Pet Rabbits Waiting with pet dog Pet kitten

Petcare Information

  • Purchasing a new pet

    This is an exciting time for most people and it is easy to get carried away when selecting a new companion. However there are many important things to consider at this time:

    How much time can be devoted to the care of the pet?

    All dogs will need exercise but obviously some require much more than others. Collies and Labradors are completely unsuited to apartment living but a little Cavalier is usually quite content with minimal exercise. Cats are often happy to be on their own and generally do not require as much time as dogs. A fellow companion can often make a pets life much more enjoyable if they are going to be left on their own for long periods of time. Remember most behavioural problems are due to stressed animals living in unsuitable living arrangements and a bit of planning now can save a lot of trouble later.

    How much can I afford?

    All pets will incur expense throughout their lifetime-consider on-going costs like vaccinations, flea treatments, kennelling and health insurance. Bigger pets generally mean bigger bills - food, kennelling, grooming and veterinary treatments tend to more expensive with bigger dogs. Cats and rabbits or small dogs can often be less expensive companions.

    Where is my new pet going to live?

    Every pet needs suitable accommodation where they are warm and comfortable. They also need adequate space to entertain themselves in your absence. A well fenced area of garden will ensure the safety of your pet. Rabbits require much more than just a hutch at the bottom of the garden - they will need space to run in daily and will need hiding spaces as they are a prey animal. You will also have to be careful to keep them away from plants that may be poisonous in your garden.

    What health problems are associated with my intended companion?

    Many breed of dogs have associated problems. For example, Schnauzers can develop eye abnormalities and the parents are usually checked for this problem pre-breeding; Labradors can suffer from abnormal formation of their hips or elbow joints. The significance of this knowledge is that there are programmes in place to enable us to “breed out” the problem from the population. In the case of Labradors, X-rays taken of the parents allow a scoring system to be applied meaning that parents with good scores are more likely to have offspring with good joints. Please ask your breeder if they have participated in any of these programmes.

    Where will I get my new pet from?

    Be careful when purchasing a pet. Despite continual advice being given regarding purchasing a pet from a suitable premises, many owners confess to picking up a new puppy or kitten without ever seeing the parents or the conditions in which they are kept. This can often mean that pups are bought from “puppy farms” from bitches that are overbred and kept in unsuitable conditions. If you are offered a puppy that appears unhealthy - do not purchase. In so doing you are helping to force an improvement in the living standards of these dogs to suitable standards. “Rescuing” the pup will only potentiate the problem. There are many good breeders and they will have no problem allowing you to see and examine their kennels and breeding dogs. They will also have a certificate signed and stamped by their vet following their vaccinations and primary check-up and will have a record of their worming programme.

    However, we recommend firstly checking with the many rescue centres which are bursting at the seams with unwanted pets waiting for their second chance of a forever home. Many of these are already neutered, vaccinated and fully health checked making them a much more cost effective option. Often the rescue centres will have had them for a while and will be able to advise you regarding their suitability to your circumstances. It is amazing how many loyal and loving companions are re-homed from these centres having previously been discarded so please have a look!

    Visit Moate and Midland Dog Rescue or Athlone Animal Welfare for help.

    Our nurse is always on hand to provide advice regarding the suitability of various breeds/species if you require any information.

  • Vaccinations

    Most owners are aware of the need for vaccinations of puppies and kittens but it is easy to become complacent as the animal gets older. It is important to remember pets are at risk of infectious diseases all through their lives and not just when they are very young or very old. The illnesses that we vaccinate against can be severely debilitating and or even fatal so remember prevention is always better than cure.

    Annual vaccinations/boosters “remind” the immune system of the dangerous pathogens that affect your pet. These include parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis, hepatitis, parainfluenza and kennel cough in dogs. Cats are affected more commonly by calicivirus, feline infectious enteritis and herpes virus(flu and enteritis vaccine). They can also be vaccinated against feline leukaemia virus which is given separately. We recommend vaccinating rabbits against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease as these can be easily picked up from wild rabbits. Myxomatosis is spread through parasites like fleas, ticks and mosquitos so your rabbit would not even need to have direct contact with another rabbit to pick up this fatal illness.

    Pet Vaccinations at Moate Pet Clinic

    Pets that have been regularly vaccinated are much less likely to succumb to these infections and recover much faster if they do.

    We provide all pets that present for their annual vaccinations with a full health check whereby we can identify any problems that the owner may not have been aware of e.g. inappropriate weight gain/loss, masses/lumps, skin/ear infections, arthritis and heart disease. Many health problems are detected at these examinations, which enables us to treat earlier and more effectively.

  • Worm & Flea Treatments

    In accordance with Veterinary Ireland, Moate Pet Clinic recommends de-worming with a suitable treatment every 3 months for adult dogs and cats. Puppies and kittens should be de-wormed more frequently. Apart from protecting your pet’s health, worming your pet is very important for your family’s health. Worms can be passed to family members sometimes causing serious health complications such as visceral larval migrans which may even cause blindness.

    The main worms affecting cats and dogs are roundworms and tapeworms and these are easily treated using a prescription wormer. Dogs are also commonly affected with lungworm which come from snails and cause a range of problems including bleeding, respiratory problems and neurological signs. Rabbits also suffer from parasites and are often overlooked in a worming programme. Please speak with any member of staff at Moate Pet Clinic where we are fully trained to help you with a worming programme with a suitable product.

    Fleas treatments

    A little known fact is that the vast majority of the flea population associated with your pet lives in the environment. If your pet lives with you in your home this can mean your carpets and bedding. Therefore, it is very important to regularly check your pet for fleas. This is very easily done and our nurse can show you how. If fleas are found we can provide you with an effective eradication and control programme. Remember it is ineffective to merely treat the pet with a flea treatment while not tackling the environment or other pets. Also, the flea and tapeworm life cycles are linked so if you find fleas-treat for worms also.

  • Neutering

    Every year in Ireland thousands of healthy pets are euthanased needlessly despite a large number of our strays being rehomed in the UK and Europe. This is distressing to pets, owners, rescue centres and vets and needs to change. Therefore our advice is to be a responsible owner and consider neutering. This is usually routinely done when your pet is approximately 6 months old. Neutering your pet

    The surgery involves a full general anaesthetic under gas anaesthesia and in females the ovaries and womb are removed through a small incision in their tummy; in males both testicles are removed. Painkillers are also administered with the anaesthetic so that our patients are not in discomfort. A small number of sutures are placed which need to remain in place for 10 days and are removed by our vets. Most pets are discharged on the same day as their operation and recovery is generally uneventful.

    Apart from population control there are many benefits to neutering.
    • Roaming/wandering is reduced and therefore pets are less likely to be involved in road traffic accidents.
    • Neutering bitches at a young age means they are much less likely to develop mammary tumours/breast cancer. This benefit reduces with age so the earlier the better!
    • As the ovaries and womb are removed during a spay, the risk of a womb infection/pyometra or ovarian tumours are eliminated. These conditions can be life threatening and are much costlier than a routine spay in a healthy animal.
    • Cats can multiply at an alarming rate when they are allowed to, resulting very often in inbreeding and a weak, sickly cat population. Also, when cats mate/fight over mates they are prone to picking up infectious diseases such as Feline Leukaemia or Feline Aids. Cats often also present with nasty cat bite abscesses after fighting which will necessitate a prolonged course of antibiotics. Neutered animals are much less likely to develop these conditions.
    • In males, tumours like testicular cancer and peri-anal adenomas are prevented through routine neutering. Males will also be less likely to roam and therefore to get involved in a road traffic accident. Dominance aggression is much less common in neutered males and it can also help in treating/preventing excessive marking of their territory through spraying/urinating.
    • Female rabbits are prone to a womb cancer known as an adenocarcinoma so even if your female rabbit has no companion it is recommended to neuter. Small furries like rabbits need a very safe anaesthetic as they are a prey animal and therefore get stressed easily. Our clinic is experienced in dealing with exotics and can provide your rabbit with the care they need.
    • Male rabbits are also less likely to be aggressive with each other and with humans when they have been neutered.

    People are often concerned regarding weight gain in their pets following neutering and indeed their metabolism will slow by about 30-50%. However, research shows that pets that are fed appropriately-i.e. a lower calorie food are not more inclined to gain weight. Pets that are fed excessively with an inappropriate food can develop obesity. We can help you to modify your pet’s diet following their operation so that they will not gain weight.

    If you have any further questions regarding the advantages or disadvantages of neutering, please feel free to contact the clinic to discuss them with us.

  • Microchip insertion

    This is a very simple procedure whereby a small chip, the size of a grain of rice, is inserted under your pet’s skin. This is often carried out when your new pet presents for their first consultation/vaccination. The microchip number is then registered to your name. Therefore, if your pet is picked up after going missing, they can be easily and quickly returned to your family minimising distress to all.

    New Micro-chipping Of Dogs Regulations: All pups born since September 2015 must be micro chipped before 12 weeks of age or before leaving the breeders premises, whichever comes first. From March 2016 all dogs must be micro chipped in order to be compliant with these new regulations. If your dog was micro-chipped and registered prior to September 2015, they will need to be up-dated with a registered body such as Fido. You will then receive a certificate showing compliance.

    If you rehome a dog, both you and the new owner must notify the relevant authority regarding this change of ownership. The micro-chipping scheme, run by the Department of Agriculture, is a successful way of reuniting owners with lost or stolen pets. It will relieve the pressure on animal charities and dog pounds by significantly reducing the amount of time they need to house dogs while the owner is located. It will also protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership.

    It can also be used to locate owners where a dog has been involved in worrying livestock or other crimes.

    For more information visit: fido.ie

    Microchip for dog

  • Diet & weight control

    During our weight checks at annual vaccinations we regularly note how pet’s weight can creep up annually without the owner being aware. Weight gain can be due to hormonal disturbances such as an underactive thyroid but it is generally more associated with an inappropriate diet. Our vets and nurses can provide you with general advice regarding feeding your pet e.g. portion control, eliminating treats, increased exercise and using lower calorie foods. In this way owners can avoid more costly complications later in life such as pancreatitis, cancer, osteoarthritis and heart disease which are all more common in overweight animals.

    Controlling your pet's weight

    Cats can lose weight dramatically as they age. This may be due to various causes such as dental disease or an overactive thyroid. A quick health check by your vet can help ascertain the cause.

    Exotics are often fed a wholly inappropriate diet-guinea pigs are our only domesticated pets that have a requirement for supplemental vitamin C-like humans. Packaged foods which have been sitting around for a while are often deficient in this vital vitamin leaving your guinea pig open to a range of health problems.

    Rabbits require a diet high in fibre and our advice is that muesli type foods are not as good as a high quality pellet food. This is usually fed as a supplement to hay and other fibrous grasses which should make up the bulk of the diet. Vegetables should be fed in moderation. Our nurse and vets will provide you with a list of appropriate foods.

  • Dental Care

    An often overlooked area of your pet’s health is their teeth. Dogs, cats, rabbits and other small furries can develop varying dental issues, often related to diet. Dogs and cats regularly present with severe cases of dental disease without much apparent outward signs.

    The effects of this are numerous - apart from pain and difficulties eating, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) can have an impact on other body organs like the heart and kidneys, where the source of infection spreads. An annual check up and dental treatment, where necessary, is imperative to your animal’s general care.

    Rabbits require a very specific diet high in fibre as their teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime and need to wear down correctly. A painful mouth can cause life threatening digestive disturbances and can even increase the threat of fly-strike in the summer months. Both conditions are often life threatening and will require intensive treatment. Please speak with one of our vets regarding your bunny’s oral health.

  • Health Insurance

    Advances in veterinary medicine and surgery over the past number of years mean that we are much better equipped to deal with problems that would have previously been untreatable.

    However, these treatments can be costly. Health insurance can provide you with peace of mind in cases of serious illness/trauma allowing you to get the best care possible without having to worry about cost.

    Also, many insurance policies offer third party cover e.g. your pet may cause a road traffic accident or be involved in injuring a person whereby you may be liable for a claim. There are several options so please feel free to discuss them with any member of staff.

    Visit Pet Insure or Allianz Pet Plan for insurance cover and information.

  • Post surgery care

    • Please ensure that your pet is kept under careful observation for at least 24 hours after they have been discharged from the clinic.
    • It is important to keep your pet warm following a general anaesthetic. This will help them to recover faster.
    • They may need to have a buster collar or muzzle fitted in order to avoid stitches being licked or pulled out.
    • Please ensure that your pet does not climb stairs, jump walls or swim during the first week after surgery.
    • Give any prescribed medication as indicated. Please finish the entire course of drugs.
    • The stitches should be checked and removed by a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse 10 days after the surgery (no later than 14 days).
    • Please contact us if you have any concerns-a vet is always available to give advice. Things to look out for are panting, trembling, lethargy, bleeding and reluctance to move or eat.
    • Please contact our vet/nurse if your pet removes their stitches or if you are unable to give the prescribed medication.
    Remember there is a vet on call 24 hours for emergencies if you are concerned about your pet.
  • Pet Passports

    Pet Passports

    Many pets travel abroad for various reasons. Also, recent legislation requires that your pet will need a rabies vaccination and a passport to travel to the UK. Our staff are experienced with the various requirements for travel within Europe and pet passports are available from our clinic.

  • Saying goodbye - Euthanasia

    As much as we love our pets there will inevitably come a time when we will have to say goodbye. Here at Moate Pet Clinic we endeavour to do this as sensitively as possible as it is often a very difficult time for our patients and their owners. We can provide an appointment outside of clinic times for this if you would feel more comfortable attending when the practice is quiet.

    The procedure itself is very quick and painless and our vet and nurse will explain everything clearly to you. An overdose of anaesthetic is administered meaning your friend will simply fall asleep. Clients can decide themselves if they would like to stay for the euthanasia or if they prefer us to do it in their absence.

    If you are intending bringing your pet home with you we recommend bringing in their favourite blanket to wrap them in afterwards. However, we can also organise disposal of the body including an option of private cremation with ashes returned if desired.

    Saying goodbye to your pet

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