Adding a new pet to your family is so much fun! However, taking on responsibility for another living creature is also a great responsibility. In this newsletter, we’re going to look at some of the things you need to consider.
Whether it’s an old dog or a new kitten, a bouncy puppy or a mature and sedate feline, it’s always useful to know what you’re dealing with! Once you’ve collected your new arrival, please book them in to see us for a full check over, and our vets can make sure they’re in tip-top condition! If there are any issues brewing, we can also get on top of them really quickly.
If you’ve rehomed or adopted an older pet, they may come with a vaccination card. It’s always worth checking with us though - not every vaccine is needed every year, and knowing what they’re already protected against will help us put together a personal protection plan for them.
If they’re young puppies or kittens, it’s possible they’ve had their first vaccinations already. However, these vaccines won’t necessarily have “taken”. This is because newborn puppies and kittens are protected by the antibodies in their mother’s first milk (the colostrum). These antibodies “lock on” and inactivate invading infectious organisms…or vaccines! However, after a certain period, they start to wear off, leaving the puppy or kitten vulnerable to infection. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly when this “waning” of the maternal immunity will be, so a least 2 (and sometimes more) rounds of vaccines are needed to make sure they’re protected.
Here at Astonlee, we strongly recommend protecting your pets against the following potentially fatal diseases:
- Canine Infectious Hepatitis
- Parainfluenza Virus
- Cat Flu (Feline Herpesvirus and Feline Calicivirus)
- Feline Panleukopenia Virus
- Feline Leukaemia Virus
- Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Strain 1
- Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Strain 2
If their parents weren’t regularly dewormed, almost all puppies and kittens are infected with roundworms. As they get older, they may become infected with tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms too, and maybe even lungworm. As a result, we strongly recommend a thorough worming programme for all cats and dogs!
A puppy or kitten should be wormed monthly, using a suitably safe and effective product, until 6 months old. Thereafter, we usually recommend worming at least every 3 months, or more often if they are scavengers or hunters. Preventing significant worm infestations is more important than cure!
As dogs and cats develop, grow, and then get older, their nutritional needs change. We can now offer pets a tailored series of diets - from tiny kittens and puppies, through small, medium or large breed adults, and on into their senior years. These diets are designed to offer the ideal balance of nutrients for each life stage. The good news is that feeding a diet that’s optimised for your pet at their exact life-stage, you can make a real difference to their health and wellbeing.
All UK dogs now need to be microchipped by 8 weeks of age. This is normally done by the breeder or rescue centre, but if not, get in touch and we’ll sort it out! It’s a quick and relatively painless procedure and vital to reunite you if your pet wanders off. We also STRONGLY recommend it for cats, who are more likely to roam than dogs; and for rabbits too.
The early experiences a puppy or kitten has of their surrounding environment, have a huge impact on their behaviour and personality for the rest of their life. When considering a new pet, it’s important to consider what socialisation they’ve had. Lack of socialisation can result in significant (and often expensive) behavioural problems. Once they’re vaccinated, it’s important to expose them to everything you want them to take in their stride - children, adults (men and women), traffic, crowds, other animals, and anything and everything you can think of!
If your dog, cat, or rabbit were to become ill or be injured, there’s a huge amount we can now do to help. Knowing that the financial side is covered can be a huge weight off your mind in such stressful situations! That’s why we strongly recommend pet insurance - to cover those unexpected vets bills. Many puppies, and some kittens, come from the breeder with 4 weeks of insurance but it’s important to take out a permanent policy before that lapses.
There are many different types of insurance policy, giving different amounts of cover for different things. Some will cover for life (as long as you maintain paying premiums), others will only pay out for one condition, or for a limited amount of time. Some will cover illness and injury, others injury only, and still others just give you third party insurance (in case your pet hurts someone else).
Insurance won’t cover a condition that your pet has developed before the policy started, so it’s important to get it set up as soon as possible. Our advice is to decide what you need, and always read the small print!
Need any advice about your new arrival? Give us a ring on 01908 611637 or come in and see us, and our team will do everything they can to help!