Dogs



Preventative Health Checks

Preventative care helps in terms of a higher quality of life for your pet and significant financial savings, long term, for you. Many Veterinary Practices offer free healthcare clinics and advice to support your best friend, from cradle to grave. Please contact our practice for details.

A full comprehensive clinical examination normally carried out by the Veterinary Surgeon and included as part of the cost in your dog's annual vaccination. Our Vet will also perform an examination, when you take your dog for a consultation on any other issue or concern with their health.

Our Vet will use this examination to look for signs of ill health such as infections, the presence of parasites or identify the nature of any lumps or bumps. They will also take the opportunity to identify potential problems, which may need treatment or further investigations now to prevent them from developing into something more serious or life threatening for your animal. The ideal result of this examination is when the Vet can give your Pet a clean bill of health and advise you on the appropriate care to maintain their healthy status.

This time is also an ideal opportunity for you to ask our Vet or Veterinary nurse questions relating to your dogs health or lifestyle, such as, nutrition, worming, flea control training and weight control. If your dog is over 7 years of age, you may want to consider taking them for a health check more frequently than once a year, at vaccination time.

Likewise, it is always worthwhile to take in a fresh specimen of urine, in a clean container, for the vet to check.


Welcoming him home

Bringing home a new puppy is always an exciting event- after all you are welcoming a new member of the family. At first he will feel a little strange in the new surroundings. You can help him feel at home by making sure that there is a warm place for him to rest and sleep. The bedding should be waterproof and easy to clean. The ideal bed for your new puppy is a purpose built puppy crate, which he will adopt as his 'den'. We will be glad to give you some advice on nutrition and how important it is to establish good feeding habits, training, vaccination, worming and other measures of preventative healthcare (Please see the other sections on the website for further information in these areas.)

General Care

Grooming, training and a routine of regular exercise are all essential for the early health and happiness of your pet. So too is a visit to the Veterinary Practice. It is important to make an early appointment. Your puppy will then become familiar with the practice and the support staff and must receive his first vaccination, as he is susceptible to several contagious diseases. The Veterinary Surgeon will advise on the interval for "booster vaccination". Many Veterinary Practices now offer Puppy clinics for your new arrival, which will give you and your puppy in depth advice and experience about health care and training. Ask your practice for details.

Grooming

Do ask the Vet, but regular grooming is essential, two or three times a week for short haired dogs, once a day for those with long or thick coats. It not only removes dirt and dead hair but also helps prevent skin irritation - one of the more common problems during puppy hood. Another bonus to grooming your new puppy is your puppy can hardly distinguish between grooming and stroking, so you will naturally be forming a strong bond together.

Worming

Click here for detailed information about worming

Just as with skin irritation, intestinal parasites are one of the commonest problems of puppy hood. The Veterinary Practice will advice on worming and a control programme- click on ‘worming’ above to obtain more in depth information. Modern de-worming medicines from the Veterinary Surgeon are effective and gentle.

Basic Training

You can start housetraining your puppy straight away. Exercise him frequently in the area you want him to "go". At first it will be coincidence. But if you consistently take him out as soon as he wakes, immediately after meals and just before going to bed, the coincidence will become habit. House training usually does not happen overnight but lavish praise for correct performance will bring the quickest results. You should find your puppy becoming house-trained within a few weeks. Incidentally, if he does go in the wrong place, do not scold him (and never rub his nose in it), as this is a very ineffective method of training. Praising the puppy when he has got it right is quite sufficient and effective training.

Exercise

Your growing puppy loves to play and exercise. The extra attention he gets when being out with you will help to form a strong bond between you. You should put your puppy on a lead and harness if you are walking near a road, near farm animals or other sources of danger. Your puppy should also start to wear an identification tag with your name and telephone on it as soon as you bring him home.

It may also an idea to consider microchipping, as an effective and permanent form of identification at your puppy’s first vaccination. Click here to find out more about microchipping

A sound and properly balanced diet will give him all of the protein, calcium and nutrients necessary to fuel his playful exercise. Moderate exercise and a good feeding program will combine to help muscle development, prevent obesity and maintain vitality. The Veterinary Practice will advise you on the most appropriate diet for your growing puppy.

Diet

Click here for detailed information about nutrition for your healthy dog

Dogs are omnivorous and can eat many types of food that has been balanced to meet specific nutritional requirements. Rapid growth and development of bones, muscles and internal organs means that the diet is especially important during puppy hood. A puppy’s nutritional needs are different from those of an adult dog because puppies need relatively more energy, calcium and phosphorus than a grown animal. They are after all building a skeleton. However Nutritionalist's such as experts at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, believe that excess levels of nutrients can be harmful over time. Large breed puppies for instance grow very fast in the first few months of life.

If these breeds are fed on a food that contains too much energy, they grow so fast that skeletal problems may arise. Excess calcium may also initiate or complicate several skeletal diseases and bone deformities, especially in puppies hat will grow into large adults. Sodium, calcium and energy are essential to good health, but excess levels are unnecessary. The right balance of nutrients is crucial as not overfeeding your new puppy. A good start is so important in helping your dog lead a long and healthy life.


The Adult Dog

Control of excessive nutrients is vital for an adult dog, so reducing the levels of nutrients than those of a puppy is vital. Carefully controlled levels of essential fatty acids for a healthy glossy coat, high-quality protein to maintain muscles, and sensible levels of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth. Excess levels of sodium and phosphorus should be avoided.

The Less Active or Weight Prone Dog

Being overweight puts potentially dangerous stress on every bone, muscle and organ, including the heart in your dog’s body. A specially formulated fibre rich, calorie reduced diet is essential to help prevent obesity in some dogs. Some breeds are genetically predisposed to becoming overweight, and some neutered animals are also at risk from becoming obese.

Feeding an appropriate ‘light’ diet will help your dog to feel full and satisfied and reduce the intake of calories at the same time, this will keep your dog, happy and healthy and stop you from feeding guilty about reducing the quantity of foods given. The other benefit is it also maintains all of the other essential nutrients required by an adult dog.

For the Active or Nervous dog

Active working or nervous dogs need a diet rich in energy giving fats to keep them at the peek of fitness. A diet that provides a balance of all of the other nutrients for an adult dog whilst increasing the intake of calories is also useful for the nervous and finicky eater who may only eat a small amount.

The Senior/Older Dog.

As dogs get older, the kidney function often declines. An excessive intake of phosphorus can lead to further kidney damage, and too much salt can contribute to higher blood pressure, which may make heart or kidney problems worse. A carefully controlled diet in all of these nutrients is required for the older dog, to help keep your companion as long as possible.


Caring For The Older Dog

Aging is not a diseases it is a natural normal life process. It is however, accompanied by wear and tear on the body. Today with the advances in Veterinary medicine, improvements in nutrition, vaccination and our own understanding of excellence in pet ownership and medical care, our dogs are living longer.

When is my dog considered to be elderly?

Life expectancy in dogs ranges from breed to breed and surprisingly; we should start to manage the aging process in our dogs earlier than we once thought. As described above, wear and tear and the bodies deceasing ability to repair itself, accompany aging. (See the table below to help you understand how old your dog is compared to human years.) However it is not all bad news, because we now understand when the aging process starts to affect our dog’s health, we can start to minimize the progressive deterioration and maintain or improve our dog’s quality of life.

As a general rule an elderly preventative medicine regime could begin at the following stages:
Small dogs (weighing less than 20lb) - 7 years
Medium Dogs (weighing 21 to 50lb) - 7 years
Large dogs (weighing 51 to 90 lb) - 6 years
Giant dog (weighing more than 90lbs) - 5 years

What can I do to help my aging dog?

Fortunately, we can assist our dog through his golden years in many ways, and it is much easier to care for the older dog than the older human. Below is a list of tips you may wish to follow for your older dog:

Respect by all members of the family including other pets and children, do not allow them to bother your older dog, his patience may be wearing thin and he could become less tolerant as he gets older.
If your dogs sight and hearing is deteriorating, do stick to his normal routine, do not move furniture around and keep his walks to a regular time and distance each day.
Regular exercise is important to maintain bone strength and muscle tone, however your dog may have a locomotive problem such as arthritis, degenerative joint disease or just have difficulty o n standing up, if this is the case you may have to adjust his exercise routine. speak to the vet, who will advise you.
Be understanding of them if they do fail to respond to you, hear you, or have little accidents.
Keep their bedding comfortable or warm, if they are used to being kenneled outside on hard concrete surfaces, consider bringing them indoors on softer bedding, they are more prone to developing sores, or hard callous on their joints such as elbows or hocks, these can become extremely painful or ulcerated.
Keep them clean and groomed more regularly, as they may have difficulties in grooming themselves. It is also an ideal time to notice any changes or abnormalities.
Keep their nails; trimmed short, you may have to have them clipped more regularly.

Preventative health care programmes

You have the opportunity to work with the Veterinary Surgeon, to establish a preventative health care programme for your dog, properly applied, a preventative health care program can lessen existing problems of aging, slow or prevent disease processes and add high-quality years to your dogs life.

Preventative Health care measures

Measures we can take ourselves to support our dogs in their older years are:
Take him or her for a regular check up at the Veterinary Practice, at least twice a year.

Keep their vaccinations up to date, their immune response starts to decline in later years, so up keep of vaccinations are just as important as early on in their lives

Regular teeth cleaning, scaling and polishing, to help prevent against bad breath and dental disease - See dental care

It is also useful to use the following checklist to monitor any changes in your dog’s health status. Take this along to the Veterinary Surgeon with a urine sample when you attend any appointment, to assist them in the programme.

Nutrition for the older dog

Nutrition plays a vital part of the process of preventative health and commercially produced foods contain more than the adequate levels of all of the essential nutrients needed by normal dogs. In fact dogs, fed commercial foods are consuming anywhere between three to five times their daily protein requirement, three times the daily calcium requirement and phosphorus requirement and ten times the daily requirement of salt. The older dog, on the other hand would benefit from a diet with reduced levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus and sodium. This kind of diet may be helpful in the onset of clinical diseases common in older pets. Also keep a close eye on your dogs weight, as dogs grow older they are more prone to weight gain due to a reduction in exercise and their ability to metabolise energy is reduced. Speak to the Vet who will advise you on the correct food for your dog at her stage of life.


Antenatal and Postnatal care of the Bitch

When you discover your bitch is pregnant, there is a lot of excitement tinged with concerns about how she should be cared for during and after the whelping (giving birth).

A bitch is normally pregnant (gestation period) for about 63 days from the day of mating, however it may vary from 56 days or as long as 70days. Quite often breed variations will have an influence on the length of gestation (Speak to our Veterinary Surgeon, who will advise you).

Pregnancy can be detected by expect and careful palpation of the abdomen from about three and a half to five weeks after mating. Many Veterinary Practices also offer ultrasonic examination from about four and a half weeks. (Ask our Veterinary Surgeon for advice).

Your bitch may not show any signs of pregnancy in the first month after mating; although she may appear less energetic. In lean breeds, it may be noticeable to see abdominal enlargement from about five weeks onwards, especially those who are pregnant for the first time and those with large litters.

Care of the bitch

Exercise

Tender loving care is required as normal, it is important to maintain her normal daily exercise regime throughout the pregnancy, although do not allow strenuous exercise such as jumping in the last two to three weeks.

Worming

It is advisable to worm your bitch a month before her due date; this will help to reduce the risk of passing on worms to her puppies. - (Speak to our Veterinary Surgeon who will advise you on the most appropriate treatment for your bitch)

Diet

A change of diet during pregnancy and lactation (Producing milk for her puppies) should need to be observed, to support the bitches increased requirements for energy, protein, calcium and phosphorus to support the growing puppies inside her and replace the nourishment she requires to feed her puppies. A bitch’s energy requirement goes up from two to four times as much during pregnancy and lactation. The bitch is unable to consume two to four times as much food, so a very energy dense food is requires, There are premium brands available, which provide more energy in a smaller amount of food, do that the bitch does not need to eat huge quantities. (Our Veterinary Surgeon will advise you)

Preparation for labour/whelping. (Giving birth)

About two weeks before your bitch is due to whelp, it may be advisable to separate her from the other animals in the household (unless this will be too distressing for her) and provide her with an area, which she will have peace quite and warm, she may even choose the area herself! A whelping box should be provided where it can be screened off if necessary and the ideal temperature in the room should be about 80° F (27 °C) The sides of the box should be high enough to cut out draughts (10-15cm) with one side cut down to about 7.5cm to enable the bitch and yourself to get in and out easily. Sometimes a rail or shelf is provided on the inside of the whelping box around one or more of the sides, usually protruding about 7cm away from the side, to prevent the bitch from lying up against her puppies on the first two or three days. Provide the bitch with plenty of bedding, newspaper is ideal, so that the bitch can tear it up and it can be easily replaced when soiled.

At least ten days before the bitch is due, it may be a good idea to visit our Vet for a health check and who will advise you on the impending birth.

Labour (normal)

For normal whelping care, we recommend the following guides:

The book of the bitch - by J.M Evans and Kay White

Publisher: Howell book house, USA, Ringpress books UK. Available from the vet2pet shop and all good book stores.

The technique of breeding better dogs - by Dr. Dieter Flieg

Publisher: Howell book house, USA, Ringpress books UK. Available from all good book stores

Labour - difficulty

The actual birth usually takes place without any major problems but sometimes bitches can have difficulty giving birth. There are several possible reasons for this.

The first possibility is that of size. The pup or pups can be simply too large to pass through the birth canal of the bitch. The limiting factor on the bitch’s part is the bony pelvis. The chance of large pups is bigger if it involves a small litter. Bitches of the larger breeds have larger litters as a rule. Younger bitches have smaller litters than older ones.

The second possibility is that the bitch is not strong enough to expel the puppies. This is possible as a consequence of a condition called eclampsia. This is when the bitch has a low level of calcium in the blood, giving rise to weakness of the muscles. This can be caused by incorrect feeding or supplementation during pregnancy. See eclampsia below.

The third possibility is that of pups being in the wrong position to be expelled normally by the bitch. Sometimes a pup can be blocking the birth canal if it is not positioned normally. Also, it is possible for 2 pups, from the two separate uterine horns, being expelled at the same time. This will again lead to a blockage.

The different reasons for difficulty during labour require very different approaches by the vet and therefore it is important to seek veterinary advice when this happens. It has to be said that bitches can sometimes have pauses between pups of as much as 45 minutes, and even go to sleep during these breaks. If a bitch is obviously trying to pass a pup for more than 15 minutes and nothing is happening, ring the vet! Veterinary care should also be sought if at any stage a foul smelling discharge is produced before, during and after the birth.

Postnatal care

The bitch can be offered a drink and food before she rests. Most newborn puppies will suck straight away, or within half an hour. It is important for the puppies to suck the colostrums during the first one or two days of life to provide the maternal antibodies from the mother. As with human babies, during the fist week the puppies will suck around every two hours gradually increasing to every four hours. The bitch will normally lick and care for her puppies and it is important to keep the temperature of the surroundings at least 70°F. (21°C)

Normal exercise can be resumed as and when your bitch shows a desire and feeding of an appropriate energy dense diet is advisable until the puppies are fully weaned. Again, it is advisable to obtain a health check from our Veterinary Surgeon following the birth and or the following problems are observed.

Signs to watch for

Mastitis - this is where there is inflammation and infection of the mammary glands, the mammary glands usually feel hot, hard and are painful for the bitch on touching or when the pups suckle, sometimes they can form an abscess. Consult the Vet immediately, if you notice any changes in the mammary glands.

Eclampsia - Also known as milk fever, puerperal tetany is where the bitches calcium level in her blood drops to a dangerously low level, she may show signs of restlessness/whining, loss of appetite, she may then begin to walk stiffly and stagger, eventually she may develop a high temperature, muscle spasms and convulsions. Prompt veterinary treatment is required to reverse these signs. The appropriate diet such as the one described above, can play an important part in preventing the onset of this disease.

If a foul smelling discharge or bleeding is noticed before, during and after the birth.
There was any kind of problem during the delivery.
The puppies appear cold, listless, cries continuously or will not suckle from their mother.
The bitch will not eat or drink within 24 hours of giving birth.


Bereavement help and support

The death of all pets in any circumstances is a tragic loss and the subsequent grieving which we can feel is very real and painful. Euthanasia, which is unique to animals brings with it, not only the choices to bring about the ease of your pets suffering, but sometimes a whole raft of different feelings and emotions, which many of us find difficulty in comprehending.

We are also often unaware of the choices that we have, when it comes to burying or cremating our pet. Many Veterinary practices offer a range of support, information and services when it comes to caring for you and your pet at the end of their life. If you do not feel able to talk at length with the Vet, ask to speak to one of the Veterinary nurses in the practice who will be only too pleased to help and support you before, during and after your pets death.

There is also an excellent charitable organisation called The Pet Bereavement Support Service, which was launched in 1994, it has so far helped over 4000 pet owners of all ages and all walks of life. Losing a pet of any kind can be very painful and each telephone call is treated with sensitivity and compassion. The telephone befrienders receive calls in their own homes. They are volunteers of all ages and backgrounds and have completed a six month supervised correspondences training programme. They offer a "listening ear" and give time, patience and encourage met to bereaved pet owners, as they work through their loss. was launched

Telephone 0800 096 6606

Sometimes it helps to share our feelings with someone who knows from personnel experience how distressing the loss of a pet can be, whether it is a hamster or a Great Dane. Telephone daily from 8.30am - 5.30pm (with an answer phone outside these hours) to speak to someone who will listen with compassion and without judgement.

Recommended reading

Death of an Animal Friend

This booklet is helpful for anyone faced with the loss of his or her pet. Produced by the society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) Price £2.50. Available from: SCAS, 10b Leny Rd, Callender, FK17 8BA

Absent Friend - By Laura and Martyn Lee

This is an instructive book looking at how to cope when the relationship with the pet is broken. Published by Henston, Price £4.50. Available through the Veterinary Surgeon, Vet2pet superstore, or from all good bookshops.

Goodbye, Dear Friend - By Virginia Ironside

Published by Robson, Price £6.99. Available from all good bookshops.


Boarding Kennels

What should I do if I need to put my dog into a kennel?

Firstly, plan your dog's stay well in advance. Kennels become booked up very early, particularly if you need to use them during the peak holiday season. If you want your dog to stay in a good establishment, then booking early is important. Call as many kennels as possible so that you have a wide choice. If you know any dog owners, ask them if they know of any good places for your dog to stay. You could also ask the vet, dog trainer or breeder for any recommendations.

Although all UK premises are governed by the Animal Boarding Establishments Act of 1963, this act is quite vague in its requirements, so that premises vary considerably in standard.

What should I ask the owner of the kennel?

How much will it will cost to keep your dog there?

How much exercise will the dogs get each day? Are they exercised in a run or lead-walked, and if so how far are they taken? It is usually considered safer for animals to be exercised in a run as lead-walking increases the risk of your dog being lost.

What are the animals fed and can you bring your own dog-food? It is best that dogs' diets are not changed since this coupled with the stress of being somewhere new could cause a digestive upset.

How big are the kennels? Will your dog have access to an outdoor run?

What does the kennel want to know from you:

Do they insist on all dogs being vaccinated? Will they want to see your vaccination certificate? Remember that if they are not strict about this then there is risk of transmission of diseases between animals. Do they insist that dogs are vaccinated against kennel cough? What is their policy if a dog is brought there coughing?

You will need to know whether or not your dog will have physical contact with other animals. Whilst it is a good idea for dogs that live together to be kenneled together, from a veterinary viewpoint it is a very bad idea to kennel animals from separate households together, since one animal may harbour diseases that can be passed to another.

What would the kennel do if your dog became ill during its stay?

Are they covered by an insurance policy? How often do they have a really good look at the animals? Would they notice if your dog was unwell?

If your dog is on any medication then you will need to ask whether or not the staff will be happy to administer this. It is unreasonable to expect them to treat an animal without prior warning.

Even the best of places can lose an animal. Although this is something that does not often happen, you should ask what they would do if this occurred. Do they have a sensible set of steps that they would follow to try to recover the animal, or do they seem rather disorganised and unsure of what they would do

If I visit the kennel before sending my dog there, what should I look for?

The dogs' living area should be airy and spacious, although the sleeping quarters need not be large since many animals prefer a smaller cosy area to sleep in. Is it warm enough? What sort of heating do they use? The premises should be clean and regularly disinfected. What sort of bedding is being used? Does it look clean? Look at the food preparation area: are there facilities for sterilising the food-bowls? How much attention do the animals receive? Many animals are inappetent when left at kennels: a bit of extra attention can help a lot with this.

What should I do when I have decided on a kennel?

Book your dog in quickly! You will probably be expected to pay a non-returnable deposit, so you must be absolutely sure that this is the kennel for your dog. When you take your dog there, bring its own blanket or cushion as this will smell of your home and provide comfort to your dog. Also if he or she has any toys then bring them too. Be sure to give the establishment a contact telephone number, or if this is not possible, the number of a relative or friend who will take responsibility for your dog should anything happen to it. Also, you should give them the name, address and telephone number of the veterinary surgeon. Remember to take your vaccination certificate, as they should demand to see it before admitting your dog.


Travel And Moving House with Your Dog

What should I consider if I plan to travel or move house with my dog?

Both traveling and moving house with a dog require a great deal of planning to ensure that the change in environment is introduced as smoothly as possible. Any change in routine can cause a huge change in your dog's behaviour: some become excited, others become anxious.

 

Before going anywhere, make sure that your dog has an identity collar. If taking your dog on holiday, you will need to put the address and telephone number of your destination on his collar, since your home address will be less useful. It is also helpful to have your dog identichipped by the veterinary surgeon in case he gets lost. Take enough dog-food, and do not alter his diet. Take his own bed and toys so that he will feel "at home". Ensure that he is fully vaccinated, and has had a recent health check-up. Look up the name and address of a local vet in your holiday area in case of an emergency. Consider parasite control and discuss this with the vet: you may not get many ticks and fleas at home in the city, but if you are holidaying in the countryside this could pose a significant problem.

Traveling with your dog

Many dogs enjoy car journeys if regularly taken for short distances, and they often get very excited when the car stops, as they want to explore their surroundings. Discipline of dogs is particularly important during travel. Badly behaved dogs can distract the driver, causing an accident. Undisciplined dogs treat the car as a piece of territory, guarding it from passers-by. It is vital that the dog is either restrained on a lead by a passenger, or, better still, that a steel dog-guard is fitted behind or above the rear seat (estate cars). Smaller dogs can travel in a wire dog-cage, which should contain a blanket or bed, and be placed on the floor or securely on a seat, depending on the size of the car.

Do not allow your dog to stick his head out of the window, since he could be injured by passing vehicles, or try to jump out. The constant stream of air in his face can cause conjunctivitis. However, it is important that there is plenty of fresh air, so open the windows enough to allow circulation. There is no reason why your dog should not sniff this air, so long as the stream is not too strong - this is something that will keep him occupied! It is important that your dog does not become too hot: dogs are not able to control their body temperatures as well as humans. If you have air conditioning then use it. If the weather is very hot, you may need to stop for a break and find a shady area to rest. Always carry a large container of fresh water so that you can offer it during these rests.

Your dog should be trained to sit quietly during journeys. Some dogs become over-excited, and their owners often respond to this by making a fuss of them or scolding them. In either case the dog enjoys the attention and regards it as a reward; this reinforces his bad behaviour. It is better to ignore him altogether, or stop the car and walk away for a few minutes. Eventually he will learn to sit quietly. Good behaviour should be reinforced, so praise him whenever he is quiet. This training takes time and patience, and requires many short journeys in the car. An assistant will be required since you should not be concentrating on your dog whilst you are driving.

If you have a puppy, you can avoid many of the discipline-associated problems from developing by getting your puppy used to traveling from an early age. Take your puppy on short journeys from about 6-7 weeks of age, as they are particularly sensitive to new experiences at this time. Make sure that your puppy's first journey is fun (i.e. not a trip to the vets for an injection!) Play with him in the car and give him treats before going anywhere so that he associates the car with fun. Gradually progress to sitting in a stationary car with the doors closed, and then to going for very short journeys.

What should I do about food and drink? What if my dog gets travel sick?

Travel sickness, as with people, is more common in young animals, particularly puppies. They tend to grow out of it with age. You should not feed your dog, whatever its age, for 6-8 hours (or give water 1-2 hours) before your journey. There should be plenty of ventilation both for keeping cool and to prevent nausea. You should stop frequently for your dog to urinate and defecate. You should not give food or drink during a journey unless the journey is excessively long (more than 12 hours); however if it is a particularly hot day then you will need to offer water. Small drinks are acceptable if your dog is not prone to sickness. Always carry fresh water in the car even during short journeys, in case you are delayed.

Should I sedate my dog before traveling?

You should not sedate your dog unless you experience severe problems when traveling. Sedatives can be obtained from the veterinary surgeon, but only if you really need them: for example, if your dog gets excessively anxious about traveling, particularly if he has previously been involved in a terrifying car accident. By training your dog in the car in the months preceding your journey, you should be able to eliminate the need for sedation.

What should I do if I want to take my dog abroad?

Taking a dog to an EU country and bringing it back the UK is a great deal easier now compared to in the past, because of the advent of the PET Travel Scheme which enables dogs to return here without the need for quarantine. The conditions of the scheme are that the animal must:
be fitted with a permanent microchip
be vaccinated against rabies
have a blood test at least six months before entering the UK (i.e. before you go away) to show that he has adequate rabies antibodies in his blood (i.e. to show that he has responded to his rabies vaccine)
be treated for ticks 1-2 days before entering the UK
have an official veterinary health and treatment certificate

Quarantine regulations apply to animals entering the UK from non-EU countries, and to dogs that fail to meet the above requirements.

Moving house with your dog

Moving house is a stressful time both for people and dogs. When you reach your new home, establish an area where your dog will sleep and place his bed and toys there so that he has a place that he can consider his own. If there are any rooms that your dog will not be allowed to enter, be sure to make his boundaries clear to him from the beginning as this will avoid any confusion or disobedience later. Avoid altering his feeding times and general routine.


Nutrition for your Healthy Dog

No one can say how long an individual dog will live. But he is your dog, your faithful friend; you obviously want to have him with you as long as possible.

It has been recognised by Veterinary Surgeons for some time that nutrition can play an important part in maintaining your dog’s health and vitality. Certain nutrient changes are needed throughout your dogs life, what is right for a puppy can be harmful to the older dog.

There are a number of specially formulated premium foods, which have been specially formulated, to ensure health growth and keep him healthy at each stage of his life. An example of the Veterinary formulated diets is Hill’s Science Plan. We will be able to give you the advice of the appropriate diet for your puppy or dog. For a long time Vets and nutritionist’s have been recommending to feed a commercially produced food, especially a premium food rather than home made diets, which unless carefully formulated can be potentially harmful for your dog.

Puppies click here for information on puppy care

As a general guide, puppies require more: calcium and phosphorus to help build strong bones; protein to help develop strong muscles, more calories for increased energy expenditure and fatty acids for a healthy coat, they need more of these than mature dogs do. It has also been shown that large breed puppies have different nutritional needs.

The Pregnant and Nursing Bitch

Should be fed a diet almost identical to the puppies diet as she is providing so much of the nourishment for the pups at this time, energy rich formulation will help to maintain her own body weight.


General feeding guide

When switching your dog to any new food, gradually introduce it over a 5-day period. Mix it with your dog’s former food, gradually increasing the proportion until only the new food is being fed.

You can tell if your dog is the ideal weight when you can feel, but not see his ribs. To be sure of his ideal weight consult the Veterinary Surgery.

Keep fresh water available at all times.

If you are switching from a canned food to a dry food, expect your pet to drink a lot more water, most commercially produced tinned food is made up of over 80%, which provides a large amount of drinking water for your dog.

Your dog’s activity level, life-stage and temperament can affect how much and what he need to eat, we will advise you on the most appropriate diet for your dog.

The best way to measure the quality of a pet food is to measure what goes in compared to what is passed out. Many inexpensive pet food, provide a lot of fillers which may make it look good value, but a lot of the food is not utilised by the animal and there is more to clean up afterwards.

If your pet refuses to eat for more than 48 hours, discuss the problem with the Veterinary Surgeon immediately

If you are feeding a premium or commercially prepared pet food, it is not necessary to give any additional supplements; in fact this may do more harm than good.

Most feeding guides on pet food are to be used as a guide only. The Veterinary Surgery will advise you on the most appropriate amount for your dog


Therapeutic nutrition for your dog

An Overview

We have over time; become use to advances in medicine for ourselves and in changes in Veterinary medicine for our animals, new drugs for treatment and the management of diseases, new types of surgical procedures. An area which has become significant in it’s area of research in Veterinary medicine is: Therapeutic nutrition, In fact therapeutic nutrition for dogs is known to have been researched as far back as 1948 in the United States by a Vet called Dr Mark Morris. He created the first Prescription Diet product, registered trademark of Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Since then therapeutic Nutrition has grown to be an important component of Veterinary medicine with innovative products that give sick and disease prone dogs and cats nutritional support during and after therapy.

Therapeutic Diets are only available through the Veterinary Surgeon and it is important that they are involved in the selection and monitoring of the diet, disease and your dog, so that the best prognosis can be achieved.

Different health problems require different forms of nutritional support. Amazingly researchers at Hill’s Pet Nutrition were the first to recognise the link between successful therapy and supportive nutrition, years before researchers in human medicine reached the same conclusions.

A variety of formulas are available to support your dog including:
Adverse reactions to foods
Cardiovascular disease
Diabetes
Gastro intestinal disease
Pancreatic disorders
Cancer care
Liver disorders
Kidney disease
Weight control
Colitis
Constipation
Dental health
Urolithiasis (bladder stones)
Urinary Tract disease
Pre and post surgical conditions.

If your dog is diagnosed as having a disease or nutrition related disorder, it is comforting to know that, in many cases, a change in diet really can help to manage and control the problem.

Help with switching your dogs food

If the Vet has recommended a change in your dog’s food and he has been a creature of habit, you may need some help in switching to a new way of eating.

Gradually introduce the new food over a 5-10 day period, unless instructed otherwise by the Veterinary Surgeon.
Mix the new diet with your dog’s former food, gradually increasing the proportion until only the new food is being fed.
Do not supplement your dog’s new food unless instructed otherwise by the Veterinary Surgeon. Do not feed treats, snacks, table scraps, leftovers, or any food other than that which we recommends.
Keep a clean bowl of fresh water available at all times.
If your dog has trouble giving up his familiar food
Warm canned food to body temperature (but not any hotter), before feeding.
Hand feed the new diet for the first few days.
Mix, the dry diet with a small amount of water and wait 10 minutes before serving.
If you are still experiencing difficulties, please discuss these with us.


Dogs - Weight Control Guide

What is the definition of overweight?

In the U.K alone, over 50% of dogs are overweight. The definition of which is, when a pets weight is up to 15% above it’s ideal weight then it can be considered as being overweight. If it is more than 15% above it’s ideal weight then it is considered to be obese.

What is the cause?

Weight gain in pets is normally as a result of an increase in body fat. The most common cause is a pet eating too many calories (just like ourselves) We often like to treat our pets, but sometimes giving them "human" treats such as crisps and chocolate can contain up to half of their daily required calorie in-take. Too many calories combined with a lack of exercise can also exacerbate the problem. If more energy is being gained from food than is being used, the surplus will be stored as fat.

Other causes, include:

Medical disorders - sometimes weight gain is associated with a medical disorder, which may require investigations and or treatment - speak to the vet.
Neutering or spaying - Pets, which have been neutered, have a higher risk of weight gain because of their altered metabolism.(However neutering has many other positive health benefits)
Age - Older pets are often less active and if so require fewer calories
Breeds -Some breeds are genetically predisposed to over eating and excessive weight gain - speak to the Vet, who will advise you.

How do I know if my dog is overweight?

The best thing to do is visit us, to have your dog assessed and weighed. Many practices offer pet weight control clinics as a free service, because they understand the importance of preventative health and your dogs weight could, be associated with some other health problems such as:
Heart disease
Skin disease
Diabetes Mellitus
Arthritis or other joint problems
Breathing difficulties
An increased surgical risk
Other signs that your dog is overweight are:
You cannot feel your dog’s ribs
Loss of your dog’s waist and more bulk around their hips
Slow to move and difficulty in walking
No energy and sleeps a lot
Short of breath

How can I reduce my dog’s weight without starving him?

Just reducing the amount of food your dog normally eats will usually fail, as your dog will become very hungry and will be begging for more food, the added problem is by decreasing the amount of their normal food, not only reduces the calorie content but also reduces all of the other vital nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals.

Fortunately today, we have available to our pets special therapeutic diets which are carefully nutritionally balanced, yummy to eat, low in calories, available in canned and dry and make the dog feel full with fibre, so he will not continually badger you for more food (it is a pity that they have not produced one for people) The Veterinary Surgeon will be the best person to advise and support you through this process.

Useful tips while your dog is losing weight.

Work with the Veterinary Practice.

If we advise you to follow a particular health and weight programme do stick with it, so your dog will obtain the health benefits in the long term and you will have a happy, active dog.

Make every one in the family and neighbourhood aware, your dog is on a weight control programme and ask for their help. They could spoil a week’s work with a few small titbits.

Do not overfeed the recommended amount, always follow the Vets advice or follow the guide on the side of the pack.

Do use an appropriate specially formulated food for weight loss. Many so-called "light foods" are only designed to prevent and maintain weight loss. They are not very effective at ensuring weight loss, safely, over the shortest period of time, speak to our Vet, who will advise you.

Feed your overweight dog separately from the other pets in the house.

Keep your dog out of the room when you are eating or preparing the families meals, to avoid them begging and you giving into temptation.

Reward your dog with cuddles, playing games or going for walks rather than with food. If you feel you have to give your pet a treat, hand feed him a small proportion of his diet food. Or ask our Vet about special therapeutic treats, which are low in calories.

Encourage, regular moderate exercise to improve your dog’s health and well being and help control his weight. Do check with our Vet if you are planning a new health regime.

Ensure your pet has a regular weight check at our practice to closely monitor his weight loss and obtain continued support and advice.

When your dog has achieved his goal, do continue to feed your dog on an appropriate lower calorie maintenance food to help prevent the extra weight returning. You have done extremely well; do not undo all of your hard work.

Achievement

When you and your dog have achieved your goal, you will both benefit from a whole new lease of life, your dog will feel happy, healthy and fit again and you will have your bouncy puppy like dog again. Well done.


Vaccinations

A large range of safe, efficacious, vaccines are now available to vaccinate your puppy and adult dog against the five major infectious diseases, which they can potentially suffer from, including:
Canine Parvovirus
Canine Distemper
Canine infectious Hepatitis
Leptospirosis
Kennel Cough.

Some commonly asked questions about Vaccination:

What is immunity?

Immunity to disease simply means that an individual (animal or person) is highly resistant to a particular disease. A fully vaccinated dog, provided that it has responded to vaccinations, should be capable of withstanding normal exposure to those diseases against which it has been vaccinated.

It is possible for immunity to develop in a non-vaccinated animal, but for this to happen, the animal must first encounter the disease and then survive the encounter. For the potentially life-threatening diseases that we routinely vaccinate against, this is not a serious option. So immunity does not just happen and yet in many ways nothing could be more natural....

Maternally Derived Antibody (MDA)

Nature has equipped the bitch with the ability to pass on some of her own immunity (in the form of antibodies) before and shortly after giving birth (these are called Maternally Derived Antibodies) Whilst some of this immunity passes across the placenta to the young in the later stages of pregnancy, most is passed on in the first milk, known as colostrums. It is important that puppies suck early because MDA levels in the colostrums are at their highest at the time of birth. Furthermore, the newly born puppy is only able to make best use of MDA at this time; the ability to absorb antibodies directly from the gut into the bloodstream is lost.

So if all goes well the young puppy will have received adequate "natural" maternal immunity from their mother to enable it to resist disease for a period of some weeks.

However, the extent of the protection depends on the immune status of the bitch (as she cannot pass on what she does not have) and how quickly and how well the puppies have sucked.

In turn, the immune status of the mother is nowadays highly dependent on whether she has been properly vaccinated up to date. The better protected the bitch, the more opportunity she has of passing good levels of immunity to her offspring.

How long does "natural" maternal immunity last?

Some puppies levels of MDA vary from pup to pup, even in the same litter. MDA is also know as "passive" immunity, (which you may be familiar with) it is not actively produced by the puppy, thus it decays over a period of some weeks.

It is possible to predict the point where the puppy is no longer protected, by a blood test, but this is not practicable, on a routine basis. Fortunately, thanks to the cooperation of may owners, a leading pharmaceutical company in the UK called Intervet has researched, (with the assistance of independent laboratories) and examined over 3,000 dogs to help to establish the timings of MDA decay for various diseases.

It is important to understand these timings because:
It provides a guide to the "average" age at which a puppy is no longer protected by the bitches immunity and is therefore at risk. It gives an indication of the best time to start the vaccination course.

How do Vaccines Work?

Vaccines work by stimulating the body to produce it’s own defence against infection. One of the key components of this "defence" is antibody. Whilst MDA protects the young puppy, MDA can actually interfere with successful vaccination. This is because, although a vaccine is a modified harmless form of the disease, it is seen by MDA as an invader. MDA therefore assumes it’s protective role and neutralises the vaccine.

Only when MDA falls to a moderate to low level, will the puppy respond to vaccination andther’s role in providing protection.

When to give the first vaccination?

In general the earliest age for vaccination of puppies is between 6 and 12 weeks.

It is important to note that the primary course always consists of two or more vaccinations. This is because:
Timing for effective vaccination varies from puppy to puppy (because of unknown MDA levels)
Some vaccines, such as Leptosproisis need to be administered twice in order to achieve high enough level of immunity.<>

Based upon local experience, the Veterinary Surgeon will advise you on the best schedule to adopt, but the aim will always be to provide your pet with the best possible protection.

Why give regular boosters?

As MDA in the puppy declines, so too does the protection produced as a result of vaccination, only more slowly as this is "active" immunity.

A dogs "active" immunity can be topped up in two ways:
By exposure to disease.
By means of a booster vaccination.

The first, goes without saying is an impractical way of ensuring continued immunity, especially nowadays.

Vaccines today, are very effective and have are remarkably high safety record, Millions of doses are used annually in the UK alone. The use of live, modified vaccines in particular have brought about levels of disease control, against for example Canine Parvovirus, that would have been almost undreamt of a little more than a decade ago.

Because of the incidence of these diseases has fallen as a direct result of widespread use of efficacious vaccines, the chances of an adult dog encountering them have also been reduced. Paradoxically, this is a dangerous situation for the pet which has not had a booster on a regular basis, because of the dog has not met all of the diseases on a regular basis, it may be unprotected. Sooner or later an encounter with a massive disease challenge could prove fatal.

What if my dog’s booster has lapsed?

If you have forgotten to take your dog back for a booster, seek advice and guidance from the vet straight away, as the longer the delay, the more at risk your dog will be. The added benefit of regular boosters are the preventative health checks given by the Vet at the time of vaccination. It also gives you the opportunity to discuss any concerns about your pets well being.

If you have any further concerns about vaccination, speak to the Veterinary Surgeon or visit: www.noah.demon.co.uk, which is The National Office of Animal Health. They have two briefing documents available of dog and cat vaccinations.


Dogs - Worming

Can a healthy dog get worms?

Frankly, it may not always be easy to tell when a dog has worms. In severe cases, of course symptoms are obvious.

Dogs may suffer a general loss of condition, rough, dry, coat, anaemia, vomiting, diarrhoea and or constipation with potentially serious consequences. In case of a mild infestation, you may simply not know, and this is one case where you may remain unaware

The majority of worms pose no threat to human health. However there are some which can be potentially transmitted to people e.g. The roundworm Toxocara canis, can be transmitted to children where it can cause potentially permanent eye damage, the results could be serious.

How could my dog get worms?

The short answer is "all too easily". Even the most cared for, well fed, happy and healthy dog, can become infested with worms. Even though you cannot see it, other dogs may have left behind worm eggs and larvae. These eggs and larvae can remain infectious for months, even years. These can be picked up on your dog’s coat, muzzle or paws and are ingested during grooming. In this way, worms can then infect your dog, home and garden.

Types of Worms

There are a dozen different species of roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms, which may infect the dog in the UK. Fortunately there are very effective ways to control these and minimize the spread of infection.

Roundworms - The life cycle

The term roundworm also includes, hookworms and whipworms. It is helpful to look at the different lifecycles

Common facts

It grows up to 180mm in length and can be transmitted in several different ways:
Transfer of the immature worms (larvae) across the womb to the unborn pups, so they are already infected at birth.
Transfer of worm larvae to the pups as they feed on the mother’s milk.
A nursing bitch may be re-infecting the pups while cleaning them

Dogs in the environment may accidentally pick up roundworm eggs.
An adult dog may eat birds, earthworms, or mice that may be harbouring roundworm larvae.
Roundworm eggs are great survivors; they can remain infective for several years.

The Tapeworm

Unlike the roundworm, the tapeworm requires a third party called an intermediate host, to develop in before infecting your dog.

The two tapeworms found commonly are The Taenia species and the Flea tapeworm Dipylidium caninum.

Lifecycle

Common Facts

Some types of tapeworm can grow up to 5 metres in length
Tapeworms look like strings of rather flattened rice grains.
Dipylidium caninum has a small head, which attaches itself to the wall of the small intestine, with hooks and suckers a long segmented body, which grows continuously.
The oldest segments, containing the eggs are shed one or more at a time. It is these segments that we commonly see passing out of the anus. These segments can contain many thousands of eggs

Treatment

There are many preparations available sold on the market, we recommend routinely worming your puppy and adult dog with the most effective preparations, which are sold by your Veterinary Surgeon. It is only by working with your Veterinary Surgeon that the correct advice, preparation, dosage and routine can be given to your dog.

Prevent re-infestation

However effective the wormer, it cannot prevent re-infestation. There are a number of steps we can take to reduce the spread of worms, including:
Effective flea control on the animal and in the home, to help reduce the transmission of the Flea Tapeworm.
Training your dog to defecate on the gutter or an approved dog toilet
Using a poop scoop to clean up after your dog
Avoidance of raw offal or unsterilised pet food.

Our grateful thanks to makers of Drontal plus and Drontal Cat tablets for providing us with the information for this page. For in-depth information, we recommend visiting: www.noworm.co.uk


Fleas Ctenocephalides species (Dogs)

Fleas can potentially pose a very real threat to your dog’s health and the well being of your family. Few creatures can inflict more misery, ounce for ounce, than fleas. A flea infestation at one time or another has affected many dog and cat households. These tiny, almost invisible pests are much more than an annoyance. They make life miserable by disrupting your household with a vicious cycle of biting and scratching, and can cause flea allergy dermatitis in some dogs.

Where do fleas hide?

Fleas hop onto your dog to feed on his/her blood; they then lay their eggs, which can be up to 50 a day. The eggs are not very sticky, so they quickly fall off your pet. The fleas and their eggs can be found in a number of flea friendly locations, such as:
Carpets
Furniture
The Car
The animals’ own bedding
Vacuum cleaners
These areas should be treated, when treating your dog for fleas

The fleas life cycle

The life cycle of a common flea can last as little as three weeks, depending on the temperature and humidity of their surroundings. It is little wonder that with the introduction of fitted carpets and central heating to a lot of homes, the flea problem has increased over the years.

For more information, please contact the Veterinary Surgery for advice.

The Egg Stage

A female flea lays as many as 50 eggs per day, they quickly fall off your dog and hatch in two to five days. A female flea lays around 2,000 eggs in his lifetime.

The Laval Stage

After hatching, the larvae head toward dark places around your home and feed on "flea dirt" - Excrement of the partially digested blood of your dog. The larvae grow; moult twice, the spin cocoons, where they grow into pupae.

The Pupa Stage

The length of this stage averages 8 to 9 days. Depending on weather conditions, population explosions typically occur five to six weeks after the weather starts to warm up.

The Adult Stage

The adults emerge from their cocoons when they detect heat, vibrations and exhaled carbon dioxide indicating that there is a host nearby. Once they hop onto a host, the adults mate and begin the life cycle all over again. The entire life cycle can be as short as three to four weeks.

Identifying flea infestation

The warning signs:

Black specks

Black specks on your dog or his/her bedding could be flea dirt. Which are the faeces of partially digested blood from you dog, excreted by the adult fleas. They can often be found around the neck area and the base of the dogs tail.

There are two easy ways to check for flea dirt:

Using a metal flea comb, available from the Veterinary Practice. Run the comb over your pet, making sure the comb reaches the dogs skin through the coat. If there are black specks on the comb they may be flea dirt.

Place a white paper towel beneath your dog and rub your hands across the fur. If black specks appear on the towel, they may be flea dirt.

With both of these methods, to confirm if the speaks are flea dirt. Place the specks on a white piece of paper, sprinkle a few drops of water on the specks and if after a couple of minutes a reddish, brown stain is seen in the water. It will indicate that the dirt contains, partially digested blood from your dog. This is flea dirt.

Agitation/Scratching

Your dog may exhibit nervous or annoyed behaviour coupled with excessive scratching and or grooming, your dog may even start to bite himself, which not only confirms the presence of fleas, but also may indicate that the presence of fleas may be affecting your dogs health. (See ailments below)


Ailments

Fleas may affect your dog in the following ways:
Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)

When a flea bites your dog, it deposits a small amount of saliva into the skin. Your dog can develop FAD in reaction to this saliva, which causes severe itching. The condition can cause excessive, scratching, biting, redness, soreness and even hair loss and scabby regions especially over the dogs, neck, back, and the base of the tail. You and your family may also suffer from flea bites.

Anaemia

This may occur in young, older or ill dogs if too many fleas suck their blood. The symptoms of anaemia include pale gums, weakness and lethargy in your pet.

Treatment and prevention

There are many flea treatments sold today, but not all of them can be effective or appropriate for your dog, and although it may appear to be cheaper, you may end up spending more in the long run. Today however, products sold by Veterinary Practices to treat flea infestation are extremely effective and safe, (if the manufacturers instructions are followed). There are a number of presentations available including: Sprays, spot-on’s or oral treatments.

Consulting our Veterinary Practice with regard to the best treatment for your dog.

Only 5% of the flea population will be on your dog, so separate environmental treatment of wherever your dog has been is also vital in preventing re-infestation.

Other preventative methods, include:

Vacuuming frequently, wherever your dog has been, especially around any carpeted area of the home, in your car and in around your dogs bedding and your bedding, if he sleeps with you. This will help to clean up as many immature fleas (eggs, larvae and pupae) as possible. Also treating your vacuum cleaner’s nozzle, dispose frequently of the bag or treat inside the cleaner with environmental treatments.

Washing your dogs bedding, blanket and other washable items frequently in the hottest water cycle available.


Neutering your Dog or Bitch

Neutering is routinely performed by many Veterinary Surgeons on a daily basis. The decision as to whether to have your dog castrated or your bitch spayed should be carefully considered and discussed with the Veterinary Surgeon. Below we give you some guidelines as to what the procedure involves and some of the points to consider during the decision process. The Veterinary Practice will advise you on the most appropriate time for this to be done.

Castration for dogs.

This is considered to be a form of contraception for male dogs, unlike heat control in the bitch. It is a permanent procedure, so should not be undertaken if you wish to mate from your dog. It involves a general anaesthetic and is a sterile surgical procedure performed by the Veterinary Surgeon and assisted by Veterinary nurses.

Reasons for Castration

To make the dog sterile, so he cannot father puppies To stop adult dogs roaming after bitches on heat To remove the testicles if testicular cancer is diagnosed To help with the problem of hypersexual behaviour, which is still present after puppy hood and into adulthood. To help with aggression towards other dogs.

The Procedure

The procedure involves complete excision and removal of the testicles from the scrotal sac. The scrotum is left behind and will naturally look a lot smaller after the operation. There may be some swelling in the scrotum immediately post operatively. If this persists, please consult the Veterinary Surgeon. If you are planning to have your dog castrated for behavioural reason, it is worth considering that sometimes the problems may disappear overnight. Sometimes the traits are as a result of learned behaviour and because of this, they may not subside for a few months. Please note: Castrated dogs may have an increased tendency to gain weight, so it may be worth considering a "lighter"diet. Please discuss this with the Veterinary Practice.

Spaying your Bitch

If you are not considering breeding from your bitch you may want to consider having her spayed. This is considered to be a form of contraception and heat control. There are also long term health benefits to having this procedure performed. Again this is a permanent procedure and it involves a general anaesthetic. This is also a sterile surgical procedure performed by a Veterinary Surgeon and assisted by Veterinary nurses.

Reasons for Spaying

To make the bitch sterile, so she cannot have puppies

To help reduce the chances of your bitch getting mammary tumours, uterine problems like pyometritis and prevent false pregnancies

To increase the enjoyment of owning a bitch by preventing her coming on heat and all of the issues associated with bitches on heat for at least 3 weeks, twice a year.

The Procedure

Unlike human sterilisation in women, most Vets perform a complete Ovariohysterectomy in the bitch, which means removal of the womb and the ovaries. This is because the hormones produced to trigger pregnancy and heat are excreted from the ovaries. Your bitch may be left with a small scar along the centre of her tummy, which should not be seen after the fur grows back.

Please note: Spayed bitches may have an increased tendency to gain weight, so it may be worth considering a "lighter" diet. Please discuss this with our Veterinary Practice.


Dogs - Microchip Identification

When we bring a new dog into the family, we love and care for them the same way as all of the other members of the family and the love and fear we feel for them is no different. So if your dog was lost, strayed or worse still stolen, and your pet was not identified it would be very difficult to trace you and be returned.

There are different ways of identification such as collars and tags or tattooing. Unfortunately both of these methods have their drawbacks. Collars can become lost and tattooing is a painful process, which over time becomes illegible. However a quick, simple, permanent process is now available, which is no more stressful, than a routine vaccination.

What is Micro chipping?

Micro chipping is an up to date electronic technology, which is a tiny microchip containing a unique 15 digit code. This code will be linked to your Pets details for life on a database. The database is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it can identify your animal, the your name, address and telephone to ensure you and your dog can be reunited in the shortest time possible.

A special scanner is then used by a number of authorities to read the microchip, including:
Local authorities
Veterinary Surgeons
RSPCA
SSPCA
NCDL

How does it work?

Your dog will attend the Veterinary Surgery for the micro chipping implantation to take place the same way as you would for a normal vaccination. The Microchip is injected under the loose skin at the back of the neck. It is usually no bigger than a grain of rice. We will then fill in all of your details and send it to the database for life.

For more information, please contact your Veterinary Surgery for advice.


Dental Health - Dog

We all understand that to maintain healthy teeth and gums, a combination of daily brushing and regular visits to the dentist is essential. The same is true for our dogs. Research shows that more than 80% of dogs show some signs of gum disease by the age of five. So it is really important that your pet receives both professional dental care form the Veterinary Surgeon and care from you at home.

The Importance of Preventative Care

During each check up your dentist thoroughly cleans your teeth and removes plaque, which can build up causing serious oral problems. Plaque forms naturally and continuously on teeth and gums and is the cause of bad breath, which is an early symptom of poor oral health. If the plaque is left untreated, inflamed gums or "gingivitis" can result. In time, this disease can lead to periodontitis (which is disease of the tissues which support and attach the tooth) and tooth loss. That is why it is important to start a preventative dental care programme, as soon as possible.

Try this three simple step programme for your new puppy or dog.

Step one: Professional examination
An effective programme of dental care begins with a visit here, and we will assess your pet’s oral health and may recommend cleaning, polishing and other preventative measure.

Step two: Home care

Plaque should be removed mechanically everyday and until recently daily brushing of your dog’s teeth was the most effective way to do this. It is best to start this as early on in your dog’s routine as possible. There are many specialised toothbrushes and Doggie toothpaste available to assist you in this routine (It is advised not to use human toothpaste as this can potentially detrimental to your dogs health). Fortunately, there are now special daily diets available which provide the same dental benefits as weekly brushing such as Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d*, which actually clean teeth and freshen breath on every bite. Please consult the Veterinary Surgeon for advice on all of these procedures.

Step three: Regular Check-ups
Just as people need to see their dentist regularly, dogs also need regular check-ups. At each oral examination, your Veterinary Surgeon will look for any signs of plaque build up and gum disease.


Administration Of Drugs By Injection

Will I have to administer injections to my dog?

As a dog owner you will rarely have to inject your own dog. Most conditions are treated with tablets, capsules, fluids, creams and ointments or drops. The vet will often start a course of treatment by injecting a drug though. The only condition in which you, as an owner, will be required to inject your own dog on a regular basis is Diabetes Mellitus.

Injections can be given by different routes. You will normally be trained, by a member of the veterinary practice, to inject your own dog by the ‘subcutaneous’ route, which means the drug is administered under the skin through the needle. The injection can be given in several areas on the body but the most common one is in the neck or scruff of the dog. It is done by lifting a fold of skin lightly from the underlying tissue with one hand, while holding the syringe, like a pencil, in the other hand. The needle is directed towards the skin fold under an angle of approximately 45°. The needle is pushed through the skin by putting pressure on the syringe barrel rather than the plunger itself. After the needle has penetrated the skin, the plunger is depressed to empty the syringe. The whole syringe is then withdrawn and the area of applidogion is rubbed lightly.

The injection should not be painful to the dog. The tissue under the skin is not very sensitive and the needles used are very sharp and thin. Most dogs will not notice the injection at all. Sometimes you can take the dog’s mind off the injection by giving some food at the same time. Ask the vet if this is possible in your dog’s case. You may have to ask someone to hold the dog while you give the injection.


Administration Of Liquid Medicine

How do I administer a liquid medicine to my dog?

Some drugs now come as liquids that can be given by mouth rather than as tablets or capsules. Examples are some antibiotics, anti-inflammatories or treatment for urinary incontinence.

Some liquids can be mixed with food. If you do this, make sure that the dog has eaten all of the medication. It is best to give the liquid medication in a small amount of food and only give the remainder if the dog has eaten all the food with the drug in it.

If your dog will not eat its food with the medication mixed in, you can apply the drug directly into the mouth of your dog. To do this, the easiest way is to use a syringe, which you can get from the vet. Draw up the required dose from the bottle, approach your dog from behind, gently hold your dog and place the nozzle of the syringe in between the lips of the dog from the side while holding the dog’s head steady and slightly lifted upwards. Gently squirt the medication into the mouth and if necessary rub the dog’s throat to induce swallowing. Have someone help you if the dog does not hold its head still.


Administration Of Tablets

How do I administer tablets to my dog?

Most drug companies nowadays prepare tablets in a palatable form and are readily taken by the majority of dogs. However, sometimes it takes a bit more convincing to get your dog to take its medicine! There are several ways in which you can do this. Hiding the tablet in something nice often works. You can use soft dog treats with holes in them for example, or some tinned dog food or pate. Soft cheese or peanut butter may work for some dogs. Check, if necessary, whether this type of food is suitable for your dog. If all this fails, you will have to actually push the tablets into your dog’s mouth. To do this, you place one hand over the muzzle and gently introduce your thumb and forefinger into the mouth by pushing the lips inwards just behind the canine teeth. You can even try to put some pressure onto the hard palate as this will help to keep the mouth opened. The other hand is then used to further open the mouth by pushing the lower jaw down and putting the tablet as far into the mouth or throat as possible. After closing the mouth, gently stroke the throat to induce swallowing. In some cases it may be advisable to give some water afterwards to help the dog to swallow.

Some tablets can be crushed and put into food. The vet can tell you if this is possible with the tablets supplied. There are special tablet crushers available to this purpose. If you have not got access to these, you can crush a tablet with the back of a spoon for instance.


Application Of Creams, Ointments and Lotions

How do I apply creams, ointments and lotions?

All of the above can be used for the purpose of administering drugs to the surface of the skin. Some dogs may object to the application of creams etc. if the skin is very sensitive or painful. Have somebody hold the dog if he is likely to object or escape! In some cases you are advised to wear gloves when handling the medication. It is important that you take this advice to heart!

In general these medications are applied by gently spreading the cream onto the skin. Some need massaging into the skin, others do not. Try to always apply these forms of medication to a dry skin.

What if my dog keeps licking them?

If your dog tends to lick the area of application there are several things you can try. Firstly, apply the cream just before giving the dog its food or just before taking him for a walk. This way, he will have something else on its mind then licking the cream off! Secondly, you can try fitting an Elizabethan/buster collar to your dog to prevent the dog reaching the treated area of skin. Not all dogs will be happy wearing these collars, but most accept it quite quickly. Thirdly, you can cover the skin with a bandage or boot if it is a foot. This is not always failsafe and it is not easy to apply a bandage without making it too tight or too loose. If the affected area of skin is on the body of the dog you may try putting an old T-shirt on your dog. Finally, in some cases the only solution is to muzzle the dog while the cream takes effect.