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Pet Advice

Useful pet advice from Heath Vets in Cardiff

  • New Puppy
  • New Kitten
  • Taking Your Pet Abroad
  • Nutritional Advice
  • Time to Say Goodbye

New Puppy

Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Even if you’ve had a puppy, before, it’s a good idea to remind yourself of the basic healthcare that will keep your pet in tip-top condition. If you haven’t had a dog before, we can provide you with plenty of information on taking the best care of your new friend.

Once you’ve settled your puppy into their new home with a safe, warm bed to call his own, it’s time to plan their healthcare schedule. Maintaining regular annual health checks and keeping up to date with simple preventative measures of vaccinations and treatment for fleas and worms will ensure that your new puppy gets off to the best start for a long and happy life.

The main areas to consider:

  • Vaccination
  • Flea Control
  • Worming
  • Neutering
  • Training
  • Insurance
  • Microchipping
  • Diet

You’ll find more details on each of these topics here, and of course, we’re always here to help with any questions or advice. Please just ask at reception or give us a call.

Twelve top tips for responsible dog owners:

Owning a dog is both a joy and a responsibility, and by following just a few simple recommendations, you can keep them healthy and happy and you will thoroughly enjoy your years together:

  1. Train your dog to obey your commands and always have them under control.
  2. Exercise your dog every day; do not allow them to roam without you.
  3. Train your dog to defacate only in your garden. Carry a poop-scoop to clear up after them, should an accident happen when out for a walk.
  4. Groom regularly, including the awkward bits! And brush their teeth too (ideally, every day).
  5. Take them to the vet for an annual health examination.
  6. Booster vaccinations against the important infectious diseases must be given every year.
  7. Have them spayed or castrated, for their health’s sake.
  8. Use effective flea-control measures all year round.
  9. Feed the best quality food you can– a premium-quality dry biscuit diet is usually best.
  10. De-worm at least every three months.
  11. Get insurance to cover veterinary costs.
  12. Have an identity microchip implanted.

New Kitten

Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Even if you’ve had a kitten before, it’s a good idea to remind yourself of the basic healthcare that will keep your pet in tip-top condition. If you haven’t had a cat before, we can provide you with plenty of information on taking the best care of your new friend.

Once you’ve settled your kitten into theie new home, with a safe, warm bed to call their own and a litter tray on hand, it’s time to plan their healthcare schedule. Maintaining regular annual health checks and keeping up to date with simple preventative measures of vaccinations and treatment for fleas and worms will ensure that your new kitten gets off to the best start for a long and happy life.

The main areas to consider:

  • Vaccination
  • Flea Control
  • Worming
  • Neutering
  • Training
  • Insurance
  • Microchipping
  • Diet

You’ll find more details on each of these topics here and of course, we’re always here to help with any questions or advice. Please just ask at reception or give us a call.

Ten top tips for responsible cat owners:

Owning a cat is both a joy and a responsibility, and by following just a few simple recommendations, you can keep them healthy and happy and you will thoroughly enjoy your years together.

  1. Spend quality time with your cat every day. Although they don’t need to be taken for a walk, playing games with them and giving them attention is important in bonding with them.
  2. Groom regularly, including the awkward bits! And brush their teeth too (ideally, every day).
  3. Take them to the vet for an annual health examination.
  4. Booster vaccinations against the important infectious diseases must be given every year.
  5. Have them spayed or castrated, for their health’s sake.
  6. Use effective flea-control measures all year round.
  7. De-worm at least every three months.
  8. Get insurance to cover veterinary costs
  9. Feed the best quality food you can - a premium-quality dry biscuit diet is usually best.
  10. Have an identity microchip implanted.

Taking Your Pet Abroad

In 2000, the UK government complied with European legislation which liberalised the movement of animals within the EU. This involved the introduction of Pet Passports, and allowed dogs, cats and ferrets to travel to other countries in Europe and return to the UK without having to go through quarantine.
To do this, they had to be vaccinated against rabies, a blood test had to confirm immunity to rabies, and then they had to wait 6 months before they could travel. Before returning to the UK, they had to be treated by a vet for tapeworms and ticks.

Over time, the rules were modified – the number of entry ports was increased and the list of countries which dogs could visit or be imported from was added to, extending the Scheme worldwide. APHA keeps a list of countries approved for travel under these arrangements – click here for list. Pets can also be imported from non-approved countries, but there are extra procedures to follow.

On 1st Jan 2012, a major reform meant that the requirements are now much less rigorous. For entry to the UK from EU and approved other countries, the following are stipulated:

  • Every animal must be implanted with a microchip. The number will be recorded on the Passport, and should be checked whenever the animal is examined in relation to the passport.
  • Rabies vaccination must be given AFTER the microchip has been implanted. The requirement for a blood test to prove immunity was dropped.
  • The Passport can be issued immediately, and pets are able to travel 21 days after the date of the rabies vaccination. The 6-month wait has been abandoned.
  • When returning to the UK, pets must be treated for tapeworm between 24 and 120 hours before entering. This treatment must be administered by a vet who must complete the relevant entry in the Passport. The need to treat for ticks has been removed.

Full details of all the requirements are available on the APHA website. If you want to phone about the Scheme, there is a dedicated APHA phone number: 08459 33 55 77.

Other aspects of travelling abroad

The Pet Travel Scheme is concerned with ensuring that the UK remains free of rabies and the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis , because these have serious human health implications. Strangely, it is not concerned with keeping pets healthy or safe. It is important to remember that there are many other health hazards your pet may encounter when abroad, and you should take precautions to prevent problems.

Exactly which diseases may be encountered depends on where you are travelling. If you are planning a trip, please make an appointment for our Travel Clinic, and we will be able to give specific advice on the diseases prevalent there and the preventative measures you should take. The appointment should be at least two weeks, preferably a month, before you travel, because special treatments may need to be ordered.

We have prepared an information sheet with more information on exotic diseases which you can download here.

Nutritional Advice

We recognise the importance to our patients of having a good diet. Healthy individuals live a happier and more productive life, and having a top quality well balanced diet is of great importance in achieving this goal. Most of our nurses and receptionists are qualified Nutritional Advisors, and are only too happy to discuss your pet’s needs at any time. The best time to start a healthy diet is with a new puppy or kitten, but it is never too late to change, and our staff will be able to discuss with you the best way to feed your particular pet.

Every individual is different, so the advice will always be tailored for you. Animals’ lifestyles and nutritional needs change throughout the various stages of life - from juvenile, to adult, to OAP. Some are very energetic and always look thin, others tend to put on weight too easily. A well-balanced complete food is available for all types, and our Nutritional Advisors will help you decide what is best for you.

Obesity is a problem for many dogs, and leads to many of the same problems which affect overweight people - arthritis, diabetes, breathing difficulties, to name but a few. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, (or if the vet has said that you should be!) ask for guidance on how to cut down the calorie intake. There are a number of low-calorie complete dog foods available, and they make dieting much easier for all concerned.

There are many other examples of illnesses which can be influenced by diet:

  • Sugar diabetes in dogs can be much easier to control if a high-fibre diet is used
  • Chronic kidney failure needs a restricted phosphate and protein diet
  • Some skin allergies are caused by proteins in the food - hypo-allergenic diets can be very beneficial
  • Acute gastro-enteritis cases need a highly digestible, low-residue food with low fat levels
  • Chronic colitis often responds to a high-fibre diet

Your veterinary surgeon may advise a particular diet for your pet to help with an illness. This is often a very important part of the treatment, and should be strictly adhered to. If this poses any particular problems, then discuss them with the vet - there may be alternative strategies.

Time to Say Goodbye

How do I know it is time?

As pet owners, we endeavour to make sure that our faithful companions stay fit and healthy, enabling them to live to an old age. Unfortunately, our pets do not live as long as us and at some point, we will have to prepare to let them go. Sadly, few of our pets pass peacefully away in their sleep. Therefore, we all wish to do the right thing at the right time, fulfilling our responsibility and commitment in their final days. We hope these words will help you and your family in a time of conflicting emotions.

Nobody knows their pet better than you and your closest family and friends, so let them help and share in making a reasoned judgement on your pet’s quality of life.
 
Indications that things may not be well may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • A reluctance to play and move around as normal
  • Restlessness or becoming withdrawn from you

When the time is right to put your pet to sleep, you may see evidence of a combination of all the above indicators and your pet may seem distressed, uncomfortable or disorientated within your home.
 
Is there nothing more I can do?

As your vet, we will discuss all treatment options available for your pet to relieve their symptoms, but there will come a time when all forms of treatment have been exhausted, we have discovered the disease is incurable, or you feel your pet is suffering too much. You and your family may wish to talk with your Veterinary Surgeon to help you all come to this final decision; in this case, we will arrange an appointment for you.
 
When and where can we say goodbye?

We hope this section will help you and your family understand your pet’s end-of-life journey. This is known as ‘euthanasia’ but often referred to as ‘putting to sleep’. After discussing with your family and your vet, and having decided that the time has come, you can contact your surgery and make an appointment. We will always try to make this appointment at a time that is convenient for you – usually at a quieter time of the day.
 
It is also possible to arrange this appointment to be performed in the comfort of your own home. If this is an option you would like, we will do our best to arrange a home visit. In these cases, a vet and a nurse will visit your home. When they have put your pet to sleep, they will either take the body back to the surgery for cremation or leave them with you to bury at home. Additional charges will apply for this service and certain times of day may be restricted.
 
Will I be able to stay with my pet?

Being present when your pet is put to sleep will be both emotional and distressing, but the majority of owners feel that they give comfort to their pet during their last moments, and can make their final goodbyes. But this is not comfortable for everyone; we understand if you do not want to stay in the room with your pet but make your goodbyes afterwards. We will always make time for you and your family to do this.
 
What will happen?

Initially, your vet or another member of our team will ask you to sign a consent form to give us permission to put your pet to sleep. You may have already discussed with your vet what you then wish to do with your pet’s body, but we will confirm this on the consent form.
 
Many owners are surprised by how peaceful euthanasia can be. Euthanasia involves injecting an overdose of anaesthetic into the vein of your pet’s front leg. Some of our vets would have previously inserted a catheter into the vein or sedated your pet if they are particularly nervous or uncomfortable.
 
After the anaesthetic has been injected, your pet’s heart will stop beating and they will rapidly lose consciousness and stop breathing. Your vet will check that their heart has stopped beating and confirm that they have passed away. On occasion, the pet’s muscles and limbs may tremble and they may gasp a few times, these are reflex actions only – not signs of life – but may be upsetting. If they occur, they are unavoidable. Your pet’s eyes will remain open and it is normal for them to empty their bowel or bladder as the body shuts down.


Afterwards

What happens next?

There are several options available for your pet. Your Veterinary team can discuss these with you and give you an idea of costs involved.

  • Communal Cremation – Leave your pet with us to be cremated with other pets. With this type of cremation, no ashes will be returned to you. For the majority of our clients, this is the most appropriate form of closure.
  • Individual Cremation – A private cremation for your pet at our nominated crematorium company, Pet Cremation Services (PCS). Your pet’s ashes will then be returned to you in either a sealed casket of your choice or a scatter box, for you and your family to scatter their ashes in a location of your choice.

When will I need to decide?

We would encourage you and your family to discuss these options before your pet is put to sleep, and to let your vet know. We will keep a note of your wishes with pet’s notes. However, in some cases the euthanasia may have occurred after an accident and you will need more time to make this decision. It is possible for us to keep your pet for a short time afterwards, to give you and your family time to reflect before making a decision.
 
Coping with the loss

Everyone deals with grief in different ways. When grieving for a much-loved pet, you or other members of your family may experience a range of emotions from shock, denial, disbelief and, very often, guilt. Should you wish to talk to anyone at your Veterinary surgery, we can offer support and advice.
If, after reading these pages, there are still facts you would like to know, we will be more than happy to help. Please contact us at the surgery.

The following organisations can provide further help and support:

The Ralph Site

The Blue Cross

The Blue Cross also offer a bereavement support line if you would like to talk to someone. The number is 0800 0966606. The sites above also offer special books that have been written to help your children understand the loss of their pets.

Practice information

Rhiwbina Surgery

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  • Mon
    8:00am - 6:45pm
  • Tue
    8:00am - 6:45pm
  • Wed
    8:00am - 6:45pm
  • Thu
    8:00am - 6:45pm
  • Fri
    8:00am - 6:45pm
  • Sat
    8:00am - 1:00pm
  • Sun
    Closed
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Find us here:

123-125 Heol-y-Deri Rhiwbina Cardiff CF14 6UH
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Heath Surgery

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  • Mon
    9:00am - 6:45pm
  • Tue
    9:00am - 6:45pm
  • Wed
    9:00am - 6:45pm
  • Thu
    9:00am - 6:45pm
  • Fri
    9:00am - 6:45pm
  • Sat
    10:00am - 1:00pm
  • Sun
    Closed
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Find us here:

326 Whitchurch Road Heath Cardiff CF14 3NG
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Cyncoed Surgery

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  • Mon
    10:00am - 6:45pm*
  • Tue
    10:00am - 6:45pm*
  • Wed
    10:00am - 6:45pm*
  • Thu
    10:00am - 6:45pm*
  • Fri
    10:00am - 6:45pm*
  • Sat
    9:00am - 12:00pm
  • Sun
    Closed
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Find us here:

291 Cyncoed Road Cyncoed Cardiff CF23 6PA
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Danescourt Surgery

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  • Mon
    9:00am - 6:45pm
  • Tue
    9:00am - 6:45pm
  • Wed
    9:00am - 6:45pm
  • Thu
    9:00am - 6:45pm
  • Fri
    9:00am - 6:45pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 12:00pm
  • Sun
    Closed
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Find us here:

Llantrisant Road Retail Park Llantrisant Road Cardiff CF5 2BF
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