Your New Puppy
As dog owners ourselves we’ve experienced the joy, concern and commitment a new puppy brings. Getting off to a good start with a new puppy will hopefully lay a solid foundation for a lifetime of mutual friendship and good times.
Your vet has a very important role to play here and anyone who have visited us will see just how many of our canine visitors enjoy coming to see us and renewing their friendship or perhaps just mooching for biscuits!
Creating the positive experience for our dogs starts with their very first visit when we provide our puppy starter programme.
We encourage you to come and see us as soon as possible after acquiring your new puppy and even if that means an extra visit, that is fine for us and adds no cost. You will have an extra long half hour appointment that first time, so we can meet and examine your puppy and discuss all of the aspects of puppy care, such as the vaccinations, worming, microchip, diet, training, insurance and parasite control. Please bring with you any questions you have and we’ll be happy to answer them. We’ll outline what your puppy needs, customised for your puppy, you and your family’s situation. You won’t be exposed to a rigid scheme nor railroaded into purchases you don’t need.
It is likely you will see us two or three times and for a well puppy we charge you only a single routine examination for all of our time, plus the materials used. Routine appointments at Oak Tree are twenty minutes so we can carry out a good examination, explain things and you will always have time to ask questions right there and then.
If you are new to Oak Tree Vet Centre, you can also take advantage of our special offer, by filling out the voucher from opposite. That’ll save you £15 from our already modest fee.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
There are lots of things to check in a new puppy and we take care to be thorough but also friendly and gentle and encourage you to repeat some of the things we do at home so looking at the mouth, ears, eyes and feet are part of daily handling and create no fear or resentment.
- the mouth and the alignment of the teeth and jaws and make sure the internal structures are alright.
- the eyes for developmental problems and for eyelid issues such as extra eyelashes and in-turning lids
- the ears for infections and parasites. That often involves taking a small sample of earwax with a cotton bud for examination under the microscope.
- the chest to listen to the lungs and heart sounds
- the abdomen to feel the internal organs and check for hernias. We look to see if the testicles are properly descended in male puppies.
- the skin to check for disease, parasites and whether there are any issues with the claws.
- the weight to advise of feeding and worming.
- The key is to be gentle and patient and make the whole thing seem like extended play.
Weighing your puppy
The best vaccinations
What is vaccination ?
Vaccination is the active process by which we can protect your dog against some of the most serious dog diseases, by giving injections as a puppy and by “topping up” the cover with the all important annual boosters.
In addition, dogs can be protected from most forms of “kennel cough”, a distressing but not usually fatal range of diseases, contracted during boarding, from doggy day care or dog walking, at dog shows or classes, or simply from exercising your dog in the park.
What is in the vaccine ?
The injection vaccine contains four components.
This is an extremely unpleasant dysentery type of disease. Affected dogs are profoundly depressed, vomit, have abdominal pain and pass large amounts of foul smelling, bloody diarrhoea.
When we see cases, prompt and aggressive treatment is the only hope of a cure and most estimates give only a 50% chance of survival. The mainstay of treatment is replacing the fluid loss by intravenous drip, whilst the infection runs its course. It is not uncommon to give more fluids than the whole body weight of the the patient during treatment. Those dogs lucky enough to survive, take a long time to recover, fully, as they lose a tremendous amount of weight.
This is one of the oldest dog diseases known and is still to be found in virtually every city in the UK. Usually, dogs start with a runny nose and eyes and have a cough. Later on they develop vomiting and diarrhoea. If they survive, they can go on to develop thickening of the foot pads (this is why distemper is sometimes called hard pad), and damage to the teeth, which become yellowed and are lost, prematurely. The most sinister long term consequence of distemper, in those dogs who survive, is the damage to the nervous system which can lead to fits in later life. In my experience, most of the older dogs presenting with fits are those who have not been vaccinated or where the annual boosters have been neglected.
3) Infectious hepatitis
This disease attacks the liver and can be rapidly fatal. Even prompt and aggressive treatment often fails to save an affected dog.
This is a bacterial disease spread by the urine of affected or carrier animals such as rats. The disease affects and can be spread to people and is extremely unpleasant. It is often called Weil’s disease.
The disease attacks both the liver and kidneys and in some cases dogs die within a few hours of going down with leptospirosis. Dogs who survive often have kidney scarring, leading eventually to premature death through kidney failure.
Fortunately, we don’t see rabies infection in the UK but if your pet is to travel with you or you are moving abroad, rabies vaccination is usually needed to give your pet protection against this almost invariably fatal disease.
“Kennel cough” vaccine
The best vaccine for this unpleasant disease is one containing both Bordetella and Parainfluenza components, the organisms thought to be the main culprits in the “kennel cough” disease.
This vaccine is administered as drops up the nose and gives a year’s protection. This is given, in addition to the normal injections, usually at the same time but it can be at any time if the need arises. Ideally the vaccine is given at least 14 days before the anticipated risk but even five days before will give good protection.
When do I vaccinate my dog?
Normally, we vaccinate puppies from six weeks of age.
Also, we offer an additional initial check up to apparently healthy puppies as part of our starter program, if they are part way through their vaccinations when we first see them.
The timing of your visits depends upon the age of your puppy and if they have had any vaccinations already. We shall guide you and formulate a schedule to suit your individual situation.
Why you should vaccinate your dog.
As you will have read, vaccination is the only way to protect your friend from these serious or fatal diseases.
Your dog depends upon you and only you for all his or her needs and this is not limited to feeding, exercise and companionship.
Part of being a responsible guardian is arranging preventative measures such as vaccination and worming as well as seeking help when accident or illness strikes.
Even if you choose not to vaccinate your dog, we shall support you and offer prompt and conscientious treatment should your cat suffer from any of these serious diseases. We can organise hospitalisation for sick pets that provides round the clock care, should that be necessary.
However, we can assure you that from our experience, the most pain the owners feel comes from the fact that the illness or loss of their pet could have been so easily avoided.
All puppies are born with worms within their tissues – yes the Ascarid (round) worm that infests dogs is so sophisticated that it is able to migrate into the tissues of the unborn puppy so that each puppy is infested at birth. The worm larvae also head to the mother’s breast tissue to give the puppies a second dose of worms as they feed. Therefore we recommend worming young puppies at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks and 12 weeks and then 6 months of age. We look at what worming has been done for your puppy and adapt this programme accordingly.
Your puppy's individual vaccination certificate and health check record.
We are firm supporters of microchipping and indeed it will be a legal requirement soon.
We have reunited hundred of owners with their pets through reading their chip.
We offer the newer mini-chips meaning a smaller needle and more comfortable insertion.
There’s a specially reduced price for the service if done at a vaccine visit.
Free bag of food and coupons, advice on feeding and dental care
Advice on neutering and/or breeding
For the majority of our new puppies there is a decision to be made about neutering and we shall run through the pros & cons and timing to best suit your individual circumstances. For those hoping to breed at some point with your new puppy, we can advise on the various health test schemes applying to your breed and guide you through this process when the time comes and provide a full veterinary service regarding mating and all aspects for pregnant mums and beyond.
An information pack to enable you to get the best service from us
A free adolescent health check with one of our veterinary nurses
Usually at around six months of age, we have another look at your puppy to make sure his or her development is on course.
We have a well stocked reception with many interesting and necessary items for your puppy.
We provide our puppy starter service at a very attractive price. Please telephone us on 0131 539 7539 for further details. We look forward to seeing you.