Vaccinations are vital to protect your pet against the most important infectious diseases of dogs and cats in Ireland. A primary course involves 2 injections and this will give your pet immunity for the first year of life. As well as being vaccinated Brittas Vets will give your pup or kitten a thorough health check to detect any other health possible problems. We will also advise you on worming, flea control, feeding and basic training.
We routinely vaccinate dogs against Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis & Parainfluenza. We vaccinate puppies from 6 weeks of age with the second shot given at 10 weeks. All puppies must receive 2 vaccinations between 2-4 weeks apart with the second vaccination given no earlier than 10 weeks of age. Your puppy should be kept indoors for 2 weeks after the last injection.
All kittens should be vaccinated against Feline Calicivirus, Feline Herpesvirus, Feline Infectious Enteritis (panleucopenia) and Feline Leukaemia Virus. These vaccinations are generally given at nine weeks of age with a second vaccine given 3 weeks later.
NB. The degree of immunity conferred by any vaccine is variable, depending on a range of factors including those that may stress the animal and influence its response to the vaccine.
As a responsible pet owner it is vital that you worm your pet.
Puppies and kittens are most at risk from worm infestations. Round worms are passed from the mother in the uterus and after birth through the milk. Heavy roundworm infestations in pups and kittens can be fatal.
Roundworms pose a health risk to humans.
Tapeworms also affect pups and kittens. Tapeworms pose a health risk to humans. More about tape worms under adult dog and cat health.
Lungworms also affect pups and kittens more under adult dog and cat health. More about lungworms under adult dog and cat health.
How to worm your puppy or kitten
All puppies & kittens should be wormed from 2 weeks of age, then every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old. Then they should be wormed once a month until they reach 6 months and then every 3 months thereafter.
The amount of worm dose given to an animal is calculated on its weight, because of the big range in weight differences between dog breeds we at Brittas Vets like to weigh dogs and pups for accurate dosing. However if you don't have your dog with you we know on average what each breed should weigh.
We generally recommend worming puppies and kittens with liquid wormers prior to weaning at 6 weeks of age.
If you follow the above worming regime, remove puppy and kitten faeces from the environment ASAP and wash adults and children's hands after handling the animals any risk to humans of worm infestation is greatly minimized.
Adult fleas jump from the grass or bedding etc onto an animal for a blood feed, they then lay their eggs in the environment hatching out again into adults and the cycle continues. Flea eggs in the outside environment over winter without hatching thus providing new adults for the spring. Therefore any pet at any time can become flea infested, acquiring fleas from eggs in bedding, carpets, outside the house and from other pets. Fleas cause discomfort, allergies tapeworm infestation and may spread disease. Severe infestations can also cause anaemia particularly in very young puppies.
Because flea eggs can survive for long periods in the environment both inside and outside the house effective flea treatment and control involves treating both the house or kennel and the dog.
For treatment Frontline spray can be used on pups & kittens from 2 days of age and may require a repeat treatment after 1 month.
Stronghold can be used from 6 weeks of age and repeated after 1 month.
Acclaim spray is used in the environment only, NOT ON THE ANIMAL, to kill adult fleas, larvae and eggs.
We at Brittas Vets also recommend vacuuming your home but effective products such as those mentioned above must be used as well.
From birth to about 6 weeks old puppies & kittens get most of their nutrition from their mother's milk. If for some reason the mother is unable to feed her puppies or kittens, they will need to be hand fed with a milk re placer. The Brittas Vet shop stocks puppy and kitten milk replacer.
At about four weeks of age (while still with their mother) puppies should be introduced to solid food.
Puppy dried food in nut form may be mixed with water to make a porridge consistency and fed to the bitch who allows the pups to eat with her thereby teaching them how to eat solid food.
Puppies are usually separated from the mother at about 8 weeks of age by which time they should be weaned onto solid food.
The same principle applies to the feeding of nursing queens and their kittens.
The Brittas Vet shop stocks puppy and kitten milk replacer Puppy Milk Royal Canin for puppies.for kittens and
How to Feed your Puppy
Puppies MUST be fed a complete Puppy Food in order to grow and develop properly. Feed the best quality food that you can afford because the protein sources in the more expensive foods tend to be of better quality and digestibility. At Brittas Vets we prefer dried puppy food in nut form.
Having selected a really good puppy food do not supplement it either with mineral and vitamins or with scraps from the table.
On the back of each bag is a feeding chart which tells you how much food to give your pup daily, the staff at Brittas Vets will show you how to read this chart.
Measure out the total amount to be fed to your pup daily and divide into 3-4 feeds daily when the pup is very small and then reduce as soon as possible to 2 feeds.
Feed your puppy in a quiet place and allow him approximately 20 min's with the food then take it away, cover it and offer it again to him at the next feed. Do not leave food with puppies all day long.
Leave the puppy ad lib water.
How to feed your kitten
Again the same feeding principles apply to kittens. We recommend gradually introducing new food and feeding a good quality complete kitten dry food 3-4 times a day. Some of the better quality kitten foods nowadays have lysine added to them this an essential amino acid combination that supports the immune system in cats and we at Brittas Vets have found this of great benefit to small kittens and to kittens and cats with cat flu virus.
At Brittas Vets we know feeding your puppy and kitten properly has lifelong benefits it prevents growth abnormalities and disease. The dog food we sell is selected on this principle. Our flagship product is Royal Canin which we have stocked for many years, we have great confidence in the science behind this brand and its large product range.
Another brand which we stock is Burns this brand was originally developed by a Veterinary Surgeon and it takes a very holistic approach to dog and cat nutrition. We also stock Pedigree, Whiskas and Redmills.
You are welcome to come in to Brittas Vets and our staff will be delighted to help you choose the most suitable food for your puppy or kitten.
The first teeth of puppies and kittens are milk teeth. In puppies milk teeth are shed and replaced with adult teeth from approximately 16 weeks onwards. The biting and pulling that pups do at this time is associated with play and learning but also with teething. Suitable teething products such as Puppy Kong's are available at the Brittas Veterinary shop. It is also important to begin brushing your puppies teeth daily from the time he enters your home using dog toothbrushes and toothpaste, thereby preventing dental problems in later life.
Microchipping is a simple way to make sure that your pet can easily be identified. The main benefit is that your pet can be returned to you if they ever get lost or stray.
A microchip is a permanent and secure means of identification of your pet- unlike an identity disc or tag which may get lost or be taken off. Each microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) has a unique code which is inserted under the skin at the back of your pet's neck. Your pet is registered on the national database along with the owner's name, address and telephone number. Every stray animal is checked for the presence of a microchip. Therefore if your pet strays and is brought to a veterinary surgery or the dog pound, he/she will be scanned to look for a microchip and you can be reunited.
All puppies must be microchipped before being registered with the Irish Kennel Club.
Another reason to microchip is if you intend to travel abroad with your pet. Microchipping is one of the criteria of traveling abroad under the pet passport scheme.
Puppies can finish their vaccination course from 10 weeks of age (with the exception of rottweillers). At Brittas Veterinary Hospital we ask owners to bring back their puppy to us when he or she is 6 months old.
At this point we assess the puppy's progress with regard to growth, weight, diet, coat condition and behaviour. We are examining the puppy at this point to assess his or her transition into adolescence.
At Brittas Veterinary hospital we neuter male and female cats from 5 months of age. Preventing unwanted litters of kittens is important and is a cat owner's responsibility. Neutered female cats are not worn out and thin from having litters, they are less likely to contract viruses due to decreased contact with males and are healthier.
Neutered male cats take far better care of themselves because they are not worn out from running after females. They are far less inclined to spray to mark their territory and they do not have the strong 'Tom cat' odour. They fight less and are less likely to contract viruses from close contact with other cats.
Neutered cats tend not to stray and make super pets!
Neutering Female Dogs
At the 6 month puppy check we discuss neutering with puppy owners. At Brittas Vets we neuter bitches when we feel they are mature enough which is individually and breed dependent. Large and giant breeds are neutered later.
It is not necessary to wait for the bitch to have had her first heat nor is it necessary to allow the bitch to have had a litter before neutering.
An ovariohysterectomy is performed when neutering or spraying a bitch which means that both the ovaries and the womb are removed.
At Brittas Veterinary Hospital this is generally a day procedure with the bitch admitted for surgery in the morning before 9.30 am, having the surgery performed during the course of the morning, recovering over lunch time under nursing supervision and being discharged in the evening to the owner.
Food and water are withheld from the bitch from 12am prior to the morning of surgery.
The bitch is given pain relief prior, during and after surgery. Antibiotic cover is given immediately post surgery.
The bitch is discharged wearing a buster collar to prevent her interfering with her stitches.
Stitches are removed 10 days post surgery. We at Brittas Vet recommend neutering any bitch that the owner does not intend breeding from as neutering prevents the development of mammary and ovarian cancers and also womb infections (Pyometra) that occur frequently in older bitches.
Neutering Male Dogs
Male dogs are castrated which means both testicles are removed and the dog no longer produces male hormones. Therefore male behaviours gradually disappear. Males are neutered to prevent them breeding but also to stop male behaviours such as aggression and straying.
At Brittas Veterinary castration of male dogs is a day procedure that is carried out in a similar time frame and method to the spaying of bitches as outlined above.
Dogs and cats are given their first booster one year after their primary vaccination course is completed. At Brittas Veterinary we will contact owners to remind them that their animal's booster is due.
'Kennel cough' is a syndrome whereby dogs develop a cough. Outbreaks of this cough usually occur where there are large numbers of dog kept together for any length of time, hence the name!
There is a vaccine available against kennel cough which is given intranasally (up the dog's nose) annually.
Kennel cough vaccinations are compulsory along with the routine annual booster before a dog will be allowed into boarding kennels.
Over the past 2 years we have encountered a number of dogs that became very ill with kennel cough whereas historically the illness was usually mild. It is a situation that we will be closely monitoring at Brittas Veterinary Hospital with regard to our patients.
Rabies Vaccinations and Pet travel
Owners who wish to travel with their dog or cat may require a pet passport. As mentioned previously these dogs and cats must be microchipped to obtain a pet passport. They may also be required to be vaccinated against rabies depending on their destination. There may also be requirements with regard to parasite control again depending on the destination.
At Brittas Veterinary Hospital we aid owners who want to travel their pets worldwide but we would like to point out that we take every case on an INDIVIDUAL BASIS and we would ask any one intending to travel their pet to call in and speak to us directly allowing PLENTY OF TIME before the intended date of travel.
Adult dogs and cats can have roundworm infestations and as previously mentioned bitches pass roundworms on to their puppies.
Tape worm infestations occur in both dogs and cats involving whole or part ingestion of an intermediate host such as a flea or a rodent.
Lungworm infestations also occur in dogs and cats. Angiostrongylus vasorum is reported to be causing serious illnesses in dogs in the UK and Ireland in recent times.
We also treat dogs for Hookworm and Whipworm infestations.
Heartworm is not a problem for dogs in Ireland but prevention should be used for dogs that travel abroad.
Please feel free to call in to Brittas Vets to discuss your individual pet's requirements.
From 6 months onwards dogs and cats should be wormed at a minimum of every 3 months and more frequently in households with young children or sick people. Worm doses are calculated on the dog or cats weight. At Brittas Vets our staff will weigh your dog (free of charge) and calculate the correct dose of worm product. If you do not bring in your dog our staff will be able to make an estimate judging by the breed, sex and age of your dog. This is important because under dosing with worm product is ineffective and will lead to build up of worms in the dogs system.
Adult cats are usually between 5-7 kg's weight but if your cat is very large please bring him in to be weighed.
Our worm products are chosen to have the broadest spectrum of efficacy for the treatment or prevention of worm infestation in your dog or cat.
Flea control products are used on adult dog and cats every 1, 2 or 3 months depending on the product used. We stock Frontline and Stronghold products.
Worming and flea prevention in dogs and cats is a serious issue with human health implications many products sold out over the counter in shops are ineffective or are being sold with incorrect or no advice.
At approximately 18 months of age puppies and kittens are moved from puppy food onto adult diets. Large and Giant breeds may be the exception. At this time if fully grown the energy, vitamin and mineral requirements are now aimed at maintaining a proper healthy weight, bone density and muscle mass. Complete dry diets in nut form are what we at Brittas Vets recommend. Advice will be required on an individual basis and at Brittas Vets we have a qualified Nutritional Adviser Michelle Grimes on hand to help you select a suitable diet.
Royal Canin and Burns are the two main food lines we recommend but we also stock Pedigree and Redmills.
By elderly we are referring to dogs over 8 years and cats over 10 years.
Annual vaccinations are important for elderly animals as they become more vulnerable to illness. As with younger animals the elderly pets are given their Routine vaccinations,
Kennel cough in the case of dogs, Rabies boosters on an individual basis.
As well as boosting their immunity, the annual vaccination appointment provides an opportunity for your vet to perform a full health check on your pet and to detect any early signs of illness.
This health check often leads to early detection of age-related disease such as heart failure, kidney failure, hyperthyroidism, arthritis and diabetes as well as many others. Early detection is vital in managing these conditions successfully. For this reason we also strongly recommend a six-monthly Senior health assessment for dogs and cats over 8 years of age.
Worming should be performed at a minimum of every 3 months. All worm product dosages are calculated on the dog or cats weight. Bring your dog or cat in to be weighed at Brittas Vets (Free of Charge) and allow our nurses to calculate the appropriate dose for your animal. This is important as an elderly dog or cat may have gained weight due to inactivity or more likely lost weight due to muscle loss in old age. Our staff can advise you on the most suitable product for your pet.
Fleas can cause an older animal a lot of discomfort as well as potentially causing or exacerbating health problems such as anaemia. Preventative flea treatments should be applied every 1, 2 or 3 months depending on the product used. We at Brittas Vets stock Frontline and Stronghold products.
Please remember that worming and flea prevention are serious issues and that your Veterinary Surgeon and trained Veterinary staff are the best and most interested in advising you on your pet.
As we have mentioned above, elderly animals should be examined by your vet at six monthly intervals. It is much more likely for an older animal to develop a serious medical condition over the course of a year between annual vaccinations.
As dogs and cats age, it is common for them to experience the aches and pains that we ourselves expect as we get older. However, just because it is a common problem doesn't mean that they should simply suffer through arthritis. Some of the early signs of osteoarthritis include slowing down on walks, finding it more difficult to rise out of bed, lameness and changes in temperament. Cats may be less inclined to jump onto windowsills or other favoured perches and often develop an unkempt coat along their back where they find it more difficult to groom themselves. Correct feeding, simple physiotherapy exercises, as well as a variety of medications are some of the ways in which we can help keep your pet as active and pain-free as possible.
The majority of older animals will have significant amounts of plaque and tartar on their teeth. This is often very easy to overlook at home, and left untreated will lead to gum disease, periodontal disease and eventually tooth loss, as well as being a very significant source of pain to your older pet. Using our expertise and high quality dental equipment it is possible for us to restore your pet's Hollywood smile and prevent any unnecessary suffering and discomfort.
Older animals need good quality, easily digestible food as their digestive processes are not as robust as a younger animal. It is also vital that they are fed the correct balance of protein, vitamins and minerals (more is not necessarily better!) to maintain heart, kidney, joint and dental health. Older animals who have had a diagnosis of particular age related health problems such as kidney or heart failure benefit greatly from prescribed diets which work in conjunction with their medication. We stock the Royal Canin and Burns dog foods and we have a trained Nutritional Adviser Michelle Grimes on hand to advise you on proper diets for older pets.
Elderly pets often find it more difficult to groom themselves as they become less flexible and often less energetic with age. Matted and retained dead hair can lead to a variety of skin problems and it is important that you help keep your pet's coat in good condition.