Information for your dog
Health is not merely the absence of sickness, it is the gleam in the eye, the shine on the coat, and the lift in the step. True health care is extremely important to us, and starts with a preventative program that encompasses both the physical and mental health of your dog.
Caring for your dog
The Annual Health Check
The foundation of our health care program is the annual health check. During this visit, we give your dog a complete examination from head to tail including checking their dental health. We also discuss your dog’s body condition, diet, parasite prevention, behaviour and health concerns and any other questions you may have.
When your dog becomes senior (usually over 8 years old, earlier for giant breed dogs), regular blood, urine and blood pressure checks are recommended. By screening for hidden disease, we can treat it earlier leading to better and more complete management of the disease, lower costs and better quality of life for your pet.
Dogs on our pet health plan receive two health checks each year, and further testing is available at a supplement on our health plans.
We recommend puppy vaccination at 8, 10 and 16 weeks. The 16w booster is important as a few puppies may not respond to the earlier finish, leaving them vulnerable for the first year of their life. We feel that the 16 week vaccination is so important that we offer it free of charge.
Dogs are then given an annual examination each year, and at this annual examination, we will determine your dog’s vaccine requirements each year. Most dogs will be vaccinated against Leptospirosis annually and Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus at the first annual booster and then every three years after that.
We believe strongly in appropriate vaccination, so animals are only given the vaccinations they require, according to their lifestyle and proven duration of immunity for each vaccine. Due to our inner city location with lots of dogs in close proximity, many of which go to doggy daycare or out with dog walkers, we recommend kennel cough vaccination annually for most of our patients.
There are some dogs who may require additional vaccinations depending on their lifestyle or whether they travel. For instance, we offer Rabies vaccination and Leishmania vaccination for travelling dogs. Lymes Disease vaccination is also available for dogs who are regularly exposed to ticks.
We can also check immunity to some vaccinations with a blood test, in order to minimise vaccination. This blood test is only appropriate for distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus vaccination.
Flea and Tick Treating
We recommend regular flea and tick prevention to prevent discomfort and transmission of disease. It is important that flea prevention is kept up year round as fleas love living indoors with central heating! Fleas are one of the most important causes of itching in pets and can transmit tapeworm to your dog.
Ticks can carry Lyme Disease and have recently been implicated in the transmission of Babesiosis in the UK, which is newly imported from Europe. Babesiosis can cause life threatening anaemia and jaundice. Lyme disease causes fever and inflammation around the body, and is debilitating.
There are a number of prescription flea products which have been released in recent years and have been proven to be significantly more effective than over the counter products or older prescription products. This includes a product which only needs to be given every 3 months. Please ask us for more information when you visit.
Your dog needs worming both for intestinal worms and for lungworm. Intestinal worms can cause significant disease, especially in puppies. These worms are also potentially transmitted to your family, causing serious disease.
Lungworm is a very nasty infection which is often fatal for dogs, and otherwise causes pneumonia, internal bleeding and other problems. Lungworm bleeding can occur spontaneously or sometimes after surgery, such as routine neutering.
Therefore it is very important that puppies are wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old and thereafter puppies and dogs are wormed monthly for life.
Over the counter wormers do not prevent lungworm, but we can provide prescription only products that both prevent lungworm and treat intestinal worms.
We believe that nutrition is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your dog is healthy. A good diet is complete with all the essential nutrients that your dog needs. It is highly digestible, so that what comes out the other end is easy to pick up! Taste is also important so that your dog enjoys what they eat.
Molly & Max is an approved weight management centre, and we are highly committed to helping your dog to maintain a healthy body weight for optimum health. Dogs who are of correct body weight are more active and have a better quality of life. Research has shown that they can live years longer than overweight dogs. As part of our commitment to ideal body weight, we recommend that dog food is actually weighed on a daily basis (or your can weigh an entire week’s ration, in individual portions).
Although there is no diet that is perfect for every dog, we believe strongly in feeding (as a first choice) a high quality commercial pet food. These diets have had a great deal of research into the nutritional benefits and you can be certain that every nutrient that you dog needs is in the diet.
Raw feeding is currently very popular and has a number of potential benefits, such as better stool quality, less propensity to put on weight, improved coat and general health. However, a raw diet does have some drawbacks and is not suitable for every dog or every household. As with most fads, there are many unsubstantiated claims about raw feeding, especially online.
We can help you to start your puppy on an excellent diet from the very beginning. We can also help with advice on diet for adult dogs, including both commercial (dry/ tinned) and raw feeding.
We recommend neutering for most dogs. Neutering has a number of health benefits for your dog in the long term. The benefits of neutering include:
- prevention of pyometra (infection of the uterus)
- prevention of mammary cancer
- prevention of pregnancy
- bitches do not come into heat (so do not bleed twice yearly and are not attractive to male dogs at this time)
- prevention of antisocial behaviour in male dogs, such as straying, mounting and some types of aggressive behaviour.
- prevention of testicular cancer in male dogs (especially in dogs which have an undescended testicle).
- prevention of prostate disease in older male dogs
We recommend neutering dogs when young and healthy, from 5 months of age. When done prior to puberty, the operation is less invasive and recovery is faster.
We recommend that some larger breeds are neutered once mature (2-3 years), and we will discuss this with you prior to neutering. We avoid castration until middle age (but no later) in under-confident dogs.
A well-behaved dog is a happy dog, and will be the ideal pet, so you’ll have more fun together! You can do some simple things to give your dog the best chance of being well behaved and to avoid phobias.
- All puppies should be properly socialised to lots of different people, animals, noises and situations from a young age, ideally before the age of 12-13 weeks. The best breeders will start this process before you pick up your puppy, and we can give you advice on socialising your puppy when you come in for your first puppy health check.
- Puppy classes are great for continuing socialisation with other dogs, and also help with basic training. Speak to us about local puppy classes.
- Training is very important, particularly the basic commands such as come (the most important), sit, stay, and leave it. It is also very important that your dog learns to walk on a lead without pulling. Smart dogs will benefit from being taught a wide variety of commands for mental stimulation.
- Regular exercise will keep dogs happy and prevent boredom.
- A routine will help dogs to relax, as they can anticipate what is going to happen to them. A routine will also help with house training.
- Training to avoid separation anxiety and help your dog to be happy and calm when you are away during the day. This training should be started when you first bring home your puppy.
- Crate training has a number of benefits including facilitating house training and helping your dog to be happier and calmer in a number of stressful situations, such as hospitalisation.
We highly recommend pet insurance for all dogs to help cover the cost should they become sick or injure themselves. At Molly & Max Veterinary Practice, our staff all insure our own pets.
The cost of treatment can be expensive. At Molly and Max we offer the finest service with experienced staff, and the latest facilities and equipment to ensure that if your pet is sick we can reach a diagnosis quickly and provide the necessary treatment. In addition, at times it is necessary to refer pets to specialists, which usually costs thousands of pounds.
We recommend Agria insurance, which we feel has a good balance between excellent cover and good value.
We always recommend life time policies, as chronic (ie. long-term) conditions are common and often result in large cumulative bills.
We recommend starting insurance as soon as you acquire your puppy, and we can provide you with 5 weeks free insurance once we have given your puppy its first vaccination. If your adult dog is not yet insured, we would also recommend starting insurance, even if there are one or two conditions which are pre-existing (and therefore excluded).