Alexandra Vets, Clevedon
Puppies can be vaccinated from 6-8 weeks of age. They require 2 injections at least 2 weeks apart and are fully protected 1 week after the second injection which must be at or after 10 weeks of age. We will send you a reminder for their annual “boosters”. In the North Somerset area especially it is important to be protected against the new emerging Leptospirosis species.
We use a specific regime to fully protect your dog whilst not unnecessarily over-vaccinating. If you have any questions regarding this please ask one of our vets.
It is also a good idea to consider vaccination against kennel cough even if you’re not likely to put your dog into kennels, as it can be transmitted in any group of dogs, even out walking. Don’t be surprised… it is administered up the nose (without a needle) and lasts one year.
If you wish to travel abroad, Rabies vaccination is required for the Pet Passport. Please see separate handout.
We normally recommend worming with a tablet which treats both roundworms and tapeworms, every month until 6 months of age and then every 3 months. This can also be used during pregnancy and lactation. We may recommend an alternative regime to suit you or your pet.
Please inform us if your pet has been abroad and not received preventative treatment for heartworm.
We normally recommend “NEXGARD” every month. It is safe from 8 weeks of age. This kills the ticks and fleas (which transmit tapeworm) on your pet. It has a residual action unlike many other pet shop products.
It has a much faster knock down rate than conventional spot on products such that adult fleas don’t have a chance to lay eggs in the environment.
Flea sprays are an alternative and can also kill ticks on your pet. The spray we recommend has the advantage of being safe from 2 days of age in puppies. It lasts 3 months. Again, we may advise an alternative regime to suit you or your pet.
It is essential your parasite control covers at least roundworms, tapeworms, fleas and ticks, and all pets in your home have an appropriate treatment.
A good quality balanced diet is essential for the health of your pet. We generally recommend “ProPlan” as it is highly palatable and only contains natural preservatives. We may recommend certain “prescription diets” too which your pet may need at certain points throughout its life to help manage certain ailments. Any diet change must be done gradually.
If you are not planning to breed from your dog it is a good idea to arrange for a castration or spay. This can be done from 6 months of age. It is not essential for bitches to have their first season.
Castration – This helps to prevent straying and aggression, as well as testicular tumours and prostatic disease in older dogs. It is essential if your pet has a retained testicle or any genetic abnormality which may be passed on.
Spaying — The advantages include stopping seasons (blood spotting and male interest), preventing unwanted pregnancy and false pregnancy, preventing pyometra (a life threatening infection of the uterus), and if done early enough, significantly reducing the chances of developing mammary tumours (cancer of the milk glands). If you have any concerns regarding whether you should spay your bitch, please discuss this with one of the vets.
Care — your pet can put on weight afterwards — regular checks are recommended.
MICRO-CHIPPING AND PET TAGS
Micro-chipping involves implanting a small chip under the skin between the shoulder blades. It provides a unique identity number which is stored on a central database along with all your details, enabling your pet to be returned to you if it goes missing and is collected as a stray. Remember to inform the database if you move! It is also essential for the Pet Passport.
The chip is implanted through a needle and can be performed during a normal consultation. Please phone in advance. The needle is quite large so we would recommend not doing it at first vaccination but at any time after. There is now a new, slightly more expensive microchip “Bio-therm”, which also reads body temperature, saving your pet the unpleasant experience of a thermometer!
Pet Tags are available from reception in various designs. These attach to your pet’s collar to allow immediate positive identification. “The Control Of Dogs Act 1992” requires pet dogs to be tagged with the owner’s information.
We would advise that this is now an essential component of owning a dog. Unfortunately there is no “animal NHS” and with increasing diagnostic testing available we strongly recommend insurance so that your pet can benefit from the best tests and treatment, without the worry of financial constraint. In some cases, insurance can make the difference between euthanasia and treatment. A separate handout is available or you can discuss this further with our nurses.
PREVENTATIVE DENTAL CARE
This is as important for your pet as it is for yourself. The mouth can act as a source of infection for the rest of the body. If your pet has poor oral hygiene, it may have bad breath, gum disease, loose teeth and may be in chronic pain especially when eating. This can lead to weight loss and even contribute to bacterial forms of heart valve disease. In order to correct the problem a general anaesthetic and a dental procedure would have to be performed which can be expensive and is not always covered by insurance.
“Prevention is priceless, curing is costly!” We advise “Hills t/d” for adults, which is a prescription diet that cleans the teeth whilst your pet is eating.
If you prefer, try brushing 2-3 times a week at least. We can provide a special kit for this. Do not use human toothpaste — the fluoride content is toxic if swallowed. It is a good idea to train your puppy so that it is used to your finger in its mouth and progress to a soft child’s brush so that when the adult teeth have erupted, it accepts the procedure. “You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks” is certainly the case when you have a painful mouth.
If brushing is not an option, the alternative is “Logic gel” or “Maxiguard” which is similar to toothpaste but doesn’t have to be brushed. Dental chews, hide and cartilage chews or Kong toys are also useful. We do not advocate cooked bones.
Although your puppy is technically not allowed in contact with other dogs until 2 weeks after the second vaccine, this is unfortunately outside the optimal window for socialisation, which is extremely important for your puppy’s mental and behavioural health. We would therefore suggest socialising with known healthy, fully vaccinated dogs which you can trust.
Meeting lots of people of different ages (especially children) also leads to a well socialised pet. Once fully vaccinated it is a good idea to look into puppy classes for training purposes and your own socialisation too!
Please call us as usual. An answer-phone will give you the number of our dedicated emergency service — Vets Now Ltd. (See Emergencies). This is manned by vets and nurses who only work nights so they are fresh, awake and awaiting your call, enabling your pet to get the best out of hours hospital care. They are specialists in emergency and critical care and have access to all the facilities required to provide a high class emergency service.
We hope you find this information useful. We would appreciate any comments and remember we’re only a phone call away!
Hillyfields Vets, Winscombe
Monday-Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday : 9am to 11am
(Hillyfields Vets, Winscombe)
Consultations: 9am – 10.30am
Saturday:11am to 1:30pm
(Alexandra Vets, Clevedon)
Consultations: 12pm – 1.30pm