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Dog Health Care

Caring for your dog, some helpful info

Worming

Roundworms

Roundworms are white, smooth and look like strands of spaghetti.


Tapeworms

Tapeworms are seen as small white segments that often dry and adhere to the fur around the anus, resembling grains of rice.


Lungworms

Lungworm is an increasing problem being seen in dogs, which is caused by a worm called ‘angiostrongylus vasorum’.


Symptoms and Treatments

Recent research has shown that 25% of dogs have worms/eggs on their coats and regular worming is required.

Puppies should be wormed at 2, 5, 8 and 12 weeks' old. After that we recommend you worm at least every 3 months. Fleas can spread tapeworms, so flea control should also be considered.

Lungworms: Dogs become infected by eating slugs or snails or even frogs! The clinical signs include breathing problems, poor blood clotting, behavioural changes. Young dogs are particularly susceptible owing to their inquisitive nature but regular treatment with will kill/prevent these worms.

Fleas

Fleas are very much a year round problem and thus need regular treatment.

Fleas spend their adult life on your dog/cat, laying eggs into the coat (hundreds per week!). These eggs will then be dropped onto the bedding, carpets, furniture etc. where they will hatch back into adults. These adults then hop back on to your dog/cat and the cycle begins again.

Therefore, in a very short period, one flea can produce many thousands of fleas in your household if effective treatment is not used. These fleas cannot only produce itching and possibly an allergic dermatitis in your dog/cat but they may well bite you and make your life a misery as well.

We sell many effective problems to help eradicate fleas both on your dog/cat and in your house. Our members of staff are always happy to give you advice on what is best for you and your pets.

Vaccination


It is possible to vaccinate against the following diseases:

  • Canine Distemper
  • Leptospirosis
  • Infectious Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Parainfluenza (viral cause of Kennel Cough)
  • Bordetella (main cause of Kennel Cough)
  • Rabies (for pets travelling abroad)

Early vaccination is recommended, as it means your puppy can be safely taken out and can socialise with other dogs and people at an early age.

The initial course consists of two injections, given 2 weeks apart. We recommend starting from 8 weeks' old (the vaccine can be given from 6 weeks in some cases but the second injection still cannot be given until at least 10 weeks' old).

Recently vaccines have been improved, so that although Leptospira needs to be given annually, the other vaccines can be given less frequently.

During the booster consultation, your dog will receive a thorough health examination, which will help us to identify symptoms of early disease. In addition, advice can be given on worming, flea treatments, diets, behaviour etc.

It is important to ensure your pet's immunity does not lapse, as many of the diseases vaccinated against are potentially fatal. In addition, vaccinations are essential if your dog needs to go into a boarding kennel.

Leptospira Outbreak - there has been a recent outbreak of a new strain of Leptospira in the Bristol, Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire areas.

We are able to offer a new vaccine that it is hoped will prevent this new strain.  It may well be that the present vaccine used will be quite adequate in most cases, but if you would like additional protection provided by the new vaccine, it involves having 2 injections 4 weeks apart. 

Microchipping

These are very small (the size of a grain of rice) and are implanted under the skin. Your pet's unique microchip number is registered with the national pet log.

If your pet should get lost, they can be quickly reunited with you by having the microchip scanned and then obtaining your details from the pet log. In some situations, it can also be used to prove ownership.

Microchips are also an essential part of the Pet Health Club.

Nutrition

High quality complete dog/cat foods can make a big difference to your dog's general health.

There are many good foods available but we believe Hills and Royal Canin to offer the best range and palatability. We also stock special prescription diets for use in certain conditions e.g. obesity, kidney and urinary problems.

We are always happy to give advice on your pet's nutrition.

Neutered dogs and cats need approximately 30% less kilocalories (Kcals) than pets that have not been spayed or castrated, this is because of hormonal changes.   

If you simply reduce your pets food ration they are likely to be hungry - Royal Canin have a range of Neutered Diets to enable you to feed the same quantity of food but there are fewer Kcals than in the un-neutered range.

Many human foods are poisonous to dogs and cats and can be fatal if eaten.

Are you worried about your pet's weight? Abi runs 'Slimming Club’, which is a free clinic to support your pet while they lose weight. Click here to find out more about Slimming club. Alternatively, do you think your pet is underweight? Book a free consultation with Abi who can show you how to body score your pet and advise on the best food to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Dental Care

Dogs can suffer from periodontal disease, just like us, if preventative measures are not taken.

Tooth brushing, with animal toothpastes, is the best thing you can do and is not always as difficult as it sounds - especially if you start to do it at a young age. Not only will this help to keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy but also it should help to keep their breath pleasant!

We supply a range of products specifically designed for brushing animal teeth. If you cannot brush the teeth, we can recommend and supply other measures - including special diets.

Regular dental checks will allow us to determine if other dental treatment (e.g. scaling, polishing and extractions) are necessary.


Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Cleaning you puppy/dog's teeth is a daily commitment - it should be an enjoyable time with your dog but does need to approached slowly to enable your dog to become accustomed to the procedure. Give lots of praise as you go through the stages below.

Ensure you have the correct toothbrush and paste both of which should be designed for animal use. Human toothpastes aren't designed to be swallowed and are likely to upset your dog's stomach. Dog toothbrushes are smaller, softer and are a different shape. The size and type of toothbrush will depend on the size of your dog's mouth and the health of the gums. Finger brushes are available for smaller dogs. Either a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse will give guidance.

If your dog has periodontal disease, a specific toothpaste will be recommended.

How to Begin:

>>Choose a time when you are not rushed and both you and your puppy / dog are relaxed and your dog not overly playful. To get your dog used to having something in its mouth, begin by using an index finder and gently rub this along the gums of the top and bottom jaw on either side of the mouth. Keep this session short and praise your dog afterwards.

>>You can then use a little of the flavoured toothpaste. Let your dog lick the paste off your finger, which he will view as a treat. Again, praise your dog.

>>After a few days of this, you then introduce the toothbrush. Apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to the brush pushing it down into the bristles. Allow your dog to lick the paste from the brush and in doing so get used to the texture of the bristles. Praise your dog.

>>When you begin to use the toothbrush and paste to actually clean the teeth, start by brushing one or both of the upper canines. These are the large ones towards the front on either side of the lower and upper jaw. It is the mechanical action of the brush on the teeth that is important: Always stand/sit to the side of your dog to reduce the risk of him moving forwards into the brush, which could cause damage to his mouth.

>>Similarly, the use of a gum massager, unless contraindicated, will provide benefit to the gums. Talk to your dog and praise him when you have finished.

>>When your dog accepts having several teeth brushed you can slowly increase the number you clean at each session.

Aim to brush your dog's teeth on a daily basis - once you get started, it will become part of your daily routine just as brushing your own teeth is.

Food has a direct impact on your dog's teeth. Studies have shown that feeding a dry diet will help prevent plaque accumulating on the teeth. Veterinary dentist- approved diets are available through our surgery. Avoid feeding sweet treats and human foods, as these will increase the build-up of plaque and tartar.

Dental treats are also available from the surgery for both puppies and adult dogs.

Neutering

Females

There are several advantages to spaying females:

  • Prevents unwanted puppies
  • Greatly reduce change of breast cancer (mammary tumours) if spayed early in life
  • Avoids problems associated with being in season
  • Avoids possibility of womb infections 
  • If you do not intend to breed, we recommend bitches are speed before their second season

There are advantages and disadvantages to spying before the first season. We are always happy to check your dog and advise what is best for you.

Some people are worried about weight gain after neutering. In certain breeds, this can be a problem but with regular weight checks and sensible feeding, this can be avoided.

Males

´╗┐There are several advantages to castrating male dogs:

  • Improve behaviour in dominant or hyper-sexed dogs
  • Avoid testicular problems in later life
  • Reduced risk of prostate problems in later life
  • Reduction in likelihood of getting preputial (sheath) infection

We suggest male dogs are castrated after they are 8 months old, but in certain circumstances it can be done earlier. We are always happy to check your dog and advise what is best for you

Some people are worried about weight gain after neutering. In certain breeds, this can be a problem but with regular weight checks and sensible feeding, this can be avoided.

Senior Dogs

As our pets get older, they tend to develop many of the conditions we experience ourselves - arthritis, tumours, diabetes and heart disease.

Regular checks can allow us to detect and treat these conditions as soon as possible. Did you know members of our Pet Health Club receive a check-up every sixth months and it's included in their membership?

We sell a range of Royal Canin pet food designed for animals over 7 years old. Book a free nutrition clinic appointment with Jill, who can advise you on the best life stage food for your pet.

Danni, one of our registered veterinary nurses, has started running 5-week puppy training classes. These are held on a Wednesday evening between 8.00pm and 9.00pm at the Surgery.  

Please check out our Facebook page for regular photos and updates.

Each course includes:

  1. Basic commands, on and off the lead with socialisation games.
  2. Weekly topic & themes
  3. Weekly awards & party bags and prizes for all at the end of the course
  4. A fun and interactive Party!

Spaces are limited so booking is essential. For more information or to book your puppy a place, please contact us.

Practice information

Beeches Veterinary Centre

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  • Mon
    9:00am - 7:00pm
  • Tue
    9:00am - 7:00pm
  • Wed
    9:00am - 7:00pm
  • Thu
    9:00am - 7:00pm
  • Fri
    9:00am - 7:00pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 4:00pm*
  • Sun
    10:00am - 12:00pm**

Emergency Details

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01225 793335
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Find us here:

4 Semington Road Melksham SN12 6BZ
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Please call this number for emergencies:

01225 793335