Useful information on Cats and Dogs
From 31st March 2016 all dogs must be microchipped by law. This is to ensure the safe return of your dog should it go wondering. It is a quick painless needle and only takes 5 minutes to fill in the paper work required. When you bring your dog to the vet for a microchip you must bring photo ID and proof of address, we as vets are required by law to see these before we can microchip your dog. 1 in 3 dogs go missing in Ireland every day with your dog microchipped you are more likely to have your dog returned to you. 90% of dogs who are not microchipped will sadly never return home.
Why Do It?
Spaying and neutering should be the natural choice for all pet owners. Apart from population control, there is clear evidence that early neutering is better for the health of the individual animal.
When to Do It?
The latest recommendations from surgical staff at UCD are that neutering should be carried out at an earlier age than has previously been suggested.
It is now recommended that:
Both male and female cats should be neutered/spayed at 4-5 months of age. Both male and female dogs should be neutered/spayed at 5-6 months of age.:
What is the Evidence for Health Benefits of Early Neutering?
For female dogs spaying obviously prevents pyometra, but the effect on mammary cancer is the most significant health reason for early spaying of bitches (before their first season).
Mammary cancer is the most common type of cancer in the bitch (52% of all tumours) Around 50% of mammary tumours are malignant
Spaying a bitch at a young age dramatically reduces the risk of mammary cancer.
If a bitch is neutered before her first season, she is 2,000 times less likely to develop mammary cancer than if she is left entire until she is three years of age.
Urinary incontinence is more likely to occur in bitches that are spayed at any age compared to bitches that are not spayed. However, the majority of cases respond well to simple treatment, and most people agree that this risk is much less serious than the alternative risk of malignant mammary cancer. Much research has been carried out on the effect of the timing of spaying on urinary incontinence and there are conflicting results. Some reports suggest that incontinence is less likely if bitches are spayed before their first season, while others suggest that the opposite is true.
Testicular neoplasia is the second most common tumour in the male dog. As well as preventing this, early neutering also prevents prostatic disease (benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatitis/prostatic abscesses, prostatic cysts and paraprostatic cysts). Prostatic hyperplasia starts at 1-2 years of age with 95% of dogs affected by 9 years of age.
Mammary cancer is the third most common form of neoplasm, though with a lower risk than in female dogs.
80% of feline mammary tumours are malignant.
Entire cats are seven times more likely to develop mammary cancer than those spayed at puberty.
Neutering reduces fighting behaviour by over 80%, significantly reducing cat bite abscesses, as well as reducing the risk of FIV infection.
Neutering also significantly reduces male urine marking behaviour.
Lungworms (Angiostrongylus vasorum)
Dogs become infected when eating snails or slugs carrying worm larvae, even the snail trails left behind on pavements and feeding or water bowls leave larvae behind for your dog to ingest. You may or may not see any signs that your dog is infected, so regular worm treatments and good hygiene is important. Ensure feeding and water bowls are cleaned daily if left outside.
Some clinical signs of lungworm infestations are:
- Exercise intolerance
• Occasional cough at exercise
• Increased respiratory rate and effort
• Increased coughing
• Weight Loss
• Pale mucous membranes
• Poor appetite
• Blood in urine
Tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum)
Fleas and lice are vectors for tapeworms; your pet can get fleas or lice from other animals and areas where infested animals have been. These external parasites will inevitably ingested when you pet grooms their coat. After which your pet will become infected with tapeworms.
Tapeworms can measure up to 30cm in length and segments containing eggs will shed in the animals faeces, these segments can be seen in your pet’s fur beneath the tail.
Worms affect people too, particularly children; causing ill health. Larvae can migrate to organs such as the liver and eyes; so good hygiene, regular worming and poop scoping is vital to protect ourselves and our pets.
Many animals exhibit no external signs of worm infestations, so it is extremely important to treat your pets regularly. If your animal has a heavy burden of worms or is very young, clinical signs may be observed.
Roundworms (Toxocara cati / canis)
All puppies and kittens have roundworms; they get them from their mother’s milk. Even if the mother is wormed regularly, roundworms lie dormant in the body and are stimulated by hormones released during pregnancy. We recommend a course of worming for puppies and kittens every two weeks until they are four months of age, after which routine worming should be provided at least every three months. Roundworm eggs are also shed in infected animal faeces, these eggs can survive for prolonged periods of time; up to one year long after the faeces has disappeared. Worming treatments also protect against a variety of different worms which your pet can be exposed to when out walking or even in your own back garden. Other animals such as insects, birds and rodents can act as hosts of these parasites, so when our pet ingests such a host when hunting they then become infected
Some possible clinical signs of worm infestation include:
- Distended abdomen
• Poor growth
• Ill thrift
• Weight Loss
• Increased appetite
• Worms expelled in vomit or faeces