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COVID-19 update: Client advice on what to do during the Coronavirus pandemic

FAQs

Your questions, answered!

Do I need to make an appointment?

Yes. In order to help our clients plan their day and to keep waiting times to a minimum, we do ask owners to pre book appointments. Emergencies will always be seen as a priority. If you do have an emergency, please ask someone to phone ahead if possible to alert us to your arrival.

Can I speak to a veterinary surgeon?

A qualified veterinary nurse or receptionist will answer your call and will be able, for the most part, to deal with your enquiry. If you do need to speak to a veterinary surgeon then a suitable time will be arranged for us to return your call.

What can I discuss with the veterinary nurse?

Our qualified veterinary nurses have appointments morning and afternoon for your convenience. The appointment with a nurse can be used for you the client to discuss any general care questions you may have.

Below are some of the areas that our qualified nurses can help with:

  • Over-weight pets
  • Flea treatment
  • Nutrition
  • Care advice for a new puppy or kitten
  • Nail clipping

I have just bought a new puppy/kitten, what should I do now?

It is such an exciting time when an owner brings home a new puppy or kitten, often it is at this time that the questions appear. It is a good idea to make an appointment to bring them down for an immediate health check with a veterinary surgeon. This gives you the piece of mind that everything is fine or, to be alerted quickly if that is not the case. Once your new arrival has had the all clear on the health front, you can now go into see the veterinary nurse to discuss in detail their on-going care.

Why should I neuter my dog or cat and at what age?

Dogs and cats can be neutered from 6 months of age.

Castration

This operation involves the surgical removal of the animal's testicles, and is carried out under general anaesthetic.

The removal of the testicles stops the production of the sex hormone testosterone and the production of sperm.

The health benefits of castration include:

  • Minimises the risk of prostatic disease.
  • Reduces the risk of perineal hernia and anal adenoma
  • Avoidance of sexually transmitted diseases e.g. FeLV in cats.
  • No risk of testicular cancer
  • Can reduce aggressive tendencies often found in male dogs.

Spaying

All parts of the female reproductive tract are removed under general anaesthetic.

The procedure prevents reproduction as well as stopping the production of sex hormones and the animal's hormone cycle.

The health benefits include:

  • Prevention of unwanted pregnancy
  • Prevention of pyometra (infection of the womb)
  • Reduction in cancers of the mammary tissue
  • Prevention of ovarian and uterine cancers

It is advisable that your bitch or queen be spayed when they are mid-way between seasons.

Does my puppy or kitten need vaccinations and when should he have them?

Every puppy and kitten needs to be vaccinated.

1. Puppies can start their vaccination course from 6 weeks of age. The course consists of two injections two-four weeks apart, depending on the age of the pup at the start of the course. Your puppy can go outside and mix with other dogs two weeks after the second vaccine has been given.

 2. Kittens can begin their vaccination course from 9 weeks of age with the second vaccine being given three-four weeks later. They are able to go outside two weeks after the second vaccine. It may be advisable with kittens, to keep them indoors until you feel confident that they know where home is.

 The canine diseases we routinely vaccinate against and the vaccines used, are listed below:

Nobivac DHPPi A live vaccine for the control of canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus disease and a reduction of clinical signs due to canine Para influenza virus infection.

Nobivac Lepto 2 Inactivated, bacterial vaccine against leptospira canicola and Ictero haemorrhagiae.

Nobivac KC A live bivalent, intranasal vaccine for prevention of canine infectious tracheobronchitis.

Nobivac Rabies An inactivated vaccine for control of rabies in dogs, cats, cattle and horses.

The feline diseases we routinely vaccinate against and the vaccines we use, are listed below:

Nobivac Tricat A live vaccine for control of infectious respiratory disease, caused by feline herpes virus and

Nobivac FeLV A feline leukaemia vaccine.

Ayrton Veterinary Hospital strongly recommends that all cats be given a course of both Tricat and FeLV vaccinations. There is no cure for FeLV and so it remains one of the most devastating feline diseases.

How do I rid my pet of fleas?

Fleas thrive in warm, moist environments. The only food for fleas is the blood from the host animal. There are many species of host animals but the main fleas we deal with are those of the dog and cat variety.

The life cycle of a flea can last from a few weeks to a few months, often making our pet's life a misery. The saliva of fleas is irritating to your pet and is the cause of all the itching and scratching.

 Although adult fleas prefer to live on the host, the female lays eggs (can be as many as 50 per day) and because these eggs are not sticky, they can fall off onto carpets, bedding etc. The fleas then hatch in the environment and so it is important that we not only treat your pet for fleas, but also the environment that they inhabit.

For more information on treating your pet for fleas, please telephone the veterinary centre or make an appointment with one of our qualified nurses who can help you decide on which product/s would be best for your pet.

How often should I worm my pet?

At some point during their life worms will affect all dogs and cats. Most puppies are at risk of being born with them and the majority of kittens acquire them shortly after being born.

Worms are endo-parasites meaning that they live inside our cats and dogs and rely on them for their nutrition.

The worms seen in cats and dogs are often found in the intestines or lungs and fall into two groups, roundworms and tapeworms.

There are many different single dose wormers available, please telephone the veterinary centre and we will give

Adult dogs should be wormed 3 - 4 times per year.

 Adult cats should be wormed 3 - 4 times per year unless they hunt regularly, when once a month is advisable.

How do I brush my dog's teeth?

Brushing your dog's teeth, combined with professional dental cleanings by your veterinary surgeon, is a very important part of maintaining your pet's health. A dog with healthy gums and teeth is more likely to keep it's teeth for life, continue to eat hard food, and have less breath odour. In addition, dogs that have a consistent dental health regime are less likely to develop bacterial infections of the bloodstream. Bacteria from the teeth are known to colonize the valves of the heart, causing a type of heart disease called bacterial endocarditis.

 Dogs, especially smaller breeds, require the same kind of care for their teeth as people do for theirs. Smaller breeds tend to acquire a tremendous amount of plaque on their teeth. This is most likely because they do not chew on bones and other hard items that help with the mechanical breakdown of plaque and tartar, or eat soft food, canned food rather than the hard varieties.

It is a good idea to brush your dog's teeth from an early age. Never use human toothpaste, since it contains foaming agents that can cause a dog to vomit if swallowed. Veterinary toothpaste does not contain foaming agents and so a dog may safely swallow it. Most dogs like veterinary toothpaste as it comes in a variety of flavours, including poultry and beef.

There are many different types of toothbrushes designed for dogs. Some fit over the finger and are called finger brushes, while others are very long and angled, with a wide brush head. These can be purchased from veterinary surgeons or pet stores. It is possible to use a human toothbrush to brush your dog's teeth, just make sure the bristle is very soft.

What can I do to help my pet's bad breath

Bad breath or halitosis can be caused by many different medical and dental problems - some of which can be serious. You should make an appointment to visit your veterinary surgeon for an examination to determine the cause of any smell of bad breath from your dog. Some smaller breeds of dog such as poodles, Yorkshire Terriers and schnauzers are known for being predisposed to dental disease. Brachycephalic, or short-headed dog breeds like the boxer and pugs also have a higher risk of developing dental problems.

Bad breath in dogs may be due to dental disorders such as periodontal disease, gingivitis and plaque build up on the teeth, significant oral cavity disease such as abscesses, sores or ulcers, decaying tissue associated with cancer, and infections. Kidney and other organ system disease and diabetes and other metabolic problems may also cause bad breath.

Although brushing your dogs teeth and control treats are very helpful, if your dog's foul odour is due to plaque build up, a professional dental cleaning by your veterinary surgeon may be necessary.

Can I have my pets nails clipped?

Yes. This can be done by one of our qualified veterinary nurses, Monday to Friday and by appointment.

What does having my pet microchip involve?

A microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin and between the shoulder blades, using a large needle. Each microchip contains a unique number that corresponds to your details, these details are held in a central database that can be contacted 24 hours a day. If lost, pets are scanned by hand held scanners that are commonly used by veterinary surgeons and rescue centres, so that once your details have been confirmed, your pet can be returned to you.

The latest microchip is called Bio thermo and using this chip, we are able to read your pets temperature using the same scanning method, and this means your pet does not have to suffer the discomfort that can sometimes be felt with a regular thermometer.

Can I have a repeat prescription for my pet?

All repeat prescriptions have to be authorised by a veterinary surgeon. Once the veterinary surgeon has prescribed a repeat prescription, it can be collected from reception. We do ask that clients telephone to request a repeat prescription and allow 24 hours before collection.

This practice adheres to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) guidelines, that all patients on long-term medications must be checked at regular intervals by their veterinary surgeon, this is usually between 3-6 months.

Where can I get a new puppy, kitten or rabbit?

The Scottish Kennel Club and appropriate bodies for cats and rabbits are also a very helpful way to find a new pet. Adverts can be placed in local newspapers, but care should be taken to avoid those breeders who may not be genuine. Rescue centres are full of dogs and cats desperately in need of a new home and always welcome caring pet owners to go along and have a look.

What should I do if my pet dies at home or if my pet is put to sleep at the veterinary practice?

We understand that this is a difficult time for owners. If your pet were to die at home, please telephone the practice and we will arrange a convenient time for you to bring your pet's body to the veterinary centre.

If your pet has to be put to sleep in the practice, there are several options you can choose from and we encourage clients to do whatever feels right for them, it is a very personal choice.

You can ask for:

Home burial, which is subject to local byelaws.

Routine cremation, where your pet is cremated at an approved pet crematorium used by this practice.

Private cremation, where you have your pet's ashes returned to you.

If you do choose a private cremation, your pet's ashes can be housed in a variety of receptacles of your choice, please telephone us if you require further information