BBQ dangers

Faecal testing

Cat vaccinations

Vaccinating cats and kittens

Cat vaccinations help to protect your pets from severe infectious diseases. It also prevents them from passing anything nasty on to other animals in the area. Vaccinating your kitten is one of the most important things you should do in your first few weeks as a cat owner.

When should kittens be vaccinated?

To help protect kittens they’ll need two sets of vaccinations to get them started. Kittens should have their first set of vaccinations at nine weeks old and at three months old they should receive the second set to boost their immune system. After this, kittens and cats usually need ‘booster’ vaccinations every twelve months. Until your kitten is fully vaccinated (and neutered), you should keep him or her inside.

What diseases can vaccinations protect against?

Cats are commonly vaccinated against:

Cat flu (feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus)
Feline infectious enteritis
Feline leukaemia virus

How much do cat vaccinations cost?

A vaccination course including 2 x health checks will cost £70.00. If you join our Well Pet Club we will give you a 20% discount against the primary vaccination. If your pet is due flea and worm treatment, joining the Well Pet Club will allow you to collect these immediately. The Well Pet Club for a cat will cost £9.95 per month.

How long are vaccinations effective for?

You will receive a vaccination card from our team and all the information you need will be inside this. We will also remind you closer to the time. A booster vaccine is given every 12 months.

What if I adopted my kitten – will they be vaccinated?

This really depends on the breeder, shelter, charity or individual you receive your cat from. It is responsible for any of the aforementioned to have the kitten and mother health checked by a Veterinary Surgeon at around 4-6 weeks old, however it is not mandatory. In an ideal world your kitten should receive the first vaccination at 9 weeks and be up to date with flea, tick and worm treatments.

What if my kitten is not vaccinated and not had any preventative treatment?

Don’t panic! We are here for you. We offer free puppy and kitten health checks, so please do make use of this 15 minute appointment with one of our wonderful Veterinary Surgeons. We will then offer 4 weeks free pet insurance which will help give you a little extra time to get your pet’s insurance sorted, which we highly recommend you do. We can apply the first flea treatment free of charge also. We will likely discuss our Well Pet Club with you as you will be able to spread the cost of gold standard preventative treatment, yearly booster and nurse clinics by way of a monthly direct debit. For only £9.95 per month, you will have the peace of mind that your cat is receiving the very best products the Veterinary market has to offer!

Leptospirosis in dogs

As a pet owner, you try to protect your dog from risk as much as possible. Unfortunately, there are dangers lurking right in your backyard or local park that can cause serious harm to your dog. One of these diseases that has been increasingly reported across the UK is leptospirosis.

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis, also known as “lepto”, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects most species of mammals, including dogs.

Leptospirosis is zoonotic (which means it can be passed along to humans), so protecting your dog helps protect you. Human symptoms range from flu-like symptoms to kidney failure and even death.

Leptospirosis bacteria (leptospira) penetrates a dog’s body through mucous membranes or open skin and rapidly multiplies in the bloodstream for the following 4–12 days. The bacteria is spread through infected animals’ urine (especially rodent urine) and can survive in soil or water for weeks or months. Dogs can come into contact with the bacteria by walking through, drinking, or even spending time near contaminated water like puddles, mud, standing water, and lakes.

Is my dog at risk for leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis can affect dogs of all shapes and sizes, so your dog could be at risk. Once commonly diagnosed in rural areas, lepto is now being seen more commonly in suburban and urban areas. Dogs that spend time near bodies of water, or even play near mud or puddles, can be at especially high risk for leptospirosis.

Common risk factors for leptospirosis:

  • Walking in the same place as infected wildlife, rodents, or farm animals
  • Contact with or drinking from warm, wet environments like streams, lakes, and puddles
  • Direct contact with infected animals

Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs

It’s important to note that dogs can be infected and not even show signs of having leptospirosis.

Symptoms of leptospirosis include:

  • Fever
  • Shivering
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Increased thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the “whites” of their eyes or the inside of their ears, gums, or belly skin)

If your dog is displaying signs of leptospirosis, see your vet immediately. Delaying treatment can result in severe kidney or liver damage, and even death.

How can I protect my dog from leptospirosis?

The best way to protect your dog from leptospirosis is to vaccinate them against it. At Orchard House Vets, a vaccination course is £70 and this includes 3 health checks (normally valued at £46.80 each). So the vaccination offers not only peace of mind, but great value too. Furthermore if you join our Well Pet Club you will receive a 20% discount on the vaccination course.

Well Pet Club members receive the booster vaccine through our health scheme. Booster vaccines are given 1 year after the initial course and cost £39.95. Or of course if you are a WPC member then the cost is spread through monthly payments along with many great benefits!

Why do dogs lick us?

Dogs lick themselves in nature for several reasons. It helps them with healing, grooming, social interactions and even nurturing their young. Why do dogs lick us though? Are they giving us love or is it for another reason? You may be quite surprised and whilst we can’t read a dog’s mind, so we may never know the answers for sure, but we can make some educated judgements.


In nature, dogs tend to be pack animals. Licking plays a large role in this, as they use it to communicate with one another. They can use their licks to tell each other they’re hungry, hurt, or even just to ask to be friends.

It is natural then that your dog licks you as an attempt at communication sometimes. The problem is we can’t understand those licks as well as other dogs can. If they are using licks to tell you something though, and not their bite, it’s probably safe to assume they’re saying something nice.


When dogs are young, their mothers spend lots of time licking them – it is a nurturing behaviour. Domestic dogs love to lick their owners, because they want to show them their love. It even feels good to your dog to do this; when they lick for affection, pleasurable endorphins are released in their brain.


Often when dogs lick people, this interaction is reciprocated. You might start petting them, scratching them, or even give them some food. This reinforces the behaviour and dogs will lick you more, because they are aware they will get something enjoyable by doing so.


When they lick you, they sometimes are just trying to learn a bit more about you. A dog’s tongue is an incredibly sensitive tool. They can learn a lot more with it than humans can. When dogs lick you, they are taking in sweat from your skin. This contains water, ammonia, sodium, potassium and a whole host of other stuff that dogs can draw information about you from.


It may seem a bit unpleasant to us, but our skin is home to a great many tastes. Particles of food we had for dinner, sweat and even just the grease and bacteria that exist naturally on our skin; this can all taste great to a dog. Sometimes, they’re merely enjoying the flavour they get from you.

So there you have it … next time your dog is trying to lick you, have a little think about what they might be telling you and see if our advice has been useful!

WPC price increases

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:

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.

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.


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!