Preventative health care for dogs

Vaccination

Your puppy’s initial vaccination course consists of two injections. The first is given between 6 and 8 weeks old and the second at 10 weeks old. This means that your puppy will be able to go out fully vaccinated from 11 weeks of age.

In the intervening period your dog can have contact with other vaccinated dogs; so if you have friends or family with vaccinated dogs (vaccinated in the last 12 months) they can come to your house or you can go to their house. This is a particularly good idea as it starts socialisation early. He/she should not go anywhere where there could be unvaccinated dogs.

We use the Canigen vaccine range produced by Virbac. The routine vaccinations provide protection against canine parvovirus, canine distemper, leptospirosis and infectious canine hepatitis. Regular boosters are needed to maintain your dog’s protection against these diseases. Your dog will need revaccination against leptospirosis every year, and the other viruses every three years. The vet will advise which vaccines are due each year, and at the same time a full health check is carried out. Regular health checks mean any illness is more likely to be picked up at an early stage when it may be easier to treat. Dogs visiting the vets once a year is the equivalent of you visiting the doctor every 7 years.

If your dog goes into the kennels his/her vaccinations will need to be up to date, so make sure you contact us well in advance. The kennels are also likely to ask that your dog is vaccinated against Kennel Cough. This is done with an additional vaccine, given up the nose which protects against the main causes of kennel cough (bordetella and parainfluenza). This vaccine also lasts one year and can be done at the same time as the normal booster.

Flea & Worming

Fleas are an all year round problem for both you and your pet, but they are easy to prevent. Dogs pick up fleas very easily and the female flea lays hundreds of eggs which fall off the coat into your home. These eggs develop in the carpet and furnishings into larvae, before hatching into adult fleas. They hatch all year round but the process speeds up at particular times of the year, such as the summer when it is warmer or in autumn when the central heating is turned on. 95% of the flea lifecycle takes place in the home environment. Flea eggs can survive up to 3 years in the environment.

It is important, if your dog has fleas, to treat both your dog and the house. One easy way to treat your dog is to use a spot on treatment (see below) and we recommend you treat the house with a spray called Indorex which lasts for up to 12 months.

It is also important to establish a regular worming routine as worms can cause illness in your dog.

There are several types of worms that may affect your pet:

  • The most common particularly in puppies are roundworms. An infection with roundworms may not be obvious but can cause a pot belly, poor growth and coat, and intestinal upsets.
  • The other type of worm is the tapeworm, and dogs can become infected when grooming themselves if they have fleas. They can also catch tapeworms from mice and other rodents.
  • The other type but most important type of worm is lungworm which is picked up by eating slugs and snails, or possibly from contact with frogs. Lungworm is not very common but is potentially fatal so monthly treatment to prevent infestation is very important. We do see more cases of lungworm in this part of the country than other areas.

We recommend the use of a Seresto collar or Vectra 3D Spot On. These products are licensed to kill ticks before they attach, thus reducing the chance of your pet picking up Babesiosis. If you require cover against mange, you would need to apply Advocate, but unfortunately this is not licensed to kill ticks. Two products can be used in conjunction, but we recommend you speak to one of our vets for advice on how to do this.

We recommend the use of Milbactor monthly against worms (including lungworm) in conjunction with either of the above products. If you are using Advocate, you only need to give Milbactor once every 6 months.

 

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PRICES

5kg dog

Seresto collar (last 7-8 months) £39.53

Vectra spot on 6 month supply £48.96

Advocate 6 month supply £46.44

Milbactor 6 tablets £11.30

Alternatively register for premier plan. This includes a collar or spot on, plus worming tablets, plus vaccination and another health check for £13.35 per month.

15kg dog

Seresto collar (lasts 7-8 months) £46.15

Vectra spot on 6 month supply £54.11

Milbactor 6 tablets £28.66

Alternatively register for premier plan. This includes a collar or spot on, plus worming tablets, plus vaccination and another health check for £13.80 per month

30kg dog

Seresto collar (lasts 7-8 months) £46.15

Vectra spot on 6 month supply £58.45

Milbactor 12 tablets £57.31

Alternatively register for premier plan. This includes a collar or spot on, plus worming tablets, plus vaccination and another health check for £15.30 per month.

We also recommend that you bring your puppy in once a month for a free check with the nurses; they can weigh him or her and advise on the correct dose of flea and worming treatment as well as all other aspects of puppy healthcare.

Neutering

Neutering is the surgical removal of your dog’s reproductive organs. There are many health and social benefits to having your puppy neutered.

Female dogs come in to season about once every 6 months when they reach puberty. This generally occurs around 6 months of age although can be much later in large breed dogs.

Neutering (spaying) your bitch reduces the risk of her developing mammary cancer later in life, particularly if done after the first season. It also reduces the problems of unwanted puppies, false pregnancy and having an infected uterus (pyometra) as an elderly dog. If you are not planning to have a litter from your puppy we highly recommend spaying your bitch 2-3 months after her first season. For more information on the types of Spay available please click here.

Neutering male dogs (castration) is usually performed at 12 months of age for all breeds of dog. Neutering male dogs helps reduce aggression, wandering and sexual behaviour. It also prevents many prostate and testicular problems in later life.

If you would like to arrange neutering, then please speak to one of our nurses regarding the timing for the procedure.

Weight and nutrition

Your dogs diet is very important. You should feed you puppy a balanced diet that contains the right amount of all the nutrients. It is much easier to feed a nutritionally balanced commercial diet than a homemade one. We recommend Royal Canin food.

Whether you feed tinned or dry food is a matter of personal preference. Generally, dry food is better for your dog’s teeth and is much cheaper to feed. Some dogs prefer the addition of tinned food. We recommend feeding four small meals until 12 weeks of age, three meals from 12 weeks to 6 months old and then two meals a day from 6 months old. It is not recommended to feed once a day as this can potentially cause twisting of the stomach.

As your puppy grows you will need to change to a suitable adult diet. Whenever you change diets it is important to introduce new food gradually over several days so your puppy doesn’t develop an upset stomach.

Obesity is a very common problem with dogs now so it is important to regularly check your dogs weight and feed their diet accordingly. There will be some guidelines on how much to feed on the food packet, however this can vary considerably between dogs and the amount of exercise that they do. Keeping a check on your dog’s body condition will enable you to feed the correct amount of food. If you are unsure about the amount to feed your dog, then our nurses will be able to advise you.

Dental care

Your puppy will already have their set of baby teeth before their adult teeth come through at around 4-6 months of age. Once the adult teeth are through they will have to last your puppy the rest of his/her life so it is vital to take good care of them. Dental care should be started as soon as possible, with gentle brushing and lots of praise. This will accustom your puppy to the brushing process and it is more likely to be a pleasant experience for both of you. Human toothpastes are unsuitable for use in dogs but there is a wide range of canine dental products available. Please ask the nurses for advice and a demonstration of teeth brushing. Brushing will help prevent dental disease in later life. If not treated, dental disease can cause gingivitis and tooth abscesses, and may also worsen other conditions such as kidney and heart disease.

Microchipping

A microchip is a way of identifying your pet when they are lost or stolen. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. The microchip number is recorded on a central database against the animal and owner’s details as provided on the form submitted. If an animal is brought in as a stray to a vets, rescue organisation or dog warden, it will be scanned, the database contacted and your contact details obtained so you can be reunited with your dog. It is important to keep the database up to date with any change in your address or contact details.

From April 2016 it became a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old. It is now also a legal requirement to contact the relevant chip company to change your details if you move house or the ownership of the animal changes.

 

Preventative health care for cats

Vaccinations

Your kitten’s initial vaccination course consists of two injections. The first is given at or after 9 weeks of age and the second 3 weeks later. This means that your kitten will be able to go out fully vaccinated at 13 weeks old. If you are looking to have your cat neutered we would advise not letting them out until this has been done.

We use the Purevax vaccine range produced by Merial which provides protection against cat flu (herpes virus and calicivirus), feline enteritis (Feline panleucopaenia) and feline leukaemia virus.

Regular boosters are needed to maintain your cat’s protection against these diseases. These boosters are given annually, and at the same time, a full health check is carried out. Regular health checks mean any illness is more likely to be picked up at an early stage when it may be easier to treat. Your cat visiting the vets once a year is the equivalent of you only visiting the doctor once every 7 years.

If you book your cat into a cattery, please contact them to check their policy on vaccine requirements.

Fleas and Worming

Fleas are an all year round problem for both you and your pet, but they are easy to prevent. Cats pick up fleas very easily and the female flea lays hundreds of eggs which fall off their coat into your home. These eggs develop into larvae in the carpet and furnishings, before hatching into adult fleas. They hatch all year round but the process speeds up at particular times of the year, such as the summer when it is warmer or in autumn when the central heating is turned on.

In your home, only 5% of the flea life cycle takes place on your cat, the other 95% takes place in the environment. It is important, therefore, if your cat has fleas, to treat both your cat and the house to kill all the flea life stages. One easy way to treat your cat is to use a spot on treatment (see below) and we recommend you treat the house with a spray called Indorex which lasts for up to 12 months.

It is also important to establish a regular worming routine as worms can cause illness in your cat.

There are two groups of worms that may affect your pet:

  • The most common is the roundworm particularly in kittens. An infection with roundworms may not be obvious but can cause a pot belly, poor growth and coat, and intestinal upsets.
  • The other type of worm is the tapeworm and cats can become infected when grooming themselves if they have fleas. Cats can also pick up tapeworms from their prey if they are hunters.

Both types of worms can be treated easily with tablets.

We recommend one of the three following regimes for cats for fleas and worms:

  1. Broadline spot-on for fleas, ticks, roundworms and tapeworms monthly. No need for a worming tablet.
  2. Stronghold Plus spot-on once a month for fleas, ticks and then use Milbactor for roundworm and tapeworm every 3-6 months.
  3. Seresto collar for fleas and ticks once every 6 months with Milbactor for all worms every 3 – 6 months.

We recommend that you bring your kitten in once a month for a free check with the nurses; they can weigh him or her and advise on the correct dose of flea treatment and wormer. If your cat is a hunter, you may need to treat as often as every 6 weeks for tapeworms.

Nutrition

Your kitten’s diet is very important. The diet should be a balanced diet with the right amount of all the nutrients the kitten needs. It is much easier to feed a nutritionally balanced commercial diet than a homemade one. We recommend Royal Canin kitten food.

Whether you feed tinned or dry food is a matter of personal preference. Generally dry food is better for your cat’s teeth and is much cheaper to feed. We recommend feeding four small meals until 12 weeks of age, three meals from 12 weeks to 6 months old and then two meals a day from 6 months old.

As your kitten grows you will need to change to a suitable adult diet. Whenever you change diets it is important to introduce new food gradually over several days so your kitten doesn’t develop an upset stomach.

Obesity is a very common problem with cats now, so it is important to regularly check your cat’s weight and feed a diet accordingly. There will be some guidelines on how much to feed on the food packet, however this can vary considerably between cats and the amount of exercise that they do. Keeping a check on your cat’s weight and body condition will enable you to feed the correct amount of food. If you are unsure about the amount to feed your cat, then our nurses will be able to advise you.

Neutering

Neutering is the surgical removal of your cat’s reproductive organs. There are many health and social benefits to having your kitten neutered.

Female cats come into season around spring. This generally starts at around 6 months of age although can be later. Neutering (spaying) your cat reduces the risk of her developing mammary cancer later in life. It also reduces the problems of unwanted kittens. If you are not planning to have a litter from your kitten then we highly recommend spaying your cat at 5 months of age. If you have two cats that are brother and sister living together then the vet can discuss with you the possibility of neutering sooner than 5 months.

Neutering male cats (castration) is done at 5 months of age as well. Neutering male cats helps reduce aggression, spraying in the house, wandering and sexual behaviour.

Dental Care

Your kitten will already have its set of baby teeth before his/her adult teeth come through at around 4-6 months of age. Once the adult teeth are through they will have to last your kitten the rest of his/her life so it is vital to take good care of them. Dental care should be started as soon as possible, with gentle brushing and lots of praise. This will accustom your kitten to the brushing process and it is more likely to be a pleasant experience for both of you. Human toothpastes are unsuitable for use in cats but there is a wide range of feline dental products available. Please ask the nurses for advice and a demonstration of teeth brushing. Brushing will help prevent dental disease in later life. If not treated dental disease can cause gingivitis and tooth abscesses, and may also worsen other conditions such as kidney and heart disease.

Microchipping

A microchip is a way of identifying your pet when they are lost or stolen. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. The microchip number is recorded on a central data base against they animal and owner’s details as provided on the form submitted. If an animal is brought in as a stray to a vets or rescue organisation, it will be scanned, the data base contacted, and your contact details obtained so you can be reunited with your cat. It is important to keep the database up to date with any change in your address or contact details.

Insurance Claims

I need to make a claim, what do I do?

In order to make a claim you will need to bring a claim form into the practice. These are available online for the majority of companies, or else can be posted out to you by your insurer.

A portion of the claim form will be for you, ‘the owner’, to fill out. Please ensure your details are correct and that the policy number and signature section of the form are completed. You may also be asked to complete the condition for what the pet was brought in for, i.e. limping or vomiting.

We will then complete the rest of the claim form, sending off a full clinical history and details of the individual claim to your insurers.

Following receipt of the claim form, your insurance company will pay you directly.

Please be aware that before making a claim we ask that you settle your account with us. Any outstanding payments will prevent your claim from being processed.

When should I claim?

Most companies like for claims forms to be sent off within 90 days of treatment.

How long will it take for my claim to be sent off?

We allow 7 working days for forms to be completed and sent off.

Do I need to pay a fee?

There is a £10 administration fee for completing the first claim for a condition, but no charge is made for continuation claims for the same condition.

When will I hear from the insurance company?

Each insurance company is different. It can take from 2 weeks up to 90+ days for your claim to be processed.  If you have not heard from your insurance company after 4 weeks, we advise you call them to check they are in receipt of your claim.

Will I need a pre-authorisation?

If you are unsure whether your insurance company will pay out for your claim we recommend obtaining a preauthorisation before starting treatment. We charge an admin fee for this.

My renewal is due and I am thinking of changing companies?

If you change companies and your pet already has a pre existing condition, this will not be covered by the new company.

Choosing an insurance company can be very confusing, so here is a brief guide to the different types of policy. There are three main types of cover.  Make sure you read the small print on the policy to understand what type of cover you are getting:-

Lifetime Cover

If your pet develops a condition that requires medication for the rest of its life, you can claim the cost of the medication and any related treatment for as long as they live. There is often a capped financial fee per year for this type of cover.

Time-Capped  Cover

This policy will only pay for a particular condition for a set time – usually a year.  After that the condition becomes exempt from the policy and you will no longer be able to claim for it. However, you can still claim for any new conditions.

Payment Capped Cover

This policy will only pay up to a certain amount for each condition or accident claimed for. The capped amount varies depending on the policy chosen.  For example, if your policy is capped at £2,000 and treatment costs £3,000, you will be liable for the outstanding £1,000, on top of your excess.

For all types of policy there is an excess fee to be paid per year, including on going claims. Often the policy and excess fee will increase as your pet gets older.

Direct Claims

In certain circumstances we may be able to make a direct claim to your insurance company. This will need to be authorized by the practice manager prior to the start of treatment. However, this is at the discretion of the management team.

Please be aware that direct claims are subject to a larger administration charge. This also applies to continuation direct claims.

It is important to realise that throughout your pet’s treatment, you and not your insurance company are liable for any balance on your account.