If you are looking to book a cat vaccination, please be aware that there is an ongoing shortage of some cat vaccines affecting all UK Veterinary practices. Find out more here.

Pet Advice

For your pet's health and happiness

Your First Visit to the Vet

Congratulations on your new addition to the family!

We realise that the first visit to the Vet can be slightly daunting for both you and your pet. That is why we encourage you to come along to the practice before you even start their vaccinations. This can simply be to pop in and say hello to the staff or you can arrange to see the nurse during one of her clinics. Naoimh is full of wisdom and advice on all matters ranging from nutrition to training.

Our aim is that the two of you feel comfortable in your surroundings and visiting the practice earlier will allow your pet to have positive memories rather than those of fear.

Primary Vaccinations

Puppy Vaccinations

Vaccinations are an integral part of ensuring that your puppy has the best start to their new life.

When should I start their vaccinations?

In their early days puppies obtain their initial immunity through drinking their mothers milk. However, as the weeks go by this starts to decrease and that is where vaccinations come into play. Puppies are vaccinated from 7 weeks old and again at 10 weeks. It is important puppies do not come in contact with unvaccinated dogs or public outside areas until 1 week after the 2nd vaccination. In addition to administering the vaccination your puppy will have a thorough examination by a veterinary surgeon to ensure he/she is fit and healthy.

Why should I vaccinate?

We are all familiar with the saying “prevention is better than cure” and this is exactly the thought process behind vaccinating. In order to fight a disease you need antibodies to overcome it. By vaccinating you are giving your pet a head start on producing these antibodies. As a result, if they come into contact with the illness they have already acquired an immunity and are less likely to become unwell. Certain diseases we vaccinate against can be fatal if contracted so therefore prevention is obviously best!

What exactly is my puppy vaccinated against?

Canine Parvovirus: Parvo is a serious life threatening viral disease. Vaccinating has decreased the prevalence of the illness today but we still see it particularly, in young unvaccinated puppies. Symptoms of the virus include severe vomiting and diarrhoea which despite veterinary intervention can lead to death.

Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial disease. There are several strains that can affect dogs and these are all included in the one vaccine. Lepto is not only spread dog to dog but it can also be contracted from swimming/drinking from water sources that have been contaminated by rats urine. As it is a bacterial disease people are often naive in thinking that it can simply be treated with antibiotics, however, Lepto often causes irreversible damage to the kidneys and liver which ultimately are fatal. In addition, this is a zoonotic disease which means it can be spread to humans.

Parainfluenza: Parainfluenza is the viral component of the common condition known as “kennel cough”. Dogs generally present with a harsh, hacking cough often producing white phlegm. As this is a viral disease there us no specific treatment for parainfluenza and in some severe cases it can cause lasting damage to the chest.

Canine Distemper: Distemper is a viral disease that primarily attacks the gastro-intestinal tract, respiratory and nervous systems. Common symptoms include fever, eye inflammation and eye/nose discharge, laboured breathing and coughing, vomiting and diarrhoea, loss of appetite and lethargy, and hardening of nose and footpads. It a lot of cases the disease is fatal and even if the dog survives they are likely to have lifelong clinical symptoms.

Canine Adenovirus (Infectious Hepatitis): As the name suggests this virus primarily affects the liver but also attacks the kidneys, eyes and lungs. The disease progresses very quickly and can cause death within 24 hours. The small percentage of dogs that recover from the illness become carriers of the virus and can shed it for months hence infecting others readily.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica: Bordetella is the bacterial component of “kennel cough” and is commonly the additional vaccination that boarding establishments will ask for prior to your pets stay. Just like parainfluenza, the clinical signs are very similar, however, this condition can be treated with a combination of anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. This is a separate vaccine from the above mentioned diseases and is administered by the intra-nasal route. Although it can be treated some animals with severe clinical signs/the very young and or old can be left with damage to the respiratory system therefore prevention is better than treatment!

Rabies: Rabies is not a condition we have in the UK as of yet. If your pet is going abroad with the PETS they will need it in addition to the vaccinations above. Info on Pet Passports here.

Kitten Vaccinations

Vaccinations are an integral part of ensuring that your kitten has the best start to their new life.

When should I start their vaccinations?

In their early days, kittens obtain their initial immunity through drinking their mother's milk. However, as the weeks go by, this starts to decrease and that is where vaccinations come into play. Kittens start their immunisations at eight weeks of age and are given a second vaccine at 11-12 weeks. It is important that kittens do not come in contact with unvaccinated cats or outside areas until one week after the second vaccination. In addition to administering the vaccination, your kitten will have a thorough examination by a Veterinary surgeon to ensure that he or she is fit and healthy

Why should I vaccinate?

We are all familiar with the saying “prevention is better than cure” and this is exactly the thought process behind vaccinating. In order to fight a disease, you need antibodies to overcome it. By vaccinating, you are giving your pet a head start on producing these antibodies. As a result, if they come into contact with the illness, they have already acquired an immunity and are less likely to become unwell. Certain diseases we vaccinate against can be fatal if contracted so therefore, prevention is obviously best.

What exactly is my kitten vaccinated against?

Cat Influenza: Cat flu is a multifactorial disease made up of Feline Herpes virus, Feline Calcivirus and Chlamydophila Felis. Clinical manifestations of flu include sneezing, runny eyes and nose, eye and mouth ulceration, lethargy, fever and inappetance. Treatment of the disease is mainly supportive, including fluid therapy, enteral feeding and antibiotics in case of secondary infection. In severe cases, some cats will be left with lasting respiratory damage and/or reoccurring symptoms.

Feline Panleukopenia: This disease is caused by Parvovirus and produces similar symptoms like its canine counterpart, such as severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Infected cats require rigorous treatment and in many cases, it can still be fatal. In addition, it is extremely dangerous to pregnant cats because the infection can not only kill her but also spread to the unborn kitten and interfere with the developing brain. Subsequently, the kittens that are born can have serious neurological problems and often have to be put to sleep.

Feline Leukaemia (FeLV): FeLV is a very dangerous disease which there is currently no treatment for. Clinical signs are extremely diverse but include fever, lethargy, poor appetite, weight loss, and persistent or recurrent respiratory, skin and intestinal problems. FeLV is an important cause of disease and death in cats. In a cat persistently (permanently) infected with the virus, there is significant risk of developing many severe illnesses, such as anaemia (low red blood cells), immunosuppression and cancer. It has been estimated that 80-90% of infected cats die within three or four years of FeLV diagnosis.

Worm Control


Lungworm is the hot topic of the moment and quite rightly so as it is one of the the most dangerous parasites your pet can contract. Angiostronguylus vasorum, or as it is commonly known “lung worm”, is a type of parasite that can cause serious health problems and even be fatal if not diagnosed or treated.

Slugs and snails are the intemediate host of the parasite, therefore your dog needs to ingest one of these pests to be at risk of contracting the disease. This can be either done purposely or accidentally when digging through soil, eating grass and from drinking out of puddles, drains or outdoor water dishes.

Unfortunately, the clinical signs of lung worm are often vague but if your pet develops any of the following symptoms, we recommend contacting us immediately:

  • Abnormal behaviour
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea or inappetance
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Prolonged or poor blood clotting

Dogs are more in contact with these garden pests (snail, slug or just the slime from them) than what you would think and even if they do not purposely chose to eat them, they could accidentally swallow one. Spring and Autumn are the two most prevalent seasons for slug and snail activity.

Lungworm can be prevented very easily by using either a Moxidectin Spot on or a Milbemycin preparation every four weeks. In the unfortunate event of your pet catching the parasite, they will have a better chance of recovery if diagnosed and treated early. However, there are still many dogs that will die of lungworm each year because early clinical signs were missed.

Cats are infected by a different lungworm from the same family called Aelurostrongylus abstrusus. Fortunately, this parasite is not readily seen in the UK. Lungworm cannot be passed to humans.


All dogs and cats will be exposed to worms at some point in their lifetime. Puppies and kittens are more at risk of roundworm infection as these worms are passed across the placenta, when they are in their mum’s tummy and also, when feeding from her milk. For this reason, we have strict protocols set in place, that they should be wormed every two weeks until 12 weeks of age and then every four weeks until six months of age. It is important to note that roundworms are a zoonosis and therefore can be passed to humans.


Older dogs and hunting cats are more prone to tapeworms. The tapeworm relies on a flea as its intermediate host, which is why flea control is also important in preventing infection. To prevent tapeworms in your pet, we recommend worming with a licensed preparation every three months and also flea treatments every four-six weeks. Like roundworms, tapeworms can also be transmitted to humans.

Preventing worms in your pet

Best ways to avoid that you and your pet develop a worm infection includes:

  • Regular worming with Veterinary licensed products
  • Routine flea control
  • Correct handling and safe disposal of faeces
  • Good kennel hygiene
  • Avoiding your pet coming into contact with other animals faecal matter
  • Preventing scavenging of carcasses and farmyard waste
  • Feeding a good quality pet food
  • Ensuring that you and your children have good personal hygiene

It is important to note that with roundworms, the eggs can be present on an infected pets fur. Therefore, not washing your hands after petting your dog could lead to an infection.

Flea Control

Flea control not only means that you eliminate the fleas on your pet, but you also need to control the fleas within your surrounding environment. Unfortunately, fleas are not host specific, which means both dogs and cats share the same fleas and also, these fleas can affect you too.

How do I prevent my pet from catching fleas?

Once again, prevention is easier than treatment. We recommend applying a spot-on preventive treatment every four-six weeks, which kills both adult and immature fleas. This will mean, that not only is your pet covered but also, importantly, your environment is less likely to be contaminated.

Disaster has struck and my pet has fleas. What should I do?

First and foremost, take a deep breath and do not panic. Come and visit us at the clinic and we will provide you with a spot-on treatment for your pet and also a household spray for your home to kill any fleas and/or larvaes in the environment. In addition, we recommend washing all of your pets bedding and any other soft furnishings they have contact with in a hot wash (90°C). Also, it is important to remember that fleas can affect you but they will not live on your body for long (they prefer their fury hosts) so if you notice any bites, shower and wash your clothes in a hot wash and this should solve the problem. As long as you have adequately treated your pet and the environment, you should not become reinfected.

Dental Care

Good dental care is something that needs to be established from day one. There are a number of ways that help prevent the progression of dental disease and these are outlined below.


This is very important and the best way to keep your pet's teeth as healthy as possible. If you have a new kitten or puppy, we recommend introducing brushing early, which allows it it become an integrated routine. For older animals, it can be more challenging but not impossible. In this case, you need to initially get your pet used to something being in their mouth. Therefore, start with dipping your finger or a cotton bud in something tasty (like tuna flakes) and rubbing it over the surface of their teeth. Start slowly and gradually, then progress to more and more teeth being covered in each session, ensuring plenty of rewards. Once you are at the stage of using a brush you can choose from finger brushes to standard toothbrushes.


Studies have proven that feeding a dry diet in contrast to moist food significantly reduces plaque and tartar build up. The action of the kibble over the surface of the tooth mimics that of brushing and the food is less likely to stick to the surface of the teeth. There are also now special formulated dental diets that contain similar constituents to our toothpaste that help prevent teeth and gum disease.

Dental chews and toys

These definitely serve a purpose but it is important to remember that they cannot be used as a replacement to brushing.

In addition to these points, we also recommend regular check ups by the Vet or nurse. Why not come along for a complimentary check up at our nurse clinic?

Puppy Parties

At Roe Valley Veterinary Clinic, we generally host puppy parties every three to four months. Approximately two weeks before the next party is scheduled, we go through the list of puppies that have had their vaccines within the last few months and send out invites accordingly.

Why do we offer Puppy Parties?

Early socialisation of your new puppy is an integral part of their new life with you. It is even more important than other factors such as toilet training or lead walking because what happens within their first few months of lives will shape their personality for the rest of their lives.

Why should I attend?

  • It helps prevent fear of meeting new individuals, both in the human and canine form
  • The attendees of the party are all of similar ages which means there is no fear of meeting older and more intimidating dogs
  • The risk of disease is much more controlled as all attendees are up to date with their vaccinations and in good health
  • It is a great opportunity to chat with puppy owners with similar questions and concern

The puppy parties are free of charge, so why not? Also, we provide complimentary refreshments, puppy packs, training and nutrition advice and they are always great fun.

What happens at a puppy party?

We try to keep the parties as informal as possible and at convenient times such as Saturday afternoons. The format normally includes:

  • A welcome and introduction to all puppyies and owners
  • A brief talk on the importance of socialisation, training, nutrition, neutering and insurance
  • Light refreshments while puppies are allowed to have a play with one another
  • Each puppy is then given a certificate for attending and a complimentary pack to take home

The puppy parties are primarily run by our two Veterinary nurses who are trained in answering the majority of your questions. In addition, we also allow a Q+A time with the Vet, which allows our attendees to ask more in depth questions related to canine heath.


Unfortunately, nobody can predict the unforeseeable and we all realise in life that accidents happen and our pets can develop serious illnesses. Of course, in these cases, we want to be able to provide the best possible care. However, like human medical bills, the cost of Veterinary care comes at a price. Therefore, we recommend taking out an insurance policy so that in these cases, you do not have to give payment a second thought.

Why do I need medical insurance for my pet when I do not have it for myself?

In the UK, we are extremely fortunate to have the NHS which gives us free health care. Unfortunately, this service does not stretch to our pets and Vets are in turn therefore private practitioners. Over recent years, Veterinary medicine has greatly progressed and nowadays, we can offer similar diagnostic tests and procedures that are performed in human medicine. Consequently, the modern high tech equipment, specially trained staff and complex surgical procedures come at a high cost.

Some pets are very lucky and can go through life with yearly visits to the Vet for their boosters and other preventive medicine. However, the majority of animals will at some point be affected by an accident or a serious illness. These situations can arise very acutely and, as a result, are both traumatic and stressful. By having a policy in place, it allows you to ensure your pet can be given the very best treatment and care.

What is covered by my insurance policy?

Insurance policies primarily cover accidents and illnesses. These can range from repairing a fractured leg to treating your pet for an upset tummy or to diagnose a condition such as an kidney disease. In addition, some insurance companies will give extras such as paying for prescription food or alternative therapies, such as Hydrotherapy or Acupuncture. Lastly, most companies give the option of covering your pet for third party liability. This is something to seriously consider as it will offer legal protection should your pet cause injury or accident to another person or property.

What is not covered by my insurance policy?

Any preventative care is not covered, such as vaccinations, worming and de-fleaing, neutering and routine dental procedures. Most companies will only cover vaccinated pets so if you have allowed your pets immunisations to lapse and he/she contracts a disease covered by the vaccine (for example Parvo Virus), the insurance broker will not pay for any treatment involved.

Is it difficult to make a claim?

In 99% of cases, the answer is no and making a claim is very straightforward. In most cases, we will ask you to bring a copy of your policy and a claim form to the clinic. A member of staff will check through your policy and ask you to sign the claim form. From here, we fill in the remainder of the document and send it away on your behalf. There is an option of paying either us (the Vet practice) or the client (you) directly, which will be discussed relative to your situation and the outstanding excess will be paid to the Vet clinic.

In certain cases, your pet may require on-going treatment or very expensive treatment and in this instance, we recommend contacting your insurance company. This will make them aware of the situation and they can discuss with you the limit of the policy and any exclusions which may apply.

What is the best policy for me?

Understandably, this is a difficult question to answer as everyone is working with different expectations and budgets. Therefore, we have included in the following points as the most important factors when choosing your policy:

1: Check when your cover starts. Most insurance companies put a restriction on claiming for any medical conditions within the first 14 days but will pay for any claims that are due to an accident

2: Make a note of the level of cover provided. Certain policies have a maximum amount which they will pay per condition, others will only pay for 12 months after a condition has been diagnosed and all insurance companies will have a limit on how much you can claim each year. We recommend choosing a lifetime cover – this essentially means that your pet will be covered for any illnesses diagnosed throughout their life until they die. This is obviously more expensive compared to choosing a policy that has a limit on 12 months per condition but you will be ensured coverage for your pet's entire life

3: Check how much your excess will be. This is the amount the insurance company will deduct for the total of your treatment bill and it is your responsibility to pay this to the Vet. Excesses generally vary between £60 to £100. Bear in mind that certain companies will charge an excess plus an additional percentage of the overall total

4: Make sure you are aware of what the policy exclusions are. Remember, there is no point in paying for a cover that is really cheap but has a long list of conditions or diagnostics, which they will not pay for

5: Like with all legally binding documents, remember to read the small print

6: Lastly, a common misconception is that like your car insurance, you should shop around for the best deal each year. If your pet was diagnosed with, for instance, epilepsy, which is an ongoing problem and you change your policy, your new company will not pay for any further treatment as this is seen as a pre-existing condition

Keep in mind, if your policy is working out very cheaply, we guarantee there will be a long list of exclusions, a low claims limit or time restriction on claiming per condition. We recommend to have a look through a list of different options before making a decision so you are sure to choose the solution that fits your and your pet's situation the best.