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!

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!

Dental voucher

Valentines day pet dangers

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! We would recommend that you take a few precautions to keep your pet safe over the next few weeks.

Chocolate may be a great gift for your partner, but they are definitely not safe for your pet. Chocolate is very toxic to our furry pals. This is because it contains a substance called theobromine, which pets can’t metabolize.

Those brightly coloured sweets with the cute sayings are a classic Valentine’s Day gift. However, keep that sweet bowl somewhere your pet can’t get to. Many of these sweet treats contain xylitol, which is toxic to our furry pals. Hard sweets and sweet wrappers also pose choking risks for playful pets.

While cards may not be the biggest thing to worry about, the ones that play music or light up contain small batteries. Needless to say, that isn’t something you want your four-legged buddy eating. These should be kept away from pets that like to chew.

A pretty bouquet can brighten up any room, but be careful. Some flowers are highly toxic to pets! Lilies, tulips, daffodils, and oleanders are a few examples.

Pets and fire are never a safe mix. If you burn candles, keep them in high, secure places your animal companion can’t reach.

Red wine is a traditional part of many romantic Valentine’s Day dinners. However, even a small amount of alcohol can be dangerous to your furry pal. Don’t leave your wine glass somewhere your pet could get into it.

Plushy Toys
These are more of an issue for dogs than cats. The issue here is that many dogs remove the stuffing and squeaker, which can both be very dangerous if ingested. Your canine pal could also choke on small parts, like button eyes. Keep that cute plushy away from your pup!


If you have any concerns or think your pet may have made a valentines oopsy, then call us immediately.

Puppy looking into the camera.

Separation anxiety in dogs

Do you constantly come home to a puddle of pee or a gnawed furniture leg? Has a neighbour heard your dog howling up a storm while you’re away? Your dog could be bored — or suffering from separation anxiety. Here’s what you need to know so you can start getting the help that you (and your dog) need.

Symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs

Dogs that are suffering from separation anxiety get distressed and freak out whenever they’re left alone. Here are some of the more common signs you’ll see:

  • “Accidents” when they’re already potty-trained
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Chewing things they shouldn’t be
  • Trying to escape by scratching doors or windows
  • Whining, barking, or howling
  • Yawning, panting, or drooling
  • Licking their lips
  • Pacing, circling (not able to settle down)
  • Trembling
  • Chewing or licking their paws or tail

What causes separation anxiety in dogs?

Some dogs may be more prone to separation anxiety, including:

  • Dogs that are extra “clingy” or more dependent on their humans when they’re home, or out-and-about together.
  • Dogs that aren’t well socialized.
  • Adopted dogs that have been through a lot.

Changes in your dog’s life can also trigger separation anxiety — even if they haven’t had problems with it before. Even changes in your dog’s hearing or eyesight as they get older can lead to anxiety.

Lastly, noises or commotions outside (like a nearby construction project) or an upsetting noise inside your home (like a low battery signal in your smoke detector) could be stressing out your dog when they’re home alone — triggering a bad association between the noise and being all by themselves.

Talk to us about treatment options

There are three ways to address separation anxiety, environmental management, behaviour modification, and pharmaceutical options. Pharmaceutical options include antianxiety medications and nutritional supplements, which can be helpful in reducing your dog’s level of anxiety.

Changes to the environment can help your dog with separation anxiety

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there are lots of things you can try:

  • Give them a safe and calm space. Make sure your dog has a special place to hang out when you’re gone. This should be a spot where they feel comfortable and relaxed, even when you’re home. Pheromones, calming supplements, and anti-anxiety compression jackets can sometimes help with separation anxiety. You can also try turning on some soothing music or a “white noise” machine for your dog to listen to when you’re gone.
  • Skip the triggers. If you know that certain things set off your dog’s separation anxiety, try to avoid or minimize those triggers. (For example, if opening and closing your garage door when you leave makes them panic, try parking in the driveway.)

Behaviour modification that can help with separation anxiety

  • Plan ahead. Have your dog go to their safe space 10 or 15 minutes before you leave, which can help distract them while you’re getting ready to leave. You can also toss them a treat right before you go, so they can start seeing your departure as a positive.
  • Break the habit. Your dog knows when you’re getting ready to leave, which can amp up their anxiety. Try getting your dog used to seeing your departure cues — without the actual departure. For example, grab your car keys, but then sit down and read a book or open the door and then shut it without going outside.
  • Boost their confidence with training. There are many ways to help an insecure dog feel better about themselves and broaden their horizons. One way is to try clicker training. If your dog is an action hound, agility, nose work, or other types of activity training might work best.
  • Ask your vet. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet about which behaviour modification techniques are best for your dog, and for instructions on how to properly implement these techniques.

Toilet training for puppies

No one enjoys cleaning up indoor toilet accidents. Teaching a new puppy to “go” outside is important for a lifetime of proper bathroom manners. It’s important to remember that your new puppy doesn’t know where they should or shouldn’t go to the toilet — it’s up to us to teach them that outside (or on a designated puppy pad) is the right place. You can train your puppy quickly and successfully with some planning, lots of patience, and consistent positive rewards when they get it right.

Create a toilet Training Schedule

Provide regular and consistent outside toilet breaks for your puppy (or take them to a pad). This way, you’ll have more opportunities to reward them when they go in the right spot and you’ll prevent indoor accidents.

As a guideline, the maximum time between toilet breaks for your dog should be one hour for each month of age (and even more frequently if just starting potty training):

Dog’s Age Maximum Time Between Bathroom Visits
2 months 2 hours
3 months 3 hours
4 months 4 hours
5 months 5 hours
6 months 6 hours
7 months 7 hours
8 months 8 hours

All dogs, no matter what their age, should be given a bathroom break at least every 8 hours.

The younger the puppy, the more frequent these breaks should be. Their physical ability to hold it is still developing. Start with giving them the opportunity to go outside at least once every two hours during the day (as well as after any activity listed below). As they mature and learn the routine, you’ll extend the time between scheduled toilet breaks.

Take your puppy outside for a toilet break after the following events:

  • Waking up (first thing in the morning or after any naps)
  • After drinking water
  • 10-15 minutes after eating
  • After playtime
  • After training
  • Before going to sleep at night
  • Between any change in activity

If your puppy is having multiple indoor accidents, consider adding more toilet breaks to the schedule. Frequent indoor accidents could also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Speak with your vet to determine if your puppy might be having accidents due to a medical issue.

Supervise Your Puppy to Set Them up for Success

Toilet accidents often happen when signs that a puppy needs to go to the bathroom go unnoticed. Until your puppy is more physically mature and reliably housetrained, it’s best to keep a close eye on them. If you notice signs they might need to go to the bathroom, take them immediately outside to their regular spot.

Signs Your Puppy Might Need to Go to the toilet:

  • Sniffing the floor
  • Turning in circles
  • Pacing
  • Whining
  • Restless behaviour
  • Licking their groin
  • Arching their back or squatting
  • Suddenly stopping what they’re doing (such as chewing on a toy or playing)
  • Leaving the room or seeking out a place to go potty that’s more hidden
  • Sitting by the door

When you can’t supervise your puppy, use crate training to prevent accidents. Using a correctly sized crate helps a puppy learn how to physically hold it, as they do not want to go to the bathroom where they sleep. Ensure that your puppy isn’t in their crate so long that they have an accident because they couldn’t hold it any longer. As always, make sure that being in the crate is a positive and comfortable experience for your puppy.

Reward Your Puppy for Going Potty Outside

Any time your puppy goes to the toilet outside, reward them with a treat and lots of praise! The more you reward a behaviour, the more your puppy will choose to do it. Combining positive reinforcement with proper management of their environment will lead to successful toilet training faster. Negative reinforcement for accidents is never appropriate and should not be used.

Keep Regular Feeding Times

Eating a meal or snack sends signals to your puppy’s digestive system that it needs to empty to make room for incoming food. This is called the gastrocolic reflex and is why puppies will often need to go potty after eating a meal. Keep your puppy on a set feeding schedule for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you can anticipate when they will need to go to the toilet.

Consider whether you want your puppy to have access to water overnight in their crate. Unless your puppy has a medical condition requiring access to water at all times, you can remove their water an hour before bedtime. This ensures your puppy’s bladder is empty before going to sleep, reducing the chance that they’ll need to go in the middle of the night. Because water is essential to your puppy’s physical health, make sure they have access to it again first thing in the morning.

How Long Does it Take to Toilet Train a Puppy?

Every dog is different when it comes to training. Some puppies might be reliably housetrained by four to five months of age, while others might be closer to seven or eight months before getting the hang of it. In some cases, a medical issue might cause a setback in house training. Most importantly, the time it takes to toilet train your puppy depends on your consistent training and management.

When Should You Start Toilet Training a Puppy?

Begin training your puppy right away! The sooner your puppy learns the routine, the faster they will learn correct housetraining habits.

Brown and White Dutch Rabbit.

Does my rabbit have a dental problem?

Rabbits have impressive and fairly unique dentition within the animal kingdom. However, problems with their teeth can result in an array of health issues as well as cause your bunny significant discomfort. A lot of us know how painful toothache can be!

How will I know if my rabbit has a dental problem? 

Being prey animals, rabbits are good at hiding signs of illness or disease. This means it can be hard to spot problems before they have escalated to a more advanced stage. If a dental issue is present, you may notice some of the following signs:

  • Reduction in appetite or, in severe cases, total loss of appetite
  • Reduction in the amount of faecal pellets observed
  • Lethargy/reduced energy/being less interactive
  • Runny eyes
  • Drooling
  • Weight loss

These signs can be caused by other diseases, but it is very important to rule out dental disease as a possible cause as it is very common loss of appetite.

How are dental problems in rabbits diagnosed? 

Your vet will perform a physical examination and check for any weight loss.

How are dental problems in rabbits treated? 

If your rabbit has teeth which are overgrown or there are malocclusions, it will be necessary to trim the affected teeth. This is performed using an electric burr which rotates at high speed, trimming off the overgrown dental tissue.

Your rabbit’s teeth erupt from the gumline continually throughout their lives. This means that the overgrowths will most likely recur again over time. Regular dental work will be required to prevent them causing problems in the future.

How can I prevent dental problems in my rabbits? 

In the wild, rabbits will spend the majority of their time grazing. Often on various types of grass and other fibrous plants. This helps to wear down their teeth as the teeth continually erupt. So in order to prevent dental issues, the type of diet you feed your rabbit is crucial. By mimicking as much as possible the diet they would have in the wild, you will encourage healthy tooth wear. This means that the majority of your rabbit’s diet should consist of good quality “long fibre”. Often in the form of hay. Rabbits should also have access to grass in a sizeable outdoor run, and a varied selection of green vegetables. A small amount of pelleted commercial rabbit food can be given (approximately one eggcup per day). Muesli-type foods should be avoided. Rabbits tend to pick and choose the parts they like and leave the rest, which can contribute to dental issues as well as other problems such as obesity.

If you have any concerns about your rabbit’s teeth or require advice on their diet, your vet will be happy to advise you. As with a lot of problems, prevention of dental issues in rabbits is better than cure!


£50 discount on all dental treatment

Throughout February we will be offering a £50 discount on all dental treatment! If you are already booked in for a procedure, we will honour the voucher for your appointment. We will also honour any bookings made in February but for a later date (up to 3 months later).

Why might my pet need a dental? 

The answer to this question is not so easy without an examination but generally speaking the main factor for needing a dental is age, smelly breath, pain when chewing or an accident. We always recommend a Veterinary consultation before making an appointment for an operation. This means the vet can go through a treatment plan and we can discuss costs and aftercare.

Are there any terms and conditions to this offer? 

You must be a registered client or if you are a new client, then we must have your clinical history (don’t worry, we can request this, just let us know your previous vet) and we would recommend an examination before booking a surgery. No code is needed for the offer, we will discount your treatment by £50 – as simple as that!

Can Orchard House Vets give me an estimate? 

We certainly can. We again would recommend a dental examination before any treatment plan or an estimate, we are then able to provide your estimate!

DIY Cat treats.

Is my pet obese?

Is my pet obese?
Obesity can be defined as an excess of body fat that is enough to impair health, welfare and quality of life.

Checking if your dog is overweight
To check if your dog is overweight, there are a few simple checks you can do:

  • You should be able to see and feel the outline of your dog’s ribs without excess fat covering.
  • You should be able to see and feel your dog’s waist and it should be clearly visible when viewed from above.
  • Your dog’s belly should be tucked up when viewed from the side.
  • If your dog does not pass these checks, or if you are in any doubt, consult your vet. They will be able to provide a health check and if necessary recommend a weight reduction programme.

Checking if your cat is overweight
Check to see if your cat is overweight using the steps below:

  • You should be able to see and feel your cats ribs, spine and hip bones.
  • Your cats waist should be clearly visible when viewed from above.
  • Your cats belly shouldn’t be sagging underneath, there should only be a small amount of belly fat.
  • If your cat doesn’t pass these checks speak to your vet who will be able to provide a health check and if necessary recommend a weight-loss programme to help them get back into tip-top condition.

Why does it matter if my pet is overweight?
We believe obesity is a serious welfare issue in pets because it can cause suffering and can be extremely disabling. It’s also likely to affect your pet’s ability to perform natural behaviours (e.g. exercise normally).

Are certain pets more likely to be obese?
Several factors make obesity more likely in pets. E.g. for dogs:

Breed – certain breeds have a higher risk.
Age – the risk increases with age.
Neuter status – neutered dogs are more at risk.
Sex – apart from older dogs, obesity is reported to be more common in females.
Owner – obese owners may be more likely to have obese dogs, perhaps because they are less likely to exercise their dog, or less able to recognise obesity.
Similar factors may also be associated with other animals.

Preventing obesity
Obesity can affect all types of pet, and the main cause is from eating too much or not exercising enough, although some diseases can cause obesity.

To help prevent obesity in your pet ensure they maintain a healthy diet and receive plenty of exercise. If you’re concerned about your pets weight contact us.