Visits to the clinic

We want your dog to pull you through the door because they love coming to see us, rather than hating visiting the clinic.   As part of this process they need to get used to visiting us as early as possible.  Please make use of the nurse clinics which are available, because as well as ensuring your companion is properly cared for, this also helps to increase their confidence with us by coming in and receiving treats and cuddles with nothing scary happening.   If you have a particularly anxious dog, please talk to the nurses about arranging some ‘Treat and cuddles’ appointments which if done regularly will reduce their anxiety in the vets.

Vaccination

There are a number of viruses which can cause serious and sometimes fatal diseases in your dog.  These include the Parvovirus, Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Coronavirus.  There is also a bacterium called Leptospirosis which is spread by rats, mice and through contact with affected water.  We can protect against these diseases by vaccinating.  Starting at 8 weeks of age and giving a second vaccination 2 to 4 weeks later.

We aim to complete the vaccination course at 10 weeks of age so that your puppy can go out as soon as possible to start socialising with other dogs.  The advice from the vaccination manufacturers is that your dog is not fully vaccinated for two weeks after the second vaccination.  Talk to us about measures you can take to help with your puppies’ socialisation before they are fully vaccinated.

An annual booster is recommended, but not all of the diseases are included every year.  This keeps vaccination to a minimum to maintain protection.  If you are concerned about vaccination, blood tests can assess levels of immunity and help to decide on when to vaccinate.

Your dog’s vaccination visit includes a health examination which gives our vets an opportunity to examine your dog for any health issues.  Don’t worry if your dog hasn’t been vaccinated yet, older dogs can start vaccinations too.

‘Kennel cough’ or Infectious Bronchitis Vaccination is also available.  Your dog will need this if they are going into training classes or kennels, and some people choose to protect them routinely to reduce the risk of kennel cough whilst socialising with other dogs.  This disease is not a fatal disease so we discuss the requirement for this before giving the vaccination.

Worming

Puppies acquire roundworms from their mum whilst still in their womb and also through their milk. Round worms can cause serious health problems in young puppies, but can also affect adult dogs. Roundworms can also rarely infect humans, especially children.

Lungworm is spread through slugs and snails and can cause serious disease, including breathing problems and blood clotting problems.

Tapeworms can be transmitted to your dog if they swallow a flea containing tiny developing tapeworms inside it.  Tapeworms can cause anal discomfort and in heavy infestations, loss of weight.

Treating your dog effectively for worms is important to protect them and the people around them.  We recommend starting worming at 4 weeks of age.  Your dog will be recommended worming treatments at their vaccination appointments and at appointments with our nurses. We will recommend safe and effective treatment for your pet. Our nurses would be happy to see your dog at their Parasite Control Clinics, but your dog needs to have already had a health examination with one of our vets on at least once occasion.

Flea control

Fleas can sometimes come with your new companion, may already be in your house or can be picked up when they start to go outside.  The flea treatments we recommend are prescription products which are clinically proven to prevent fleas, safe for your pet and relatively new products to which no flea resistance has developed.  These prescription products can only legally be prescribed if your pet has been seen within the last year.  If your pet requires flea treatment and has not been seen within the last year, we invite you to book in for a free of charge flea prescribing appointment with one of our vets.  Please note that this appointment will be chargeable if you have any health concerns you wish to discuss with our vet at the same time.

Tick control

We recommend tick protection for those dogs that are walked in rural areas where sheep and deer are present, such as Lyme Park.  Ticks are also found on hedgehogs in urban environments.  A tick bite can cause a nasty local irritation with the possibility of infection at the site.  More seriously there is also a risk of ticks transmitting blood-borne infection such a Lyme disease.

There are a number of tick species found in the U.K.  We will recommend products that are effective against these ticks and will kill ticks rapidly to reduce the chance of disease transmission.  If your dog travels abroad it is essential to find out the tick risk in the area you are travelling to and protect your pet accordingly.

For further reading go to: www.esccapuk.org.uk

Diet

Please make sure your dog is fed an appropriate diet for their age and breed.  For example,  younger dogs need a diet higher in protein and larger breed dogs need a diet appropriate for rapid growth of the skeleton.  All of our staff are highly trained and experienced nutritional advisors.  Please talk to them for individual advice for your pet.

Socialisation

Young puppies need a variety of positive experiences from a young age.   The crucial socialisation period is from around 3-12 weeks.  This is when they need to be gently exposed to new people of different age and gender, new noises and every day experiences outside the home and other animals.  This prepares them for later life and provides them with the confidence required to deal with new situations.  The best approach is to make sure you get a puppy from a home where they have already been exposed to these new sights and sounds in a positive way, and continue with their socialisation when they come into your home around 8 weeks of age.  If you are taking on a rescue dog or a puppy older than 12 weeks, please consider the possibility that they may have missed this crucial socialisation period and may be more likely to develop behaviour problems.

While socialising your puppy invite friends and family round to your house to visit and ask them to quietly interact with your puppy without overwhelming them with noise or attention.  Treats and games can be used to provide a positive interaction.  Carry your puppy outside to expose them to the noise of cars, motorbikes, loud sounds and people.  Do not put them on the floor until the vaccinations have taken effect.  If you have friends or family with vaccinated dogs you could consider introducing them to your puppy in your house or their house.  Ensure that these dogs are friendly and your puppy will have a good experience, and also that the other dog isn’t unwell in any way at the time of the introduction. It is also possible to play your puppy ‘Scary sounds’ at a low volume and get them used to these noises, before gradually increasing the volume over time.  This is particularly useful to avoid noise phobias such as firework fear.

For further reading:

https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/socialising-your-puppy

https://www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk/behaviour/puppy-development-behaviour/

For scary sounds:

https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-behaviour-health/sound-therapy-for-pets

Neutering

Neutering is a general word for an operation to remove the reproductive capability of both male and female animals.  At Albany Veterinary Clinic we do not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to neutering.  We take many factors into account while helping you decide whether neutering is the right decision for your pet.  The factors we consider are health risks and the risk of unwanted pregnancies or behaviours.  Neutering is usually done from 6 months of age.  In most large breed dogs we try to encourage later neutering as there is some evidence that this has a protective effect on their developing skeleton.   We take the responsibility of caring for your pet under anaesthesia very seriously.  Our fully qualified and registered veterinary nurses carry out careful one-to-one anaesthetic monitoring using both their decades of knowledge and experience, and state-of-the-art monitoring equipment.  Our neutering prices include pain relief to go home with and two post-operative appointments with our nurses.  Talk to our vets and nurses today to discuss neutering further.

Dental care

While your puppy is young this is the perfect time to introduce teeth brushing.  Our nurses are experts in advising you on dental care and will be happy to book you an appointment with them to show you how to care for your pets’ teeth.

Insurance

Please consider a pet health insurance policy.  We see lots of situations where our clients are glad of insurance for their pets.  We have treated puppies with head injuries from falling off a sofa, those that need surgery to remove toys from their intestines and many that are unlucky enough to become ill without any accident taking place.  As your dog ages, problems such as dental disease, heart disease, kidney disease and tumours are all common.

Once your puppy has had a health examination with one of our vets a complementary four week cover note with Pet Plan can be issued by one of our trained staff.

Please be aware that not all pet insurance and policies are the same.  Please talk to us at Albany before taking out insurance or making changes to your insurance policies to make sure this is the right action for you and your pet.

Pet Travel

Jim Rosser and Irene Welford-Christie are both qualified Official Veterinarians.  This means they are qualified to carry out official work on behalf of the Animal & Plant Health Agency. This work relates to Pet Travel.  If your pet requires an export certificate or Pet’s passport, or if you require advice on pet travel, please contact us today.

Behaviour and Firework advice

Dog behaviour problems are sadly often not raised with the vet.  This leads to owners and pets continuing to suffer in silence.  Please talk to us about any behavioural issues as soon as they occur.  We can advise you on calming products, give you immediate advice as to how to deal with a problem, and if necessary recommend a fully qualified behaviourist.  Did you know that anyone can call themselves a behaviourist?  We are able to assess the problem and recommend an Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) behaviourist.  Please talk to us today.

Talk to the Albany Vets team