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Information for looking after your dog

Dental Care

Dental disease is one of the most common problems treated in dogs and cats. Owners can do a lot to encourage healthy teeth throughout an animal’s life. It is Important to keep an eye on your dog’s teeth, and it is important to introduce teeth brushing at an early age so you can maintain their healthy teeth. It could also prevent them from needing extensive dental treatment when they are older.

It is important that you get your dog used to you looking in their mouths and brushing their teeth as early as possible. As a young pup's gums can be tender until about 6 months old, it is best just to rub their gums with your finger-tips or a baby toothbrush until they get used to their mouth being handled.

After 6 months of age, proper brushing can be started with either a specially shaped dog brush or finger brush (like a thimble) and dog toothpaste. Ideally, this should prevent hard tartar forming which would lead to dental problems.
Useful dental aids are:

  • Flavoured Toothpaste
  • Dry Food - daily crunching, do not soften with water
  • Dental Chew – Ensure low in fat
  • Ostrich Chews  
  • Specialised Dental Diet
  • Dentisept - Antibacterial paste that can be applied by applicator no brushing required

 Common Dental Problems

  • Retained deciduous (baby) teeth
  • Badly aligned top and bottom jaws
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Abscesses
  • Fractured teeth
  • Tumours

Pets will have their mouths checked as part of their yearly booster vaccination visit. We also offer free dental checks every 6 months and these can be carried out with one of our registered veterinary nurses on an appointment basis, please contact the surgery to arrange an appointment, or alternatively you can book online by clicking here. If your dog requires further dental attention, they will require a general anaesthetic and are carried out as day patients.

Puppies deciduous (baby) teeth appear at 4-6 weeks of age and are replaced by adult teeth around 6-7 months. The deciduous teeth should fall out by themselves, if not they may need to be extracted, as they can cause problems. We will normally advise you to have this done at the same time as your pet gets neutered if they are still present.


Your puppy or dog can catch fleas at anytime. Fleas can be uncomfortable and severe infestations can cause allergies, disease and even anaemia. We recommend treating monthly, as fleas can even occur during the winter period. This is better than waiting until you have a flea infestation, as you will have to treat your home – causing more hassle and expense to you the owner.
You can carry out a flea check easily at home. This is done by combing your puppy or dog's fur over a white piece of paper, then dab this with a dampened piece of tissue. If it is a red or brown colour, then this is flea dirt, which indicates the presence of fleas.

The life cycle from an egg to an adult flea is complete in 12 - 22 days when conditions are ideal. Only 5% of flea infestation is made up of adult fleas on your pet. 95% is in your home as eggs, larvae and pupea. If your pet gets infested by fleas it is important that you treat the environment. It is important to treat the house and any cars your pets have been in.


Dog Grooming Tips

It is always best to start grooming your dog at an early age to get your pet used to handled. If your dog is a breed that needs clipping, getting them used to the sound of clippers and dryers is also important. It is also a good idea to get your dog used to having their tail, ears and feet touched as it will make grooming and examinations at the vets much less stressful for your pet.

Grooming is a great way to bond with your pet and should be something that your dog enjoys. Regular grooming allows you to keep your pets coat in good condition. It also allows you to give your dog a regular general examination. This is when you might spot parasites, injuries, skin and ear irritations, lumps and bumps and changes in body condition.

There are 5 main coat types


e.g. Boxer, Labrador & Weimaraner

  • These coats are quite low maintenance
  • Brushes that you could use are rubber mitten/glove, rake and Zoom Groom


e.g. Bichon Frise & Poodle

  • These dogs can be known as ‘none moulting’ breeds
  • These coats can be high maintenance both it terms of grooming, bathing and clipping
  • You can use a small slicker brush and Greyhound comb


e.g. Border Terrier, West Highland White Terrier

  • This coat type can be high maintenance both in terms of grooming, bathing and clipping or pulling
  • You can use a slicker brush, Greyhound comb, Zoom Groom or Furminator

Silky and Long

e.g. Spaniels and Setters

  • This coat type can be medium maintenance depending on coat length and walking habits
  • You can use a slicker brush, pin brush, greyhound comb and a Zoom Groom


e.g. Collie, Retriever, Shih Tzu, Old English Sheepdog and Labradoodles

  • This coat type can be medium to high maintenance
  • You can use a slicker brush, pin brush, Greyhound comb, Zoom Groom and Furminator


We recommend to get your dog insured, as it gives you piece of mind for veterinary fees. There are many different pet insurance companies available. It is important to be aware of different policies that they offer. It is advised to purchase a lifetime policy in comparison to a yearly policy, as your pet should be covered for its lifetime for a certain condition instead of the one year. It is also important to check on the particular policy that the value for each condition is per condition and not per annum.

Please seek advice from a veterinary professional before changing insurance companies, (i.e. premium prices have increased) particularly if your pet has an ongoing condition or had any previous claims on the policy – as these conditions may be excluded on your new policy and therefore not covered by your new pet insurance. We would be happy to offer you advice on the subject, so please do not hesitate to contact us to speak to one of our friendly staff.

Petplan is the current market leader and is a pet only insurance company. It is always important always read the small print on your policy!


Microchipping is a permanent method of identification and is now required by law. It allows for an animal to be identified if it becomes lost. The chip has a unique number which has all your pet and contact details assigned to it. A Microchip is the size of a grain of rice and is placed under the skin. Your dog’s microchip will be placed by one of our Veterinary surgeons or Veterinary Nurses.

It is important to keep your contact details up to date. If you need to make any changes it is important to contact the petlog database (small charge may apply).

To arrange an appointment with a veterinary nurse you can either contact the surgery, or click here to book online.


There are many different types of Mites:
Cheyletiella sp.
Found on the skin surface, white in colour. Also known as “walking dandruff”

Mange Mite
These burrow into the skin, they can cause intense itching and skin irritation. They are invisible to the naked eye and are only visible under a microscope.
Ear Mites
Signs of ear mite infestation include severe irritation, scratching and shaking of ears. Dark brown smelly wax is produced. A spot on treatment can be used as treatment for the ear mites.
Harvest Mites
Harvest mites are usually only found in late summer. They appear orange, in colour and small in size. They can be found around ears, between toes or tail tips.


Neutering your pet, whether it is male or female has a number of advantages:
Male dogs:

  • Prevents wandering
  • Prevents unwanted aggression
  • Prevents inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Dramatically reduces the risk of prostate problems later in life

Female dogs:

  • Prevents unwanted pregnancies
  • Prevents potentially life threatening uterine infection known as pyometra
  • Prevents seasons which can cause behavioural changes and can be incontinent and messy.
  • If done before their first season it drastically reduces the risk of mammary cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in bitches

Neutering your Female Dog:

An Ovario-hysterectomy will be performed which Involves removing the uterus and ovaries.  We advise you neuter your pet at the age of 6 months if you do not plan to breed from them.

Neutering a bitch before its first season decreases the chance of mammary tumours in later life to less than 0.5% in comparison to unneutered animals. After the first season the risk increases to 8%, after the second season the risk increases to 26%.

Neutering also prevents other common conditions such as a Pyometra (pus in the uterus), ovarian cysts, uerine torsion and prolapses.
Neutering your Male Dog:

Castration involves removing your pet's testicles. We advise you castrate your pet at the age of 6 months old if you do not plan to breed from them.

Castration can dramatically reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including testicular and prostate cancer. Whilst neutering will not change your pet's character, it may help with certain undesirable traits such as aggression, dominant behaviour and the desire to roam. Male dogs also become less interested in bitches in season once they themselves have been neutered.


Ticks are small parasites that can attach to your pet’s skin and suck on your pet’s blood to feed which causes them to increase in size. They can grow to a size of a pea. It is important to contact the practice before trying to remove a tick, if you are unsure how to it correctly. If the head is left, it can cause infection.

Ticks lay eggs each spring. They can lay up to 2000 eggs at a time. After laying their eggs, the female ticks shrivel and die. The eggs then hatch as six legged larvae in the summer of the same year that they laid. The larvae remain inactive until the following spring were they climb grass shoots or trees waiting for a host such as a cat, dog, rabbit, bird, deer, cow or sheep to pass, they then attach themselves to the host. They spend up to a week sucking the blood from their host, before falling to the ground.

A year later they re-emerge to search for another host to latch on to. This time they feed for up to 11 days before detaching and falling to the ground. This is when the tick is seen to mature into an adult tick. Now that the tick is an adult, it becomes inactive again until the following spring, this is when they start their search for their third and final host. Once they find their host, adult female ticks will feed for between eight and 12 days. During this feeding, their weight will increase by as much as 100 times before they lay their eggs and die off. The three-year tick cycle will then start all over again.

What diseases can my dog get from ticks?

Ticks are known as ''vectors'' for disease transmission. This means they can carry micro-organisms that can cause diseases in both animals and humans, from one animal to another. Siseases are passed when the ticks feed. For ticks to transmit disease, they must first feed on an infected animal.
Lyme Disease

This is an inflammatory disorder, which can become chronic if left untreated. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi which the tick carries. In dogs, the most obvious signs of lyme disease include a distinctive ''bull's eye'' lesion around the site of the bite, lameness, inflamed lymph nodes and fever. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, you should contact your vet immediately for advice.

Can humans get lyme disease from ticks?

Yes. While there is no evidence of dogs spreading the disease to their owners directly, they can bring in disease carrying ticks into people’s homes. If you're bitten by a tick the advice is to use a purpose-built tick remover hook to remove it. You should contact your doctor if your experience flu-like symptoms or if a rash appears after being bitten by a tick, or if the bite becomes infected.

Human symptoms of lyme disease include:

  • Flu like symptoms
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle pains
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Poor sleep
  • Rash normal around where the tick was attached

If you suffer any of these symptoms post tick bite, you should contact your doctor immediately. The best way to prevent lymes disease is to provide your pet monthly with tick preventative treatment.


Ehrlichiosis is a tick borne disease of the white blood cells, caused by infection with a type of bacterium called Rickettsia. People can catch Ehrlichiosis as a result of being bitten by an infected tick, but this is rare with only around 20-30 cases per year in the UK. It is common in Europe, the USA and Africa, and there are higher risks to pets that travel to these areas.

Symptoms in dogs include:

  • Fever
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Stiffness
  • Prolonged Bleeding


Babesiosis is a disease of the red blood cells caused by infection with the tick-borne parasite, babesia. Human cases are rare with only 10-20 cases reported per year in the UK. It is common in Europe, the USA and Africa, and there are higher risks to pets that travel to these areas.

Symptoms in dogs include:

  • Anorexia
  • Fever
  • Anaemia
  • Weakness
  • Coffee coloured urine


How do Vaccinations work? And Why Vaccinate?

Vaccinating is a vital way to protect your animal from a wide range of highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases. Vaccinating your pet provides an effective and safe way to ensure they a protected helping to prevent these diseases.

Vaccines work by stimulating your animal's immune system by effectively imitating the cells involved with the disease without causing any of the symptoms of the disease. This means if your pet encounters the disease, it recognises it enabling a strong immune response, preventing the disease from establishing. Two vaccinations are needed initially to allow this immune stimulation to occur, thereafter this can be boosted by annual vaccination.

When should my dog be vaccinated?

We advise that your puppy has its first vaccination at 8 weeks old then its second vaccine at 10 weeks old. We advise that after your puppies second vaccination you wait two weeks before taking them walks.

Your dog should then be vaccinated annually thereafter its second vaccination to maintain immunity. At their yearly vaccination, they get a full health check which also allows us to detect any health problems early on. If your dogs annual booster is over due they may need to restart their vaccine course.

Your Puppy can be vaccinated for kennel cough at 8 weeks of age and it is recommended that this is done yearly. Rabies may also be essential if your dog is travelling abroad. Rabies vaccination last three years.

Want to find out more about taking your dog abroad? Click here to find out more on the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).

What are you vaccinating against?

All dogs should be vaccinated against:

  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Infectious Canine Hepatitis
  • Canine Distemper Virus
  • Canine Leptospirosis
  • Parinfluenza Virus
  • Kennel Cough

Canine Parvovirus

Clinical Signs include:

  • Dullness
  • Inappetance
  • Bloody diarrhoea  
  • Vomiting

Canine Parvovirus is a highly infectious virus spread by infected faeces. Parvovirus is very stable in the environment, which means that it can be picked up and spread by humans. Parvovirus is most severe in pups and elderly dogs. If your pup or dog contracts parvovirus it is often fatal if not treated quickly enough. Vaccinating your dog for parvovirus is the only method of preventing this potentially fatal disease in your dog.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis

This disease is transmitted from dog to dog by contact with secretions (Infected Saliva, Urine or Faeces).

Clinical signs include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • The development of corneal oedema ('Blue eye')
  • Neurological signs

Canine Distemper

This disease is often fatal. It's a disease that is hard-to-treat and highly contagious. It belongs to the same family as that of measles and is spread by respiratory exudates, urine, faeces, saliva, ocular discharge or vomit. It is most commonly seen in unvaccinated 3-6 month old puppies.

Clinical Signs include:

  • Lethargic
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Paralysis may occur in the diseases final stages.

Distemper can also infect ferrets, which should also be vaccinated against it.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease usually spread by infected urine. Leptospirosis can cause liver and kidney failure in infected dogs. This disease is zoonotic, which means it can be transferred from animal to humans (Weils’s disease)
Clinical signs include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Jaundice
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bleeding from the gum margins
  • Renal enlargement (Increased urination/increased drinking)


Your puppy should be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then monthly until 6 months of age. After 6 months, you should worm your dog every 3 months or more regularly depending on your dog’s lifestyle. The amount of wormer to be given is based on weight, so therefore regular weighing is advised.

Signs of puppy or dog with a severe worm infestation include:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation

Some worms can be passed to humans, particularly children.


Adult Tapeworms live in the small intestine. Once these are mature, they can release segments containing eggs. Tapeworms look like long, flat ribbons and can grow to up to half a metre in length. Dogs contract tapeworms by ingesting an infected intermediate host. A flea is the intermediate host for the most common type of tapeworms in dogs and cats. This is why we would recommend you to use flea treatment and worm your dog regularly.

Tapeworms are usually diagnosed by finding segments (small white worms). These might look like grains of rice or seeds in your pets faeces or sometimes round your pets rear end. If the is Tapeworm segments in your pet's faeces they can cause irritation resulting in a keen interest of the area or them licking the area excessively.  In severe cases some symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea can also occur.


Toxocara are small intestinal parasites more commonly known as roundworms. Roundworms have a 2-3 week life cycle. During the life cycle the larvae will migrate from the intestine to the lungs and liver before developing to the adult stage in the intestine. Roundworm infection is generally much more serious in puppies than in adult dogs and may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss, abdominal enlargement and other symptoms in severe cases. Many dogs with mild infections will show no clinical signs.

The best way to prevent infestation occurring is by giving your pet a preventative treatment for round worms regularly. Roundworms look like strands of spaghetti & can been seen in faeces.


It can be picked up by catching or eating, slugs & snails. Some dogs don’t have any symptoms while others may show lethargy, clotting disorders, fits or coughs. There are many different types of worming products available, depending on what suits you and your dog the best, please contact the surgery and a member of staff will gladly advise on the correct choice.


Find out more about what preventative treatment would suit your dog’s lifestyle the best at itsajungleoutthere, or contact the surgery to discuss this in more detail and one of our staff will be able to advise you on the best option for your pet.

You can also fill out this self-assessment form and hand it in to the practice for more advice on what parasite treatment would best suit your pet.

If you require any further information or advice, please do not hesitate to contact the practice and speak to one of our staff. Alternatively, you can now book an appointment online.

Practice information

Kilbarchan Veterinary Practice

  • Mon
    8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Tue
    8:30am - 6:50pm
  • Wed
    8:30am - 5:50pm
  • Thu
    8:30am - 6:50pm
  • Fri
    8:30am - 5:50pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 11:00am
  • Sun
    Emergencies only

Emergency Details

Please call:

07831 173282

Find us here:

11 Steeple Street, Kilbarchan, Renfreshire, PA10 2JF
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Please call this number for emergencies:

07831 173282