Arun Veterinary Group

We understand that the responsibility of pet ownership can be daunting at first. Our team are always on hand to help but we have also created some helpful guides explaining the basic principles of looking after your new companion

  • Puppy
  • Kitten
  • Guinea pig
  • Rabbit
  • What age should I get my puppy vaccinated?

    We advise vaccinating from 8 weeks of age. The vaccine involves two injections 2-4 weeks apart. Puppies are vaccinated against Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Canine Distemper Virus and Infectious Canine Hepatitis. After the initial course an annual booster is recommended. We aim to send you a reminder for this but we also advise our clients to make a note of the due date on their calendar.

    We also advise vaccinating against kennel cough. Your puppy does not need to be in kennels to contract this virus; general socialisation with other dogs can also put them at risk.

    When can my puppy socialise?

    We advise that you wait for 14 days after the second vaccine before socialisation. Your puppy will be safe to mix with any other pets you may own as long as they are fully vaccinated. Vaccination primes your puppy’s immune system to be ready to fight potentially fatal diseases without exposing them to the actual virus. This can take up to 14 days following the completion of the vaccination course.

    When should my puppy be neutered and why?'

    There are many medical and behavioural reasons to consider when making a decision about neutering your new puppy, including the obvious reason of birth control. There is however, conflicting advice surrounding the pros and cons of neutering. Our team recommends that bitches are neutered before their first season as it is proven to significantly reduce the chances of developing mammary cancer. We recommend castration dogs from 6 months onwards, depending on their temperament and breed.

    Why should I get my puppy microchipped?

    By law all dogs must wear a collar and an identification tag but these can be lost or removed. The Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2014 states that from the April 6th 2016, all dogs must be microchipped and registered to an approved database by the time they are 8 weeks old. Most vets, animal charities and local authorities have microchip scanners, so when your pet is handed in they can be identified via a database. This enables you to subsequently be reunited with your puppy as soon as possible. Our team often microchip puppies either at the time the primary vaccination is completed or soon afterwards. Microchipping is a quick and invariably well tolerated procedure

    How can I protect my puppy against parasites?

    Worms

    It is important to maintain a routine worming programme to ensure growth and good health. We advise that puppies are wormed every 2 weeks until they are 8 weeks of age, then monthly up until 6 months. Thereafter, our recommendation is worming is routinely performed every 3 months.

    Fleas

    Your puppy should be treated for fleas from 8 weeks of age. However, if you are suspicious of a flea infestation before this please contact the team so we can advise you on the safest products to use.

    Lungworm

    Lungworm has been present in our country for some time but it would appear that it is now becoming more widespread and prevalent, especially in the South East of England with increasing numbers of infections being reported. The adult worm lives in the heart and larvae migrate through the lungs during part of the life cycle. Dogs become infected by eating slugs or snails, which act as the intermediate host. Infection can cause a wide range of clinical signs including breathing difficulties, bleeding disorders, neurological issues, vomiting and diarrhoea. Sadly it can often prove to be fatal. We recommend using ‘Advocate’ spot on as a preventative treatment for this parasite.

    Ticks

    Ticks are parasites which mainly live on sheep, deer, and hedgehogs but will feed on cats and dogs if they get the opportunity. Ticks tend to appear seasonally – mainly in late spring and early summer as well as the autumn if the weather is mild. Ticks tend to cause irritation where they attach and feed but are able to potentially transmit diseases between animals including viral, bacterial and protozoal infections. These diseases are uncommon in the UK but are more prevalent abroad and we recommend a different parasite control programme if you intend to travel your pet abroad.

    We recommend removing ticks using specialist tick hooks available at each practice and we can also demonstrate how to use them. Our team can also discuss the use of collars that repel ticks and can last for up to 8 months. If you are in any doubt as to the best strategy for your pet please contact the team who will consider a specific programme to suit your pet.

    Why should I insure my puppy?

    Due to recent advances in veterinary medicine and surgery we are now able to treat quite complex conditions, which in the past was not possible. Many conditions can be treated within our practice and occasionally we may recommend referral to a specialist. The treatment involved in relation to a specific condition can be extremely expensive and pet insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that your puppy will have the best treatment possible whilst the cost is covered.
    We strongly recommend a ‘Cover for Life’ policy, as one third of all claims result in a condition for life. A ‘Cover for Life’ policy means that the insurance company will cover that condition for the rest of your pet’s life. Some insurance companies only offer an ‘annual’ policy, which is defined as cover for one year before an exclusion is applied. It is important to check with the insurance company what sort of cover you will be getting for your puppy.

    Pet insurance does not work in the same way as household and car insurance. It’s important that if you consider researching a ‘better deal’ at the point of the policy ear end that you are aware that any pre existing conditions will be excluded under the new policy.

    If you have any queries regarding pet insurance please contact the practice and ask to talk to our trained insurance advisors for more help. Please read our pet insurance section for extra advice.

  • What age should I get my kitten vaccinated?

    We advise vaccinating from 9 weeks of age. The vaccine involves two injections 3 weeks apart. Kittens are vaccinated against feline panleucopaenia (enteritis), feline leukaemia and cat flu. An annual booster vaccination is recommended. Our team provide an annual reminder service but we recommend that you also make a note of the vaccine’s due date.

    When should my kitten be neutered and why?

    We recommend neutering your kitten from 5 or 6 months of age and before they are allowed outside. This greatly reduces the risk of unwanted pregnancies in female cats as well as contracting viruses, which cannot be vaccinated against. Neutering male cats significantly reduces roaming and territorial fighting

    Why should I get my kitten microchipped?

    Even though collars and identification tags are a good idea, they can easily be lost or removed. Microchips are a permanent way of identifying your pet. The majority of vets, animal charities and local authorities have microchip scanners, ensuring that your pet can be identified and returned to you promptly if found.

    Microchipping is usually a well tolerated procedure and can be performed during the primary vaccination course. This ensures that your kitten is identifiable before being allowed outside. However, if you are concerned about microchipping your kitten at such a young age we can delay the procedure until neutering.

    How can I protect my kitten against parasites?

    Worms

    It is important to perform routine worming to ensure adequate growth and health. Our team recommends worming kittens every 2 weeks until they are 8 weeks old and then monthly until 6 months of age. Thereafter, we would advise you to worm your cat every 3 months.

    Fleas

    We recommend preventing fleas as early as 8 weeks of age using an appropriate spot on treatment. However, if you are suspicious your kitten is suffering from a flea infestation please contact the team so we can advise you on the safest and most appropriate products to use.

    Ticks

    Ticks are parasites which mainly live on sheep, deer, and hedgehogs but will feed on cats and dogs if they get the opportunity. Ticks tend to appear seasonally – mainly in late spring and early summer as well as the autumn if the weather is mild. Ticks tend to cause irritation where they attach and feed but are able to potentially transmit diseases between animals including viral, bacterial and protozoal infections. These diseases are uncommon in the UK but are more prevalent abroad and we recommend a different parasite control programme if you intend to travel your pet abroad.

    We recommend removing ticks using specialist tick hooks available at each practice and we can also demonstrate how to use them. Our team can also discuss the use of collars that repel ticks and can last for up to 8 months. If you are in any doubt as to the best strategy for your kitten please contact the team who will consider a specific programme to suit your pet.

    Why should I insure my kitten?

    Due to recent advances in veterinary medicine and surgery we are now able to treat quite complex conditions, which in the past was not possible. Many conditions can be treated within our practice and occasionally we may recommend referral to a specialist. The treatment involved in relation to a specific condition can be extremely expensive and pet insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that your puppy will have the best treatment possible whilst the cost is covered.

    We strongly recommend a ‘Cover for Life’ policy, as one third of all claims result in a condition for life. A ‘Cover for Life’ policy means that the insurance company will cover that condition for the rest of your pet’s life. Some insurance companies only offer an ‘annual’ policy, which is defined as cover for one year before an exclusion is applied. It is important to check with the insurance company what sort of cover you will be getting for your puppy.

    Pet insurance does not work in the same way as household and car insurance. It’s important that if you consider researching a ‘better deal’ at the point of the policy ear end that you are aware that any pre existing conditions will be excluded under the new policy.

    If you have any queries regarding pet insurance please contact the practice and ask to talk to our trained insurance advisors for more help. Please read our pet insurance section for extra advice.

  • Why should I choose a guinea pig as a pet?

    Guinea pigs are great pets for children as they are social, love a fuss, rarely bite and are easy to handle. They should not be kept with other species and often like to have a routine for playing, feeding and resting.

    Guinea Pigs like to be kept in same sex pairs, as they do like company. However, fully mature adults may require housing separately if they have not grown up with one another.

    What sort of accommodation to guinea pigs need?

    The housing area for Guinea pigs should be in a draft-free area and away from direct sunlight as extreme heat affects them. Their housing area must be escape proof and at least 3ft x 2ft x 2ft, although the larger the better, ideally with a built in run for exercise. We recommend 1-2 inches of bedding (such as paper or hardwood shavings) should be placed in the hutch/cage and straw can also be used for warmth in the winter. Guinea pigs also enjoy objects to hide inside and wood/chew sticks to maintain their teeth, which continuously grow. The hutch should be cleaned and disinfected weekly while soiled areas are removed daily.

    What diet does my guinea pig need?

    Guinea Pigs require a well-balanced diet of guinea pig pellets and timothy hay. Vegetables and fruit can also be fed in moderation. Guinea Pigs need 30-50 mg of vitamin C daily, which is found in the specialised diets. Fresh clean water should be available and changed daily. Any vegetables or fruit not eaten within 24 hours should be discarded.

    What else do I need to know about caring for my guinea pig?

    Guinea Pigs are very clean animals and rarely need baths. A damp washcloth or unscented baby wipe can be used if needed. Fur can be brushed with a soft-backed brush, particularly for long haired breeds.

    Annual health checks are recommended at the practice to ensure full health is maintained throughout their 5-7 year life expectancy.

  • How much space and exercise will my rabbit need?

    Rabbits need plenty of space, which must include a spacious and safe exercise area that is permanently attached to their hutch or cage. They also really enjoy a free run of the garden (or the house if fully bunny-proofed) when supervised.

    What should I feed my rabbit?

    Rabbits ideally need a natural diet, therefore we recommend feeding mostly grass or hay. Rabbits can live on hay alone, however we recommend providing some fresh dark green vegetables and a small amount of commercial pellets. Grass or hay is vital to their digestive, behavioural and dental health because of the long fibre within it.

    What is the best way to interact and care for my rabbit?

    Rabbits are prey species (predators include dogs, cats, foxes and even humans). They are naturally shy, quiet animals that do not enjoy being held above ground level; therefore children should be encouraged to interact with them on their lap or the ground. There must always be an adult in the household prepared to commit sufficient time, energy and money to a pet rabbit as they can live between 6-10 years old. Gaining the trust of a rabbit can take time and effort, but it is well worth it when achieved.

    Rabbits should be kept in neutered pairs or compatible groups as recent scientific research has confirmed that if kept alone rabbits can suffer from stress and loneliness.

    How often should my rabbit visit the vet?

    It is vital that your rabbit remains fit and healthy and we would recommend that you visit the vet or nurse every 3-6 months who will provide advice relating to issues such as fly strike, dental disease and preventative healthcare programmes. Our team also recommends an annual vaccination to guard against life threatening diseases such as myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease

    Please call in to one of our practices to collect your complimentary ‘Hop to it’ rabbit guide, which will provide you with additional advice.

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