Pet Essentials

Fleas

Fleas are a common problem, particularly in summer, but are an issue all year round. As well as carrying tapeworms, fleas are very irritating for pets, and can cause an allergic dermatitis. Fleas begin to breed at a faster rate as the weather warms in spring and summer. A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, so the flea population can rapidly expand.

Adult fleas on your pet represent only 5% of the total flea population, once you see a flea there are many more on the animal and even more in eggs and larva. Carpets and pet bedding provide an ideal breeding environment for fleas with eggs dropping off the animal into the environment. Effective flea control requires the use of products that break the flea breeding cycle get rid of the adult population. At the Vet Centre we only sell safe, effective flea treatments which last (including Frontline and Advantage), please contact us to purchase or for advice. Flea collars and tablets are ineffective at treating fleas and are potentially toxic and should be avoided.

Cat & Dog Worms

Worms are a common cause of ill health in dogs and cats and can cause symptoms ranging from poor condition, loss of appetite, pot belly, vomiting and diarrhoea, coughing, anaemia and even death. Young animals and those who scavenge or hunt are most at risk of worms and treatment for worms is especially important in these animals.

There are four worm types in New Zealand – round worms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms.

Roundworms are white, and round bodied. They may be vomited up or passed out in the stool. If present in large numbers they can cause ill heath or stunting of growth. Young animals can be infected through their mother’s milk and pregnancy and high burdens can occur in puppies and kittens of mothers who have not been regularly treated.

Tapeworms are long, flattened segmented worms that live in the intestine. Eggs develop in the segment, which then breaks off the worm, looking like grains of rice in the stool. Animals can be infected from birds, mice and rats; but also from infected fleas, therefore good flea control helps reduce infection. Fortunately, the Hydatid tapeworm is no longer common in dogs and can occur only when dogs are fed infected, uncooked sheep or goat offal containing cysts.

Hookworms can cause very severe signs including blood loss and weakness, and severe infestations can be fatal.

Whipworms resemble a stock whip and cause weight loss or diarrhoea in dogs.

Roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms can occasionally be a health hazard for people. Infection occurs simply by swallowing the eggs or larvae and this is most likely with young children who are playing with puppies, or who are in a soiled environment. Regular worm treatment combined with simple hygienic measures such as ensuring young children wash their hands after contact with pets and particularly before eating, will minimise the risk of infection.

Cat Vaccinations

Your kitten should have received its first vaccination together with a physical check up at 6 weeks of age, however this can be done at any time. This may have been done prior to the cat being re-homed and you would have received a vaccination certificate as proof of this.

A booster is required 3-4 weeks later (kittens younger than 3 months may need an additional booster). Full immune protection cannot be relied upon until after this final booster. The major diseases we vaccinate against include Feline Panleukopaenia Virus, Feline Herpes Virus, and Feline Calicivirus.

Feline Panleukopaenia is a very serious disease causing severe vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydration. It is often fatal in unvaccinated kittens and young cats, despite intensive veterinary care and therapy.

Upper respiratory disease is a common contagious disease resulting in sneezing, weepy eyes,loss of appetite and lethargy. Herpes virus and Calicivirus are the most common agents involved.

Annual boosters are essential to maintain your cat’s immunity to these serious and often fatal diseases.

A further vaccination against Feline Aids (FIV) is an optional addition. FIV is a immune disease predominantly spread by bites from other infected cats. We strongly recommend cats be covered against this fatal disease. There is an initial course of three vaccines given 3 weeks apart, then annual boosters are required.

Dog Vaccinations

Your dog should have received its first vaccination together with a physical check up as a puppy (usually around 6-8 weeks of age). This has often had this done prior to the dog being re-homed; you should have received a vaccination certificate as proof of this. A booster is required 3-4 weeks later (additional boosters may be required if your puppy is less than 3 months). Full immune protection cannot be relied upon until after the final booster.

The diseases we routinely vaccinate against (core vaccination) include Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis. A further vaccination against Leptospirosis is an optional addition. Leptospirosis is a disease caught from rats urine, so is particularly important in rural dogs and any dogs likely to swim in rivers. We strongly recommend all puppies be covered against this fatal disease.

Puppies that may have to go into a boarding kennel are required to have a vaccine against Kennel Cough. This is an upper respiratory tract disease usually occurring where dogs are in close contact – boarding kennels, shows, etc. It is an annual vaccine, given nasally. It can be given at the same time as any of the other vaccinations your dog may be having. Boosters are essential to maintain your dog’s immunity to these serious and often fatal diseases. These are required annually for Leptospirosis and Kennel Cough; and biannually for Parvovirus, distemper and Hepatits.