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Pet Advice

Hints and tips to caring for your pet

From mobility to neutering, follow our links below or read our pet advice guides below. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

How often should I worm my cat?

There is no one size fits all answer to this question. There are obvious differences between an indoor cat and an outdoor cat but also outdoor cats who are true hunters and outdoor cats whose greatest ambition is to be a cushion on the sofa!

Indoor cats where fleas are not present need only low frequency treatment (i.e. once a year) as the exposure is low. If flea control is not good or there is exposure to raw meat and or vermin inside then a minimum of three monthly would be better to monthly if vermin are present.

Outdoor cats are exposed to tapeworm (via fleas and vermin) and to roundworms (via vermin) they might ingest. Current best practice is monthly treatment for round worms and three monthly for tapeworm if flea control is in use.

Note: Families with toddlers and young children should worm agressively as the children are the most at risk group.

How often should I worm my dog?

There is again no one size fits all answer to this question.

There are a number of risk factors. If the dog is young, entire, hunts or is fed a raw meat diet the risk is seen as high for round worms. To be safe a dog should then be wormed monthly. If the dog is purely indoor, fed dog food and does not hunt then the risk is minimal for round worms.

Tapeworms have a number of risk factors. The more serious tapeworms are found in the Hebrides and Powys and the surrounding area. Animals living or visiting those areas regularly MUST be wormed 4-6 weekly for tapeworm. The other high risk factors are hunting, having fleas or lice and being fed raw meat and in these cases again monthly treatment is necessary.

Most dogs with effective flea control, fed normal foods and not hunting are best wormed quarterly.

How often should I worm my kitten?

The best advice is to worm from three weeks to twelve weeks at intervals decided by the drug type. We usually advise to continue then at monthly intervals until 6 months, especially if there are any doubts as to whether the breeder wormed the kittens correctly.

How often should I worm my puppy?

The best advice is to worm from two weeks to twelve weeks at intervals decided by the drug type. We usually advise to continue then at monthly intervals until 6 months, especially if there are any doubts as to whether the breeder wormed the pups correctly.

Should I spay my Bitch?

The major benefits to spaying are:

  1. It removes the risk of pyometra that is a uterine infection common in entire older bitches and if untreated is fatal. The risk of spaying a healthy bitch is tiny compared to spaying a bitch with pyometra. Untreated pyometra is invariably fatal.
  2. No false pregnancy. This is a common condition and can occur after each season. It is distressing for the bitch and the owner. The bitch can change temperament and also produce milk.
  3. There are massive reductions in the risk of mammary tumours. The risk of mammary tumours increases with each successive season. If spayed prior to the second season there is a lower risk of mammary tumours than in entire bitches.
  4. The dog does not come into heat. This prevents the management problem of having to keep her away from other dogs for a period of time every six months.
  5. No unwanted pups.

The disadvantages are:

  1. There is some evidence of an increased likelihood of incontinence in later life but there are no accurate figures as to what age to spay to minimise this risk.
  2. Spayed bitches tend to put on weight but this can be controlled with a sensible diet.

The current advice is that the benefits of spaying outweigh the risks.

Should I castrate my dog?

The major benefits of castration are:

  1. May reduce or abolish behaviour problems such as aggression, urine marking, hyper sexuality (humping everything) and straying (sometimes referred to as vagrancy).NB Dogs castrated later will have established learnt behaviour patterns and castration might be less effective.
  2. Removes any potential for testicular cancer and significantly reduces the risk of prostate cancer. NB Dogs with retained testicles (one or both) have an increased risk of testicular tumours. These should always be castrated.
  3. Prevents unwanted pregnancy.

The major disadvantages are:

  1. Weight gain. Neutered dogs have a slightly slower metabolism and if fed the same will gain weight. If fed sensibly a castrated dog should not gain weight.
  2. Surgical risk. This is low as the procedure is relatively safe but there is always a very slight risk with any anaesthetic.

When should I castrate my dog?

Opinions vary a little on this. In an ideal world the dog would be allowed to fully develop normally and castration would take place at 12-18 months. Unfortunately undesirable behaviour i.e. aggression, mounting, is more likely to become engrained the longer if it is left untreated and also might be totally unacceptable if the dog is biting people. There might be a management reason such as an entire female dog in the house. Sometimes then it is necessary to castrate earlier. It is seldom necessary to castrate before 6 months of age.

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Clifton Vets

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