Dogs

Advice and services ensuring the best of care for your dog

Advice and Services for Dogs

Dental Health

Dental disease is the most common problem treated in dogs and cats and also the area, where owners can do a lot to encourage a healthy mouth throughout an animals life.

Puppies should get used to their owners looking in their mouth and brushing their teeth. As a young pups' gums can be tender until about six months old, it is best just to rub their gums with finger-tips until they get used to their mouth being handled.

After six months of age, proper brushing can be started with either a specially shaped dog brush or finger brush (like a thimble) and dog toothpaste. Ideally, this should prevent hard tartar forming which would lead to dental problems. Other useful dental aids are:

  • Dry Food: Do not soften with water so it stays chrunchy
  • Dental Chews: Plenty of choice which your dog can gnaw, not gulp down
  • Dental Gels: A blob is placed inside the dogs mouth to destroy the bacteria which cause calculus formation (can help in difficult-to-handle pets)

Common Dental Problems

  • Retained deciduous (baby) teeth
  • Badly aligned top and bottom jaws
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Abscesses
  • Broken teeth
  • Tumors

We include a free dental check at six months of age as part of the puppy vaccination course and we advise a free check three months after dental treatment. Pets will have their mouths checked as part of their yearly booster vaccination visit and appointments can be made at any time if you notice a problem - they are free with one of our nurses.

If your dog does require further dental attention, most dental procedures require a general anesthetic and are carried out as day patients.

Diet

An important issue to consider is diet. There are a wide variety of diets available and they are split into either dry or wet diets. Dry diets tend to be better for dogs teeth. If you get a puppy, you may decide to keep it on the same diet that it was given by the breeder, which may be fine but it is important to ensure that this is a complete puppy diet.

Most commercially available diets are complete. If what your dog is fed is not complete, choose a new diet and slowly introduce the new diet, mixed in with the old one over a number of days. This will help avoid any digestive upsets.

Once you have chosen a diet, stick with it, as constantly changing the diet is likely to make your dog fussy. These diets are designed to be complete, therefore your dog requires no additional feeding. If you are training your dog and wish to use treats, use low calorie biscuits or some of your dogs dried food. A number of treats are available on the market, but it is important to remember that many of these are very high in calories.

Dog Obesity

Obesity in dogs is a rising epidemic and is a factor in a number of canine diseases, including osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus and some types of cancer. It is much easier to prevent your dog from becoming obese than to investigate a weight loss program.

A number of simple measures can be employed to prevent your puppy from becoming overweight or obese. Firstly, do not overfeed your dog; give only the amount recommended by the manufacturer for the animals age and weight. Do not give your dog leftovers from the dinner table or other high calorie treats and ensure that your dog receives regular exercise.

If you are worried that your dog may be overweight, please contact the practice to arrange a free weight clinic with one of our nurses to help set achievable goals and get your dog into shape.

Dry Eyes

'Dry-eye' is a common and serious condition affecting tear production and sight. Tear glands are progressively destroyed, reducing and eventually stopping tear production. The eyes become painful, undesirable changes develop and vision is gradually lost.

It is vital to diagnose this painful condition early as research shows that early treatment is most effective.

This condition affects some breeds more commonly than others, e.g. Cocker Spaniel, West Highland Terrier, King Charles Spaniel and Shih tzu. Dry-eye is not always obvious by looking; tear measurement is needed to check if your dog is affected.

To make an appointment to have your dogs tear production measured, please contact us. It is a quick and easy test with immediate results.

Flea Control

Fleas and flea eggs are found anywhere that dogs go. Unless you treat for fleas, at some point your dog will inevitably pick them up. One flea brought into your house will lay thousands of microscopic eggs, which go into carpets, soft furnishings, etc.

Flea eggs are very tough and can last up to two years in your home. In many cases, when you think your dog has picked up a flea from outside, it is actually from an egg that was already in your house.

What are the symptoms?

As well as getting irritation from flea bites, dogs that continue to be bitten will often develop an allergy to the flea's saliva. After an allergy has started, the affected dog gets a severe reaction to every bite. This causes hair loss, red irritated skin and severe itching. Treating your dog regularly will prevent an allergy from starting.

Fleas can also act as an intermediate host for the tapeworm. Therefore, any dog being treated for tapeworm should also receive some flea treatment.

Fleas will not live on people, but we can get bitten, leaving red marks on the skin.

Which flea product?

There are lots of flea products on the market (shampoos, powders, sprays, etc). Only products sold by vets are actually effective in stopping your dog picking up fleas and infecting your house. All flea products can be supplied over the counter without the need to see a vet but you do need to be a registered client. You can easily register online with us here.

It is very important to treat all pets in the household as the same flea species will live on both cats and dogs. Another often overlooked aspect of flea control is treatment of the environment to destroy any egg and immature fleas and hereby prevent reinfection of your dog.

Worming

There are many parasitic worms that can infect dogs, most affecting the digestive tract, but some can cause serious damage to other organs, including the lungs.

Roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm and whipworm live in your dog's intestine and may cause weight loss, sickness, diarrhoea, and a 'pot-bellied' appearance.

The dog lungworm, Angiostrongylus vasorum, has recently spread to most parts of the UK, including Ayrshire, and can be fatal if not treated. It causes breathlessness or coughing and can affect blood clotting, causing excessive bleeding.

How often to treat for worms?

For puppies, we recommend treating for roundworms every two weeks until 12 weeks old.

For pups over 12 weeks old and all adult dogs, we recommend treating for intestinal worms every three months. 

All pups and dogs which have contact with slugs and snails outdoors should be treated monthly to prevent lungworm.

How does my dog become infected with worms?

Puppies can be infected with roundworm in the womb before they are born and through their mother's milk, unless she has been wormed during the pregnancy.

Worm eggs of many types can be passed in dog faeces and survive on the ground before being swallowed by another dog to complete the worm life cycle.

Tapeworms require an intermediate host to complete their life cycle. This may be a small mammal such as a mouse, vole or rabbit, a large mammal such as a sheep or deer, or fleas. Dogs become infected when they swallow infected meat or fleas. 

Lungworm also requires an intermediate host, in this case slugs and snails. Dogs may be at risk if they swallow the slug or snail or even if they lick slime trails.

Can worms be passed on to my family?

Although it is unlikely that you or your family will catch worms from your pet, it is possible for people to be infected by roundworms or Toxocara. Roundworm eggs are passed in dog faeces and can persist in soil or sand, sometimes for years. Small children are most at risk from infection, which occurs when eggs are accidentally swallowed. The eggs then hatch into larvae which can move through body tissues causing damage, notably to the eyes. 

To prevent human infection it's important to:

  • Worm your dog regularly
  • Scoop your dog's poop - if done immediately there should be minimal risk, as it takes a few weeks for roundworm eggs to become infective
  • Do not allow dogs to toilet in areas where children play (especially parks and sandpits)
  • Ensure that all family members wash their hands thoroughly with soap after being outdoor (rub-on hand sanitisers won't do the job)
  • Teach young children not to put dirty hands to their mouths or faces

Which wormer? 

There is a huge choice when it comes to worming products, however many do not treat all of the different types of worms. We recommend you choose a broad spectrum worming product that also acts against lungworm, supplied by us, so you can be assured that it will be effective. We can offer a choice of tablet, liquid, granule or spot-on products. Giving the right dose is very important, so we are happy to weigh your puppy or dog free of charge at any of our surgeries. If you are unsure, you are welcome to arrange a free nurse consultation to review your dog's parasite control needs or call or email your query to us. 

What else can I do to control worms?

In addition to regular worming, please remember the following advice:

  • Scoop the poop! Please use the appropriate bins when available, otherwise take 'doggy bags' home for proper disposal
  • Prevent your dog from eating it's own faeces or those of other dogs
  • Don't feed your dog raw meat or allow them to scavenge carrion
  • Use flea control
  • Don't leave dog toys and food bowls outside, especially overnight, for slugs and snails to crawl over
  • Do not allow your dog to toilet in children's play areas or on farm grazing land

Remember, prevention is better than cure. Worm regularly and clean up your dog's faeces.

Further Information

Neutering

Neutering your pet, whether it is male or female, has a number of advantages:

Male dogs

  • Prevents wandering
  • Prevents unwanted aggression
  • Prevents inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Dramatically reduces the risk of prostate problems later in life

Female dogs

  • Prevents unwanted puppies
  • Prevents potentially life threatening uterine infection known as pyometra
  • Prevents seasons which can be messy, and cause behavioural changes
  • If done before their first season it drastically reduces the risk of mammary cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in bitches

The optimum time to spay a bitch is three months after the last season. Bitches can be neutered prior to the first season provided they are mature. We will advise you accordingly.

Castration involves removal of both testicles via a simple incision. Spaying a bitch involves a hysterectomy and removal of both ovaries so your bitch will not come into season again.

In both male and female, your pet will only require to be hospitalized for a day with no overnight stay required in the majority of patients. Recovery from surgery is usually straight forward and your pet will be required to wear an elizabethan collar or 'bucket' to prevent excessive licking of the wound.

Neutering is a routine procedure that is carried out almost every day by our vets. We advise neutering when your dog is around six months old. For further information, please contact your nearest surgery.

Vaccination and Diseases

About Vaccinations

Why vaccinate?

Vaccination is vital to protect your puppy or dog from a wide range of highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases. Prevention is better than cure and vaccination provides an effective and safe way to ensure your pet is protected.

At MBM Vets, we follow WSAVA guidelines on vaccination frequency. We can also offer blood testing to assess your dog's immune status for canine parvovirus, distemper virus and infectious canine hepatitis. There is currently no test available for leptosirosis antibody.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines stimulate your dog's immune system by mimicking a virus or bacterium without causing any of the symptoms of the disease. This means if your pet encounters the disease, it recognizes it and mounts a strong immune response, preventing the disease from establishing. A course of two vaccinations are needed initially to allow this immune stimulation to occur and after this, immunity can be boosted by re-vaccination at intervals.

When should my dog be vaccinated?

Vaccination should start as soon as possible, as younger animals are more vulnerable to infection and can be more severely affected than older animals. We advise vaccinating your puppy at eight weeks old and again at 10 weeks. Although it is very tempting to take your new puppy out to show it the world, remember that full immunity does not develop until one week after the second injection.

The vaccine we use at MBM has been chosen because it gives earlier protection than some other vaccines. This allows you to socialise your pup as soon as possible, which may help prevent behavioural problems developing.

We recommend an annual health-check and booster for your dog throughout it's life. However, the content of the vaccine varies each year and we only give the vaccine that your dog needs.

If your dog misses a booster by two or more years, instead of one injection, your dog will need two injections, two weeks apart.

Which vaccinations should my dog receive?

Your pet should be protected against those diseases which are common, highly contagious and cause serious illness or death. Such diseases include Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Leptospirosis.

Bordetella and Parainfluenza virus cause 'Kennel Cough' and an intranasal vaccine is available for this.

Rabies vaccination is required if your dog is travelling abroad. Check with the practice at least six months beforehand and with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
 

About the Diseases

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus is a highly infectious virus spread by infected faeces, that is also very stable in the environment. This means it can be picked up and spread by owners' hands and shoes. Clinical signs include dullness, inappetence, severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Dogs often die from dehydration if not treated quickly enough. Vaccination is the only certain method of preventing this potentially fatal disease, which is most severe in young pups and elderly dogs.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis

Caused by Canine Adenovirus Type I, this disease is transmitted among dogs by contact with secretions, such as saliva, infected urine or faeces. Clinical signs include loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice and the development of 'Blue Eye'.

Canine Distemper

Vaccination against this often fatal, hard-to-treat disease is absolutely essential. Highly contagious, it belongs to the same family as that of measles and is spread by close dog-to-dog contact. Symptoms can include listlessness, fever, coughing, diarrhoea and vomiting; convulsions and paralysis may occur in the disease's final stages. The distemper virus attacks many organs, including the nervous system, which may be permanently damaged, even if the dog recovers. Distemper is most common in three to six months old puppies. Ferrets can also be affected so we recommend vaccinating them against distemper too.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease, usually spread by infected urine, which causes liver and kidney failure in infected dogs. Importantly, this disease is zoonotic, which means it can also affect humans (Weils's disease). In people, there are a wide range of symptoms, from flu-like symptoms to jaundice, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

Kennel Cough

Parainfluenza is one of the viruses implicated in the syndrome known as 'Kennel Cough', along with the Canine Adenovirus and the bacterium Bordetella Bronchiseptica. Clinical signs are generally restricted to a dry, hacking cough, mild fever and loss of appetite for a few days. Although this condition is not usually fatal, it is highly contagious and can cause more serious lung disease (bronchopneumonia) in neonatal pups and or older/debilitated dogs with other conditions. If your dog is going to boarding kennels, it will almost always be a requirement that they are vaccinated against this, although your dog may still develop a cough caused by other respiratory infections.

Dog Behaviour and Socialisation

One of the big secrets to having a friendly dog who is happy to meet people, and which you can confidently take anywhere, is early socialisation.

Early vaccination means that puppies can safely start going for walks at 11 weeks of age. Before then, carrying your young puppy out and about lets it experience the sights, smells and sounds of the big wide world without any risk of serious infection like parvo virus.

The more positive experiences a puppy has in its first few months, the better prepared it will be for life with its human family. New experiences should be introduced slowly, carefully and calmly and at the pup’s own pace, to prevent it from becoming overwhelmed and fearful. If your pup seems anxious about anything, don’t force the issue, but don’t over-reassure either – remain calm yourself and reward good behaviour with praise or a small treat.

To help you make the most of early socialisation for your puppy we run two classes at our Kilmarnock branch. Clients from all of our branch surgeries are welcome to attend. Pups and owners not registered at MBM are also very welcome – please bring your pup’s vaccination certificate.

Puppy School

Puppy Preschool

For pups 8 - 10 weeks old after their first vaccination
This is an introductory class for puppies that have had their first vaccination, run by our nurses who can advise on house training, parasite control and other topics. Please carry your puppy until you have reached the preschool room, which will have been cleaned specifically to be safe for young pups to play in.

Every Friday between 3:30pm - 4:30pm at our Kilmarnock Surgery. Follow our Facebook page for updates or if we have to cancel a session for reasons out of our control.

These sessions are free.

Puppy Playgroup

For pups 11 - 17 weeks old
MBM Vets have run a Puppy Playgroup at our Kilmarnock Surgery since 1993. The methods are kind, fair and effective, as advocated by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). We aspire to help forge strong, positive bonds between you and your pup.

These classes, for fully vaccinated pups, are held in controlled, secure indoor and outdoor facilities. Each session is attended by several trainers, who have years of experience and continue to improve their skills by attending relevant training courses. Our training team includes a member of the APDT and a registered veterinary nurse. A great deal of guidance and advice on many puppy care topics is available to help prevent problem behaviour developing.

At Playgroup, your pup learns not only how to behave with other dogs, but also how to follow commands from you while distractions are present. Many puppy owners come back with their next pup as they have found the service helpful, interesting and enjoyable.

Every Thursday between 7:00pm - 8:00pm at our Kilmarnock Surgery. Follow our Facebook page for updates or if we have to cancel a session for reasons out of our control.

£3 per session.

Behaviour Problems in Adult Dogs

A well behaved dog is a pleasure to own but it takes time, patience and understanding to achieve that goal. Remember that training your dog never stops - using reward-based methods should continue throughout your dog’s life.

If you have concerns about your dog’s behaviour, please contact us early rather than allowing a problem to escalate. Our vet nurses offer behaviour counselling and a vet check can address any medical issues which may be affecting your dog. We encourage all family members who are involved with the dog to attend as consistency in the way the problem is dealt with is vital to success.

We may recommend referral to a behaviouralist in some cases. 

Practice information

Kilmarnock Surgery

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21 Hill Street Kilmarnock Ayrshire KA3 1HF
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Mauchline Surgery

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16 Kilmarnock Road Mauchline Ayrshire KA5 5DE
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Beith Surgery

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26 Kings Road Beith Ayrshire KA15 2BQ
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