Getting a new puppy is an exciting time for all the family and you want to be sure that your new addition is in good health!
We would recommend getting a health check for your new family member within the first couple of weeks. This can quite often be tied in with their first vaccinations at 8 weeks of age.
At the health check your vet will thoroughly examine your puppy to ensure that all is well. They will also give you advice on general care, training, feeding, dental care, worming and fleas.
Fleas are tiny insects who get around by jumping between your dog (or even you) and the environment.
It is important to note that ONLY the adult flea lives on your dog. The female flea lays up to 50 eggs a day which fall off into your dogs (and therefore your) environment. These eggs then hatch into larvae after a couple of days and will feed off of debris in the environment until they pupate. The adult flea develops inside the pupa and waits for movement to be detected. At this point they hatch out and jump onto the next available host which can be your dog or even you!!
Ideal conditions for the flea are warm and damp weather and for this reason we see an increase in cases over the spring and summer months. However, once the heating is turned on in autumn we see another increase in cases as the warmth from the heating encourages dormant fleas within the home to become active. It is for this reason we would recommend keeping your dog treated all year round!
As mentioned before fleas are generally well tolerated and there may be no sign that your dog is carrying them. However some dogs have an allergy to the fleas saliva and this can make them itchy with secondary damage to the skin as a result of biting and scratching at themselves.
However, as fleas feed on your dogs blood, young puppies, and those of a smaller size are at risk of becoming anaemic, especially if the infestation is large.
Fleas can also pass on Tapeworms when they are feeding if they have previously fed from an infected animal. It is therefore recommended to worm your dog as well if it is discovered that they have fleas.
Prevention is the best course of actions when it comes to fleas and we would recommend routinely treating your dog with a product recommended by one of our vets. We stock a range of products that we have faith in and since every dog is different we would advise coming in to the surgery to discuss your dogs individual needs with one of our team.
If you are concerned that your dog may have fleas then please contact the surgery – our vets will be more than happy to advise you on the best course of action – often involving a combination of treating both your dog and its environment!
A microchip is a small radiochip (around the size of a grain of rice) which carries a unique 15 digit identification number. This is implanted below the skin at the back of the neck and detected using a scanner.
Microchipping is now a compulsory requirement for all dogs regardless of age or breed. For puppies this will now be done by most breeders before they go to their new home and one of our vets will check the chip is functioning properly at their first health check.
Implanting the microchip is a quick and easy procedure which can be carried out by one of our vets or registered veterinary nurse.
All microchips are recorded on the Anibase Pet Database where records can be accessed 24/7, 365 days a year ensuring that you and your pet can be quickly reunited should they go missing!
Contact either of our practices today to arrange microchipping your pet or simply ask next time you are in.
Normally a bitch will come into season around 6 months of age, although with breed variation this can be anything up to 12 months. Her season will last around 3 weeks and has two different parts. The first part is her ‘visible’ season where the vulva will swell and you will likely notice some blood spotting (although some will keep themselves very clean!). The second part occurs once the blood spotting stops and it is at this point she is likely to become pregnant if caught by an entire male. It is therefore important when you have a bitch in season to keep her on a lead when out for walks and try to avoid busier times if going to the park/beach so she is less likely to be ‘hassled’ by any males in the area!
Neutering involves a full ovario-hysterectomy under a general anaesthetic. Some of the benefits include:
- Prevention of future seasons
- Prevention of unwanted pregnancies
- Prevention of ovarian and uterine tumours
- Prevention of pyometra – a potentially fatal infection of the womb in older females
If carried out before the second season there is also a protective effect against mammary cancer. If carried out after her second season there is still some protection against mammary cancer but it is of a lesser level.
If you decide to neuter your bitch then we would recommend getting this done 2-3 months after she has finished her season. Please contact the surgery to arrange an appointment or to further discuss the procedure with one of our team.
Dogs will become sexually mature around 5-6 months of age. Around this time you may notice that your dog starts to urine mark more frequently when out for walks, become more interested in the female dog population (particularly if there is a bitch in heat nearby!) and some dogs may also start to display aggression towards other dogs.
Castration can be carried out anytime from 5-6 months of age. This involves the removal of both testes under a general anaesthetic and can be carried out at either of our clinics. It is a routine procedure with most dogs returning to normal after a couple of days, although exercise will need to be restricted for a couple of weeks post operatively to allow the wound to heal.
Some of the benefits of castration include:
- Elimination of testicular tumours
- Reduced occurrence of some prostatic diseases
- Less urine marking
- Reduced roaming behaviour
- Reduced aggression towards other dogs
If you would like to get your dog castrated or have any further questions about the procedure then please contact either of our surgeries and one of our team will be glad to assist you.
Vaccinations are routinely started at 8 weeks of age with the second vaccine given at 10 weeks of age. It is important to note that your puppy is not fully covered for going out and about until a week after the second vaccine! Our vaccination protocol covers against Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis and Parainfluenza. The kennel cough vaccine is available depending on your individual animal’s requirements, and rabies and leishmania vaccines are available for those travelling abroad. Herpes vaccine is available for those wishing to breed to protect against ‘Fading Puppy Syndrome’.
After the primary vaccination course is completed annual boosters are required to ensure continuing levels of protection. Your pet will receive a comprehensive health check at the time of their booster to ensure all is well and answer any queries you may have.
At Abbey Vets we also offer a 6 month health check for puppies. This ensures that any potential developmental issues are detected earlier. It is also a great opportunity to discuss neutering your pet with one of the team as well as moving onto the next stage of feeding and worming/flea treatment regimes.
All of our vets have a particular area of interest within the companion animal field so there is a wealth of experience to draw on when it comes to treating your pet and ensuring they receive the best possible care. We also work closely with specialist referral surgeries around the country which means we can get further expert opinions if required.
Roundworms and Tapeworms are the most common internal parasites that can affect our dogs.
Roundworms can be picked up from soil which has had dog (or cat) faeces on it. Once ingested the worms pass infectious eggs which are passed out in the faeces and can lay dormant for up to 2 years!
Tapeworms (as previously mentioned) are commonly passed on by fleas – they look like grains of rice and may be visible around your dogs bottom!
Roundworms and Tapeworms can also infect humans if swallowed and can cause a type of blindness in very young children therefore it is important to prevent them!
We advise routine worming treatments with one of our recommended products. Please call into either of our surgeries to discuss a worming regime for your dog(s).