Call Us: (09) 372-8387

Visit Us: 30 Putiki Rd, Ostend

Frequently Asked Questions

Cats can be de-sexed (speyed or neutered) once they reach 1kg in weight. This can be as early as 3 months of age. If you are planning on having an indoor/outdoor cat the earlier you can de-sex the better as they can reach puberty anywhere from 4-6 months of age and begin breeding. If your cat is indoor only and won’t be venturing outside (risking unwanted breeding) you can wait until 6 months of age.

Speying eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy and heat associated behaviours. Spaying also eliminates the risk of pyometra (uterine infection). 25% of intact (not speyed) female dogs will develop pyometra by the age of 10 years. This can be fatal in 4-17% of cases. Intact (not speyed) female dogs are at risk of developing mammary (breast) cancer. The risk is almost completely removed by speying before the first heat cycle. The first heat cycle usually happens between 6 – 18 months of age depending on size and breed. Large dog breeds generally reach puberty later than small breeds.

Speying while the dog is younger and smaller makes for less problems with excessive bleeding during surgery and a quicker, less painful recovery after surgery. The more mature and developed the dog is the longer and more difficult the spey surgery will be and it is generally more costly.

There can be an increased incidence of urinary incontinence associated with spaying dogs before the first heat cycle, however the evidence for this is inconsistent. Urinary incontinence is a treatable, non-life-threatening condition.

Some breeds, notably large and giant breed dogs can sometimes have a higher incidence of joint and bone issues such as osteoarthritis and cruciate ligament rupture when they are speyed young (before skeletal maturity). Issues regarding joint and bone problems and urinary incontinence are hugely dependent on genetics, such that findings for one breed or dog do not always hold true for another.

The general recommendation is to spey dogs at 6 – 12 months of age but it is best to book a veterinary consultation to discuss your individual dogs needs and make a tailored plan.

Neutering eliminates the risk of unwanted mating and can reduce mating related behaviours such as roaming, urine marking and mounting. Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular tumours. It also reduces the risk of prostate disease (benign prostatic hyperplasia) which can predispose to prostate infections, abscesses and cysts and the risk of perianal adenomas (a type of tumour of the anus).

Some breeds, notably large and giant breed dogs can sometimes have a higher incidence of joint and bone issues such as osteoarthritis and cruciate ligament rupture when they are neutered young (before skeletal maturity). Issues regarding joint and bone problems are hugely dependent on genetics, such that findings for one breed or dog do not always hold true for another.

The general recommendation is to neuter dogs at 6 – 12 months of age but it is best to book a veterinary consultation to discuss your individual dogs needs and make a tailored plan.

Flea treatment is required year-round in our temperate climate of Waiheke Island. The frequency of treatment depends on which product you use and how long it lasts. It is important to be consistent with your flea treatments. Most vary from monthly to tri-monthly application. You should treat ALL animals in the household regularly and ideally at the same time. If you are having an issue with a flea infestation you will need to treat ALL animals in the household AS WELL AS decontaminate the environment. This involves vacuuming all floors, hot washing all bedding and using a flea bomb. 95% of the flea population (eggs, larvae and pupae) live in the ENVIRONMENT with only 5% actually being found on pets.

The current recommendations advise cats and dogs should be wormed every 3 months. IN adult animals there is also an option to perform a faecal egg count instead to see if your animal actually has any parasites. This involves looking at a poo sample under a microscope for worm eggs. Faecal egg counts can give us a general idea of how bad the worm infestation is but they do not pick up ALL parasites e.g. you will not see tapeworm in a faecal egg count, therefore animals should be wormed at least once yearly for tapeworms even if the faecal egg count is clear. Faecal egg counts should be performed every 3-6 months.
Puppies and kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks until 3 months of age and monthly until 6 months of age.

1. Insurance
Advances in veterinary medicine mean we can do more for the health of your pet. These advanced procedures and medications can be costly. Pet insurance allows you to budget rather than face unexpected and potentially unaffordable bills. Having pet insurance means you can concentrate on what is best for your pet in an emergency rather than the vet bill.

2. Annual Health Checks and Vaccination
At your pet’s annual health check we get your pet’s health history from you, and check your pet from head to toe to ensure all is well. This is so we can detect problems early and manage them effectively. Depending on the findings of our discussion and physical examination we may recommend further urine and blood testing, particularly once your pet has become a senior. Vaccination for many diseases is best done annually. Together, we will determine the vaccination your pet needs when they come in for their annual health check.

3. Flea Control
Fleas cause terrible skin irritation, allergic skin disease, and can pass tapeworms to your pet. Preventative treatment all year round is required to prevent flea infestations establishing. 95% of the flea population lives in the environment, with 5% jumping on and off your pet. You will only see fleas on your pet once the infestation is at a high level. How often you need to treat for fleas depends on what product you use, some are monthly, others can last for 3 and 6 months.

4. Intestinal Parasite Control
Intestinal worms can cause illness in both pets and people. Regular de-worming is an important part of pet care. To prevent your pet contracting worms we recommend de-worming every three months as an adult. Puppies and kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks until 3 months of age and monthly until 6 months of age.

5. Dental Care
Dental disease is the most common condition that our pets suffer from. 80% of pets over 1 year old have some degree of dental disease. This can be painful and damage other organs like the heart and kidneys due to bacterial build up and inflammation. Teeth require home care every day and yearly check-ups with the veterinarian. Dental homecare looks like: toothbrushing, supplements such as plaque off, complete dental diets and dental chews. Many pets will need dental scale and polishing at some point in their life to prevent dental disease progressing to infected and rotten teeth, gum disease, and pain.

6. Nutrition
A high-quality diet, tailored to the age and health of your pet means your pet will live a healthier, longer life. We recommend premium pet foods such as Royal Canin and Hill’s Science Diet because they contain high quality ingredients and are intensively researched to make sure they are optimising your pet’s health.

7. Behaviour
a. Puppies
The most common reason that dogs are surrendered and euthanised is for behavioural problems. Teaching and encouraging good behaviour is literally lifesaving. Puppy preschool, obedience training, socialisation and enrichment are fantastic ways for you to lay down a good foundation for your puppy’s future.
– Puppy preschool is a great way to learn about your puppy’s physical and mental health and wellbeing, build a bond between you and start learning the basics in training. We offer puppy preschool classes here.
– Obedience training is a good follow on from preschool to practice what you have learnt and build on that.
– We want to introduce puppies to new items and experiences in a non-threatening way. Puppies should be neutral or positive to other dogs, people, other species, machinery, cars etc.
– Enrichment enhances an animal’s environment to facilitate normal physical and social behaviour. Types of enrichment include social, physical, nutritional, sensory and occupational. This can look like: going on walks, playing with other dogs, playing games with you, food puzzles, chew toys, playing in water, obedience training, experiencing new places such as the beach etc.

b. Kittens
Kittens that are stimulated and handled from birth are more confident, more social, more exploratory, faster to mature and are better able to handle stress as they develop. The more handling the better; but even 15 minutes a day will help to improve later behaviour. Regular and frequent handling from birth increases the likelihood that the kitten will relate well to people when placed into a home after weaning at 6 to 9 weeks of age. Therefore, kittens obtained from a breeder or home where they have had frequent contact and interaction with the owners are likely to be more social and less fearful as they develop.
– Start Small. Gently pet and hold new born kittens for just a few seconds several times each day.
– At 2 weeks of age, pick up and hold the kittens in different positions for brief periods every day. As they get older, it is okay to handle them more frequently and for longer periods of time.
– By 4 weeks of age, intensify socialization:
* Introduce new textures by playing with kittens on carpeting, tile, wood, blankets, rugs, concrete, etc.
* Expose the kittens to household noises such as blenders, doorbells, banging pots, washing machines, alarm clocks, stereos. Muffle loud or harsh noises at first by covering the appliance with a towel or making the noise while the kittens are in an adjacent room.
* If there are no children living in or visiting the home, buy a CD with the sounds of children and play it frequently.
* Place items, such as winter boots, skateboards, bags of groceries, and books on the floor for the kittens to investigate.
* Offer a variety of objects for the kittens to play with, include empty plastic bottles, paper towel cores, and cardboard boxes in different sizes, as well as commercial cat toys.
* Continue to handle the kittens daily, include touching every part of their bodies.
* Put the kittens in a carrier and go to a friend’s house for a brief play-and-cuddle session. If no one is available to host, simply go outside and come back in or go for a drive around the block. Play with the kittens as soon as you return home.
– At 5 weeks of age, more people should be interacting with your kittens. Expose the kittens to a variety of people for optimal socialization: young, old; male, female; wearing glasses; wearing a hat; light-skinned, dark-skinned; animated, laid-back; etc.
*If you have an older kitten or cat you can still try out these techniques to reduce anxious behaviour and reactivity however they are most effective when started from a young age. Older kittens and cats need a slower approach and if poorly socialised may never tolerate some of these things without significant anxiety.

Puppy and kitten vaccinations

At Vets on Waiheke we recommend puppies receive THREE lots of vaccinations, starting at 8 weeks of age and ending at 16 weeks of age. The course includes immunisation against Canine Parvovirus, Distemper virus, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, Bordetella bronchiseptica and Leptospirosis. We recommend these vaccinations are boostered annually.

At Vets on Waiheke we recommend kittens receive THREE lots of vaccinations, starting at 8 weeks of age and ending at 16 weeks of age. The course includes immunisation against Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia. We recommend these vaccinations are boostered annually.

All dogs are required to be microchipped by law.
It is also highly recommended that cats be microchipped and in some regions of NZ it is a requirement by law. The microchip can be inserted by the vet clinic during an appointment or during a desexing procedure. It is recommended to be done as early in life as possible so your pet can be returned to you if they wander off. The microchip will be registered on the NZ companion animal register for life, along with your contact details, so if your pet is found and scanned they can be reunited with you!

Your pet requires a surgical procedure, under a General Anaesthetic/ Sedation

We know you will likely have some questions regarding this surgery, so we’ve put together some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ which we hope will provide you with all the information you need – although if you have any further queries, please feel free to ask us.

This depends on what your pet is getting done e.g. is it a desexing procedure or a dental surgery. This will be discussed with you either in the consultation with your vet or during the admission with the surgical nurse.

Pre-anaesthetic blood tests
• The liver and kidneys are the main organs that process the anaesthetic drugs out of your pet’s body. If these organs are not working properly, anaesthesia becomes riskier. Blood testing shows how well your pet’s organs will respond to the anaesthetic.
• Testing can also reveal the presence of other conditions that your otherwise healthy-looking pet may be hiding.
• Pre-anaesthetic blood testing is strongly recommended for younger pets (under 7 years old). It is compulsory for older pets and pets which have other health conditions.
• If your pet’s blood results come back within the normal range, we will let you know that we will go ahead as planned with the procedure.
• If not, we can modify the anaesthetic process and provide additional support to make it safer for your pet’s particular needs – or in exceptional circumstances, postpone the procedure until the underlying condition has been fully investigated.
• Either way, these blood tests provide us with a clear picture as to how to manage your pet’s health over the longer term and provide a base line against which future test results can be compared.

Intravenous (IV) fluids
• Fluids are administered via a drip during the procedure. IV fluids help make the procedure safer because it maintains consistent blood pressure and fluid volume, which helps organs to function during anaesthesia.
• IV fluids also help to flush out the anaesthetic drugs after the procedure, meaning recovery is quicker and smoother.

Pain relief
• Pain relief is given before and after surgery and is also provided to give at home. Pain stresses the body and slows down wound healing, so pain relief medication not only keeps your pet comfortable, but speeds up the healing process, and makes post-surgical complications less likely.

An itemised estimate of costs will be provided, please contact the clinic if you have not received this or if you have any queries about the estimate.

A dedicated nurse will be assigned to your pet, and will look after them before, during and after the procedure. Your pet will be provided with love and care, including a heated bed, a fleece blanket to snuggle under, and soothing music in the hospital ward.

Most importantly, your pet’s nurse will be continually monitoring your pet, and assessing what they need to remain comfortable and relaxed at each stage in their stay. This may include, for example, a toilet break and a chance for a dog to stretch their legs in our back garden: a soothing pheromone spray to help calm an anxious cat; or in the case of a large dog, a nurse actually getting into their hospital cage to hold them and talk to them gently during their recovery.

To provide extra reassurance for your pet, you are more than welcome to bring in a special blanket, toy or item of your clothing which may make your pet’s stay more comfortable.

The night before, give food as normal up until 8pm. Do not give anything further to eat. This is an important part of preparing your pet for their procedure.

Please contact us if your pet is on ongoing medication which you would normally give with some food.

Water should be given overnight but must be removed by 6am on the morning of the procedure. On the morning of the procedure, remember no food or water.

We perform our surgeries Mondays to Fridays, and always aim to book your pet in whenever suits you best.

We will arrange an admission time on the day, usually between 8.20 – 9.20am. Please be prepared to spend approximately 15 minutes at the clinic as this is an opportunity for us to discuss any queries you may have and to complete the necessary consent forms.

Please arrange your day so you are available to be contacted at all times. If any unexpected treatment is required, your availability could make the difference between getting everything done under one anaesthetic or needing to come back for a second day of surgery. Similarly, please plan your evening, so that your pet will not be left by themselves.

After a health check by the vet, your pet will have blood testing done (if indicated). Medication (sedative and pain relief) will be given which relaxes your pet whilst waiting for the procedure. It also starts the process of blocking pain receptors, which reduces the discomfort your pet experiences after the procedure.

When it’s time for the procedure, your pet will be connected to a drip line, and a short-acting anaesthetic injected, so that a breathing tube can be placed down their throat. This tube delivers both oxygen and anaesthetic gas which keeps your pet asleep and can be precisely controlled. During the procedure, your pet’s nurse will monitor your pet’s vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen, and carbon dioxide levels etc), to ensure they remain stable.

Once the procedure is complete, the breathing tube is removed, and a nurse stays with your pet until they are fully awake. They are then returned to their warm hospital bed for further monitoring.

We will contact you after the procedure is completed to finalise a discharge time suitable for both you and your pet. Most pets are generally ready to be taken home from 3.30pm onwards (although we are open until 6pm, if you require a later pick up time).

When you come to collect your pet, we will talk you through our information pack on how to look after your pet after the procedure, including giving any medications, and diet and rest requirements. We will also book a free post- procedure recheck for approximately five days later.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this information. If you have any further questions or queries, please feel free to contact us on 09 372 8387, and one of our team at the Vets on Waiheke will be happy to assist.

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