Oakbeck Veterinary, Acorn Veterinary Clinic, Ashdale Veterinary Clinic
The following sections detail some of the routine health care advice that we provide. However – remember that the best method of looking after your dog is to book an appointment to discuss any concerns that you may have. We will NEVER think that you are wasting our time – or troubling us. We know your dog's health is important to you & we also know that they can't "Cry Wolf" – so if you are worried – don't hesitate to call us on 01423-561414.
Congratulations on welcoming your new puppy into your family. Getting a puppy is an exciting time and there is a lot for you and your puppy to learn.
Your puppy will want to explore his/her new home, which can often involve picking up and chewing things! Puppies will find all sorts of things fun to chew, so make sure that you have some suitable puppy friendly toys ready.
Well made rubber toys such as Kong toys are safer as puppies will readily 'shred' soft toys or teddy bears.
When not playing, your puppy will need a safe, secure place to sleep. Making sure he/she has their own bed is part of training them where they can go in your home. Sleeping with you may be fun but can lead to problems when your little puppy turns into a bed hugging monster, who has you clinging to the edge of your own bed! Encourage your puppy to feel safe in his/her bed by using an Adpatil pheromone plug in which will gently diffuse natural pheromones, mimicking the 'scent' that female dogs produce to calm their puppies. This helps them to feel less 'lost' without the other puppies they grew up with and will help to ease you all over the first few days when he/she feels a little confused and lonely. Using an indoor kennel/cage as a bed helps keep your puppy safe when you pop out to the shops or need to do some housework. It can also help with house training as your puppy will learn to keep his/her own area clean.
As soon as you have your new puppy it is advisable to have a check up with the vet so that you can make sure there are no problems and also to talk about what care your puppy will need. At our free puppy checks your puppy will have a full examination including eyes, ears, teeth, heart, tummy, legs and feet, and will also be weighed. The vet will be able to discuss what to feed, worming and flea treatment, when to start vaccinations and when you can take your puppy outside for the first time. They will also be able to advise on simple steps to achieve house training and how to teach your puppy basic commands. You will be able to bring up any concerns that you have about your puppy's health and training.
Your puppy will be able to attend our 'puppy parties' which are a fun way for you and your puppy to meet other puppies and their owners in a safe place whilst giving you an opportunity to chat to the nurses about caring for and training your puppy. Puppies that have been to our puppy parties see the practice as a fun place to come, making future visits less traumatic.
This is the really bad guy that we all worry about. It can spread to people and has been associated with causing blindness and lots of other problems. It is because of the potential human health hazard that we take worming so seriously. We don't want to take risks with the health of your family.
We usually worm puppies when we first see them, especially if we are not certain what wormers (or when) anything has been given in the past. Often we will use a worming paste to start off with, then using tablets as puppies get older. The Panacur Paste also has the advantage of tackling a little parasite called Giardia which does seem to cause quite a few puppies diarrhoea – so we get two preventions for the price of one! We recommend worming puppies every 3 weeks, or monthly, until they are six months old.
Our routine for adult dogs is to worm every 3 months (unless needed more frequently). We use a tablet called Milbemax – which is not only VERY effective against Toxocara – but also against the tapeworms commonly spread by fleas.
We believe that protection is better than cure – especially when the diseases can be so very serious. Remember that we routinely include our Wellness Check with our vaccinations. We routinely protect against:
Puppies (or dogs that go out–of–date on their vaccines) will need to have a course of 2 injections given 2–4 weeks apart.
We also recommend routinely vaccinating all dogs for 'Kennel Cough'. This is the doggy equivalent of 'whooping cough'– a really nasty, persistent cough. Fortunately it is rarely fatal, but it can take a long time to treat. Despite the name most dogs are infected simply by going where other dogs have been, or meeting other dogs on walks or at training classes. Boosters are given every year.
Fortunately, at the moment, the UK is free of Rabies. However, if you intend to take your dog abroad, or return to the USA, you should ask us about the Rabies vaccine.
Virtually every dog will get fleas at some stage of its life. It is nothing to do with having a clean or a dirty house, it is just that they are a very efficient parasite. Established infections are much harder to deal with, as always, prevention is better than cure.
We have a number of very effective treatments. Comfortis is a tablet that can be given once a month, it is highly palatable and avoid all the problems of spot-ons being washed off. Over this next month Comfortis are offering a 20% discount to make it easier for you to try this innovative approach to flea control. Ask one of the receptionists for details.
A number of Spot-Ons are available. Perhaps the best known is Frontline. The version we sell at VetHospital is Frontline COMBO. The difference is that the Combo also includes an agent which stops flea eggs from hatching. In other words – it acts as a flea contraceptive; to protect the house. The Combo is a little more costly than standard Frontline – but the added protection is a VERY cost-effective way to protect the house. We are currently able to offer you special deal of getting one extra pipette free when you buy a three month pack, or two free pipettes with a six month pack. Ask at reception for details.
The commonest ticks are sheep ticks, however they are quite happy to attach to both dogs and people. The heads bury into the skin and become cemented into place. This is why simply pulling ticks off can cause even more problems, the retained mouth parts lead to abscess formation. Tick hooks can be used – but these still risk leaving the mouthparts behind except in experienced hands. Generally we advise owners to come down and see us – so that we can safely remove the entire tick. In addition ticks can spread Lyme's disease – which is a very nasty infection. However, a short course of a fairly cheap antibiotic at the time of tick bite can prevent a lot of expensive treatment and tests later on.
A special spot–on Advantix has been developed to try and stop ticks attaching at all. This fits with our policy of prevention – rather than waiting for diseases to run their course. As well as killing ticks – it actually repels them too. It is important to remember that Advantix is VERY toxic to cats – so we generally only recommend its use in Dog only households. In the past we have not been great fans of collars – however this new collar Seresto, does seem to be very effective and gives protection from fleas and ticks for 8 months. As it is a Prescription medicine we know that it has been thoroughly tested & will work ! Click here to see a short video.
Many dog breeds have hereditary diseases which can be avoided by carefully selecting which dogs to breed from. Whilst we think that temperament is one of the MOST IMPORTANT factors in choosing which dogs to breed from, we know that we can prevent a lot of suffering by only breeding from dogs without tendencies for hereditary disease. Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Eye Cataracts and Retinal Blindness are all ones that we can help prevent. In addition there are lots of blood tests that can now look at genes for different problems. If you are thinking about breeding your dog – then come and talk to us first.
As a practice we do recommend neutering for male dogs. There are various medical reasons for this – and really the only reason NOT to have him neutered is if you are intending to breed from him. We carry out a full castration (removal of both testicles), dogs recover very quickly from the procedure. It is important to note that the operation doesn't really change their character – he will be just as keen to exercise and be just as lively as before. The real effect on body weight is also very small & can be easily controlled by managing his diet. Usually we operate from 9 months of age – but we can do it sooner. We have neutered dogs of 14 and over – so older age is not a limitation.
The medical arguments in favour of neutering female dogs are perhaps even stronger. For example – there is less risk of mammary cancer in bitches that have been neutered and they will not get infections of the womb (Pyometra) which can be a very serious condition. We usually carry out a full ovario–hysterectomy (removing the whole works) using an incision in the middle of the tummy. Generally our preference is to carry out the operation after bitches have had their first season, however we can carry it out sooner. Older age does not worry us too much – your bitch will still gain the benefit of avoiding Pyometra even if there is a reduced benefit in terms of cancer reduction. Interestingly neutered bitches do not seem to suffer osteoporosis (or thinning of the bones) as can happen in women where the ovaries are removed, so this should not be a concern.
Dental health is a vital part of any pet's well–being. Dental disease is linked to problems with the kidneys, heart, liver and other organs. Certainly one thing we regularly notice is that owners say that their pet is "like a puppy again" after effective dental treatment – so the dental disease has been ageing their dog without them realising it.
Regular dental check–ups (we include these with every vaccination) are important to try and spot problems early. But the most important tool is the toothbrush – and using it daily!
VetHospital is lucky to have the services of one of the few specialists in veterinary dentistry. A lot more detail on dental disease and its treatment is available on our sister web-site www.VetDentist.co.uk.
Dogs can get ear infections leading to redness, sore or painful ears, scratching and head shaking. At this point they may be scared or resent attempts to look at or clean their ears. For this reason it is a good idea to get you dog used to gentle ear examination so that you can keep an eye out for signs that there may be a problem.
A normal dog's ear should not smell and the skin of the opening and inside the ear flap should not be red or crusty. Some dogs will benefit from regular gentle ear cleaning. As with humans, the old adage of "never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear!" works very well. Certainly you should never stick anything such as cotton buds into your dog's ear canal as this can cause damage. You should use an ear cleaner formulated for dogs to avoid causing irritation or damaging the ear canal. Our nurses can show you how to check and clean your dog's ears.
Whenever your dog comes in for a routine appointment such as vaccinations, our vets will carry out a full health check. This includes examining his ears, eyes and teeth, listening to his heart, feeling his tummy and checking his skin. Senior dogs benefit from a regular check up every 6 months, and we may recommend a more frequent check if your dog has an ongoing medical condition such as arthritis or heart disease, or needs a repeat prescription for medicine. Following examination, our vets may recommend additional investigations such as looking at a urine sample or taking a blood test to make sure that all is well inside. During a health check you will be able to bring up any questions you have about your dog's daily routine such as diet, worm and flea treatment and dental care. At the time of vaccinations we will also provide you with a print out of a summary of our findings and advice.