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Pet Advice

Vaccinations

We believe that your pets should be vaccinated to provide protection against harmful infections but at the same time not be over vaccinated. As research is done to see how long new vaccine immunity lasts we will adapt our vaccination protocols accordingly. Some vaccinations last just one year, but others now last three years.

For advice on what vaccinations your pet may need please speak to us to find out the current advice.

Microchipping

Horses have been required to be microchipped from 2009 and from April 2016 it will be law for all dogs to be microchipped. Most pets can be microchipped. There are recognised sites for where they should be implanted depending on the animal. Microchipping is essential for pets travelling abroad.

Microchipping does work. We scanned a dog and found it had been stolen. The tears of happiness of the owner being reunited with his pet were not something we will easily forget. Conversely some owners brought in a beautiful parrot once and we asked where they obtained such a beautiful parrot, eventually they confessed their cat brought it home in his mouth! Unfortunately it did not have a chip when scanned.

Please telephone us for more information if your pet has not already been microchipped.

Neutering

Cats we can neuter from five and a half months. However, if you have had your kitten from a charity organisation and would like it neutered earlier to fit in with their policy we have experience of this and can do this for you. We would be pleased to accept Cats Protection neutering vouchers if you have one of these.

Neutering a female cat will stop you being soon over run with kittens and your cat from “calling” all the time. Unneutered tom cats tend to spend little time at home and instead wander long distances and often end up in fights and accidents. Most road traffic accident victims we see tend to be unneutered tom cats. Tom cat urine also smells strongly. Tom cats often come in to us to have an abscess drained under general anaesthetic. Viral diseases can also be transmitted during bites and fights.

We suggest neutering male dogs not required for breeding once they are “cocking their leg”. Unneutered dogs are more likely to run off looking for female dogs.

Female dogs are neutered to stop “seasons”, pregnancies, false pregnancies and serious womb infections. Dogs spayed early in life are less likely to develop mammary tumours later in life and conditions such as diabetes are easier to manage in spayed dogs.

We have found that allowing a dog to have one season first allows them to mature rather than tending to prolong them staying in the naughty ways of a puppy, however if you would like your dog spayed earlier we would be pleased to discuss this with you.

We have found the best time to spay is three weeks after the first season. At this time the ovarian ligaments are still relaxed after a season allowing us to make a smaller spay wound and at three weeks after a season the false pregnancy hormone part of your dog’s reproductive cycle is unlikely to have started. However, we do accept other vets may recommend other times to spay and we would be pleased to examine your dog to see if we could do the same for you if you are considering another timing.

Worming

Puppies and kittens pick up roundworms from their mother. Some of these roundworms will migrate round their bodies and go into arrested stages at various sites in the body. Sometimes these arrested larva will migrate to the gut to start producing microscopic eggs that cannot be seen with the naked eye and as the worm is attached in the gut it cannot be seen either. When a mother becomes pregnant hormonal changes occur and some of these arrested larva will migrate on to her offspring and the whole cycle starts again.

Microscopic roundworm eggs can last many months in the environment. Children can easily pick up these eggs and one of the places migrating larvae can go is to the back of the eye, affecting a child’s sight. Additionally worm drugs may not kill every worm stage everywhere in the body in one go and your pet may pick up new eggs from the environment. We therefore recommend regular worming of puppies and kittens monthly to six months of age and thereafter at least every three months.

Tapeworms can be transmitted to your pet via flea larvae. Sacks of tapeworm eggs you can see as wiggly white tapeworm segments around your pet’s tail, or they may look like rice grains if they dry out. Tapeworms can also arise from eating undercooked meat and in other ways. Their lifecycle is such that if your pet is picking up tapeworms they can be back a month after worming, so for some pets you may have to worm them monthly.

Lungworms can affect dogs. Typically it is a young dog that likes to eat slugs and snails. There is a spot on product for lungworm but other worm tablet products are also available from us.

Our list of worms is not exhaustive, there are others! But regular worming will assist in their control.

We also stock worming products for your rabbit.

Fleas

Unfortunately fleas are a fact of life for virtually all cats and dogs. One flea can lay 500 eggs and they do not die off in the winter as they are quite at home with everyone’s central heating that comes on in the Autumn!

In Bristol we saw some cats from the top floor flat of a block of flats. They never went out and yet were infested with fleas. The answer to the riddle of how they became infested is likely that the owner probably carried in one on his shoes or clothes and each of the 500 eggs it produced hatched into further fleas.

Flea bites can be the trigger for long term skin problems in some individuals. For best results your pet will need a regular treatment for fleas and even more important is to treat your house and car. Please contact us for further advice.

Ticks

Ticks can transmit Lyme Disease and cause an abscess and other infections. They hop onto your pet in the grass as tiny spider like creatures, especially if there have been any sheep or deer where your pet walks. The tick embeds its mouthparts and then the tick sucks your pet’s blood to the size of a small grey blob and transmits infection to your pet at the same time.

Removing a tick safely can be difficult and we have known owners to try and remove small grey tumours thinking they were ticks. If you need assistance please bring your pet in to see us in surgery hours.

We stock products that help your pet repel ticks and combined products that can also control fleas.

Mites

We are used to seeing pets with skin problems with Harvest mites and ear problems with ear mites as well as Scabies mites and Demodex mites. We can treat your pet and advise on prevention of mites.

Pet foods

Cats and dogs are carnivores so we are not sure if feeding your pet a food bulked out with rice and grains with a high glycaemic index is the best for your pet.

  • How do you fathom out those labels on the bag?
  • Where does all that sugar go when the food is digested?
  • Is that why there are many overweight and hyperactive pets with behavioural problems?

A “raw meaty bones” diet is one alternative but it needs to be stored in a freezer and not everyone likes the smell.

However, there is now a similar diet available in a convenient kibble form. It is based on meat, ideal for carnivores, and either no grains or low in a non-high glycaemic index grain. Although the diet is more expensive to buy initially it lasts much longer as your pet will only need a very small amount each day. Please come in and see us if you need advice about feeding your pet.