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Pet Advice

Key advice on how to best support your pet

  • Ageing Pets
  • Neutering
  • Vaccinations

Ageing Pets

Our pets live longer than ever before. Old age, unfortunately, is often accompanied with some degeneration in health. The dramatic conditions can be obvious and most owners would spot cancerous tumours or heart failure with their drastic decline in general health.

Chronic conditions with their slow decline can be more difficult to notice. Many owners attribute them to 'just old age'. But that in itself is not a disease!

Degenerative joint disease can affect all pet species. Pets tend not to squeal with pain if it is chronic. Observing changes in their behaviour can give us pointers: Is the dog slow to get up, or finds it difficult to get in the right position to pass urine or faeces? Does he need help to jump into the car? Does your cat groom its middle, but cannot quite reach the backend anymore? Has she stopped scratching at trees to sharpen the claws? Has your rabbit difficulties bending over to pick caecotrophs (soft faeces) from its bottom? All these may be signs of pain in the joints or the spine for which your veterinary surgeon can prescribe effective medications, taking your pet's individual needs into consideration. NSAIDs are not only painkillers but also have anti- inflammatory action with direct effect on the disease process. Some are for short courses, others are licensed for long term use. Just a word of warning: please do not use human medication in animals, this is not safe!

When your dog tires easily on a walk or pants a lot he could have a heart problem. Small dogs are more likely to suffer from leaking valves, bigger dogs from heart muscle diseases. A thorough heart examination, with ECG and ultrasound scan if necessary, should help to diagnose the problem.

Older bitches sometimes leave wet patches behind. Urinary incontinence is common, a problem often more for the owner than for the pet. After excluding other causes of the leakage your veterinary surgeon can advise you which medication will best ease the smelly condition.

Does your pet chew carefully, or does he favour one side of the mouth? Gum and tooth disease can be painful. Plaque builds up on the teeth and leads to inflammation and erosion of gums. Regular home dental hygiene can prevent plaque becoming a problem by brushing with pet toothpaste and giving appropriate things to chew. Dental treatment under general anaesthetic typically includes assessment of the teeth and gums, extractions where necessary, descaling and polishing.

Regular check-ups in older pets can detect health problems at an early stage. At Gladstone Veterinary Clinic we might, if there are concerns, recommend a blood test, providing information about the liver and kidneys, and other blood parameters like thyroid hormone. Not all problems can be cured, but many can be alleviated with medical management.


Puppys & Kittens

When you get a puppy or a kitten, their adolescence seems far away, but sooner or later many pet owners have to face the fact that their little bundle of fur has grown up and there may soon be many little bundles of fur. While undoubtedly much fun, raising a litter also means a lot of work and responsibility, and it can be difficult to find new homes. Many owners therefore opt to have their pet neutered.


Cats of either sex can start mating from five months of age, depending on the season. We tend to neuter (spay) females from four months, and males from six months of age (castration). Apart from the contraceptive aspect neutering helps to prevent the sexually transmitted disease FIV, the equivalent to HIV. Neutered cats also have smaller territories which means fewer roads to cross. It is not a total prevention for urine marking (spraying), but the urine is at least less smelly!


Sexual maturity in dogs depends on size, the bigger the breed the later. At Gladstone Veterinary Clinic we normally spay bitches 2-3 months after their first season, which can be from 6 months in a small breed. Spaying earlier has been found to be associated with urinary incontinence in later life. Leaving your bitch unspayed can be a lot of hassle, depending on where and how you live. Male dogs might try to get into the garden or pick up the bitch's scent on the family's clothes. If you don't have a garden taking a bitch on heat for a walk can be quite exciting! In later life entire (unspayed) bitches, especially when overweight, are more likely to suffer from diabetes or get a womb infection (pyometra).

In male dogs we only recommend castration if there is a problem. Some dogs mount legs or toys, others like to roam, and some are more likely to pick a fight. While castration may not totally kerb these unwanted behaviours it can help to make a dog a more pleasant companion. In male dogs we only recommend castration if there is a problem. Some dogs mount legs or toys, others like to roam, and some are more likely to pick a fight. While castration may not totally kerb these unwanted behaviours it can help to make a dog a more pleasant companion.

A variety of drugs are also available to suppress sex hormones, but they tend to be used as one- off measures rather than livelong strategies. If a mishap occurs and your bitch is mated unintentionally you might want to consider mismating injections.

To discuss these or any other aspect of neutering please contact us on 01952 245145 and we will be happy to advise you. 


Vaccinations protect an animal against specific diseases, mostly viral, some bacterial. The mother passes some immunity to the offspring. When these antibodies go down it's a dangerous time for the young. That's why vets recommend starting courses of vaccinations early. The second vaccination is given a few weeks later, depending on the species of your pet. Let's look at this in detail:


Puppy vaccinations are against a range of diseases. Parvovirus causes severe illness with vomiting and bloody diarrhoea that often has a fatal outcome. We don't often see distemper these days, but if fewer dogs were vaccinated it would certainly resurge. The same is true for infectious canine hepatitis. Leptospirosis is caused by a bacterium that can be transmitted to humans (Weil's disease) and is often contracted around water and wherever rats live. All these vaccinations come in a single injection, in puppies typically given at 8 and 10 weeks, or at any time in later life.

Kennel cough is slightly misnamed because it can occur when dogs meet other dogs, including training, shows or even meetings of canine friends in the park. Most kennels in our area ask for boarders to have been given the vaccine, and well before the stay. As an intranasal application (up the nose), it gives local immunity, but can sometimes lead to a mild cough for a few days.


Cats had parvovirus long before it became a dog disease. Also called 'feline enteritis' it brings severe vomiting, anorexia and diarrhoea. Cat 'flu' is very contagious and can be caused by more than one virus. Affected cats sneeze, cough, have eye and nose discharge and often are unwilling to eat. While most cats survive the acute illness many can be carriers of the virus for life.

Feline leukaemia (FeLV) can take years to manifest itself in tumours, anaemia and general decline of health. There is no cure. Vaccinations against these diseases can be started in kittens from 9 weeks of age, but also at any age in adults.


Rabbits vaccinations are available against VHD and Myxomatosis. The latter disease is common in wild rabbits and spread through rabbit fleas. As it is rife in Telford we recommend a booster every 6 months.


Ferrets are susceptible to distemper and can receive injections with a dog vaccine.

All these vaccines need regular boosters to keep up immunity. A lapsed booster means having to restart a course of vaccinations. Please ring the surgery if you have any other questions or would like to make an appointment.

Practice information

Gladstone Veterinary Clinic

  • Mon
    8:30am - 6:30pm
  • Tue
    8:30am - 6:30pm
  • Wed
    8:30am - 6:30pm
  • Thu
    8:30am - 6:30pm
  • Fri
    8:30am - 6:30pm
  • Sat
    8:30am - 12:00pm
  • Sun

Emergency Details

Please call:

01952 253963

Find us here:

Unit 9 The Hadley Centre Telford Shropshire TF1 5GQ
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Please call this number for emergencies:

01952 253963