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.


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

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

Infectious Canine Hepatitis – Less frequent today due to effective vaccines. Causes liver disease and corneal problems can be fatal. Routinely 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 and  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.


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 (hookworm) . 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 or oral combos like Nexgard Spectra  and Simparica Trio . 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 a backyard are still at risk. Treatment for affected dogs is  complicated, unpleasant and expensive and not always fully effective . Prevention however is simple and effective with a choice of either 1. Once yearly Proheart SR12 injection, 2. Monthly spots – ons like Revolution or Advocate or 3. The 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 helps prevent unwanted puppies and can also  protect against mammary cancer and uterine infection (pyometra) in bitches. Neutered males are less aggressive toward other dogs tend to  wander less and are less likely to  hump the visitors leg.

On the other hand,..  desexing too early is associated with joint disorders, incontinence , obesity and even some cancers  .   Male puppies  may become fearfully  aggressive without the confidence of the male hormone . There is a optimal time which varies with the age and size of breed maturity . For smaller breeds female neutering is generally optimally performed around 6-8  months age as a day surgery and probably 10-12  months for males . Larger breeds at risk of joint disorders may benefit from delaying until maturity at 18 months . Medium breeds are in between .  As a general rule males can be delayed a few months longer  since  we are less concerned about risk of pregnancy.   If uncertain ask the Vet .   Sutures are usually dissolving and pain relief will be  given at the time of surgery and for a few days thereafter. Rest is important after especially for the first week . A Head collar may also be recommended to deter chewing of the surgery site .

Cats spays on the other hand are ideally done at 4 months for females either on the side (flank ) or belly (midline ).  Males are done 4- 6 months for males and generally no sutures are involved  .


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.


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 it is  expecting a lot from any single formula product to be able to  provide all known nutrients plus any   “non essential” but still beneficial agents which may prevent cancer, boost immunity or just  help keep teeth clean.  Dogs need do to chew for dental and psychological well being . Dry food kibble alone is not sufficient for gum exercise!  It is largely swallowed intact . All dogs will  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. Supermarket cereal sticks like “Dentabones ‘ unfortunately are sticky carb products full of calories which go mushy when wet and leave more food residue for bacteria on the gums so cannot be recommended. Leather hides or pig ears have minimal calorie but when wet act like a chamois to help polish teeth so are better options .

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 or breads have little place in a dog diet but are used as the cheap fillers in  poorer quality foods as the protein source . Cereals also interfere with zinc or calcium uptake and more frequent causes of food allergies.  Some carb however is important in the diet for energy production so that muscle is not burned for energy production .

When selecting a quality food for pups, features to look for are :

  1. Primarily meat not plant as main protein and is actual meat not derivatives
  2. Some (proven) abrasive dental benefit properties
  3. A good fatty acid (omega 3) and DHA profile
  4. Gut health promoters (probiotics and  prebiotics like psyllium, pumpkin, chicory )
  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. Prime is a new high quality single protein source diet suitable for skin and gut sensitivities .

Growing puppies are like adolescents . They  should be lean not flabby. They will  fill into the lanky frame at around 18-24 months and not before. Flappy pups have a quadrupled incidence of hip dysplasias ,cruciate ligament rupture and other joint cartilage diseases. If your growing still  undesexed pup is already overweight by  6 month this  will only get worse as an adult!  Underfeeding is a safer option if in doubt. Dont not be frightened to simply fast your dog once a week and give a chewy hide or bone instead . Dogs rarely get constant access to food in the wild.

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

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.


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 .


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 .


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 !