This is a quick overview of the most important things to consider. When you get a new pet the first thing to do is to book it in at the clinic for an initial health check and we will discuss all these topics and more at the appointment.
Dogs should be routinely protected against distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and leptospirosis.
New puppies get a 3 injection primary course at 8,10 and 14 weeks.
Older dogs get a 2 injection primary course , with two injections 2-4 weeks apart.
All dogs then get an annual booster injection to maintain immunity.
Puppies are wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old. Then they are wormed monthly at 4,5 and 6 months of age. Then they can go to the adult regime of a worm dose every 3 months.
This programme is sufficient in most cases but it is not enough to protect against a particular worm called angiostrongylus or French heartworm. We don't cover it routinely as it hasn't yet occurred in the north-east of Scotland but it is increasing in other parts of the UK so it is something we are monitoring closely.
3. EXTERNAL PARASITE PROTECTION
The two major parasites we are concerned with are fleas and ticks. Some owners prefer to take a preventative approach and treat their dogs at routine intervals. Other owners don't treat unless they can see evidence that their pet is coming into contact with one of these parasites. The risk depends on dog lifestyle and a variety of different products are available so we prefer to discuss the approach to parasite control on an individual basis.
This is now a legal requirement in England but in Scotland it is still optional. We recommend microchipping as it is the only way to easily establish the identity of a dog that has become separated from its owner or been stolen.
All cats should be routinely protected against cat flu and feline enteritis. Cats that will be going outside and contacting other cats should also be protected against leukaemia virus.
All cats get an initial course of two injections, three weeks apart, with kittens getting their first vaccination from 9 weeks of age.
Subsequently all cats get an annual booster to maintain immunity.
Kittens are usually wormed at their first and second vaccinations at 9 and 12 weeks. After this the frequency of worming is very much dependent on lifestyle and in particular the frequency of hunting. We will work out a suitable worming interval for you based on your cat's lifestyle.
3. EXTERNAL PARASITE PROTECTION
The risk of external parasites again depends on lifestyle. Cats that are active outdoors are better to get regular monthly treatments but as with worming we will make a recommendation after we have got more information about your individual cat.
All cats that go outside should be microchipped so they can be easily identified if they get lost or are brought into a veterinary clinic after a road traffic accident. With kittens we often do them at the same time as they are neutered while they are under the anaesthetic.
We recommend that all cats are neutered. We normally neuter kittens at around 5 months of age.
The EU Pet Travel Scheme permits the movement of pet animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) to and from the UK to certain countries without the need for quarantine, providing they meet certain conditions, such as having the correct documentation, identification, vaccinations and treatments.
At the current time the requirements are:
Rabies vaccination can be administered from 12 weeks of age onwards. Once the vaccination has been given there is a 21 day wait period before you can leave the UK with your pet. Once the initial 21 day wait period is over you can travel as many times as you wish on this passport for the 3 year duration of the rabies vaccination.
Furthermore, it is essential that pet owners get good veterinary advice when planning to take their animals abroad because pets can be exposed to a number of diseases not currently endemic in the UK, for example leishmaniasis, babesiosis, echinococcus multilocularis and ehrlichiosis. Tick management is no longer a requirement for the EU Pet Travel Scheme however we would still strongly recommend that this is performed.
All pets moving between the UK and the Republic of Ireland should be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and accompanied by a pet passport. As both countries have had no indigenous rabies for many decades, systematic border compliance checks on pets travelling between the two are not applied. However, it is important that the rules are followed to ensure trouble-free travelling between the two countries.
If you are planning on travelling to a country which is not covered by the EU Pet Travel Scheme we can also advise you on the process of obtaining the necessary paperwork and assist in the completion of any vaccinations or testing which may be required.
To provide us with an opportunity to discuss pregnancy, the birthing process and the potential for caesarean section with owners of pregnant pets, we suggest that all owners of a pregnant pet give the practice reasonable notice of an approximate due date. This will enable us to supply owners with tailored advice leading up to the due date and if a caesarean section is required, we hope that this will allow owners to be better informed regarding the procedure, the risks involved and any potential cost implications.