A number of dangerous diseases can affect dogs and cats in the UK. Vaccination is the only safe way to provide immunity against all these diseases. If carried out regularly according to your vet’s advice, it can protect your pet for life. We recommend that puppies start their primary vaccination course from the age of eight weeks. Your puppy will be given a thorough examination by the vet at this time. The first vaccination will be followed by a second injection two to four weeks later. Your puppy will not be fully protected until 14 days after the second injection and should not be exposed to the possibility of infection until then. The diseases we routinely vaccinate dogs against are:
- Canine Parvovirus
- Canine Distemper
- Infectious Hepatitis
- Parainfluenza virus
Annual boosters are needed to maintain protection against these diseases. We can provide additional protection against Kennel Cough (infectious tracheo-bronchitis) through a separate intra-nasal vaccine and also offer rabies vaccinations for those dogs traveling abroad.
Immunity to disease does not last indefinitely and annual booster vaccinations are essential to maintain protection. We follow the vaccine manufacturers’ recommendations with regard to which diseases we vaccinate against at each of your pet’s annual health check. This yearly check up can be very helpful for monitoring the general health and weight of your pet. Early signs of disease can be picked up and investigated and treated appropriately.
Benefits of neutering
We advise you neuter your dog for many reasons, both medical and behavioural. Neutering prevents females coming into season, when they may attract unwanted male attention, become pregnant or have false pregnancies. It also prevents uterine infections and cancer. Unspayed female animals can be messy when they come into season and can bleed for up to three weeks. Vet fees for problems during or after pregnancy and birth can be expensive. The cost of a Caesarian can amount to anything between £600-£1000, offspring might need veterinary attention too. Neutering can prevent testicular cancer and help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Dogs are more prone to straying and unwanted dominant behaviour if left entire and are obviously able to father unwanted litters of puppies. Animals don’t respect family relationships, siblings will mate. This increases the risk of offspring with birth defects and deformities.
We recommend you have your dog neutered any time from 6 months of age. If your bitch has had a season we prefer to wait 2 months before spaying to reduce the risk of internal bleeding. For female dogs the procedure involves a general anaesthetic and a full ovariohysterectomy, which is an abdominal surgery. Your pet will require a day in hospital and the recovery time is around 10 days. Your male dog will also require a general anaesthetic, his testicles will be removed and he will have a small wound in the groin area. He will also require a day in hospital, and recovery time is up to 10 days. If you require any advice please call us for further information.
We advise that you use treatments regularly to help prevent any flea infestations. There are many products available so ask your vet or nurse about which product is best for your pet.
How do I know if my pet’s got fleas?
Fleas can cause itching, chewing and licking. The skin may become red and inflamed. Fleas are also part of a tapeworm’s life cycle. You might see fleas on your pet, although this is quite uncommon. Or you might see small dark flecks – flea “dirt” – in the fur and on the skin. If you see any of these signs, take your pet to see a vet.
I think my pet’s got fleas – what should I do?
- Take your pet to see your vet.
- If your pet has fleas it’s important to treat your home, your pet and all your other pets. Ask us to recommend safe and effective products to use.
- Treat your home with an effective household spray after vacuuming. This helps kill flea larvae and eggs which can carry on living in places like carpets and rugs.
- Pay particular attention to areas where your pet spends time, as well as warm areas such as near to radiators.
We always advise that you consult the government website before you travel as the scheme is always being updated.
When travelling with your pet dog, cat or ferret abroad, what you need to do will depend on what country you’re going to.
There are different rules for travelling with your pet to an EU country or Northern Ireland and for taking your pet to a non-EU country.
Please read the information below for a general overview of what is required.
You can no longer use a pet passport issued in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) for travel to an EU country or Northern Ireland. You can still use a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland.
When travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland, your pet needs:
- a microchip
- a valid rabies vaccination
- an animal health certificate unless you have a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland
- tapeworm treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta
These requirements also apply to assistance dogs.
Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.
Arriving in an EU country or Northern Ireland
You’ll need to go through a travellers’ point of entry when you arrive in an EU country or Northern Ireland.
You may need to show your pet’s animal health certificate along with proof of their:
- rabies vaccination
- tapeworm treatment (if required)
Repeat trips to an EU country or Northern Ireland
Your pet will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland.
Your pet will not need a repeat rabies vaccination so long as it’s rabies vaccinations are up to date.
Your dog will need tapeworm treatment for each trip if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway.
Ticks are common in woodland, grassland and heath areas, but can also be found in your garden if you live in an area with lots of wildlife. You are most likely to come across them in areas with lots of deer or sheep. You are most likely to come across ticks between spring and autumn, but they are active throughout the year. Ticks are spider-like, egg-shaped, blood-sucking creepy crawlies. Ticks don’t fly or jump, but climb or drop on to your dog’s coat when you brush past the area they are sitting in.
How do I know if my dog has a tick?
Ticks are big enough to spot. Run your hands over your dog’s body when you get back from a walk to check for any lumps or bumps. A tick will feel like a small bump on your pet’s skin. They tend to attach themselves to areas around a dog’s head, neck, ear and feet. Ticks vary in size between 1mm and 1cm long, depending on their age. They look like tiny spiders with a whiteish, egg-shaped body. This body becomes larger and darker as it fills with blood.
Why should I protect my dog against ticks?
Ticks are very good at passing on infections from one animal to another. They feed by biting an animal and feasting on blood. This may take several days. Once they have had enough, they drop off. Ticks transmit microbes that cause diseases, such as Lyme disease and babesiosis. Check your dog’s body for ticks when you come back from a walk. Brushing their fur will also help. If you live in an area with ticks, it’s a good idea to use a tick treatment that will either repel ticks or kill them if they attach. Spot on treatments, tablets and collars are available and it’s best to consult a vet or nurse about which is most suitable for your pet. Read the instructions very carefully as some treatments are for dogs only and can be very dangerous to cats and can even kill them.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a serious bacterial infection. If your dog has Lyme disease, you may notice they become depressed and lose their appetite. Other symptoms include fever, lameness, swollen and painful joints, and swollen lymph nodes. If you think your pet has Lyme disease, contact your vet. They can perform tests and start treatment with antibiotics.
What is babesiosis?
Babesiosis is extremely rare in the UK and the tick that spreads it is so far only found in southern England and on the continent. The first cases of dogs being treated for the disease, caused by the bacterium Babesia, were reported in March 2016. Babesiosis can be spread by tick bites. The incubation period is about two weeks, but some pets are not diagnosed with the disease for months or years after transmission. If your dog is suffering from babesiosis you may notice they are depressed, have pale gums, a swollen abdomen and a fever. They may also lose their appetite and their skin may become yellowish. If you notice any of these symptoms after walking your dog in a tick-infested area, contact your vet and make sure to tell them your dog may have been bitten by a tick. Sadly a dog has died after contracting the disease in Harlow, Essex.
How can I remove a tick from my body?
Ticks should be removed from your body as quickly as possible. Be very careful not to squeeze the tick’s body, or allow its head to get stuck inside your body. Squeezing a tick’s body increases the risk of infection. Twisting them off your dog is the best removal method, and pet shops sell handy tick-removal devices to make this easier. Do not try to burn the tick off and don’t cover it with lotions, oils or moisturisers in an attempt to smother it. After you’ve removed the tick, give the bite area a good wash. If you develop a rash around the tick bite – these often look like red rings around the bite area – or feel unwell, contact your doctor and make sure to tell them you have been bitten by a tick. The earlier you seek treatment from your doctor, the better.
Roundworms are the most common of the parasitic worms found inside a pet. Almost all dogs become infected with them at some time in their lives, usually as puppies. Roundworms may be contracted in different ways, making them easy to spread and hard to control. Your dog may be infected with roundworms from the time it is born because often the mother passes the worms to the puppy while it is still in her body. Roundworms can also develop in a puppy after it is born when the puppy eats larvated eggs from the environment or drinks worm larvae (young worms) in the mother’s milk. Another way roundworms are passed is when roundworm larvae are present in the tissues of a mouse or another small mammal and the puppy eats the animal.
How will roundworms affect my dog?
Adult roundworms live in the affected dog’s intestines. Many dogs do not have signs of infection; however, dogs with major roundworm infections, especially puppies, show diarrhoea, vomiting, weight loss, dull hair, and a potbellied appearance. The dog may cough if the roundworms move into the lungs. You may notice the adult roundworms in your dog’s faeces or vomit. They will appear white or light brown in colour and may be several inches long.
How do I prevent my dog from getting roundworms?
Because roundworms can enter your dog’s body in many different ways, it is essential to keep your dog’s living area clean, remove faeces regularly, and, if possible, prevent your dog from eating wild animals that may carry roundworms. To get rid of roundworms that are passed from the mother dog, puppies should be treated at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age and then receive a preventive treatment monthly. Nursing mothers should be kept on monthly preventive and treated along with their puppies to decrease the risk of transmission. Ask us to recommend a suitable product for your pet. Many heartworm preventives also control roundworms. Ask your veterinarian about prevention and treatment choices that are appropriate for your pet.
Can humans be harmed by roundworms?
Roundworms do pose a significant risk to humans. Contact with contaminated soil or dog faeces can result in human ingestion and infection. Roundworm eggs may accumulate in significant numbers in the soil where pets deposit faeces. Once infected, the worms can cause eye, lung, heart and neurological signs in people. Children should not be allowed to play where animals have passed faeces. Individuals who have direct contact with soil that may have been contaminated by cat or dog faeces should wear gloves or wash their hands immediately.
Tapeworms are long, flat worms that attach themselves to your dog’s or cats intestines. A tapeworm body consists of multiple parts, or segments, each with its own reproductive organs. Tapeworm infections are usually diagnosed by finding segments—which appear as small white worms that may look like grains of rice or seeds—on the rear end of your dog, in your dog’s faeces, or where your dog lives and sleeps. There are several different kinds, or species, of tapeworms that can infect your dog, each with stage(s) in a different intermediate (in-between) host, which the dog eats to become infected. Dipylidium caninum is a tapeworm that uses fleas as its intermediate host, whereas Taenia and Echinococcus species use small rodents (mice, rats, squirrels), rabbits, or large animals (such as deer or sheep) as their intermediate hosts.
How will tapeworms affect my dog?
Dogs with tapeworm infections usually are not sick and do not lose weight from the worms. Contrary to popular belief, dogs that “scoot” on their rear ends are generally doing it for reasons other than having tapeworms, such as blocked or irritated anal sacs (pouches located in your dog’s rear end) or other skin inflammation of the rear.
How do I prevent my dog from getting tapeworms?
Try to keep your dog from coming in contact with intermediate hosts that contain tapeworm larvae. Because fleas are an intermediate host for the most common kind of tapeworm, consistent, safe, and effective flea control is an essential prevention measure. If you think your dog is infected with tapeworms, call us for an appointment to get an accurate diagnosis and safe, effective treatment options.
Can humans be harmed by tapeworms?
Certain tapeworms found in dogs or cats may cause serious disease in humans. There are rare reports of Dipylidium (a common tapeworm in pets) infections in children, but these infections are not associated with significant disease. Did you know? Most tapeworms do not produce obvious symptoms in dogs, other than worm segments on your dog’s rear end or faeces. Dogs can get tapeworms from fleas, mice, or other rodents. Flea control is an important step in protecting your dog from tapeworms. People rarely are affected by dog tapeworms. Lungworm The lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum) is a parasite that can cause serious health problems in dogs and can even be fatal if not diagnosed and treated. Slugs and snails carry the lungworm larvae, and dogs can become infected when they accidentally (or purposefully) eat these common garden pests whilst rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys. Some dogs don’t initially show visible signs of a lungworm infection, but there are a few things to look out for. If you are concerned, your veterinary surgeon can perform tests which may help detect if your dog is infected with the lungworm parasite.
- Breathing problems
- Tiring easily
- Poor blood clotting
- Excessive bleeding from even minor wounds/cuts
- Nose bleeds
- Bleeding into the eye
- Anaemia (paleness around the eyes and gums)
- General sickness
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Changes in behaviour
- Seizures (fits)