Frequently Asked Questions
How do I register with you?If you wish to register with us then please give us a call on 01444 242434 so we can take some details from you such as name address and contact details and the name and previous veterinary history of your pets. Please note the only reason we ask for this is so we can see if your pet has any conditions or allergies we need to know about.
What vaccinations do I need for my pet and when should I get them done?Dogs - The diseases that are vaccinated against are Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Para influenza, Parvo Virus and Leptospirosis. Dogs can be vaccinated against these diseases from 8 weeks old and need two primary vaccinations 2 weeks apart, then they will need an annual booster to keep up their immunity. You can also get your dog vaccinated against Kennel Cough. This vaccination is given up a nostril and can be given from 8 weeks old and then needs to be repeated annually.
Cats - The diseases that cats are vaccinated against are Feline Calicivirus, Feline Herpes Virus type 1, Feline Panleucopenia Virus and Feline Leukaemia Virus. Cats can be vaccinated from 9 weeks old and need their primary vaccinations 3 weeks apart, then they will need an annual booster to keep up their immunity.
Rabbits - We use the Nobivac Myxo-RHD vaccine which covers your rabbit for myxomatosis and VHD. It is given only once a year, rather than the old myxo vaccine that was given every six months.
What is a microchip chip and how does it work?A microchip is small plastic chip that is inserted under your pets skin using a needle. Each microchip is allocated its own unique number that is then registered to the pet’s owners. Your contact information is then kept on a central database so that should your pet be found by the police or dog warden, they can be scanned, and then easily reunited with you. Remember, when your pet is microchipped you must inform the database if you move house. We use tracer microchips and you can find out more about them at www.tracer-microchips.co.uk.
What parasite control do I need for my pet?Dogs & Cats – The main parasites for dogs & cats are fleas and worms but others include mites and ticks. There are a number of products available with varying effectiveness that can treat these parasites but here at Cootes our vets recommend the following:
Advocate – this protects your pet from fleas, worms (not including tapeworm) and some mites. This product also protects your dog from lungworm which is a parasite that can affect the clotting factors in the blood and can be fatal if caught. There have been cases of lungworm in this area so we strongly recommended the use of advocate. This is a monthly spot on treatment applied to the back of the neck.
Drontal – this is used alongside the Advocate every 6 months (if you are using the advocate every month). This protects your dog against tapeworm and it comes in tablet form for dogs and cat. An alternative for cats is a product called Droncit, it also protects against tape worm and comes as a spot on that is applied to the back of the neck.
Rabbits can also get parasites such as fleas, mites and worms and there are a number of products available to treat these. If you are concerned that your rabbit has a parasite please contact the surgery for further advice on 01444 242434.
When should I neuter my pet and what does it involve?
Dogs - Females:They can be neutered 3 months after the end of their first season. the time of the first season will vary between different breeds but is normally between 8 months (small breeds) to 18 months (large breeds). The surgery is performed through an incision through the midline abdominal wall and the uterus, ovaries and cervix are removed. Intra-dermal sutures are normally placed to close the skin. This means there are no visible sutures above the skin and so your pet is much less likely to lick at their wound This type of suture reduces the amount of irritation for your pet.
Dogs - Males: The age they can be castrated varies between breeds. Smaller breeds can be neutered from approximately 7 months and 12 months for larger breeds. The surgery is performed through a small incision just in front of the scrotum, both testicles are removed through this one incision. Intra-dermal sutures are normally placed to close the skin. This means there are no visible sutures above the skin and so your pet is much less likely to lick at their wound. This type of suture reduces the amount of irritation for your pet.
Cats - Females: Queens can be neutered from 5 months of age, a small incision is made in her left flank and the uterus, ovaries and cervix are removed.
Cats - Males: Toms can be neutered from 5 months of age. One incision is made over each testicle and they are removed through these and usually no stitches are needed.
Rabbits - The age a rabbit can be neutered depends greatly on the size of the rabbit and how developed they are. As a general rule they are normally neutered from 5-6 months .
Females:In female rabbits a mid-line incision is made through the abdominal wall and the ovaries, uterus and cervix are removed. Dissolvable sutures are normally used to close the incision.
Males: In male rabbits the surgery is performed through an incision over each testicle and both testicles are removed. It is important to note that male rabbits can still produce sperm up to 6 weeks after they have been castrated so need to be kept separate from entire female rabbits.
Rabbits need to be kept indoors the night after the operation and eating, drinking, urinating and defecating need to be monitored post op.
Why do I need to look after my pet’s teeth?Did you know that 80% of dogs and cats over the age of the age of 3 need dental treatment This can range for a scale and polish to major extraction of teeth. However there are a number of ways to help prevent dental disease in cats and dog.
The gold standard for both cats and dogs is toothbrushing; this involves using special pet toothpaste (NOT human toothpaste) and a toothbrush to help reduce the amount of plaque and tartar build up. The best time to get your pets used to this is when they are puppies and kittens, however older pets can become used to it if you introduce it gradually.
There are lots of other options that can be used in preventative dental care for more information call and speak to one of our nurses.
What is a puppy party and what is the benefit?Puppy parties are held in the practice on Wednesdays and are run by our nurses. They are a chance for your puppy to socialise and learn in the period between first vaccination and the time they are allowed to go out. It is important for them to experience different things in this time, as it is when they are most likely to accept new situations. It is also an opportunity for you to ask us any questions that you have about you puppy’s health and behaviour. Give us a call on 01444 242434 if you are interested in coming to a puppy party.
What are weight clinics and when would my pet need one?A weight clinic is a consultation with one of our qualified nurses to discuss your pet’s weight and diet. They will assess your pet and discuss with you the best way to reduce their weight. Together you will reach a target weight to aim for and discuss any issues that are likely to occur. An appointment will then be made for a check up every 2-4 weeks to ensure that everything is going well. Between appointments feel free to call for any advice and moral support that you may need.
Your pet may need a weight clinic if they are carrying a few extra kilograms. Pets can put on extra weight after they have been neutered, if they have been rested due to an illness or injury or if they have just got older and are moving less. It is important for your pet to be at its ideal weight to reduce the risk of associated problems such as joint, heart and liver diseases. Overweight pets are also more at risk of developing diabetes.
What is the best diet for my pet, and how do I change them onto it?Dog – Dogs should be fed a ‘complete’ diet. Puppies should be given a diet specifically designed for them to help support their digestive tract. These diets are usually energy dense allowing a reduced amount of food to be given per meal which is better suited to a puppy’s low stomach capacity. Puppies will be changed onto an adult diet at about 10-12 months depending on their breed. If you are going to castrate/ spay your dog it is best to change them onto a neutered diet as this contains fewer calories as animal can be prone to weight gain post neutering. If you are going to introduce a new diet it should be done gradually over 4-10 days. Begin by introducing about 10% of the new diet, mixed with 90% of the existing diet. Gradually increase the proportion of the new diet each day until you are feeding all new diet.
Cats - An important part of maintaining your cat’s health is to feed him/her food appropriate to his/her lifestage. During growth, kittens demonstrate digestive sensitivity, acquisition of natural defences and development of adult teeth. After neutering the diet must cater for new feeding behaviour, efficient urinary function and support of vitality. After the age of 10 years your cat should be fed a senior diet, which contains a reduced phosphorus content, which helps promote sustained healthy renal function. If introducing a new diet it should be done so gradually.
We stock Royal Canin diets – to find out more about the Royal Canin range visit www.royalcanin.co.uk.
Rabbits - Why are muesli-style foods a problem? Rabbits are selective eaters and will only pick out the bits they like, this will inevitably lead to an unbalanced diet lacking in calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. The high sugar and starch content can also lead to obesity. Rabbits should have a premium quality hay, this is especially good for dental health. They can also be fed fresh greens to give additional fresh nutrients and to provide some variety. Burgess Excel is a very good food that we do recommend and stock. To find out more visit www.burgesspetcare.co.uk
What will happen to my pet if they come in for surgery?On the day of your pet’s surgery they may have a pre op check between 8.30am and 9am where the vet will check them over. They will then be admitted for the day. They are placed in spacious kennel on a warm vet bed while they wait for surgery. We give them a painkiller and sedative injection 40 minutes before their surgery to relax them.
At the time of surgery we may place a catheter in their front leg and induce anaesthesia, your pet is then clipped and prepared before being taken into theatre for surgery. After the operation your pet is placed back in their kennel to recover with heat pads and a fluffy blanket.
Once they have fully recovered they can normally go home between 4-6pm the day of the surgery. At discharge you will be given full instructions from the nurse detailing requirements for post op checks, medication, exercise and diet for your pet. Your pet may be sent home with a buster collar to prevent then irritating the wound. This is normally needed for 10 days post op.
What is pet insurance? Why do I need it and where is the best place to get it from?Pet insurance allows you to prepare for non-routine veterinary treatment. It gives you the security of knowing that if your pet gets an injury or illness there is financial support available. Pet insurance is recommended because an illness or injury could occur at anytime and the diagnosis and treatment of these cases can sometimes be costly i.e. a general anaesthetic and x-rays to diagnose a fractured pelvis after a road traffic accident, or the blood tests and medication needed if your pet develops diabetes.
There is no definitive ‘best place’ to get pet insurance but whichever company you chose it is always best to get a life long cover policy. This will cover to a certain amount every 12 months per condition for the length of your pet’s life rather than an annual policy, which will cover to a certain amount in a 12 month period per condition but will only cover for 12 months.
If you need to make a claim on your insurance, speak to them about the treatment your pet needs to make sure they cover the costs. You then settle your bill with us at the time of treatment. We will complete your insurance form which is then sent to the insurance company who reimburse you for the amount that you paid minus your excess.