Vaccination in animals induces immunity against a number of potentially life-threatening diseases, such as parvovirus and leptospirosis. When an animal is born, and for the first few weeks of its life, it has some protection against disease acquired from the mother through the milk when lactating. From 6- 8 weeks of age this immunity begins to wane, and the young animal needs to develop their own immune system. Vaccination involves giving a modified variant of a disease to stimulate immunity in a safe way.
Puppies are vaccinated from 6- 8 weeks of age, with a second vaccination given 4 weeks later. Thereafter, dogs need annual boosters. Dogs can also be vaccinated against kennel cough and should be repeated yearly.
Kittens start their vaccination programme at 9 weeks, followed by a second vaccination at 12 weeks of age. These important injections will protect them against flu and enteritis.
We also recommend that outdoor cats should be vaccinated against viral leukaemia, which is transmitted by other cats. Thereafter adult cats are vaccinated yearly.
Vaccination against rabies can be carried out in dogs and cats for the pet passport scheme.
Both roundworms and tapeworms are common in dogs and cats and may cause poor condition, increased appetite and weight loss. Lungworm is also an emerging problem in young dogs.
All puppies should be wormed at 2 weekly intervals from 3-11 weeks of age, then monthly until 6 months. Thereafter worming should occur every 3 months. If worms are seen 2 doses should be given 2 weeks apart.
Kittens should be wormed from 6 weeks of age. Adults should be treated every 3 months, or according to exposure risk. Fleas will pass tapeworms to both dogs and cats, and so must be controlled at the same time as worming to prevent re-infection.
It is recommended that good regular flea control is used for all animals, not just to treat the problem, but to prevent the infestation in the first place. Flea treatment may be administered in the form of tablets or spot-ons. Some flea treatments are also combined with worm or tick prevention. It is also possible to treat the environment, which is especially important in the face of a flea problem, as they can live in the environment for many many months.
Many dogs and cats will also be allergic to the fleas as they bite leading to intense itching and discomfort.
Please contact the surgery for advice on the best flea treatment for your pet.
In bitches, spaying may be carried out for a number of reasons. It prevents pregnancy and therefore potentially unwanted litters of puppies. It also significantly reduces the chance of mammary cancer if your dog is neutered at a young age. Spaying also prevents a serious condition called pyometra, which is when the womb becomes infected. Smaller breeds can be spayed before their first season at approximately 6 months of age. Larger breeds should ideally be spayed at approximately 1 year old. If your dog is in heat, you should wait approximately 2- 3 months after the heat has finished before booking in for surgery.
In male dogs, castration will mean your dog cannot father a litter of puppies. It can also reduce hormone motivated behaviour such as roaming, mounting other dogs, and some forms of aggression. Castration also significantly reduces the incidence of prostate disease and eliminates the risk of testicular cancer. Small breed dogs can be castrated from 6 months of age, while larger breeds should wait until 9-12 months of age.
If you have any queries regarding neutering your pet, please contact the clinic at 01 847 8044 and we would be delighted to give any advice you may need.
Cats become sexually active from 5-6 months of age, and young outdoor female cats will easily fall pregnant if they are not neutered. Non-neutered cats are more likely to stray or go missing, fight with other cats, and are consequentially at increased risk of some serious infectious diseases.
Both male and female cats can be neutered from 5 months old.
Rabbits breed very easily and if kept in mixed sex groups will reproduce rapidly! Females can be neutered from 5 months of age. Males can be neutered from 3 months of age as long as the testicles have descended. If you can separate the males from the females it would be preferable to wait until 4- 5 months of age to neuter the males also.