Companion Animals

From our surgeries at Forres, Nairn Lossiemouth and Balloch, we provide a wide range of services and facilities for domestic pets.

Please select from the list below: 

A microchip is a small implant that can be inserted into the back of your pet’s neck and can act as a method of permanent identification of your pet. The microchip is implanted by means of a small needle, similar to any other injection. The implant is about the size of a small grain of rice and stays in your pet for life. When a scanner is passed over your pet, it picks up the barcode number from the microchip and displays it on a screen.

Once your pet has been microchipped, its barcode number and your contact details will be logged on a national database.

If your pet strays or is stolen and is picked up and taken to vets, police or rescue centres, he or she will be scanned and, using the microchip details, you can be contacted and reunited with your pet.

Since 2017 it has been a legal requirement in the UK for all dogs to be microchipped. Puppies should be microchipped by their breeder who should be registered as the first keeper of the pup. Once sold the new owner then registers the change of ownership to the database. This allows a puppy to be traced back to it’s source should the need arise.

Microchipping is a safe and permanent method of identifying your pet. All species of pet can be microchipped. A microchip is a requirement of the PETS passport, which is needed if you are planning to take your pet abroad. (See Pet Travel Scheme)

Microchipping can be done at any age but generally we recommend doing it either at primary vaccination or when your pet comes in to be neutered.

MCVG can assist you in taking your pet abroad. The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) enables your pet (cat, dog, ferret) to re enter the UK from certain EU and non-EU countries without having to go through quarantine. In order to do this your pet needs to be issued with a pet passport, which our vets are able to do once certain criteria have been met. Information can be found on the government website http://www.defra.gov.uk/pets

Your pet needs to be microchipped and then vaccinated against Rabies. We can then issue your pet with his/her passport. The passport becomes valid 21 days after the date of the Rabies vaccination. Your pet cannot travel until the passport becomes valid. Provided this is kept up to date, by ensuring your pet gets vaccinated at the required interval and does not become overdue, this can last for the life of your pet. If your pet’s Rabies vaccination is overdue the passport would become valid again 21 days after the next vaccinaton. For this reason, if you are planning to travel with your pet, we would advise you plan to start the scheme at least 6weeks prior to travel to give you time to get the passport sorted and meet any other entry criteria for the country you are travelling to. 
Under the PETS scheme dogs need to have proven tapeworm treatment by a vet in the country you are visiting 1-5 days prior to returning to the UK (unless travelling from Finland, Ireland, Norway or Malta).

It is worth noting that the pet passport is to allow pets to return to the UK and to enter EU and certain non-EU countries, however, the country you are travelling to may also have other entry requirements, for example other vaccinations, an export health certificate etc. For this reason we would advise you always contact DEFRA (http://www.defra.gov.uk) to see what relevant procedures you need to undertake for the country you are travelling to, and to establish whether they are included in the PETS. If a country is not included in the PETS then quarantine would apply. If you are not planning on returning to the UK with your pet eg. if emigrating, then you do not always have to go through the PETS process but would still need to contact DEFRA to get the relevant entry requirements for the country you are travelling to. The same is true if you are planning to travel with an animal that is not a cat, dog or ferret.

It is your responsibility to ensure your pet has the correct paperwork and necessary treatments and vaccinations prior to travelling.

If you are planning on going overseas please feel free to discuss the preventative measures such a parasite control with a member of staff. We would recommend tick control and often mosquito or sandfly control as these bugs can transmit unpleasant and potentially life threatening diseases. Bayer, a company that manufactures a lot of parasite treatments, have a useful website http://www.itsajungle.co.uk that discusses parasites your pet may encounter abroad in their travel section.

Worms and fleas/ticks can be picked up at any stage of life

Worms

There are two main types of worms that can be caught by dogs and cats – round worms and tape worms. The different types of worms can be picked up in different ways – from faeces of an infected dog on the ground, from eating an infested wild rabbit or mouse or simply by ingesting eggs in the environment. It is not always possible to tell if your pet has got worms – low levels of worm infestation can be present within your pets digestive system without showing any external signs.

Worms, if left untreated, can cause significant illness in your pet, with symptoms of weight loss and diarrhoea, dullness of coat, coughing and lacking energy. However, in addition, in the case of the round worm toxacara canis, infestation of your pet can spread to humans, and can be the cause of significant illness especially in children.

As a result, routine worming of cats and dogs is recommended, even if they are showing no external signs.

Advice varies depending on the exact situation, but the following is a general guide as to when and how often to worm. For more precise details, please discuss your situation further with a vet at the surgery.

  • Puppies and kittens – worm every 2-3 weeks from 4 to 12 weeks of age, then monthly to 6 months old. Various preparations of paste, liquid or powder wormer are available – ask for further details
  • Adult dogs over 6 months – worm 3-4 times a year, using a combined round and tapeworm treatment, usually in tablet form
  • Adult cats – worm 3-4 times a year, more frequently if your cat is a regular hunter, less frequently if your cat lives inside all the time. Cats can be wormed with a tablet, or a small spot-on liquid that is applied to the back of your cat’s neck
  • Pregnant bitches and queens – should be wormed in the latter stages of pregnancy – see your vet for suitable products

Fleas/ticks

Fleas and ticks are parasites that live on your pet’s skin. 

Fleas can cause itchiness and hair loss, some pets can suffer an allergy to flea bites. Fleas can also be spread to other pets, and also to humans. They and their eggs can live in your house for long periods of time, and can cause reinfestation,  even once the fleas on the pet have been eliminated.

Ticks can be picked up in the woods and long grass and heather. Ticks are very prevalent in our local area of Moray, and can be active all year round, especially from March to October. Ticks suck blood and feed off your pet, and they can be responsible for the transmission of the condition Lymes disease, a potentially serious infection which can cause illness and arthritis in dogs and humans.

There are a variety of medications available for flea and tick prevention, either in the form of tablets, spot on medications that are applied to the back of the neck, or long lasting flea/tick collars. Ask at the surgery about the pros and cons of the various options, so that we can dispense the most appropriate treatment for your pet.

Rabbits

Preventative Treatments

  • Flies – It is important to keep flies away from rabbits. Flies can lay eggs on the body of a rabbit, particularly in moist areas eg. around the rear end and anus. The eggs then hatch into maggots which feed on the flesh of the rabbit. This is a condition known as fly strike. At the very least it is painful and at worst it is fatal for the affected rabbit. We can advise you on the best preventative treatments for this. It is also important that your rabbit’s hutch is kept clean and that their rear end does not become soiled to help prevent this nasty condition.
  • Fleas – flea treatments are available
  • E. Cuniculi – this is a parasite that can cause many problems in rabbits including neurological and kidney disease. A worming treatment ‘Panacur’ for rabbits is available to help prevent this condition.

Teeth are the cause of many health problems in pet dogs and cats. As pets get older, it is almost inevitable that there is a gradual build up of tartar and plaque on teeth. If this is left untreated, it gradually leads to problems such as erosion of the gums, gingivitis (gum infection), tooth decay and eventually loss of teeth. Signs of tooth decay and gingivitis include halitosis (bad breath), difficulty eating and excessive salivation.

There are a variety of things that can be done to help slow down this natural process. Vets and nurses at Moray Coast Vet Group will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your pet:

  • Tooth cleaning – If started at a young age, a lot of dogs and some cats will allow regular cleaning of teeth with tooth brush and paste. We stock a variety of products suitable for this purpose. This is the best way of preventing the build up of tartar in the first place, keeping your pet’s teeth healthy for longer.
  • Dental sticks and chews – We stock a variety of products designed such that, as the dog chews them, it helps break down the tartar built up on the teeth. Regular use of these products is beneficial in promoting your pet’s dental health.
  • Dental diets – In the same way that dental chews help, certain diets are designed specifically to minimise the build up of tartar on your pet’s teeth.
  • Scale and polish – If your pet gets to the stage that there is significant build up of tartar on the teeth, or evidence of tooth decay, your vet may advise dental treatment. This involves your pet being anaesthetised and tartar being removed with an ultrasonic scaler. The teeth are then polished, which minimises the chances of further build up of tartar in the future.
    In the event that there is decay or severe gum erosion, it may be advisable to extract teeth as appropriate. Often we may take dental xrays to evaluate what is going on with the tooth roots, under the gums. This can aid our decision as to whether an extraction is required. All this can usually be done under one anaesthetic and can significantly improve your pet’s quality of life, by eliminating pain from tooth decay, and improve your life, by eliminating problems associated with bad breath.

If you think your pet is suffering with dental problems or if you want advice on preventative treatment, make an appointment to see a vet or vet nurse who will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your pet.

Diet and Dental Disease in rabbits

Unlike the situation in dogs or cats, rabbit’s teeth are continuously growing throughout their lives, rather like our finger nails do. For this reason. dental disease is very common in rabbits. In most cases, once a rabbit is showing signs of problems, the damage is irreversible and a cure is not possible. Palliative care is all that is possible. For this reason prevention is very important.

Feeding of a natural high fibre diet is the best form of prevention. The best diet for rabbits is one that mimics their natural grass based diet in the wild. The bulk of a rabbit’s diet should consist of fresh grass and/or hay (this is important for their teeth and digestive system). This should be accompanied by green foods for vitamins and minerals eg. broccoli, carrot tops, kale, cabbage, watercress. Commercial concentrate diets are not essential if sufficient hay/grass and greens are available unless a rabbit is underweight or unwell. If rabbits are fed concentrates, pelleted diets are better than the muesli type diets which allow selective feeding. Overfeeding of concentrates causes gastrointestinal and dental disease and can also lead to boredom, obesity and behavioural problems. A good general rule is to feed a maximum of 25g of pellets per kg bodyweight per day. Fruit, carrots and ‘treats’ should be fed only as an occasional treat in small amounts, if at all. Lettuce should be avoided.

Signs of dental disease include anorexia, weight loss, drooling, facial swellings and eye discharge. If your vet diagnoses your rabbit with dental problems he or she will most likely require a general anaesthetic to have their teeth examined and treated. This is usually due to overgrowth of teeth, or teeth growing in the wrong direction. As previously mentioned, more often than not we are unable to cure dental problems once they have started and your rabbit may require regular dental treatments throughout his or her life to keep the teeth to the correct length and prevent overgrowth.

Radiography

Radiographs (xrays) are a frequently used and essential tool in the diagnosis of many conditions. Xrays are particularly important when we are studying bones and joints, but can also be used for diagnosing conditions in the chest and abdomen.

MCVG have the most state of the art digital xray processors in both the Forres and Nairn branches. This gives the clearest possible xray picture. The pictures are then stored digitally and can be displayed on a computer screen. If required, xrays can be emailed to external specialists for analysis and interpretation. We also have specialist dental xray machines, for radiography of teeth and skull.

Computed Tomography (CT)

MCVG now have the use of a mobile CT scanner that comes once a month to our Forres branch. CT scanning is an advanced imaging modality that is able to show cross sections of an area of interest and also build up a 3-D image of the area.They show an amazing amount of detail. They are very useful for looking at areas that don’t show up well on conventional xrays such as complex joints like the canine elbow. It can also be used for brain and spinal imaging and will give detailed views of the chest and abdomen.

Ultrasound

MCVG have a number of ultrasound machines for both large and small animal work.  It is a valuable tool for helping to diagnose certain problems in small animals and we also use it to check for pregnancy.

Laboratory Services

At MCVG we have a well equipped laboratory. At our Forres branch our VetTest machine allows us to process a wide variety of blood tests on site. This allows us to obtain results, in most cases, in only a few hours. Other tests we can perform on site include faecal and urine analysis and microscopy for skin problems, urine analysis and cytology. For more unusual tests, we can also send samples to external laboratories when needed.

ECG (electrocardiogram)

This is a machine we use when investigating heart problems. It measures the electrical activity in the heart. Performing an ECG involves attaching four cables to your pet and measuring a trace of the electrical activity of the heart. This is a painless procedure and is done with the animal conscious. From the measurements, we can diagnose certain heart conditions.

Endoscopy and Arthroscopy

At MCVG we have two endoscopes (small fibre optic cameras) that we can use especially when examining the gut and upper respiratory tract. Under general anaesthesia, we can pass an endoscope either into the lungs or down the oesophagus into the stomach, to visualise problems in these regions. Samples can also be taken from these areas for further analysis. Endoscopy is an important tool in the investigation of certain conditions in these regions. 
In addition, we have an arthroscope, a rigid fibre optic camera,  which can be used for visualising and treating conditions inside certain joints, by “keyhole surgery” techniques.

Blood Pressure Monitoring

This can be performed at our Forres and Nairn branches (and at our other branches by prior arrangement). It is used predominantly to look for hypertension (high blood pressure) in older cats that, left untreated, can lead to blindness, kidney disease and other complications.

Blood pressure monitoring is performed conscious, and is a painless, non invasive procedure

Acupuncture is used predominantly in small animals to treat chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis. However it can be useful for many other problems. Our vets can discuss with you the potential uses of acupuncture. One of our MCVG vets, Claire Pearson, is trained to perform veterinary acupuncture. If you are interested in your pet receiving acupuncture as part of their treatment please contact the practice.

We have a visiting specialist ophthalmologist, Tony Wall, who comes to our Forres branch once a month to see eye problems requiring specialist examination and treatment. He performs cataract surgery on site. He is also an appointed member of the BVA/Kennel Club eye panel and can screen dogs eyes for hereditary diseases.

He can be contacted outside of these times to see more urgent eye cases.

Our team of vets are on hand to deal with medical and surgical problems. We have a well equipped laboratory and imaging facilities to help us investigate medical problems. Both our Forres and Nairn branches have surgical facilities on site. Soft tissue (routine and non routine) and orthopaedic surgery is performed at MCVG.

One of our directors, Andrew Stevens, who works out of our Forres branch, has a particular interest in orthopaedics. He is able to perform various fracture repairs and joint surgeries including tibial plateau levelling osteotomies (TPLOs) for cruciate injuries.

Depending on the nature of an animal’s condition, it may be necessary to hospitalise the patient. This may be simply for a few hours, prior to, and recovering from surgery, or in other cases, may be for longer periods for treatment of more complex cases and protracted illnesses.

Our surgeries at Forres and Nairn both have facilities for hospitalisation when required. Both branches have separate recovery, dog and cat wards to minimise stress to the patients. If your pet is likely to be admitted for a longer period, it is likely to be transferred to the Forres surgery, where we are better equipped to cater for the needs of the patient. If your pet is required to be hospitalised overnight, it will be cared for by the duty vet and nurse who are available to care for patients 24hrs a day as required. At our Forres branch, our kennels are also monitored by CCTV, which allows the duty vet or nurse to view patients constantly on their mobile phone, at times when they are not in the building.

Skin disease in small animals is very common and can be frustrating to treat. At MCVG we have a number of ways to investigate skin disease on site, including skin scrapes/microscopy (predominantly to look for mites) and a Woods lamp (an ultraviolet lamp than can diagnose ringworm). We can also send samples to external laboratories for investigation eg. skin biopsies for histopathology, hair and skin samples for microbiology, blood samples for allergy testing. We can perform hyposensitisation injections to aid in the treatment of allergic skin disease in dogs.

We have a team of qualified veterinary nurses who run clinics at Forres, Nairn and Lossiemouth surgeries. Nurses are trained to give health advice on specific conditions as follows:

Weight Clinics

Over time we may not notice our pets expanding slowly at the waistline. This can be due to many reasons including neutering, exercising less and medical reasons. Overweight pets are at risk from Arthritis, Diabetes, Heart disease and can age prematurely.

At our Weight Clinics we will give you a clear appraisel of your pet’s body condition and recommend a weight loss plan if required. Our Nursing team will be on hand to support you through this time and provide advice as you require it. The purpose of these clinics is to enable you to keep your pet healthier and active for longer – a worrying 75% of pets are overweight or classed as obese. Is your pet one of these?

Mobility Clinics

As our pets get older they may present with behaviour changes. Dogs can become slow to rise after periods of rest, reluctant to jump in the car or climb stairs and show a change in temperament. Cats may have areas on their back which look like they may have been ‘missed’ when grooming, start to urinate in odd places around the house, be reluctant to jump on furniture and become grumpy when handled.

These pets may well have a mobility problem such as Arthritis. At our clinics, a nurse will be able to identify such problems and will help by advising you on ways to make subtle changes to your daily regime that will help your pet cope with these problems. These changes can often result in being able to reduce the amount of pain relief that many pets require.

Dental Checks

Dental disease is common in dogs and cats. As they are all individuals, different animals need treatment at different frequencies. Some pets require regular dental treatments while others maybe just once in their lifetime. Factors such as diet, breed and the type of toys they play with can play a part. The accumulation of tartar on teeth can smell unpleasant for us but it can also create health issues with your pet. Tooth loss, the spread of bacteria and infection of the gums and jaw bone are all distressing and require lengthy treatment. Our nurses can examine your pet and give you a recommendation to help slow down the need for treatment. Tooth brushing, Enzymatic chews, diets or even booking in for a routine scale & polish before any of the more severe symptoms occur.

Senior Pet Checks

These clinics are designed for pets 8 years and over. The purpose of these checks is to spot any potential health problems at an early stage and to advise you on what signs to look for and what action to take. Diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease are a big worry for clients but if caught early, we can advise on diet changes and refer you to a vet so that, as a practice, we can help you and your pet cope before the disease is too advanced. Once you have made an appointment, a questionnaire will be posted out to you so that you can take your time at home to complete. We also ask that you bring in a fresh urine sample for a free urine analysis. The appointment will last approx 20 minutes. The nurse may need to refer you to a vet if she is concerned about any of your answers. We will try to ensure that you see the vet at the same time as the nurse appointment but, on some occasions, it may be necessary for you to come back to see a vet at a later date.

Post Operation Checks

These clinics are designed for a qualified nurse to examine and give advice after your pet has had an operation. These usually occur about three days after the operation. The nurse will check that the animal has recovered from the general anaesthetic, she will ask a few questions on eating, drinking and pain relief and do a clinical examination of your pet as appropriate. Dressings will be removed and any wounds checked. Depending on the outcome of the check up, a further appointment may be made, either with a nurse or with a vet, as necessary, for the removal of stitches and follow up treatment as required.

Behaviour Advice

The team of qualified veterinary nurses at MCVG are able to give advice and answer questions regarding your cat or dog’s behaviour. We can offer advice on general behavioural issues like unwanted barking, destructive behaviour, house soiling, separation anxiety and more. Some behavioural problems, as well as being a nuisance, can have an underlying health problem. Please make an appointment to speak to a nurse if you have any problems with your pet’s behaviour.

Nutritional Advice

Nutrition is very important throughout your pet’s life, from birth to senior years. Nutritional requirements change throughout life and there are different requirements between different breeds. Nurses are trained to give advice regarding which diet is most suitable for your pet’s needs. These clinics are free and will take approximately 20 minutes. The nurse will monitor weight control and advise on daily feeding requirements.

Nurses can also include advice on prescription diets. These diets are prescribed by a vet, for the specific nutritional requirements of certain illnesses and conditions, such as kidney and liver disease, food allergies and arthritis.

At MCVG we stock a variety of cat and dog foods.

ROYAL CANIN
http://www.royalcanin.co.uk
We stock Royal Canin diets for cats and dogs including lifestage diets and veterinary diets. Lifestage diets are complete foods specially tailored to your pet’s age, and sometimes breed. Veterinary diets are formulated as an aid to treating and managing specific medical problems – these include kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, allergic diseases and obesity.

BURNS
http://www.burnspet.co.uk
We stock a range of Burns complete dried dog and cat food including Burns ‘Sensitive’ – a pork and potato, wheat-free diet used in dogs with diet intolerances, allergies or prone to stomach upsets.

WAFCOL
http://www.wafcol.co.uk
We stock a range of Wafcol salmon and potato diets ideal for dogs with food intolerances and allergies, including those that manifest as skin problems. It is wheat (and gluten) free and also free from red meat, poultry, dairy, soya, artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.

At MCVG we stock a range of products such as flea and worming treatments that can be purchased by our clients over the counter. These include:

Parasite treatments
– Frontline Combo Spot-on ( http://uk.frontline.com ) (fleas, ticks)
– Frontline spray (fleas, ticks)
– Drontal worming tablets and puppy liquid (http://www.drontal.com) (roundworms, tapeworms)
– Milpro worming tablets for dogs (roundworms, tapeworms)
– Advocate spot on for dogs and cats (fleas, roundworms, mites, lungworm)
– Advantix spot on for dogs (fleas, ticks)
– Bravecto tablets for dogs (fleas, ticks)
– Seresto collars for dogs and cats (for fleas and ticks)
– Profender spot on wormer for cats (http://www.spotonwormer4cats.com)
– Broadline spot on wormer and flea treatment for cats
– Panacur wormers for cats, dogs and rabbits
– Rearguard fly repellant for rabbits
– Xeno spot on for small pets such as birds and rodents

Behavioural/anxiety treatments
– Adaptil plug in, refills, spray and collars (http://www.adaptil.co.uk)
– Feliway plug in, refills and spray (http://www.feliway.co.uk)
– Zylkene

We have a state of the art therapeutic laser unit, which can be used as a treatment for a range of inflammatory conditions, primarily for dogs and cats, but also for horses. Therapeutic laser can be used as a treatment for pain and inflammation, in joints and soft tissue. Its main use is for treatment of chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, but it can also be used to aid healing of skin wounds, wet eczema, ear infections and gum inflammation associated with dental disease. 
In cases of arthritis, laser can be used in conjunction with traditional anti-inflammatory medications, or in some cases, may be sufficient on its own, allowing dogs to come off traditional drugs altogether. 
Following surgical procedures, a short application of laser can reduce swelling and speed up recovery. 
Laser is a quick and painless procedure. It can be performed on an outpatient basis without sedation, and usually takes about 20 minutes. All our nurses at MCVG are trained to perform this service. 
Please ask at reception if you require more details.

Vaccinations

We recommend that your pet is vaccinated against certain serious and often fatal infectious diseases.

Dogs

We routinely recommend that dogs are vaccinated against Parvovirus, Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Leptospirosis. These are serious infectious diseases that, if contracted, are usually either fatal or seriously debilitating to your dog and for which there is no cure.

By vaccinating, we can prevent these diseases. Vaccination can start from as young as 8 weeks old, requiring 2 injections at 8 and 10 weeks of age to provide initial protection. Thereafter, your dog will require a single annual booster in order to maintain protection. Vaccination against these diseases is a requirement if your dog is going to go into boarding kennels.

We can also vaccinate your dog against Kennel Cough, a highly infectious respiratory condition, which, whilst rarely being fatal, can result in your dog being fairly unwell with a nasty cough for a few weeks. This is strongly recommended if your dog is likely to enter boarding kennels or come in close contact with other dogs at any time. Kennel Cough vaccination is administered by a single dose of drops that is given into one of your dogs nostrils. Vaccination needs to be repeated annually to maintain protection.

A new vaccine has recently been introduced to vaccinate against Lymes disease – passed to animals by tick bites.

Vaccination against Rabies can also be given. This is only required if your dog is going abroad and if so, it will also need to be microchipped and have a passport. Ask your vet for more information if you are considering travelling with your dog or go to our page on the Pet Travel Scheme. For travel to endemic countries we can now vaccinate dogs against Leishmaniasis.

Cats

There are three main diseases that cats may be vaccinated against: cat flu, enteritis and leukaemia.

Again, if caught, these diseases may either be seriously debilitating or at worst may be fatal.

Vaccination can start from 9 weeks of age, requiring a primary course of two injections, 3 weeks apart. Thereafter, your cat will require an annual booster to maintain protection. Vaccination is a requirement if your cat is going to enter a boarding cattery but is also advisable if your cat in normal life goes outside and comes in contact with other cats.

As with dogs, cats can also be vaccinated against Rabies if going abroad as part of the Pet Travel Scheme.

Rabbits

There are two diseases that we recommend that rabbits are vaccinated against; Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD), of which there are 2 strains,  VHD1 and VHD2.

Myxomatosis is a highly contagious disease which can be spread from wild rabbits to domestic pets, either by direct contact or indirectly, carried by flies and fleas. So even if your rabbit is kept in isolation, it is still potentially at risk of this disease. Myxomatosis is an invariably fatal disease for which there is no cure.
VHD is also a fatal disease, which can be caught indirectly from wild rabbits. Rabbits with VHD may present acutely ill and passing blood or may simply present as a sudden unexplained death. 
Currently protection is provided by 2 separate vaccines, the first one combining Myxomatosis and VHD 1, and a separate vaccine covering VHD2. We recommend annual vaccination with both these vaccines, at a minimum of 2 weeks apart.

Neutering

Neutering in all species is a surgical procedure done under general anaesthetic. In most cases, you will leave your pet with us first thing in the morning, the operation is performed during the morning and your pet will be discharged from the surgery in the afternoon. Depending on the type of operation, we may ask to bring your pet for a check up about three days later and there may be stitches which need to be removed at about 10 days after surgery.

Dogs

Females are Spayed (dressed, sprayed, snipped, neutered) males are Castrated (neutered, snipped, chopped).

The Bitch
Spaying a bitch stops seasons and avoids unwanted pups. This is done by removing the womb and ovaries (ovariohysterectomy). A spayed bitch cannot have a false pregnancy, which is a condition that often follows a season. By spaying, a bitch is prevented from suffering the condition called pyometra, which is a serious, potentially life threatening infection of the womb which we frequently see in older bitches. If a bitch is spayed early in life, the incidence of mammary tumours in later life can significantly be reduced, if not eliminated. A spayed bitch does not come into season, thus preventing the potential of bleeding in the house and attraction to male dogs.

If you have no intention of breeding from your bitch we would recommend spaying her, either at 6 months of age, before the first season or mid way between one season and the next. It is inadvisable to spay a bitch when she is on heat, shortly after the heat or if she is showing any signs of false pregnancy.

There are some disadvantages. Some spayed bitches have a tendency to put on weight after neutering. This is preventable however, by monitoring weight and feeding less if required. Some dogs can experience coat changes after surgery, when the smooth top coat becomes fluffy due to longer undercoat and they lose their sleek appearance. This is due to changes in hormone levels but otherwise does not affect their health.  Urinary incontinence may be seen in a very few spayed bitches when older. However, this can also happen in unspayed bitches and is a treatable condition. Spaying will NOT change a dog’s nature. The boisterous dog is still boisterous and the friendly one is still friendly too! It is not a training tool.

Male Dogs
We castrate dogs at any time from 6 months of age but it can be done at any time, except in some of the slower maturing giant breeds of dog, where we may advise delaying until about 1 year old. Castration eliminates sexual behaviour such as roaming (in search of on heat bitches), excessive marking and it reduces territorial aggression. Males become more tolerant of other dogs as they feel they are less of a threat. They will remain just as lively and friendly and this will not make an over-exuberant dog better trained! Coat changes may also be seen as in bitches. Prostate problems in older dogs are avoided by castration.

Cats

Females are spayed and males are castrated.

Females are spayed to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Also female cats, when on heat, become very vocal, with personality changes.

Male cats are castrated to prevent fathering unwanted kittens. In addition, uncastrated male cats develop a very pungent urine which can be very antisocial in the domestic environment. Male cats are also very territorial and frequently get into fights, suffering from wounds and abscesses. Castration goes a long way to reduce the incidence of these problems.

Cats, both male and female, can be neutered any time from 4 months of age.

Other Pets

We spay and castrate rabbits, castrate guinea pigs and do vasectomies on ferrets; all to prevent unwanted offspring and to allow more than one to live together, without indiscriminate breeding, which is always best for the pet. Ask your vet for further details about other pets and their requirements.

The death of a pet is something all pet owners fear. Whilst some pets do pass away peacefully at home, many require veterinary intervention to prevent suffering. We euthanase or ‘put to sleep’ pets because they are in pain or their quality of life has deteriorated. Sometimes it is hard to know what to do for the best for our pets and whether we should be considering euthanasia. Our staff are trained to help you with this difficult decision. Most of us are pet owners ourselves and will know what a difficult time you are having. It is also worth talking to family members and friends. If you would prefer less personal help the Blue Cross have a factsheet on their website (“time to say goodbye”) that you may find helpful. It also explains the euthanasia procedure.

Coping with the loss of a pet is never easy. Feel free to speak to a member of staff you feel comfortable with. Many of us have had to cope with the loss of a much loved pet and will understand what you’re going through. The Pet Bereavement Support Service (PBSS) has a helpline which provides advice and support 0800 096 6606.

The euthanasia procedure varies depending on the type of animal, their demeanour and medical condition. A large dose of an anaesthetic drug is used. We will choose the method used that we feel will cause the least stress to your pet. The vet will discuss this with you first. You can decide to stay with your pet during the procedure or leave him or her with the vet. The procedure can be carried out at one of our surgeries or at your home. At our surgeries we will attempt to book a time when the waiting room is quiet to minimise your wait and distress. If you require a home visit please try to give as much notice as possible. There will be an additional charge for a home visit.

Once an animal has passed away there are a few options for your pet’s remains:

  • a communal cremation (where the pets are collected from us and cremated together),
  • private cremation (where a pet is cremated individually so the ashes can be returned to the owner for burial, scatter or in a casket). For our private cremations we use Nairn Pet Crematorium (Tel 01667 459444), who will collect your pet from our branches or from your home as you wish.
  • burial at home. If burying a pet at home ensure the grave is large enough and deep enough so as not to be disturbed by wild animals or future owners of the property and well away from water channels.

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