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Dogs: core vaccinationVaccination protects your dog by conferring protective immunity against four major life threatening infectious diseases – Distemper (D), Infectious Canine Hepatitis (H) and Parvovirus (P) (viral diseases which can be contracted from contact with other dogs including their faeces) and Leptospirosis (L) (a bacterial disease which can be contracted from infected urine or dirty water, especially flood water or where rats are present). We use a vaccine protocol to give the most comprehensive protection available against these life threatening diseases and would always urge you to follow the timings below to ensure the earliest onset of protection.
- 1st vaccination (DHP+L) from 6 weeks of age
- 2nd vaccination (DHP) 2 to 4 weeks later but not before 10 weeks of age
- 3rd vaccination (L) 4 weeks after the 1st vaccination
Dogs: Kennel Cough vaccinationKennel cough is a highly contagious mixed bacterial and viral infection of the upper airways of dogs. Infection most commonly occurs whilst in kennels but can occur from exposure to infected dogs anywhere including whilst at exercise in parks, dog day care, puppy socialisation classes, dog shows etc. Kennel cough is rarely life threatening and often self-cures in a few weeks, although complications such as pneumonia or chronic lower airway disease can occur and the unpleasant and persistent coughing and retching can be very distressing for your dog. Protection can be provided from 10 weeks of age as an additional vaccine, giving 1 year of protection. This vaccine is administered by nasal drops and is included in our healthcare plan.
CatsVaccination protects your cat by conferring immunity against three major viral infectious diseases – Cat Flu (RC), Feline Enteritis (P) and Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) which can be contracted from contact with other cats or their faeces. It is important that your kitten is not exposed to these diseases prior to vaccination and we would always urge you to follow the timings below to minimise this risk and ensure your kitten is protected from as young an age as possible. We always include Feline Leukaemia in our vaccination protocol. Some practices only include Cat Flu and Enteritis in their standard vaccinations, with Feline Leukaemia as an optional extra.
- 1st vaccination – from 9 weeks of age.
- 2nd vaccination – 3 to 4 weeks later, but no more than 4 weeks after the 1st vaccine (late 2nd vaccination will require restarting the primary course to ensure adequate immunity).
RabbitsVaccination protects your rabbit by conferring immunity against two major life-threatening viral diseases – Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (of which there are two strains: VHD-1 and VHD-2). Myxomatosis can be spread either by direct contact with an infected rabbit or from bites by insects that have fed on an infected rabbit. VHD can be spread either by direct contact or can be carried in the environment on, for instance, clothing, footwear, food or bedding. For these reasons both of these diseases can be spread to rabbits even when they are kept inside and we would always recommend vaccination.
- Myxomatosis & VHD-1 vaccination: a single injection every 12 months. This can be given from 5 weeks of age and provides protection after 3 weeks.
- VHD-2 vaccination: a single injection every 6 months. This can be given from 10 weeks of age and provides protection after 7 days. The VHD-2 vaccination can not be given at the same time as the Myxomatosis vaccine and would normally be given 2 weeks later.
Worming, Flea & Tick Prevention
WormsRoundworms are internal parasites which due to your pet’s outdoor behaviours (sniffing, licking, eating or carrying things) can readily infect them and sometimes cause serious illness. As encysted stages of roundworms can not be eliminated by even the most effective treatments, all puppies and kittens are infected from birth, transmission occurring either in the womb (puppies) or via the milk (puppies and kittens). Worms can also infect people and in particular the young, old and immunocompromised. Aberrant migration of dog and cat roundworms (Toxocara species) in people can cause organ damage and are known to cause blindness in children. Because of this it is the responsibility of all dog and cat owners to worm their pet regularly and for dog owners to pick up their pet’s faeces and dispose of it appropriately. Roundworms can sometimes be seen in the faeces but often go un-noticed and the microscopic and very sticky eggs make transmission from other animals or the environment easy and invisible. Tapeworms are less pathogenic but are unsightly and unpleasant. Segments can appear like moving grains of rice in your pet’s coat, particularly around the anus from where they emerge. Tapeworms can be picked up through hunting or scavenging but can also be spread by flea bites so even indoor cats can become infected and a comprehensive flea and worming strategy is always recommended. Hookworms (dogs and rarely cats), whipworms (dogs) and fox lungworms (dogs) are less common but can still cause significant disease. Heartworms (dogs and cats) are spread by mosquitos and are fortunately not present in the UK but should be taken into account if travelling abroad with your pet. Lungworms (Angiostrongylus vasorum) are a serious and potentially life-threatening parasite of dogs which have recently been increasing in prevalence across the UK. Lungworms are harboured in the fox population and are transmitted via slugs, snails and frogs. The responsible slugs and snails can vary in size from obvious garden visitors to much smaller varieties that are hidden in the grass or undergrowth. It is even possible that transmission can occur through the slime trail that they leave and so most dogs will have exposure at some point. Symptoms of disease can vary widely from coughing and tiring easily to excessive bleeding, seizures and potentially death. Treatment and prevention Fortunately all of these worms, including lungworm, are easy to treat and prevent following advice from one of our vets or nurses. In general, puppies and kittens should be wormed every 2 to 4 weeks until 12 weeks old, every 1 month until 6 months old and every 1 to 3 months thereafter for life. Pregnant bitches should be wormed from day 40 of pregnancy to day 2 post whelping. Worming, alongside vaccination and flea/tick prevention, is one of the core components of the Mackie & Brechin Pet Healthcare Plan for dogs and cats.
FleasFleas are one of the most common external parasites that we see and almost all pets are affected at some stage in their life unless given regular, routine and effective preventative treatment. Fleas will spread to all animals in the household and so all pets of all species need to be treated. Fleas can also opportunistically bite humans! Some pets are allergic to flea bites and can develop intense itchiness and severe skin irritation after only a single bite. They can also pass on other diseases, such as tapeworms, and so flea control is an important part of routine healthcare. If a flea infestation has occurred eradication can be difficult. Each adult female can lay 2000 eggs in her lifetime. These, in turn, hatch to produce an ever expanding population within the house that can continue a cycle of re-infestation. Only a small proportion of the flea population can be seen on a pet, the rest being hidden in the house for instance on bedding and soft furnishings, in carpets and gaps in the floor. These eggs can survive for up to 1 year before hatching. If this happens then a product must be used to eradicate the eggs from the house in addition to starting a monthly treatment schedule for your pets to break the cycle of re-infestation. Treatment and prevention We would always recommend that prevention is better than cure and this can be achieved easily by using an effective product at the recommended frequency that has been supplied by your vet. It is worth noting that many well known and widely available non-prescription products including spot-ons, shampoos, powders and collars have minimal effect and can be a false economy in leaving your pet and household under-protected. Please contact us to discuss what would be appropriate for your situation. Flea prevention, alongside vaccination and worming, is one of the core components of the Mackie & Brechin Pet Healthcare Plan for dogs and cats.
TicksTicks are present throughout the UK and are a particular risk in warmer months in rural areas. Ticks wait on blades of grass or other vegetation and attach to prospective hosts as they brush past in a process known as ‘questing’. Once attached the tick will start to take a blood meal and in doing so can cause irritation and transmit disease. Ticks can be difficult to remove and if not done carefully their head-parts can remain within the skin. Ticks are opportunistic and can also feed on humans. They have three feeding stages and can take up to 3 years to complete their life cycle. The smaller larval and nymph stages are much less visible than the typical well-fed adults that we all know and often go un-noticed, falling off once they have fed. Treatment and prevention The requirement for protection against ticks is dependent on lifestyle and time of year. For dogs we recommend a product that not only kills ticks that have attached but also acts as a repellent to reduce the chance of them attaching in the first place. Tick prevention for cats can be achieved with the same product that we use for flea prevention and which is given at a convenient three monthly interval. Tick prevention is included in our Pet Healthcare Plan for cats and a 25% discount is available for dogs.
OthersWhile worms, fleas and ticks are the most common parasites that we deal with here in the clinic, there are a number of other parasites both here and abroad that can affect you pet. In the UK ear mites are highly contagious and most frequently seen in puppies, mange mites (scabies) although fortunately less common can cause very serious skin disease, cheyletiella mites and biting lice can tend to cause less severe irritation and demodex mites tend to affect the young, old or immunocompromised. While standard preventatives are effective against these parasites, sometimes specific veterinary selected treatments are required to manage an infestation and its consequences. Further information on parasites can be found by following this third-party link: www.jungleforpets.co.uk
DogsWe recommend neutering small dogs from 6 months of age, which in females is before their first season, and larger dogs from around 12-18 months of age. The neutering procedure is a day admission to the surgery with a relatively quick recovery period. In females this is called spaying and involves surgical removal of the womb and ovaries (ovariohysterectomy). If done after a season then 3 months should be allowed to elapse before surgery. The benefits of spaying are:
- Prevention of seasons. These occur every 6 months, can be messy (blood spotting) and be a nuisance to your bitch by causing unwanted attention from male dogs.
- Prevention of false pregnancy, the symptoms of which can be distressing to your bitch and can include nesting behaviour, mammary development, anxiety, lethargy and poor appetite.
- Prevention of unwanted puppies and the consequences of miss-mating (an injection is available to stop pregnancy).
- Prevention of pyometra. This is a life-threatening womb infection which can occur at any age but is more common in older bitches and requires emergency surgery for treatment.
- Reduction in the risk of mammary tumours (breast cancer) particularly if neutered before the first season.
- Reducing the risk of unwanted (male) behaviours such as aggression, inappropriate sexual behaviour (eg. mounting) and roaming.
- Often making training and obedience easier.
- Reducing sexual frustration.
- Eliminating the risk of testicular tumours (cancer) and reducing the risk of prostate diseases.
CatsWe recommend neutering all cats from 6 months of age, which in females is before their first season. The neutering procedure is a day admission to the surgery with a relatively quick recovery period. In females this is called spaying and involves surgical removal of the womb and ovaries (ovariohysterectomy). The benefits of spaying are:
- Prevention of persistent calling during the breeding season.
- Prevention of unwanted attention from entire male cats and a reduced chance of fighting.
- Prevention of unwanted pregnancies.
- Prevention of pyometra. This is a life threatening womb infection that requires emergency surgery but is fortunately much less common in cats than in bitches.
- Reducing the risk of unwanted male behaviours such as spraying urine, aggression and roaming.
- Reducing the risk of fighting and disease transmission (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is spread through cat bites)
- Population and disease control. Unwanted kittens lead to an increase in the feral cat population which in turn leads to increased disease prevalence, poor welfare and population control.
RabbitsRabbits should always be kept in pairs and neutering is an important part of promoting a happy social relationship. Neutering not only reduces aggression but also false pregnancies and uterine cancers. Mounting behaviour, either by males or females, can continue even after neutering as this is a natural display of dominance. After castration a male rabbit should be kept away from any un-neutered females for at least six weeks as they can remain fertile for a surprisingly long time. Males can be castrated as soon as their testicles have descended but commonly both males and females are castrated from 5 months of age.
FerretsFerrets are seasonal breeders that start breeding as day-length increases in the Spring. However, if not mated a jill will stay in season until day length shortens again resulting in prolonged high levels of oestrogen that can cause anaemia. Unfortunately, surgical neutering of ferrets is associated with an increased risk of adrenal disease. Alternatives for females include mating with a teaser hob (vasectomised male), giving an injection at the start of the breeding season or for males and females using a hormonal implant.
- veterinary treatment
- 3rd party liability
- loss or theft of your pet
- Food remnants combine with saliva and bacteria to form an invisible layer of plaque on teeth.
- If this plaque is not cleansed it becomes mineralised as tartar. Tartar can not easily be removed by brushing and may require an ultrasonic scale and polish like your own dentist would perform to keep your mouth healthy.
- If this tartar is not removed then infection of the gums (gingivitis) begins, which can lead to more advanced disease of the tooth root attachments and bone (periodontitis). In addition, cat teeth can develop painful resorptive lesions whereby the inner sensitive parts of teeth are exposed. These advanced stages of dental disease are much more serious and diseased teeth most often require extraction.
Official requirementsIn order to travel with your pet to an EU country or Northern Ireland you will require an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). Please contact us as soon as you decide to travel as failure to complete the required tasks in the required timeframe will result in an inability to take your pet with you. The requirements as of 1st Jan 2021 are to have:
- Up to date rabies vaccination at least 22 days prior to travel
- AHC issued within 10 days of travel. This is valid for 4 months of onward travel and return (where a primary rabies vaccine has been given the AHC can not be issued until day 22).
- Tapeworm treatment by a vet between 24 and 120 hours prior to travel if traveling to a tapeworm free country (Northern Ireland, Ireland, Finland, Malta, Norway)
Additional parasite treatmentsThere are additional disease risks on the continent that your pet will be exposed to that are not covered by the official travel requirements (which are primarily concerned with diseases that can affect human health rather than that of your pet). In particular ticks, sandflies and mosquitos can transmit a number of diseases. These include, amongst many others, heartworm and leishmaniosis. Prevention can be provided by regular use of parasiticides but at a different frequency to that which we use them in the UK. We can help recommend what additional treatments will be required depending on your destination.
Leishmaniosis vaccinationLeishmaniosis is spread to dogs through the bites of infected sand flies. It is endemic in countries in southern Europe bordering the Mediterranean, including Spain, the South of France and Italy, where 2.5 million dogs are already believed to be infected with the parasite. It is spreading northwards as more people travel with their dogs or import infected animals from endemic areas. Aside from vaccination, the only preventative measures available are topical insecticidal treatments, collars and keeping your dog in at dawn and dusk – the times of the day when the sand fly is most active. If you’re planning to travel to a region where the disease is endemic, vaccinating your dog is a simple and effective way to protect your dog and to give you peace of mind. It will also help to slow the disease’s spread into non-endemic regions. The new vaccine can be given from six months of age and requires three injections given at three week intervals. We would therefore recommend starting the course at least three months prior to travel. If your pet has already travelled to any of these areas, we may recommend a blood test to check that your pet does not already harbour the parasite before starting the vaccination course.
ExportsWhen exporting your pet we would advise using the services of a company who specialise in the organisation of pet exports. This can be a complicated procedure and they can provide you with the requirements specific to your journey and a schedule of when these requirements should be completed. We can carry out any official veterinary duties but it is your responsibility to present your pet at the right time and to let us know what is to be done in reference to the schedule given to you by your export company.
Careers and Work Experience
VETERINARY SURGEON: we are currently looking for an additional veterinary surgeon to join our highly motivated, experienced and supportive team. Please contact phone 0131 333 3203 or email email@example.com for more information.
We are also always on the look out for high quality individuals to join the team as a whole. In the first instance please send a CV and your interests to Pamela.Hinton@mackieandbrechin.co.uk