Frequently asked questions at Springbok Veterinary Group.
How big is the chip?
Approximately the size of a grain of rice.
How is it inserted?
It is implanted with a large needle, and can be done in the consulting room with no need for an anaesthetic.
How does it work?
The information contained in the chip is stored at a national database and should your pet ever be found wandering, the information can be accessed by any centre (rescue or veterinary with a scanner).
What if the centre uses a different identichip system?
The different systems are all compatible, and should pick up the identichip number even if it was an implant from another company.
At what age should I have my new kitten/puppy vaccinated?
We like to vaccinate kittens at 9 weeks and 12 weeks, and puppies at 8 and 12.
My cat/dog was vaccinated as a kitten/puppy, does it need to be done again?
Yes, for the immunity to continue a booster should be done annually in most cases.
What is my pet being vaccinated against?
We can vaccinate cats against cat flu’; infectious enteritis; chlamydia and feline leukaemia virus.
In dogs the Leptospirosis vaccine needs to be topped up every year, whereas the other usual vaccines (for Distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, coronavirus and parainfluenza) are now normally topped up every two to three years.
Will they feel any after effects?
Not usually, but a small percentage may feel a little off colour for a day or so.
Is it only cats and dogs that need vaccinations?
No, it is also very important to vaccinate your rabbit. There are two conditions that can be vaccinated against: Myxomatosis, and VHD (Viral haemorraghic disease).
My rabbit doesn’t come into contact with wild rabbits, so it can’t catch Myxi can it?
Myxi is spread by biting flies such as mosquitos and gnats, so it can spread easily from wild rabbits to pet ones, even if they are kept only in hutches. This has been a particularly bad year for Myxi, and it is very important to keep your rabbit’s vaccinations up to date. They should be injected every 6 months.
What about VHD?
This is less common, but is a bit like foot and mouth disease, in that it spreads quickly like a plague over large areas when it is around.
What do I need to do to get my pet a passport?
They will need to be microchipped. They then will need a rabies vaccination, followed by a rabies blood test.
How long before they can travel?
The blood test is taken approximately 30 days following the vaccination. If this has taken (in the majority of cases) a passport can then be drawn up. This is valid for use straight away to travel from Britain, (for instance, if you are moving abroad), but not valid for re-entry until 6 months later. So if you are wanting to travel to and from the UK on holiday, you will need to wait 6 months before your pet can travel.
What if they fail the blood test?
This doesn’t often happen, but if it does, I’m afraid it mean re-vaccinating and re-testing, as before.
At what age should I get my cats neutered? Is is different for males and females?
No. They should both be ready to be neutered at around 5 ½ – 6 months.
What about my dogs? Should I have them neutered and if so, when?
Dogs can be castrated from around 8 months (depending on the breed). It is certainly advisable if they are at all aggressive, territorial or over-sexed.
Bitches can be spayed from the same sort of age, before their first season if desired, but not if it is imminent. Three to four months should be left after the last season before operating. If you aren’t intending to breed from your bitch, then we would certainly advise spaying while she is still fairly young. This is far better for her health in the long run.
If you have any queries about the pros and cons of neutering your dog, make an appointment to have a chat with a vet or nurse.
If I see a baby bird on its own should I pick it up?
If it is not injured in any way, it is usually much better to leave it where it is as the parents are normally close by. Once handled by a human they may not want to have any thing else to do with it. The same applies for baby deer or squirrels – keep your distance and leave it in peace, the parents will come back for it.
What if it’s injured?
Depending on what it is and how badly injured it is, we may be able to help, but if you phone us first, we also have contact numbers for various organisations which might be more appropriate.
It’s much easier to feed dry food only, but is it bad for my pet ?
On the contrary, it is much better for them as it doesn’t cling to their teeth and cause decay in the same way wet food does. We always recommend it.
There are so many different diets available I get confused, but I want to do the best for my pet.
You can always discuss this with the vet at your appointment, speak to one of our nurses, or ask at Reception for a leaflet explaining the Royal Canin diets that we recommend.
Is tail docking strictly illegal now?
It is allowed only for certain breeds of dog that will go to working homes only. And it can only be done by a veterinary surgeon.
What if I buy a dog with a docked tail – how will I know it has been done legally?
Any dog that has had its tail docked legally should have a microchip, and paperwork signed by the vet and breeder with the chip number on it.
If my pet has an accident or suddenly looks very ill do I have to have an appointment?
Obviously we will always see an animal in an emergency. It is best if you can phone us first, so that we can prepare a kennel/drip or whatever may be necessary and warn people waiting for appointments that there may be a hold up.
What if it is out of hours?
The same applies. Just phone the usual surgery number, this will automatically go through to Vaughn.
Do you ever send out of hours emergency patients to another surgery for treatment?
No. We do all our own out of hours emergency treatment here on site.
Sometimes I’m not sure whether I need to bring my pet in to see a vet or if I’m just fussing unnecessarily. Is it OK to just phone up reception and ask advice?
Yes, of course. We are always happy to give advice over the phone, although without seeing your pet it obviously won’t be possible to give a diagnosis. Our reception staff will usually be able to advise you as to whether an appointment would be best, or what further symptoms to look out for.