Puppy Information

Bringing  a new puppy into a  house and family can be a rewarding  but sometimes overwhelming experience. Some simple guidance for the first few months of life will first year of life will  get your pup off to the right start.

Vaccination

Canine Distemper – Less frequently seen today thanks to widespread effective vaccination levels. Begins with  conjunctivitis and gastrointestinal signs and is otherwise progressively  fatal. Dogs which apparently recover may also develop longterm neurological problems many years later.

Canine Parvovirus – Still common  as it persists in the environment for many years. Causes acute severe vomiting and haemorrhagic diarrhea of pups which is frequently fatal. Mothers antibodies while initially protective may also interfere with first temporary vaccination though  modern vaccines are designed to help overcome this. Early vaccination using an “early socialising” vaccine is important to allow puppy contact and social play, puppy preschool and development of essential  social behaviours. It is a common mistake however to postpone socialisation class until after vaccination are completed (at 16 weeks)since  the puppy will already be missing out necessary interactions.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis – Less frequent today due to effective vaccines. Causes liver disease and corneal problems can be fatal.Included in the C3 vaccine .

Infectious Bronchitis also known as “Kennel cough” or Canine Cough includes both the Parainfluenza virus and the Bordetella bacteria. While not generally fatal, vaccination is important as kennel cough is highly contagious so affected pups may be  excluded from vital socialization classes.

These diseases together make up the C5 vaccines. The primary course of vaccines is generally given at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 week and ideally a final boost injection at 16 -18 week age This initial puppy course is the most important but subsequent boosters are recommended at varying intervals depending on pets age and protection level. Kennel cough protection is fairly short lived so annual boosting is pre-requisite for boarding.

Worming

Intestinal worms include roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm. Some worms can be passed directly through the placenta from the mother before birth or via skin entry. Puppies should be wormed every fortnight from 2 weeks to 12 weeks then monthly thereafter. This can be done orally via tablets such as Drontal or Milbemax or using a multi purpose topical spot – on like Advocate or Revolution. Some may not cover tapeworm so ask the Vet or Nurse for advice. Regular worming is important for public health, especially where children are handling pets.

Heartworm is actually a blood parasite living in the lungs and heart. It is carried by mosquitoes and endemic to Queensland and the subtropics. Dogs living alone in the backyard are still at risk. Treatment for affected dogs is be complicated, unpleasant and expensive. Prevention however is simple and effective with a choice of either once yearly Proheart SR12 injection, monthly spots – ons like Revolution or Advocate or oral monthly tablets like Interceptor or Nexgard Spectra . Pups should be started at 10 weeks age. Older dogs which have not already been receiving heartworm prevention may need testing prior to commencing any preventatives.

Licenses( and Microchipping)

As at July 2009 new council laws required microchipping for all new pups and kittens ie those less than 12 weeks of age. By law this must be done no earlier than 6-8 weeks but  no later than 12 wks age. This means they must now be chipped and registered before desexing period (ie generally at second vaccination). While  less convenient and painless than chipping during desexing we can do this during normal consultation or vaccination. Pets must also be registered both with microchip authority (which we do) and the council (which you do) within 7 days. Microchip registration is a prerequisite and  seperate to council registration .  A desexing tattoo in the left ear is also compulsory.

Neutering

Neutering helps prevent unwanted puppies and can also  protect against mammary cancer and uterine infection (pyometra) in bitches. Neutered males are less aggressive, wander less and do not hump the visitors leg.  On the other hand,  desexing too early can be associated with joint disorders, incontinence and obesity  . For smaller breeds neutering is generally optimally performed around 6 months age as a day surgery. Larger breeds at risk of joint disorders may benefit from delaying until maturity at 18 months . If uncertain ask the Vet . Sutures are usually dissolving and pain relief is given at the time of surgery and a for few days thereafter. Rest is important after .

Fleas

Fleas are virtually unavoidable due to the warmth and humidity of the Queensland climate. Indoor conditions make it suitable year round for fleas so effective flea control needs to be year round and focused on prevention rather than when dogs are actually itching. Contrary to public opinion fleas target  in warm, dark, sheltered inside areas such as carpets, beddings, under houses and kennels rather not  out on the lawn. Ideally flea prevention should target both the biting adult stage and the thousands of eggs laid waiting to develop. It needs to include ALL  the dogs and cats in the household.

Spot on monthly treatments include Advantix, Advocate, Advantage, Revolution or Frontline however  newer oral prevention treatments like Nexgard or Bravecto which also prevent tick paralysis and cannot be washed off are strongly recommended .

Flea allergic animals need a much higher level of total prevention year round. Again long acting oral monthly products are superior. Please note flea shampoos or powders are fairly useless and work only a few days at best . Finally, don’t be embarrassed to ask the Vet or Nurse if you experience flea problems or you current treatment just doesn’t seem to be working.

Ticks

Paralysis or scrub ticks are endemic to the South East Qld area. The native Ixodes scrub tick is carried by bandicoots, possums and other wildlife which wander through our back gardens. The tick produces a potent nerve toxin which can be rapidly fatal to dogs and cats.

Spring  and summer are the most prevalent times, however ticks can occur any time, especially after recent rain. Year round  prevention is  advised . Symptoms of tick envenomation typically include a retching gagging cough or gagging, wobbly legs or general muscle weakness. Tick poisoning is a genuine emergency and early treatment with antitoxin is needed to avoid fatalities. Affected animals may be unable to swallow or breathe normally for 1-2 weeks . Poisoning can still develop day or so even after ticks have been removed. Tick antiserum therapy and intensive care is expensive and not all cases survive. Modern oral tick preventatives like Nexgard or Bravecto for dogs are virtually 100% if used correctly . Its as simple as that . Avoiding  a single tick case works out cheaper than a lifetime of tick prevention! We are still waiting for oral cat products however meantime either Seresto collar or Frontline spray are the safest options

Daily searching of the coat particularly around the head and neck area while not foolproof is recommended especially after walking in bushland. Ticks should be removed quickly if found (by twisting out) and the Vet alerted.

Puppy Classes and Socialisation

Puppies have an early socializing and imprinting period where any social skills, body language  and toilet preferences are learned. The first 6-14 week period is critical. At this time the dogs comfort zone is being imprinted  toward things such as  other dogs and  humans, cats ,cars, vacuum cleaners and thunderstorms etc etc.  Make a point of handling ears, mouth and feet in a gentle way, giving a treat to make handling easier as an adult. Most  of the phobia and aggression problems we see relate to either a lack of early experiences or overwhelming negative experiences. Puppy preschool sets your puppy up for success and our wonderful puppy preschool teacher Karen  is the best. Currently Tuesday nights 7-8 pm . Contact the surgery  for details.

Feeding and Teeth Care

Dogs are carnivores, omnivores and scavengers by nature. Nutrition is a too huge a subject to cover here suffice to say we are expecting a lot from any single product to be able to fed exclusively  yet still provide all known nutrients plus those   non essential but beneficial agents which may prevent cancer, boost immunity or just  help keep teeth clean.  Dogs need do to chew . It has wonderful dental and psychological benefits. Dry food alone is not sufficient gum exercise! All dogs  therefore benefit from having a raw chewy meaty bone or cartilage regularly (2-3 weekly) or at least a rawhide chew in the diet to clean teeth and exercise the jaw, alleviate boredom and stop unwanted chewing of furniture. Chicken wings and necks or rootails are suitable for smaller breed pups . For larger breeds try pigs trotters, knuckles, shank bones etc.               The supermarket cereal sticks like “Dentabones ‘ unfortunately are sticky sugary products full of calories which go mushy when wet and leave more food residue on the gums so cannot be recommended.

It is also worthwhile including some phytonutrient rich dark coloured vegetables like carrot, broccoli, peas, beans, corn, capsicum ,pumpkin or sprouted beans/seeds. Fruit like apple, orange, banana, pears or berries are also good. (Avoid grapes ,onion, garlic or chocolate or macadamias as they  are toxic to dogs) . Cereals like weetbix have little place in dog diets but are used as cheap fillers for poorer quality foods. Cereals also interfere with zinc or calcium uptake and more frequent causes of food allergies. When selecting a quality food for pups, features to look for are :

  1. Primarily meat not plant protein and actual meat not derivative
  2. Some (proven) dental benefit properties
  3. A good fatty acid (omega 3) and DHA profile
  4. Gut health promoters (probiotics and  prebiotics like psyllium)
  5. Phytonutrient vegetables versus grains.

Blackhawk and Ivory coat are excellent value Australian made dry products . Of the frozen foods, Dr Billinghursts “BARF” (Bones And Raw Food) diet is a good raw (frozen) addition wholefood diet and also good as a treat.

Growing puppies are like adolescents so should be lean not flabby. They should fill into the lanky frame at around 18-24 months and not before. Flappy pups have a quadrupled incidence of hip dysplasias and other joint cartilage diseases. If the growing and yet undesexed pup is already overweight at 6 month it will only get worse as an adult! Underfeeding is a safer option if in doubt.

Ask the Vet or Nurse for help if you are unsure about target weights.

Hydrobath and Grooming

Our super self serve coin dog wash runs 24/7 and has night lights.  If you do experience and technical issues after hours please alert reception next day.

Insurance

Vets recommend  insurance because it allows us to practice the high quality medicine we were trained to provide and   allows to us make specialist referrals where indicated. It is disappointing however when you think you are cover only to discover not! Most products aside from Petplan are underwritten by Hollard Many will exclude dental problems , infectious disease and sometime limited tick /snake  poisoning so it pays to check . We can advise on best value policies

We also offer Certegy Ezipay payment plans for larger trauma case .

Emergencies

After 25 years of providing after- hours emergency work generally working through the next day it does take its toll. We now  refer our after-hours cases  to to either Animal Emergency Service Homemaker Centre Jindalee or Animal Referral Hospital Hospital on 17 Mile Rocks Rd . Both are just minutes away Appointments are not required for emergencies but it is a good idea to phone ahead so they can prepare for your arrival. Cases are stabilised, monitored through the night, then returned to us with communication – usually the following day. While there is always some inevitable loss of continuity it allows us to be fully functional, un-sleep deprived and able make best clinical decisions by day! For low care cases we still offer hospitalisation overnight on the premises and can arrange a nurse to monitor .

Petshop

We stock a range of quality diets, supplements , medications ,toys ,leads and dental aids at competitive prices and great advice. We will be soon be adding a drop shipping online service . Watch  this space !