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 healthcheck 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 will be a legal requirement in the UK as of 6th April 2016. Microchipping is the only way to easily establish the identity of a dog that has become separated from it's owner or been stolen. It is the keeper's responsibility to ensure their dog is microchipped and registered to one of the authorised commercial databases along with making sure contact details are up-to-date.
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.