support pets in need. We are proud to support local animal rescue organizations and humane societies and encourage our community to as well.

Thank you for your concern & outreach. For clients’ privacy, we cannot disclose medical records with the public. Also per the owner’s request, we are following their wishes of not discussing this situation.

We appreciate the hard work of Southaven Animal Control and Southaven Police Department and their continued assistance in helping the pets of our community.

July 4th Pet Safety

July 4th Pet Safety

Horn Lake area pet owners – Fourth of July traditions like fireworks and picnics can be scary and hazardous for pets. Take simple precautions to keep your pets safe before, during and after July 4th festivities. More pets go missing on July 4th in Mississippi and Tennessee than any other time of year – don’t let it happen to your family!

July 4th Pet Safety Tips – Before Celebrations:
• Make sure pets have ID tags with up-to-date information securely attached.
• If your pets aren’t microchipped, schedule appointment for microchip insertion. This simple procedure greatly improves your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost.
• If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact info is up-to-date. Contact your microchip registration agency anytime your address or phone changes.
• Take a current photo of your pets.
• Stress-relieving products such as Feliway, Adaptil and Zylkene and prescription medications can modify behaviors and calm pets.
• Make sure your home and yard are secure. Choose the safest area for your animals and make improvements if needed to make the area more secure.

Pet Safety During July 4th Celebrations:
• Leave pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can be frightening and risk them from becoming spooked and running away.
• Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
• If you’re hosting guests – Place notes on doors and gates to keep closed.
• Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
• Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from pets and don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
• Avoid the urge to feed your pets table scraps. Be careful to keep them away from these common foods that are toxic to pets.
• Remember that too much sun, humidity and heat can be dangerous to pets in Horn Lake. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid; make sure they have access to shady spots and water and know the signs that a pet may be overheating.
• Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.

After July 4th Celebrations:
• Check your yard for fireworks debris. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious pets may pick it up to play with or eat. If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.

Early Disease Detection: Simple Tests – So Many Results

Early Disease Detection: Simple Tests – So Many Results

Your pet can’t say how they’re feeling—it’s usually how they look or act that tells you something is wrong. You play a key role in helping your pet combat illness and stay as healthy as possible.

Annual (and bi-annual as the pet ages) exams and blood tests are the best ways to ensure that your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.

Diabetes, kidney, heart & liver disease may not show symptoms at onset. Identifying possible diseases and complications early allows us a better chance to develop a treatment plan for your pet.

Our Early Disease Detection blood tests can provide information about your pet’s liver, kidneys & pancreas, blood sugar levels, white & red blood cell and platelet count and can identify infection, inflammation and anemia.

Why do we recommend annual preventative care blood tests on healthy pets?

  • Over 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs will develop kidney disease
  • Over 50% of cats over age 15 are afflicted with kidney disease
  • Liver disease is 5th leading cause of death in dogs
  • 1 in 200 dogs will develop diabetes
  • Overweight cats have higher chance of developing diabetes

Every pet is unique – annual testing allows us to determine what a normal baseline is for your pet. Trending these results over time allows us to diagnose problems early as we notice changes in your pet earlier. More advanced disease is associated with more complications and it can make treatment harder and more expensive.

Depending on your pet’s age, we offer different blood & lab tests to allow us to best help you help your pet live a longer, healthier, happier life.

Do Pets Get Allergies? YES!

Does your cat or dog itch constantly? Do they obsessively scratch certain areas or lick paws? Notice a foul odor on their skin or ears, balding spots or discoloration?

Occasional pet itching is common – especially in dogs. Constant itching may be a sign of skin disease or allergies and can cause hair loss or skin damage. Additionally, it can be an annoyance to you, even keeping you up at night. If not addressed at onset, your pets may have a harder time battling this issue and it can be harder to treat and control.

Common Types of Pet Allergies and Pet Skin Diseases:

  • Flea allergy
  • Food allergy
  • Contact allergy or contact dermatitis
  • Atopic dermatitis (a chronic itchy skin disease associated with environmental allergens)

Our veterinarians will examine your pet to make a skin diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.


Flea bite hypersensitivity causes severe pet itching. One or two flea bites can cause pruritis (itchy skin) with the hind end affected most often. Fleas and flea feces that contain your pet’s blood are not always visible to your eye. We recommend year-round flea prevention and, if needed, medicated flea baths to limit fleas on your pet and stop their itch.


A food trial will be recommended in about 10% of cases to determine if your pet has food allergies. Pets will be fed a diet with one protein and one carbohydrate for 10 weeks. No other foods or treats are allowed. If symptoms disappear, food allergies are likely to blame.

Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is rare but occurs when a pet’s skin overreacts to molecules in the environment such as nickel, rubber, wool, dyes and chemicals.

Atopic Dermatitis

A common diagnosis is atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disorder brought on by environmental allergens such as grass, mold, pollen or cigarette smoke.

Talk to your veterinarian about skin and blood tests for dermatitis. A referral to a veterinary dermatologist might be recommended. In a skin test, a small level of allergens is injected under your pet’s skin to test for reactions. In a blood test, your pet’s blood will be analyzed for which allergens specific to your pet’s environment could be causing the reaction.

Pet Allergy & Itch Treatment

Once the pet allergens have been identified, we can develop a program to eliminate the source of the allergy in your pet’s environment and treat the skin.

Some options for pet allergies and itch relief include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-itch shampoo and conditioners
  • Anti-fungal shampoo such as Malaseb
  • Cyclosporine therapy
  • Essential fatty acids (such as Omega 3)
  • Hypoallergenic diets
  • Immunotherapy
  • Injections such as Cytopoint
  • Oral steroids in low doses to treat sporadic outbreaks
  • Prescriptions such as Apoquel
  • Topical steroid sprays

Want to take a quick 6-question quiz to learn more about your dog’s itching AND help military, police and service dogs?

Each time the quiz is taken, Zoetis will make a donation to K-9 Courage™ Program. K-9 Courage provides healthcare assistance to retired military and active police dogs as well as active service dogs that assist veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Once admitted into the program, each dog receives a $300 credit every year for the rest of its life to help cover veterinary expenses like wellness and emergency visits, vaccines, prescription medications, food and treats.

Take the Itch Instinct Quiz


Do Not Let a Mosquito Break Your Pet’s Heart

It takes one bite from an infected mosquito to break your pet’s heart!
What are heartworms? – Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets, particularly in Mississippi and Tennessee with the prevalence of mosquitoes. Foot-long worms live in the heart, lungs & blood vessels of infected pets, causing lung disease, heart failure, organ damage and can be fatal if untreated.
How does my pet get heartworms? Heartworms living in an infected dog, cat or wildlife produce baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it picks up these worms and when it bites another animal, the worms enter through the bite wound. Heartworms can grow and live for 5 – 7 years in dogs and 3 years in cats.
How prevalent is heartworm disease? Heartworm disease is a year-round problem. In De Soto County, 1 in 12 dogs tested positive for heartworms.
What can I do to protect my pet? Heartworm disease is preventable! Dogs should be tested annually and before starting prevention. Prevention is the safest and most cost-effective option, but treatment is available for dogs (although costly & lengthy). Cats should be tested before starting prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate. There is NO treatment in cats, so prevention is critical and the only means of protection.
Horn Lake Animal Hospital has safe, effective products available that cater to you and your pet’s lifestyle and budget. They must be administered year-round to protect your pet:
  • ProHeart6 is an injection administered to dogs by a veterinarian that provides 6 months of heartworm plus hookworm protection. ProHeart6 relieves the pet owner from having to remember and administer monthly medications.
  • Heartgard is a tasty chew given monthly to dogs to prevent heartworms.
Keep your pets safe from this deadly but preventable disease!
Call us at 662-393-1116 now for their heartworm test and to discuss the best prevention options for your pets.