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.