Small Animals

Small Animals FAQ’s

Is obesity a problem for cats & dogs?

Yes, obesity is a big health risk, particularly for older pets that are less active.

Download our canine or feline factsheet for more advice.

I've heard that vets can implant a microchip into cats for identification purposes. Is this true?

Yes, at the Vet Centre in Lockerbie we can implant a tiny microchip capsule containing a bar-code. Download our feline factsheet for more advice.

Can anything be done to relieve stiffness & debilitation in my arthritic pet?

Yes, certainly! Our Vets have considerable experience and can develop exercise programmes or prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to relieve pain in addition to joint supplementation.

Do you offer Dog Health Checks?

Yes, we offer a 6-month health check where we will carry out a full physical examination and discuss the best care for your pet. Download our canine factsheet for more advice.

My dog never goes into kennels, does it still need a Kennel Cough vaccination?

We’re often asked this question and actually, every dog is at risk of canine infectious cough. It is highly infectious and can be passed on at any gatherings of dogs; training classes, dog shows agility groups etc. It causes a dry, retching, honking cough which can be prolonged and require drug intervention. It is caused by both viral and bacterial elements and the vaccine which is an intranasal is effective against the most significant causes.

Your dog can have the vaccine at any time and it is boosted yearly as with your routine vaccines. Please ask us if you’d like to know more.

When is the best time to neuter my dog/cat?

Neutering (speying) for bitches can be done anytime after 6 months old, she can be neutered before her first season or 3 months after the end of her season. We will check she is not in season when she arrives for her operation.

Dogs can be castrated from 5 months old and neutering is beneficial in reducing aggression, roaming and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

As with speying it is a day surgical procedure and your dog will have stitches to be removed 10 days after the operation. Please feel free to phone for specific advice.

Speying and castration of cats can be done from 5 months old.

When should I worm my dog?

Puppies should be on a good worming regime from 2 weeks of age. They should then be wormed with an appropriate wormer at 5, 8 & 12 weeks and at 6 months. Routine worming of adult dogs should be three monthly.

Bonfire night and fireworks

Bonfire night and firework festivities seem to start earlier and end later each year and it can be a very stressful time for pets and owners alike!  Help is at hand through various means and both short term medication and longer term behavioural therapy both have their place.

Firstly, What’s my dog feeling?

It can be either fear or anxiety or a mixture of both and no single approach will work for all dogs in the same situation. Signs of a fearful response to noise stimulus could be hiding, cowering and destructive behaviour, whereas anxiety may show itself in your dog with increased panting, pacing, inappetance and general restlessness. Ideally we should start in good time to put a strategy in place to help you and your pet through this noisy time and both Gill and Lindsey, our nurses, are happy to discuss the best route for you to follow. Here’s a quick review of some the current options but please feel free to call or drop in to discuss individual needs with us.


  • Make sure your dog is in a safe, secure, ideally  familiar  place at all times
  • Try to reduce noise and light by darkening room, close windows and play some music.
  • Don’t fuss the dog too much it will only reinforce the fear.
  • Try to engage the dog when calm behaviour is demonstrated, otherwise try to ignore the behaviour & be calm & positive yourself
  • A long walk before evening can help relaxation

Longer term a desensitisation programme can help and we have some CDs available which you can borrow that can help with noise desensitisation in general.


Zylkene is a relatively new neutraceutical designed to help manage stress in many common situations for dogs, cats and also horses. It can also help your pet adapt to change.  It contains an ingredient called s1 casein tryptic hydrolysate (CTH), a milk protein with proven calming properties. It comes in capsule form and can be added to food and can be used either over a short period or as part of a longer term behaviour programme. There are no side effects and we have had some encouraging results with it.


Pheromone therapy appears to have a positive benefit in many stressful situations. DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) comes either in the form of a diffuser which can plug in over the firework period or a spray. A similar product is available for cats called Feliway. These products aim to mimic the canine/feline appeasing pheromone given off by the queen or bitch to calm and comfort her litter.


There are drug options available but they must be prescribed by your vet and used under their direction.  These drugs generally will cause sedative effects but may be indicated in severe cases of distress. Any of our vets would be happy to discuss the options with you for your individual pet.

So in short we’re here to help, the sooner you contact us the better with any worries you have and we can try to make this Bonfire Night as peaceful and calm as possible for all of us!!

What problems do ticks and other parasites present to my dog and cat?

Ticks are parasites are related to mites and spiders.  They’re active all year round, but tick activity peaks during the summer months.    They’re appearance can change depending on which life stage they’re at, and how full of blood they are.   Pets are most likely to be exposed in areas of heathland, moorland or woodland, but can just as easily pick them up in gardens.

As ticks feed, they can transmit serious diseases, such as Lyme disease which is also a risk to human health; more often though they cause irritation and infection at the bite site.

You should inspect your pet regularly for ticks, and combing dogs and cats thoroughly after walks can help remove any ticks that have attached to your pet’s coat, but not bitten yet.  Do not try to remove ticks using alcohol or tweezers – this usually results in mouth parts of the tick remaining in the animal’s skin and causing infection.
The best way to remove ticks is using a hook, pictured here; we can show you how to use these correctly, and safely, minimising any infection risk.

Tick treatments are available from us, which will kill ticks within 48 hours of attachment, minimising the risk of disease transmission and infection.  Frontline spray or spot on is available for tick treatment in cats, and Advantix is available for dogs; this also actively repels ticks preventing them from attaching in the first place – this cannot be used on cats.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding ticks or the health of your pet.

When should I worm hens/poultry?

Autumn is a good time to take stock and look at the health of your Backyard Birds.

Chickens, ducks and geese have all spent the summer months feeding away, and so the chances are they have picked up a burden of worms. These worms are a particular risk to free range birds and can be introduced by wild birds. There are two main types of roundworms that affect poultry, intestinal worms in the guts or gape worms in the windpipe and bronchial tubes. Both types of worms lay eggs that pass out in the birds droppings and contaminate the environment, building up over time and re-infecting them and others.

These worms can affect the quality and quantity of eggs layed and the health of your animals. Gut worms cause thin scraggy looking birds if there is a high worm burden, although birds can be affected without showing signs. Gape worms cause the bird to gasp and wheeze as they are situated in the airways. In sever cases, affected birds can even die.

Worms are almost impossible to prevent but some things such as feeding from feeders rather than the ground and moving birds to clean grass can help. However, it is best to consider worming them.

WORM     every three months, generally Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn.

WORM     all new birds and before putting birds out

WORM     if you suspect problems with worms

We recommend using Flubenvet for worming your birds, phone 01576 202552 for details.

Coccidiosis is another parasite of birds that comes from the environment and wild birds. It builds up in muddy, dirty and frequently used areas, especially where there are droppings. There are lots of different species of Cocci, some much more harmful to your birds than others. It can cause diarrhoea, sick birds and in extreme cases death. Although the less nasty species will more probably cause poor condition and poorer or fewer eggs.

Good hygiene and regular moving of feeders can help but if you are suspicious please speak to us Baycox which may be required.

It is well worth considering giving your birds the added bonus of a poultry drench to prepare them for winter. Many different drenches are available and all will give your birds a wee extra boost heading into the winter months.