Parasites in Cats

Worms, Fleas and Ticks are incredibly common parasites which infest many cats without their owners even knowing. Most cats will come into contact with a parasite at some point in their life, regardless of whether or not they live indoors or outdoors.

The sooner you begin parasite prevention the better. Parasites are fairly difficult to treat once your cat is infested and there is a high risk that they will spread to other pets, humans and your home.

bengal cat standing outside in grass

Worming

Most breeders will have wormed your kitten before you take it home and will advise you on how to proceed with worming as they grow.

The most common worms that cats come into contact with are roundworm, tapeworm and lungworm. Between the ages of 12 weeks and 6 months, we strongly recommend that you worm your kitten on a monthly basis. From 6 months onward, we would advise you to you worm your cat every 3 months for the years following.

Our vets and nurses can advise on and supply the most suitable type of wormer for your cat. You can begin worming treatment by simply phoning up the practice to make an appointment with one of our nurses.

Fleas and Ticks

Similar to worms, fleas and ticks also pose a very common risk to our cats.

As soon as your kitten is allowed outdoors, they are immediately at risk of infestation by flea larvae (eggs) and ticks. Therefore, we recommend that you start flea and tick parasite prevention from the age of 12 weeks and continue this for the rest of your cat’s life.

Flea and tick prevention medicines come in a variety of forms, including tablets, spot-on treatments and injections. This allows us to tailor your cat’s flea and tick treatment to their individual needs.

Some owners stop flea prevention treatments during the winter months, but we would advise against this as with milder winters, fleas are now seen on cats and in homes year-round.

Due to the wide range of preventative medications, we recommend that you speak to one of our veterinary staff to select the most appropriate products for your pet.

ginger cat leans over the side of fence, looking down at the camera

Parasite Prevention is included in our Pet Health Club! Click here to find out how you can save money!

Fireworks Season

a photo of a firework sparkler

Fireworks are incredibly scary and stressful for most of our pets. Particularly in the days surrounding Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year, we receive a number of phone calls from concerned pet owners with anxious or frightened pets. However, measures can be taken in the home to lessen the fear during fireworks season.

Our main advice for all pets is to make sure that their microchip details are up to date with your correct address and contact details. You can check this via the PetLogs website here.

If your pet is particularly frightened, we advise you to prepare in advance with the following techniques:

For Dogs

  • Create quiet hiding spaces around your home where your dog can feel safe and secure.
  • Close all the windows and doors to muffle the fireworks noise, but do leave the doors open to let your dog move through the house as they would normally be able. You can also turn up the TV or radio to mask the sound.
  • Walk your dog during daylight hours before fireworks are likely to be set off. If you must walk your dog after dark, make sure that they are kept on the lead. The loud and sudden bangs often spook dogs and they may become disorientated or run away in fear.
  • Praise and comfort your pet if they are scared, this will help reassure them that they are okay. Do not scold them if they are behaving erratically as doing so will only increase their anxiety.
  • You can also distract your dog by feeding them treats or playing with them whilst the fireworks are going off.

For Cats

a tiny kitten sits atop a relaxed dog.
  • Keep your cat indoors, especially at night time. The loud and sudden bangs can frighten or disorientate them and they often become lost, or cannot find their way home.
  • Close and cover all of the windows in your house – but do allow access for them to move through all of the safe areas in your house. Confining cats to one area may increase their stress.
  • Create a safe hiding place, such as in a box or crate filled with blankets, treats and toys. It is a good idea to place this box higher up in your home, as cats feel safer when they are raised above the ground.
  • Remember to provide litter trays.
  • Turn on the TV, radio or music to muffle the sound of the fireworks. You can also distract them with treats or games.
  • Finally, behave as you usually would around your pet. If you are stressed, watching them very closely, or being overly affectionate then they will sense that something is wrong.

For Small Animals

Two guinea pigs infront of a peach backdrop
  • If possible, bring any outdoor hutches or cages inside. Where you are unable to do this, partly cover over the cage with large heavy blankets so that there is still an airflow, but the sounds and flashes are lessened.
  • Ensure that your pet’s cage has places in which it can hide and provide extra bedding to dull the noise.
  • If you are able to bring them indoors, close all curtains and windows and turn on the T.V. or radio to dull the noise.
  • Rabbits and guinea pigs are very sociable animals so keep them together or with a person who they are comfortable with. This will help them stay calm and feel safe.

If your pet is particularly anxious around fireworks season and you feel that they may need additional help, we strongly recommend that you get in touch with the practice, a few weeks prior to the fireworks period. You can call us on 0141 339 1228, to speak to a member of the team.

a cat peers through a hole in a cardboard box

If your pet is particularly anxious around fireworks season and you feel that they may need additional help, we strongly recommend that you get in touch with the practice, a few weeks prior to the fireworks period. You can call us on 0141 339 1228, to speak to a member of the team.

Dog Castration

Neutering is a surgical procedure also known as spaying for female dogs and castration for male dogs. Depending on breed and size, most male and female dogs will reach puberty between 6 and 23 months. We generally recommend neutering dogs from 6 months onward.

cat and dog lie together on a grey sofa

We strongly recommend that all bitches should be neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies and potential health complications later in life.

Male dogs can be castrated at the owner’s request but we always recommend that you discuss this beforehand with one of our vets or nurses. Should we decide to go ahead with castration, it is ideal that this is done early on to potentially improve the dog’s temperament and reduce the later development of unwanted behaviours.

What does Castration Involve?

Castration is a surgical procedure that involves complete removal of your dog’s testes. As with spaying, it is a fairly routine operation which still involves surgery and therefore, should not be taken lightly.

Castration is performed as a day operation at the practice. Your dog will be pre-medicated with sedatives and painkillers and then given a general anaesthetic. A small incision will be made midline from the underside of your dog, up to the scrotum in order to remove the testes. The incision will be subsequently stitched.

After the operation, your dog will be looked after and monitored by one of our trained auxiliaries to ensure that they come around comfortably.

Once we are happy that your dog is recovering well, we will give you a phone to arrange a time for them to go home later that same day.  Once home, your dog should be kept calm and comfortable. Exercise should be restricted for at least 10 days, or as advised by the vet. The veterinary surgeon who performed the castration will advise on the best post-operative care following surgery and will also provide you with 5 days of post-op pain relief. This is included in the full price of the castration.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Castrating my Dog?

golden retriever lies on blue dog bed

The key concern that many owners have about castration is that it will alter their dog’s personality. While this is partially true, there are also potential benefits to castration.

Advantages

  • Dogs who have not been castrated are sometimes prone to going missing and roaming the streets searching for female dogs in heat. Castration stops the production of testosterone and can help to reduce or eliminate these behaviours.
  • Castration completely prevents your dog from fathering unwanted pregnancies.
  • Some male dogs are naturally prone to dominant and aggressive behaviours. When castrated, your dogs’ testosterone levels will diminish, which can lead to a marked decrease in these kinds of behaviours.
  • Some male dogs also like to mark their territory by urinating around your home. Their drive to procreate can also make them prone to mounting behaviour. You might find that your dog takes an interest in everything; your sofa, your cushions and even you! Castration can help to reduce these behaviours by removing the testosterone that underpins them.
  • Complete removal of the testes will prevent the development of unwanted and potentially fatal disease such as testicular tumours. Removal of the testes also prevents the development of testosterone-related diseases occurring later in life, such as perineal hernias, prostatic diseases and anal adenomas.

Disadvantages

  • Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that castration will solve developed problem behaviours. While these behaviours are primarily driven by testosterone, your dog may have already developed habits which can continue, despite them no longer producing this hormone. Castration does not guarantee a change in your dog’s temperament or learned behaviours. Castrating dogs at a younger age is more likely to be beneficial, as younger dogs have not yet developed sufficient levels of testosterone to establish bad habits. However, even this is not foolproof and some dogs who are castrated at 6 months, continue to develop unwanted behaviours.
  • Weight gain can be an issue in castrated dogs, but this is easily controlled with diet and exercise.
  • Castration is an operation that involves anaesthetic, open surgery and the removal of organs, all of which carry a certain amount of risk.
  • As with spaying, castrating your dog will alter their hormones, which can on occasion result in a change in coat texture. Should this occur, you can discuss with your vet about possible remedying through diet and vitamin supplements.
  • If your dog is especially nervous, castration can make them worse due to the lack of testosterone. In such cases, it’s best to discuss castration with one of our veterinary surgeons.

If you have any questions or concerns about castration, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Receive 20% off neutering with our Pet Health Club! Click here to find out how you can save money!

Further Information:

Rabbit Vaccinations

Why should I vaccinate my rabbit?

These vaccinations protect your bunny from three fatal diseases that are occurrent in the UK. By vaccinating your bunny, you ensure that they are protected and that the spread of these diseases is reduced.

There are two separate vaccinations available for bunnies and we strongly recommend that your bunny has both.

Vaccinations protect your rabbits from:

  • Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease 1
  • Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease 2
  • Myxomatosis

These diseases currently have no cure, and in most cases are almost always fatal.

Vaccinations: fluffy lop rabbit sits on grassy lawn

How often should I vaccinate my rabbit?

We recommend that you vaccinate your bunny annually to ensure their continued protection. Full ‘head-to-toe’ veterinary health checks are also provided during each vaccination as standard. This is to make sure that your pet is healthy, to spot any underlying issues and to address and other concerns that you may have.

If you are unsure whether your rabbit needs to be vaccinated, give us a phone on 0141 339 1228 and a member of our team can have a chat with you about your bunny.

Vet holding and checking over rabbit in practice

Vaccinations are included in our Pet Health Club!

Click here to find out how you can save money!

Further Information:

Cat Vaccinations

Why should I vaccinate my cat?

Vaccinating your cat’s is one of the most important ways in which you can keep them healthy and protected against some common infectious diseases.

Regular vaccinations protect your cat from:

  • Feline Infectious Enteritis
  • Feline Herpes Virus
  • Feline Herpes Virus & Feline Calicivirus (‘cat flu’)
  • Feline Leukemia Virus

It is important to vaccinate both indoor and outdoor cats as viruses can be transmitted from other contaminated pets or wild animals, clothing and footwear fibres, and from contaminated water sources.

Cat Vaccinations : tiny kitten walks outdoors through long grass

How often should I vaccinate my cat?

Kittens require two initial vaccinations. The first from the age of 9 weeks, followed by a second vaccinated 3 -4 weeks later.

Following this ‘primary course’, an annual booster is required each year after to ensure your cat stays protected.

Full ‘head-to-toe’ veterinary health checks are also provided during each vaccination as standard. This is to make sure that your pet is healthy, to spot any underlying issues and to address and other concerns that you may have.

kitten examines vet stethoscope on a table in a veterinary consultation room. cat vaccinations

Annual vaccinations are included in the Pet Health Club. Click here to find out how you can save money!

Dog Vaccinations

Why should I vaccinate my dog?

Vaccinating your dog is one of the most important ways in which you can keep your dog healthy.

Vaccinations protect dogs from the following infectious diseases:

  • Canine distemper
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Kennel Cough

Sadly we do occasionally see cases of these diseases in Glasgow, and so we strongly recommend that all dog owners vaccinate their pets to keep them safe.

vaccinate - two dogs play with a stick in a field

How often should I vaccinate my dog?

Puppies are typically vaccinated between 8 – 10 weeks. They require two vaccinations, 2 – 4 weeks apart, to ensure full coverage.

Following this ‘primary course’, an annual booster is required each year after to ensure your dog stays protected.

Full ‘head-to-toe’ veterinary health checks are also provided during each vaccination as standard. This is to make sure that your pet is healthy, to spot any underlying issues and to address and other concerns that you may have.

What about Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough is a hacking, hoarse sounding cough which can develop rapidly and cause other breathing problems in dogs. This is prevented with a separate Kennel Cough vaccination.

Unfortunately, Kennel Cough is an incredibly contagious disease and we do see many cases of it every year in Glasgow.

Most boarding kennels, doggy daycares and dog walkers require you to vaccinate your dog against Kennel Cough.

vaccinate - a girl walks with a dog on a lead down and outdoor path

Vaccinations are included in the Pet Health Club. Click here to find out more ways that you could save money!

Spaying Dogs

Neutering is a surgical procedure also known as spaying for female dogs and castration for male dogs. Depending on breed and size, most male and female dogs will reach puberty between 6 and 23 months. We generally recommend neutering dogs from 6 months onward.

We strongly recommend that all bitches should be neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies and potential health complications later in life.

Male dogs can be castrated at the owner’s request but we always recommend that you discuss this beforehand with one of our vets or nurses. Should we decide to go ahead with castration, it is ideal that this is done early on to potentially improve the dog’s temperament and reduce the later development of unwanted behaviours.

Bitch Spay

Female dogs who have not been spayed usually have a season every 6 months. Seasons last roughly 3 weeks and it is during this time that a female dog may become pregnant. We generally advise that spaying be performed soon after 6 months, and prior to the first season. If your dog has already had a season, then we recommend that neutering be performed around 3 months after the season has ended. This should be discussed with one of our vets in order to decide the best course for your dog.

What does Spaying Involve?

Spaying is a surgical procedure in which your dog’s ovaries and uterus are removed. It is a  routine operation that we perform daily at the practice, however, it still involves major surgery and the risks should be taken seriously.

Spaying is performed as a day operation in the practice. Your dog will be pre-medicated with sedatives and pain killers and then given a general anaesthetic. An incision will be made on your dog’s lower abdomen to perform the operation, which will be subsequently stitched.

After the operation, your dog will be cared for and monitored by one of our trained auxiliaries to ensure that they come around comfortably. Once we are happy that your dog is recovering well, we will give you a phone to arrange a time for her to go home later that same day. 

Once home, your dog should be kept calm and comfortable. Exercise should be restricted for at least 10 days, or as advised by the vet. The veterinary surgeon who performed the spay will advise on the best post-operative care following surgery and will provide you with 5 days of post-op pain relief. This is included in the full price of the Bitch Spay.

It is common practice for us to request that you bring your dog back to the practice 3 and 10 days following the surgery to have the wound checked by one of our nurses. These follow-up appointments are standard procedure and free-of-charge.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Spaying my Dog?

We often get asked this question by concerned owners who’ve been exposed to varying, usually conflicting advice from magazines, friends and online sources. We would recommend that all female dog owners consider spaying as the advantages far outweigh the risks involved.

Advantages:

  • This procedure completely prevents unwanted pregnancies, as well as false pregnancies (more information on false pregnancies is provided below).
  • Removal of the ovaries and uterus completely prevents your dog from developing uterine and ovarian tumours.
  • Your dog is also prevented from developing serious uterine infections, such as Pyometra.
  • Spaying your dog has been found to significantly decrease the risk of tumours developing in the mammary glands. Research has found that the younger the operation is performed, the better they are protected from developing mammary tumours.
  • Bitches who have not been spayed will be victims of constant attention from male dogs in the neighbourhood when they do come into season.
  • Finally, when dogs come into season they, like humans, bleed regularly. If your dog is spayed, she will not come into season and you will not have to keep her on a lead and away from other dogs. Nor will you have to use nappies or clean the bloodstains around your home.

Disadvantages:

  • Spaying is an operation that involves general anaesthetic and major surgery, both of which can be a risk to your dog.
  • Weight gain can be an issue for spayed dogs, but this is easily controlled with diet and exercise.
  • Spaying your dog will alter their hormones, which can very occasionally result in an altered coat texture. Should this occur, you can discuss with your vet about possible remedying through diet and vitamin supplements.

Please talk to one of our vets if you would like more information on spaying your dog.

False Pregnancies

Also called ‘phantom’ pregnancies, false pregnancies are a common condition in which the dog develops all the symptoms of pregnancy, such as lactation and nursing, without having been mated.

The symptoms usually appear around 2 months after your dog’s season ends, and can include: 

  • Anorexia
  • Abdominal enlargement
  • Nest making
  • Nursing soft toys
  • Mammary development
  • Lactation
  • Other behavioural changes

If your dog develops these symptoms, please contact the practice for advice. False Pregnancies do not occur in dogs that have been spayed.

Pet Health Club members receive 20% off neutering procedures. Click here to find out more!

Further Information:

Hot Weather

puppy lies beside a pool on a sunny day

It is vitally important to ensure that your pet is kept cool and hydrated during the summer months. Scotland is not notorious for hot summers, but in recent years we have seen a noticeable rise in temperatures. And while this has been great for us, our pets have been feeling the changes.

Pets are not as efficient at regulating their own body temperature as their owners are, and this makes them much more prone to heat stroke. Brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds such as Boxers, Pugs and French Bulldogs are at particular risk and owners need to keep a special eye on them on hot days.

Displays tips for keeping pets cool in hot weather. Heat stroke is easily preventable. To avoid overheating we recommend that you:

  • Walk your pet early in the morning and later in the evenings when the temperature is moderately cooler.
  • Keep pets in cool shaded areas.
  • Ensure that fresh cold water is available at all times.

If you have bunnies kept in hutches, please ensure that the hutch is kept out of direct sunlight and allow them time to run around the garden (with plenty of shade and water of course). Also, Flystrike is especially common during summer months so it is important to regularly check around their back end and tail region.

Please also remember to never leave a pet in a car or caravan on warm days, not even for short periods or with the windows left open. Vehicles tend to retain heat, which creates the right environment for heat stroke to develop rapidly.

There is an emerging market of cooling vests, mats and toys that are designed to regulate your pet’s temperature during the warmer months. Many pet owners find these useful and we have a small selection available for purchase in the practice.

If you have questions or you would like further advice about keeping your pet cool on warmer days, please don’t hesitate to phone and speak to a member of our team on 0141 339 1228.

The signs that your pet is overheating include:

  • Heavy panting or rapid breathing.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Glazed eyes.
  • Bright or dark red tongue and gums.
  • Staggering and stumbling.
  • Increased pulse and heartbeat.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Weakness and collapse.
  • Vomiting.
  • Seizures.
  • Unconsciousness.

If you suspect that your pet is overheating you should:

  • Move them immediately to a cool shaded area.
  • Place all four paws in cool water.
  • Soak towels with cold (but not icy) water and place over your pet’s body and head, as well as under their arms and groin area. If using cool packs, please make sure they are covered with a towel.
  • Fill a bowl with cool water and encourage drinking.

Please be aware that heat stroke can develop and become serious very quickly. If you are at all concerned, contact us immediately on 0141 339 1228 or bring your pet straight down to the practice.

Further information:

Dog Nutrition

The nutritional needs of your dog will vary depending on age, breed and activity level. It’s vitally important that you feed your dog a balanced and complete diet which is specific to their needs, to ensure a healthy and happy life.

You should try to stick to one type of diet for your dog to avoid digestive issues and complications. Even if you have a ‘fussy’ pet, it really is better to stick to a single type of food that your pet can easily digest, and that does not cause digestive issues.

A suitable diet should:

  • Be easily digested.
  • Produce dark brown, formed and firm stools.
  • Not cause severe wind, diarrhoea or soft, pale stools.

If you are looking to change your pet’s diet, we recommend that you do this gradually over the course of a week to avoid any upset tummy’s.

Types of diet: 

  • Dry food – There is a wide range of complete dry dog foods on offer but we generally recommend that you buy the best quality food that you can afford. Dry foods may seem more costly than wet or tinned alternatives, but dogs do not require as much dry food and so the costs often work out the same.
  • Wet or tinned – Again we recommend that you choose the highest quality diet that you can afford. You should also try to find a complete diet, that does not require additional or supplementary food to be added.

If you are struggling to choose the most suitable diet for your dog, we suggest that you have a chat to your vet, who will be able to make more specific recommendations based on your pets breed, age and lifestyle.

Advice for Puppies

When you first collect your puppy, the breeder will advise you of their current diet, and give tips on moving forward. Puppies grow at a rapid rate and require a tailored diet to aid healthy growth and development.

We recommend that you feed your puppy 3-4 meals per day from 12 weeks – 6 months of age. This may seem like a lot, but remember your puppy is developing rapidly – not to mention their constant high energy levels!

After 6 months, the number of meals should gradually be reduced down to 2 meals per day.

If you have questions about when or how to transition your puppy on to adult food, give us a phone or make an appointment to chat with a member of our team.

Advice for Senior Dogs

Senior dogs are more susceptible to illness, developing age-related conditions and serious weight changes. It is important to keep an eye on your older dog as changes can come on so gradually that it is sometimes difficult to notice when something is wrong.

The senior diets on the market are typically low in calories to help weight control. Many diets also may target specific age-related conditions. For this reason, we strongly recommend that when considering a senior diet, you consult a member of our team first.

We will soon be rolling out Senior Clinics, run by our Vet Nurses, aimed at caring specifically for our pets as they grow into their senior years.

More information to come soon.

Rabbit Nutrition

Over 80% of UK pet rabbits are suspected to not be eating the correct diet. This failure is due mostly to Rabbit Muesli which is typically a sugary, incomplete diet. Rabbits are fussy and will often eat only their favourite parts of the muesli and leave out essential nutrients. Muesli also causes serious dental issues as it does not wear down their teeth as other foods do.

We recommend switching your rabbit to a diet of:

  • 85% fresh hay and grass. As a general rule, your rabbit should consume its own size in hay or grass every day. While fresh grass is the best option, we also recommend good quality dry hay such as Timothy or Meadow hay. You can buy this online or from pet shops, but do make sure that it is free of grit, dust and damp.
  • 10% fresh washed vegetables and herbs. See a full list of safe and recommended options compiled by Rabbit Welfare UK here.
  • 5% of supplementary rabbit nuggets. The best quality you can afford, and remember to follow the instructions on the bag when feeding. Rabbit muesli, pellets or nuggets should never be given as a substitute to hay or grass.
  • Rabbits should always have access to fresh clean drinking water.

If you are changing your rabbits diet, please do this gradually, over the course of 2-4 weeks, by replacing small amounts of muesli with hay and grass and leafy greens.

We also recommend that you avoid giving carrots and fruit to your bunny. Contrary to popular belief, carrots are actually incredibly high is sugar. A carrot for a rabbit is like a whole bar of chocolate for a human! Too many carrots can cause weight gain and gut problems – so give them to your bunnies only as special treats.

If you have questions about your rabbits’ diet, or you are concerned that they are not receiving all of the required nutrients, please do not hesitate to get in touch and have a chat with a member of our veterinary team.

Further information resources: