Preventative treatment prescription requirements

Prescribing POM-V preventative treatment

It is a legal requirement that in order to dispense prescription flea and worming treatments, your pet must have had a check-up with one of our Veterinary Surgeons within the past 12 months.

If it is more than 12 months since the last examination, then an appointment will be necessary. This is a legal requirement for all vets, we are only allowed to prescribe for animals under our care. This will be a chargeable consultation at the usual consultation fee, (currently £37.20-£46.80) and will be a 15-20 minute appointment with a Veterinary Surgeon.

We consider that for routine parasite control an annual examination is sufficient. This allows a regular (enough) weight to be on the record so we can ensure that the correct dose of medication is supplied.

As stated, this is the law and we must abide our governing bodies law. For more information, please visit the following websites:

 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1966/36

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/2033/contents/made

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1971/38/contents

https://www.rcvs.org.uk/setting-standards/advice-and-guidance/code-of-professional-conduct-for-veterinary-surgeons/supporting-guidance/veterinary-medicines/

It is possible to purchase parasite control which is not POM-V, but AVM-GSL category over the counter in retail shops from designated staff called SQP (Suitably Qualified Person). We are not legally able to do this. We also recommend researching the difference between POM-V preventative treatment and AVM-GSL preventative treatment.

Well Pet Club

We offer a pet health plan called the Well Pet Club which is a monthly payment that covers all of your pet’s preventative treatments. As well as preventative treatment, your pet will receive an annual booster, a half yearly health check and many more discounts. Starting from £9.95 per month you could save up to £130 a year.

Repeat medication FAQ’s

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How to get your cat or dog to take a pill

Have you found yourself pleading with your vet, saying “My dog won’t take pills”? If so, you’re not alone. Both dogs and cats are attracted to the smell and taste of many different things, but pill-flavoured pet food often isn’t one of them. Other dogs and cats are willing to ignore the pill entirely if it’s masked in food. To counter these common challenges, here are some tips for giving pills to dogs and cats.

Follow the directions

While some pet owners crush pills and mix them with their pet’s food, this should never be attempted without first asking your vet. Some formulations rely on the pill or capsule to remain intact to be effective and safe, while other medications are not to be given with food at all. Crushing a pill may also leave a medicinal smell in the room or on your hands that especially sensitive pets will notice.

Opt for pills with a pet-friendly taste

Many pills or tablets for pets now come in pet-friendly flavours, such as beef, chicken, or liver. Some pets will be more likely to take their medicine if they receive these tastier options. We use them on our own pets and can see first hand the benefits of flavoured tablets!

Gradually condition those who escape

Treat or no treat, some dogs and cats are reluctant to take pills and will run away when the time comes. At the first rattle of a foil pack, a pet may run away and hide in a space where even a cat couldn’t turn around. Then there’s the detective who skilfully separates food from medicine and holds it for a minute before spitting it out. Pursuing or restraining a distressed pet will only escalate the problem, so don’t go down this route.

End the pilling routine once and for all

Giving pills to your pet can become a struggle and/or result in missed doses. Some medicines, such as antibiotics that treat common bacterial skin infections, may not work as effectively if doses are given sporadically or incompletely.

The antidote to this challenge requires no food tricks, furniture moving, or undignified wrestling matches. Some veterinary medicines are formulated as chewable tablets, oral drops, or even injections (injections need to be administered in a clinic). This is especially helpful for administering antibiotics during a brief period of treatment.

In any case, always let us know if you have serious difficulty pilling your dog or cat so that they can work with you to find the best alternative solution.

Spring into action and keep the pests away!

Fleas are the most common of all external parasites found on pets. The cat flea is the most prevalent species of flea found on both cats and dogs. An infestation of fleas is both unpleasant and potentially dangerous for pets and their owners.

A flea‘s life cycle lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a month, though under the right conditions it can continue for much longer. During the lifecycle fleas go through a complete metamorphosis in three main stages:

  • Adult fleas jump on to a host (e.g. cat, dog  or human) and within minutes begin feeding  on the host’s blood. The flea bites lead to itching and  irritation and may also transmit serious  diseases.
  • In less than 48 hours fleas begin laying  numerous flea eggs that quickly fall off the  animal into the environment.
  • In a few days these eggs hatch into flea  larvae. These larvae dislike light and  immediately crawl deep into carpets and  cracks in floors making them hard to spot.  The larvae spin cocoons in which they  develop into pupae and when conditions are  right they emerge as new adult fleas ready to  jump onto a warm-blooded host and  perpetuate the cycle.

A single female can lay up to 50 eggs per day. In one month, 10 females could lay up to 15000 eggs. The pet spreads flea eggs everywhere it goes, leading to a massive infestation in the home environment. A flea can jump as far as 33 cm in one leap, so infestation of other pet sand humans is easy. Fleas measure 1-2 mm making them hardly visible. For every 5 fleas on the animal, 95 are invisible in the environment (eggs falling off the animal, existing eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment).

The whole home, including carpets, sofas, beds and the entire environment of the pet can be heavily infested by flea eggs and larvae, which are the seeds of future pet re-infestation. Vacuuming will only remove a small number of eggs and larvae because they are hidden deep in floors and rugs, and entwined in the fibres. Fleas can survive up to 6 months in the environment.

A single flea will bite its host around 10 times a day and ingest up to 15 times its weight in blood. Fleas also start to feed very shortly after landing on their host; 25% of fleas take their first feed within 5 minutes and 97%within an hour. This means that in cases of heavy infestation, fleas can produce anaemia in otherwise healthy animals, and in extreme cases, even death in smaller animals.

One of the main factors that allow fleas to rapidly complete their lifecycle is warmth, central heating therefore means fleas can reproduce all year round.

Wherever you live in the UK there is a risk that your cat could pick up ticks. Cats are inquisitive and ticks can be found anywhere, including in long grass, parks, meadows, woodlands and even occasionally within the home. Ticks can transmit potentially serious diseases including Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichia and Rickettsial diseases.

Treatment

To stay on top of fleas and ticks pets should be treated regularly as this can considerably reduce the chance of flea re-infestations. Being proactive about prevention is important with any health condition. Fleas and ticks can be found all year round and can multiply rapidly, so it is important to treat your pets on a regular basis –usually monthly. You should ask your vet and the practice staff for advice.

Our Well Pet Club is the easiest way to stay on top of preventative treatments. You will receive reminders when products are due and you can spread the cost of flea, worm and tick treatment over 12 months. You will also receive great savings across other areas of our practice!

Flea, Tick and Worm awareness

Parasite control

We firmly believe in providing regular parasite control for your pet; worms, fleas, ticks and lice can endanger your pet’s health and well-being, in the case of kittens, for example, they can even be fatal. We provide advice and guidance on the best parasite control for your pet; please ask at reception for further information. Prescription-only parasite control medicines are far more effective than treatments you can buy ‘over the counter’, and we do not recommend this type of treatment for your pet. If you need help applying parasite control medication, then our Veterinary Nurses would be pleased to help you.

Worm control

Almost all puppies and kittens are infected with roundworms as they are passed on from mother to baby. We recommend monthly worming from 8 weeks old until three months of age to combat this. After this period of time, a worming strategy needs to be put in place for the lifetime of your pet.

Roundworm eggs are found in the soil, they are moist and sticky and so are easily transferred into the house on people’s shoes, or animal’s fur. The eggs are swallowed as your pet grooms himself/herself, and the eggs hatch out into worms inside your pet. They can be passed on to humans, especially children, where serious infestations can cause severe symptoms, including blindness (toxocariasis).

Pets can also catch tapeworms by either eating fleas – which often contain tapeworm eggs – or by eating infected mice, birds, raw meat or faeces. Tapeworm segments look like flattened grains of rice. If you suspect a tapeworm problem is it also advisable to treat for fleas.

Toxocara is one species of tapeworm that can spread from animals to humans, rarely Toxocara can cause blindness in humans, and is also known to be dangerous for pregnant women.

Lungworm is picked up by eating slugs and snails, either intentionally, or in mouthfuls of grass or vegetation. Lungworm is becoming more common and can be potentially fatal if not diagnosed and treated. Symptoms may be mild but can include a severe cough and life-threatening clotting problems.

Please be aware that no worm control medication will prevent re-infestation, as they only kill worms already present in your pet. Therefore, it is important to treat your pet regularly, especially if they hunt or scavenge.

Flea treatment

Fleas commonly cause itchiness and annoyance to pets and their owners. Some animals can become allergic to flea saliva, and this can cause much more marked symptoms. Signs your pet may have fleas include excessive scratching, small scabs and spots on the skin and small brown specks in their fur, which is flea ‘dirt’ (excrement).

Fleas are often contracted from other animals, both wild and domestic, and the environment, the animals are housed in.

It is important to remember that only 5% of the fleas will be on your pet, 95% of fleas live in the local environment in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae. These live in your pet’s bedding, carpets, upholstery and any soft furnishings within your home. Therefore, it is equally important to treat your home by thoroughly vacuuming and using a household flea spray.

The use of a good flea treatment each month will prevent your dog or cat picking up fleas in the environment outside and bringing them into your home.

Other parasite treatments

Other parasites that affect cats, dogs and rabbits are ticks and lice, some products protect more than one type of parasite. We are here to help – just ask!

Increase in ticks

We have recently seen an increase in the number of clients finding ticks on their pets!

A tick may appear initially like a spider that is brown in colour. When it feeds, it swells to around a pea size.

Ticks must be removed and we would only recommend trying this at home if you are confident in doing so as you must remove the whole tick and done incorrectly, it is quite easy to leave the head in your pet.

If you are a member of our Well Pet Club, our nursing team can remove a tick for you as it is covered in your plan! If you are not confident in the removal of a tick, always seek help from our team.

Ticks are well documented to spread disease and this is why we recommend regular prevenative treatment to help avoid any nasty situations! We have plenty of stock and can also check on your records when your pet last received a preventative treatment from us.

If you have any concerns, please email or call your nearest branch for advice.

Small Pug in a brown blanket.

Why does my dog excessively lick?

What is ‘excessive’ licking?

“Dogs lick, it’s what they do”. This remark is generally true and the action of licking whether it be for grooming or checking out surfaces in their environment is typically normal behaviour. However, just like anything in life, sometimes normal behaviours can stray into being inappropriate, especially when exaggerated or done too much. The same is true for dogs with licking and it is not unusual to see licking becoming excessive or abnormal for many different reasons.

Some animals will repeatedly lick at themselves in one location, multiple regions or all over their body with enough intensity or duration to result in the loss of fur to varying degrees. Frequently alongside the fur loss or in some instances before hair loss has become noticeable, dogs will start to develop skin lesions.

Alternatively, some dogs will lick at the air or surfaces in their environment which can include other pets or humans in the household. If done continuously, this behaviour could indicate a problem.

What causes excessive licking?

There are numerous potential causes of excessive licking in dogs. The most common causes are:

  1. Parasites

Parasites (fleas, lice, mites) are one of the most common causes of licking and scratching in domestic pets. Don’t rely on being able to see them with the naked eye. Although they can sometimes be seen, it is not uncommon for them to be missed, even fleas (using a flea comb and not finding any fleas is not a guarantee that fleas aren’t present). Some parasites can only be seen with specific testing and when observed down a microscope.

The most effective way of ruling parasites out is treating all household pets with a vet prescribed anti-parasitic treatment at the recommended interval. Remember, not all products you can buy are made equally and often then don’t cover all the possible parasites that can be a problem; cheap products are a false economy and you may just find yourself spending more money in the long run. Speak to your vet for what they recommend.

  1. Allergies

Allergic skin disease is very common in dogs and cats. This can be an environmental allergy i.e. an allergy to something your dog comes into contact with in their environment, including certain pollens, dust mites, cleaning products etc. Some environmental allergies can vary in severity between animals and can be worse at different times during the year. For example, irritation caused by outdoor allergens tend to be seen more frequently in the spring/summer months (as with human hay fever).

Alternatively, allergies may be associated with your pet’s diet. Some animals will develop skin irritation associated with something they are eating (common dietary allergies include chicken, beef, lamb, wheat), and can sometimes be seen with associated GI signs (bloating, diarrhoea etc).

A common misconception is that allergies are something you are born with. In reality the most common time for them to develop in dogs is between 6 months and 3 years of age. However, we do see issues arising outside of this timeframe too. Allergies can be complex and involve multiple different allergens (e.g. Atopic Dermatitis).

  1. Pain

In some instances, animals will focus on excessively licking at a particular part of their body indicating they are sore or painful in this area. For example, dogs may lick at an area such as over a joint affected by arthritis, or lick at their paw if they have a thorn stuck in it or some other wound. Licking typically won’t resolve until the offending cause is treated.

  1. Dry skin

Just as humans can suffer with dandruff, so too can dogs. Dandruff is essentially due to dry skin and left to exacerbate it can cause skin irritation for dogs. The origin of dry skin can be associated with a dog’s diet, inappropriate shampoo choices that dry their skin, too frequent bathing, certain parasites and hormonal issues to name a few. Dealing with the underlying cause of the dry skin will help to resolve the licking.

  1. Skin infections

Skin infections will often cause a dog to lick. However typically skin infections are secondary to other issues such as allergies or self-trauma. If the infection is more than superficial, removing the underlying issue may not be sufficient to resolve the problem. Instead, specific management such as topical cleaning, ointments or in some cases oral antibiotics may be needed.

  1. Anal gland issues

The anal glands are a pair of glands on the inside of either side of your dog’s anus. They contain secretions involved in scent marking. In some animals the anal glands can become excessively full (impacted) or infected, which can be intensely painful and irritating. As a result, some dogs will lick at their anus (or sides if they are unable to reach their anus). They may also scoot their bottom along the floor and a fishy smell may be noted. This can be a condition exacerbated in animals with underlying skin allergies.

  1. Nausea

Some animals will lick their lips or ‘lip smack’ if they are feeling nauseous or after vomiting. Causes of nausea/vomiting are a whole different and long blog post! But never-the-less, if you find your dog doing this specific licking behaviour, it’s best you contact your vet for advice.

  1. Behavioural

For some dogs the act of excessive licking can be seen to develop as a response to stress, anxiety or boredom. This type of licking isn’t always isolated to licking themselves. Dogs may be observed licking other surfaces in their environment, other pets, or humans. A good discussion with your vet about home set-up, husbandry and changes may highlight possible issues. Often an effort will be made to exclude other causes of licking first as they tend to be more frequent. Management of behavioural issues may ultimately require seeking the assistance of a trained behaviourist to assess your specific needs.

The possible secondary skin infections that can occur from not addressing the behaviour issues can further increase your pet’s stress levels.

  1. Dental/oral disease

Dogs may lick their lips (particularly after eating) if they have painful teeth or other oral disease (affecting their gums, tongue or other areas inside their mouth). The best way of assessing this is to have your vet do a dental check. However, remember licking of lips isn’t the only indicator for dental disease, so just because your dog isn’t licking his lips doesn’t mean there aren’t issues there to be addressed.

Why is it a problem?

While there are a number of potential causes of excessive licking. The end result of your dog continuing to lick themselves is the same regardless of the cause. If your pet continues to lick at itself, this will result in skin inflammation. Further increasing the level of irritation in the skin which in turn will elicit more licking. This perpetual loop will continue without intervention. Inflamed skin can result in overgrowth of bacteria/yeasts present on your pet’s skin, resulting in secondary skin infections. If left untreated, it can result in chronic skin damage and even permanent damage to hair follicles, meaning that hair may never regrow even if the licking is eventually stopped.

Don’t forget that some of the causes of licking have effects on your dog beyond just the skin and the licking. If the underlying issues are not addressed it can leave your dog with significant risks to their ongoing health.

What is the treatment?

You can now appreciate there is potentially a lot more to your dog licking excessively than you may have initially considered. The treatment is going to be specific to your dog and what the underlying issue is identified as being. The first step is making an appointment with your vet to discuss the problem. They will take a thorough history and fully assess your pet. Some problems can be identified quickly. However, be patient as further visits and investigation (including examination of samples under the microscope, bloods, allergy testing) may be needed to identify the ultimate cause. Treatments can be one off for some conditions and longer-term for other issues.

 

Easter dangers for our pets

NOMV – Not One More Vet