New Puppy Information

With the right to own a dog, comes the responsibility for proper care and management of that dog, and consideration for our neighbours and environment.

Veterinary care is just one aspect of pet care. Diet, grooming, exercise and training are of tremendous importance to your pet’s quality of life. After all, they do not get a chance to pick their owners, nor can they look after themselves. So take a life-long interest in your pet and reap the intangible rewards of caring for another life.

Your pet will enjoy a healthier life and you will benefit financially in the long run if you follow a program that prevents many diseases e.g. Vaccination, desexing, worming, check-ups, heartworm tablets. This practice strongly advocates preventative medicine.

Vaccination

Puppies require a series of 3 vaccines at 8, 12 & 16 weeks of age to give them the most effective protection against Parvovirus, Distemper, and Hepatitis – our most common and potentially fatal diseases. These vaccinations then require an annual booster to remain effective.

Dogs can also be vaccinated against 2 strains of Kennel Cough. As with the common cold, there are many different strains, and we cannot vaccinate against all of them. However, vaccinated dogs who come into contact with the illness will have a much less severe response, if they show any signs at all.

Ideally, pups shouldn’t be exposed to dogs whose vaccination status is unknown or walked in places where many dogs have been, until they are fully vaccinated. However, after the 2nd puppy vaccination, 98% of puppies will seroconvert, meaning they have gained protection against diseases. We cannot tell which 2% have not seroconverted so we recommended giving all puppies a 3rd vaccination to ensure coverage.

Most puppies can safely go out on walks and explore their world one week after their second vaccination, 6-16 weeks is a puppies “socialization window” where they are most open to learning and accepting new sights, people and dogs/cats. Although there is a risk, waiting until the 3rd vaccination means that puppies socialization window is gone and socializing becomes more difficult.
We always recommend not visiting higher risk areas such as dog parks and dog beaches until their vaccinations are complete, but walking around your local neighbourhood and visiting vaccinated dogs is considered low risk.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm Disease is spread by mosquitoes which pick up heartworm larvae (microfilaria) from an infected dog and transfer them to another dog when the mosquito feeds again. It takes 6 months for microfilaria to grow, migrate to the heart and start breeding in the newly infected dog. The adult worms are approximately 30cm long, and can live for several years and can block and damage blood vessels going to the lungs.

Infection results in congestive heart failure and if left untreated may result in the death of the pet.

Prevention can be with a monthly treatment such as Advocate, Nexgard Spectra or Interceptor.

We recommend the protocol of a heartworm preventative injection (SR-12) given at 10-12 weeks, then a booster at 6 months, and then annual thereafter. This removes the need to remember to give a monthly heartworm preventative .

Intestinal Worming

Virtually 100% of puppies and kittens are born with worms acquired from their mother in the womb.
To combat this they should be wormed every 2 weeks from the ages of 2-12 weeks then monthly until 6 months of age. Thereafter they are wormed every 3 months.
Adult animals should be wormed every 3 months to prevent a build-up of worms.

Roundworm
Roundworms are zoonotic parasites, meaning they can be passed from animals to humans – especially children. They can also be exceptionally good survivors, with viable eggs able to live outside the animal for several years. Roundworm symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, pot-belly and colic. Puppies can develop roundworm at the foetal stage, prior to being born.

Hookworm
The most dangerous of all intestinal worms, hookworms survive by burrowing into a pet’s intestinal wall and sucking blood. Your dog could experience enteritis, diarrhoea, dehydration and ultimately death from anaemia. Like the roundworm, they are zoonotic parasites and can affect humans as well.

Whipworms
Whipworms live in the lower bowel of pets and can survive for up to a year laying over 2000 eggs each day. The eggs are passed in the droppings and can survive in soil and pet’s surroundings for years. Whipworm symptoms include pain and diarrhoea as well as loss of weight.

Common Flea Tapeworm
Common flea tapeworm larvae develop in fleas. When a pet eats an infected flea when grooming itself, the tapeworm develops in the animal’s gut. While not a major health risk, common flea tapeworms cause itching and are often responsible for dogs rubbing their backsides on the ground.

Flea Prevention/Treatment

Fleas suck blood and can make animals, especially puppies, anaemic. They spread tapeworm and cause serious skin irritations. Some unlucky pets are also allergic to fleas.

Controlling fleas relies on two separate approaches. The first is to get rid of fleas from your pets and the second is to get rid of fleas and their eggs from the environment that your pet lives in. Thankfully, ridding your pet of fleas is a lot easier than it used to be and there is now a large range of ‘state of the art’ products available which are effective and safe.

Tick Prevention

The Paralysis Tick (blue-grey in colour) is most prevalent during the spring and summer with the warmer temperatures and higher humidity, however they can be found all year round.
There is no product that gives 100% protection against ticks, so the best method is to include a daily hands-on tick search of your dog if you are in, even visiting, a known tick prone area.
Signs your dog may have a tick include:

  • Weakness/Paralysis of the hindlimbs
  • Vomiting
  • Change in the sound of their bark.
  • Lethargy/quieter than normal
  • Difficulty breathing

If you notice one or more of these signs, contact your local vet immediately, as without treatment, dogs can die from respiratory and circulatory failure.

Desexing

We recommend desexing at 4-6 months of age.

Males: Early castration prevents unwanted problems such as roaming, fighting, frequent urination, mounting and aggression, and also prevents prostate problems and certain cancers. A neutered male is simply a much better pet.

Females: Thousands of unwanted puppies are destroyed each year, why create more??? Undesexed females are also at risk of uterine infections and tumours.

Teething

Give your pet something to chew or suffer the consequences. Like young children, pets are likely to poison themselves by placing anything and everything in their mouths. Common poisonings include slug and snail bait (Defender, Baysol), Rat poison and lead from paint, lino etc…

Feeding

It is our recommendation to feed a diet that consists of 80% balanced commercial Puppy food (which are specialy designed to help your pup with all its growth and energy needs) and 20% various other foods.

A good guide to suitability of any pet food is:

Label: Check to see if it is a balanced ration, e.g. “complete diet”, “Vitamins and minerals added”.

Price: Price is generally a good guide to quality of product and protein content.

Brand: Hills, Iams, Eukanuba and Royal Canin, and other large manufacturers generally make a better product. Animals must chew! Below we outline the consequences of feeding all meat/ soft food only type diets.

Milk is a rich source of nutrition but can also cause diarrhoea and allergy, and it is unlikely that dilution will alter an animals intolerance to milk.

It is important that pets chew. The two obvious choices are dry food and bones. There will never be general agreement on the subject of bones. On one hand they are a natural food that are good for teeth and gums and are a source of minerals. On the other hand we regularly see problems caused by bones, e.g. bones caught in the throat, vomiting, constipation and less commonly bowel perforation and death.
Bones should never be fed cooked as they splinter, e.g. stewing bones and chicken carcasses.

Raw briskets, shins, and shanks are the safest. Medium to large dogs can be offered bones and if they tolerate them well, then continue to do so on a regular basis. Do not give your dogs too many bones at any one time. Small dogs can be offered meat on the bone to gnaw at but should not be given bones they can swallow. Synthetic bones are an option for pets that do not handle bones well. Raw chicken necks and wings may be offered to cats for dental hygiene.

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Monday-Friday: 8.00am-7.30pm
Saturday: 8.00am-4.00pm
Sunday: 8.30am-2.00pm

Public Holidays: 9.00am-12.00 (noon)

Enfield Veterinary Hospital has been serving the pet community for longer than any other vet in the South West of Sydney including the suburbs of Enfield, Strathfield, Strathfield SouthHomebush, Burwood, Croydon, Croydon Park, Concord, Ashfield, Belfield, Campsie, Greenacre and the surrounding areas of the greater Inner West of Sydney. We have been part of the local landscape for almost 40 years.