Getting your First Puppy health check!
Before the purchase of your new puppy we suggest you pop into the vet clinic to chat to one of our nurses or vets and discuss what you might need before you bring your puppy home. Obviously apart from advice on where your pup should sleep we can assist you with some complicated decisions about the best worming treatments, flea and tick preventions and also getting the nutrition right from the start.
Although the breeder or petshop may well have started some of these things, often the requirements for your pup may differ depending on the sorts of diseases and parasites we have in our region of Sydney. There are so many different foods and products out their on the market that going to a pet shop can be daunting. Let us help simplify it for you and get it right from the start!
Once your pup is home you should visit a veterinarian as soon as possible. The first visit is vital as we can:
- Perform a thorough physical examination to determine his or her state of health.
- Examine the joints for any abnormalities and rule out any congenital issues
- Look for external parasites (fleas, ticks, lice, ear mites).
- Discuss when the next vaccination should be scheduled.
- Make a plan for when the next worming, heartworm and flea and tick treatments are due.
- Get your pup off to the right start with nutrition advice.
- Assist you with any questions regarding desexing.
- Discuss socialisation and puppy classes and how they can benefit your pup.
This first check is important as we can assess your pups current health status and this gives us a base so that we can better evaluate, monitor and manage your pet’s health as it grows and matures in these vital few months.
Desexing your new Puppy
Desexing not only helps solve the serious problem of unwanted pet overpopulation, but also has some other major benefits. Desexed female dogs are less likely to escape to find a mate, while castrated males are less likely to roam, urine-mark their territory, or fight with other males. Also, if desexed early on they are less likely to display excessive unwanted sexual behaviour like humping you and your family and any visitors that come over!
Most importantly however desexing has health benefits – it helps to minimise the risk of cancers of the reproductive organs and mammary glands in females, and reduces the incidence of prostate problems and testicular cancer
Speying is the removal of the reproductive organs of a female dog, usually around the age of 4-6 months. This surgery is done at your veterinarian under general anaesthesia. Full recovery is normally complete within 10 days when stitches are removed.
Castrating, involves the removal of the testicles of a male dog through an incision at the base of the scrotum. This is performed when the puppy is about 4-6 months old under general anaesthesia, and full recovery takes about seven to ten days.
Your puppy may be anxious so help it feel at home
We can give you advice on ways to make your puppy feel at home and secure. Remember they have probably just been taken from a group of litter mates and even their mum. They will be used to close contact with al their litter mates and the smell of mum. We often suggest keeping your pup in one room initially so as not to overwhelm it to much. Make it feel secure in one safe zone and show it where it can sleep, eat , drink and have some quiet time, If you have young kids around teach them to be gentle and give the pup a little space if it is needed. Your children and the new puppy will then go on to have a fabulous relationship together.
At 8 weeks of age, your puppy is capable of starting to learn some basic things about toilet-training and easy commands. We can suggest the best training methods and recommend a good puppy class. We can teach you how to make learning fun with positive reinforcement.
Your Senior dog
As your pet gets older it may be time for 6monthly check-ups. Often people think their pet is just slowing down because they are old. Although that maybe true to some extent, we can often slow down or assist this ageing process with some simple changes to nutrition and joint health. Also as your dog reaches 8years of age we are often screening for some other disease process that can occur in your ageing pet. Prevention and early intervention is far better than cure so please book your pet in for a senior health check if they are over the age of 7 years and have not seen a vet in the last 6 months.
Common issues in older pets
Older dogs are often less active so adjustments to diet may be required. Having a healthy weight helps reduce the load on your dogs ageing joints as well as decreasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and much more.
Osteoarthritis is not only painful but also debilitating. Most people just want their older dog to be comfortable. Their are many ways we can assist your pet through natural remedies, acupuncture, massage, physiotherapy and also medical therapies. Anti-inflammatory medication can help relieve the pain. A series of arthritis injections can also assist mobility and actually slow the progression of arthritis.
Temperature regulation is altered
Hormones which regulate body temperature are often reduced as our pets age meaning that they need to be kept warmer on cool days and cooler on hot days. They find it harder to regulate their temperature and may need some extra TLC. Maybe it’s time to bring your pet inside more often?
Tooth decay not only makes it hard to eat but also increases the likelihood of infections both in the gums and surrounding bones. Sometimes severe dental infections get into the bloodstream causing disease in the kidneys, liver and heart. Cleaning the teeth, as well as regular dental check-ups and treatment by your veterinarian, will keep these problems under control.
Prostate enlargement and Mammary gland tumours
Such problems occur mostly in un-desexed animals. If your pet is not desexed make sure you notify your vet and ask them to check these organs.
Skin and coat changes
As our pets age their skin loses some of its elasticity, making it thin and fragile. Hair coat changes can occur also. Often fatty acid supplementation can assist however quite often there is an underlying endocrine disorder (eg: hypothyroidism) which might fix the hair coat once we address the underlying issue.
Canine cognitive dysfunction
As your pet gets older you may notice some nigh-time restlessness, confusion or altered behavioural patterns liked increased barking. We can often assist such disorders with medications and help your pet live a more settled senior life.