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How to care for your new puppy

Cavalier King Charles puppies

How to care for your puppy:

Make sure that you have suitable transport for your new puppy.  Puppies may be put in a collapsible cage in your car, which ensures they are safe during a journey. Be sure to have them on a lead/harness so that they can’t run away. Also before your puppy has its first vaccinations it is imperative that your puppy does not touch the floor outside (other than your garden) and is only introduced to dogs that are vaccinated.

  • Night Time: Your puppy may whine about being left alone for the first few nights. Soft toys can be good company. If you are planning to train them to use a crate you can cover the crate to make them feel more secure. Leaving a radio station on (eg. Classic FM) quietly in the background can also help them to feel more secure. Sometimes a ticking clock could provide some company. A covered hot water bottle may also be a very warm friend.

  • Training:Make sure to train and handle your puppy from an early age. Plenty of handling will make them comfortable with human contact. Reinforcing good play behaviours with treats is also recommended. When doing any training always give verbal praise first, and immediately after give a little treat. Eventually your puppy will be happy to receive the verbal praise alone. Get the puppy used to being checked over (like at the vets). Lift and handle the ears, try getting a dog toothpaste and brushing their teeth, with a finger brush. Lift and handle the paws. Be sure to expose your puppy to a number of things whilst it is developing. This can include a person in uniform (eg. A postman), someone wearing a hat, someone with a beard even! Puppy classes are a great way to socialise them. Other puppies will help to teach your puppy how to behave in social situations.

  • 1stVaccinationsThis can be done on the first vet check between 8-10weeks of age. The 2ndvaccination is 2-4weeks after. Until a week after the 2ndvaccination it is imperative that you keep the puppy away from unvaccinated dogs and do not place him/her on the floor in public spaces where viruses could be on the ground.

  • Worming and parasite control– Puppies will need to be wormed as most will have picked up worms from their mother. This can be done with either tablets, or with a spot on treatment, which will treat other parasites such as fleas and lungworm.

  • Exercise: Puppies do not need long walks – they only have little legs! Puppies aren’t considered fully grown until 6-18 months of age (larger breeds mature more slowly). It is then that a good exercise plan can be implemented. Larger breeds especially may be prone to bone and joint problems, and should not be over exercised, when growing.

  • Food:Little and often. A puppy’s tummy is very small and so their food intake needs to be split between 3-4 meal times. Find out what your puppy has been fed on at the breeder’s and try to maintain that regime for continuity. If your puppy has diarrhoea, give them boiled chicken and rice. Introduce any new puppy foods gradually over 3 days, as a sudden change in food will often cause a digestive upset.

  • Play: Puppies like to chew a lot especially during teething between the ages of 3 and 6 months, when they will lose all of their milk teeth.  Provide rubber Kongs or rope chews. Avoid bones as they can crack their milk teeth on these.  Play is an important way of learning for your new puppy and can be a lot of fun too!

Finally enjoy playing with your puppy – they grow up much  too fast !



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A case of Tetanus in a puppy

Upright ears in a case of tetanus

Upright ears in a case of tetanus



A case of Tetanus: This is Barney Barnard a 6mth old Border Collie puppy. When Barney was 3mths old he came to us showing some very unusual signs. He was unable to eat properly, his ears were erect, lips pulled back and he walked with very stiff front legs. After some tests and research Barney was diagnosed with Tetanus and started on intensive treatment. We are all very pleased that after a long 3mths of treatment Barney appears to have made a full recovery. The pictures  show Barney with signs of Tetanus and as he is recovering.
Tetanus is an uncommon disease in dogs. Tetanus is caused by a bacteria called Clostridium Tetani, which is found in soil. Dogs can get Tetanus if the bacteria gets into wounds or from chewing sticks. This bacteria produces a toxin which causes paralysis. Cats can also get this disease but they are more resistant to it. The signs for Tetanus start appearing 5 – 18 days after the infection.
The main clinical signs we look for are:
*Stiff legs and a short, shuffley walk,
*Elevated tail,
*Contraction of the muscles in the face so it looks like the dog is smiling.

Luckily it is a very rare condition, so we hope we don’t see another case for a long time !

Posted in cases, dogs, puppies.

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How to choose a puppy

puppies-labrador-retriever west london vet

Dogs are a man’s best friend”

Getting a puppy is a very important and exciting decision. A puppy can add so much joy and companionship to your life. We love seeing puppies here at Young Veterinary Partnership and enjoy, even more so, helping you to look after them as best as possible. When you decide to get a puppy you have to be sure that you can commit time towards exercising it, keeping it company and socialising/training it so it becomes a well-mannered adult dog.

Choosing your puppy:

The Breed: Choosing the appropriate breed for you is critical. A smaller dog breed may be more appropriate for your lifestyle. Seeing both parents of the puppy can help you assess possible future temperament (and future size). Some breeds may be more ‘highly strung” than others, some need more exercise, some need more coat care and grooming than others.

The Breeder: Make sure your puppy comes from a reputable breeder where the mother is up to date with her vaccinations. The puppy should have also been wormed regularly throughout their first few weeks and even had a flea treatment before being re-homed. Ideally the puppy should be around 8 weeks old before bringing them home. Keeping mother and puppies together upto 8 weeks, has been shown to reduce the risks of behavioural problems developing later. Some breeders may even do a first vaccination and a microchip.

Charities: A great way of you re-homing a puppy. As a policy the puppy has usually had its first vaccinations and is microchipped for you. The charity may even have neutered them, if he/she is old enough. Charities often ask for a small donation towards adopting the puppy.

Make sure that your puppy is fit and healthy when you choose it:

Hips/Elbows/Eyes: The parents of some pedigree litters have to undergo compulsory scoring of their hips (for hip dysplasia), elbows (for elbow dysplasia) or eyes (for cataracts and retinal problems). This reduces the risk of the puppies developing these problems, by only using parents with good scores for breeding. Make sure that the parents’ scores are of an acceptable standard for their breed. Visit for more information.

Eyes: Bright wide eyes. No discharge.

Nose: Wet nose. No discharge.

Mouth & Teeth: No teeth out of place. Fully erupted. Milk teeth are usually bright white and look shiny.

Weight: A healthy weight where you can feel the ribs but not see them. Make sure the puppy doesn’t have a pot-belly as this could indicate a worm burden. This can be easily rectified by a wormer from a vet.

Appetite: A good appetite indicates a healthy puppy.

Toileting: Normal urination and defecation. This should be normally formed, no blood in it and not watery. Sometimes you can see evidence of worms in the faeces, if this is the case he will need worming by a vet.

Further information about different dog breeds can be found at


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Feeding your pet rabbit

Rabbit with overgrown teeth

Rabbit with overgrown teeth

One of the commonest problems we see with rabbits is related to their teeth. This can often be diet related, so what is the correct diet to feed?

Hay, meadow grass and vegetables, with a small amount of pelleted rabbit food. As a rough guide timothy based hay mixed with other hay should be offered ad lib, 1 cup of varied vegetables and or edible plants, and 25gms of a pelleted (not muesli) commercial diet per kg body weight (1 tablespoon 2x daily for an average 2.5kg adult rabbit).


Rabbit teeth, unlike ours, grow continuously, and wear down during the grinding and chewing of grass and hay. If rabbits eat only commercial rabbit food, they will not wear down their teeth correctly and are much more likely to develop dental problems.


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Taking your kitten home – Part 2

What to do once your new kitten is home

kitten vets

Once you have decided on a kitten and are ready to take it home, there are some essential items that need to be prepared first:

Food: A good brand of kitten food (biscuits or pouches) should be fed and we personally recommend the Science Plan food. Kittens must have access to fresh water at all times. Kittens who have been weaned do not require milk (even though they may really like it!). Cow’s milk can cause diarrhoea and should be avoided.

Food and water bowls: Bowls should be cleaned daily.

Litter: The cat litter should be non-clumping and non-toxic as kittens have a tendency to chew and occasionally try to eat the litter.

Litter tray: Trays can either be open or covered, but should be placed in the room where the kitten will spend most of its time. Scoop out soiled litter daily and completely clean litter trays regularly. If you have more than one cat ideally there should be at least one litter tray per cat.

Bed/ blanket: These are not essential but most cats prefer a comfortable place to sleep that they can call their own.

Toys: Toys are very important to keep your kitten entertained. Avoid toys that are easily broken as these can cause a choking hazard. To avoid accidents, supervise your kitten during any play.

Scratching post: Cats and kittens need to scratch and scratching posts can be an ideal way of preventing the furniture from being used.

Cat carrier: This is essential for safely transporting your kitten. End opening plastic carriers, or top opening wire carriers are suitable.


Preparing the area

One room should be designated for the kitten to spend its first few days. This room should be large enough to include all of the above. It may be helpful to bring something with the scent of the previous owner on it, such as a blanket or toy. This familiar smell can help the kitten relax.

Feliway is a product that can help settle your kitten into a new environment. It can be purchased from the surgery as a spray or plug in diffuser which has replicated pheromones (cat scent) that cats would leave naturally, and is used to calm and comfort cats during stressful times. All cats think it is their own scent, so it can also help if you already have another cat in your house.

Before the arrival of a new kitten, every home should be checked for potential hazards. Kittens are very curious and will explore their new environment by jumping, climbing and sometimes chewing! We recommend checking the following hazards:


  • Oven Hobs (kittens may jump up and burn themselves)
  • Washing machines and tumble dryers (check kitten has not climbed in before turning on)
  • Irons (kittens may jump up and burn themselves)
  • Electric wires (kittens may chew)
  • Dustbins and toilets (always keep the lid on and the toilet seat down)
  • Sewing materials (kittens love to play with string, but if eaten it will cause a serious problem)
  • Any small objects like pins, etc (may cause a problem if eaten)


Many everyday items found in the home can be potentially toxic to kittens and cats, and need to be avoided. Examples of  toxins include:


  • Pesticides and weed-killers
  • Rat-bait and slug poison
  • Antifreeze
  • Paint
  • Certain plants – Holly, Lillies, Mistletoe, Wisteria, Rhododendron, Poinsettia, Ivy and Sweet Pea
  • Paracetemol and other human medications
  • Tea-tree oil
  • Flea spot-on products for Dogs that contain Permethrin


If your kitten has eaten or come into contact with any of the above products, please contact us immediately.

Finally once your kitten is settled into your home, sit back and enjoy the show -they’ll be climbing the curtains in no time !







Posted in cats, kittens.

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