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Pet Advice

Answering your queries and worries

  • Choosing a Pet
  • Fleas & Worms
  • Neutering
  • Pet Passports
  • Vaccinations
  • Time to Say Goodbye

Choosing a Pet

Thinking about getting a new puppy or kitten, or a rescue dog or cat but don’t know where to begin? Why not book in for a free friendly chat with one of our qualified veterinary nurses, who will be able to talk through everything you need to know about becoming a new owner.

They will discuss:

  • What to expect with your new pet
  • What type of pet suits your life style?
  • Preparing your home for your new pet
  • Toilet training
  • Nutritional advice
  • The time and costs involved in having a pet
  • Getting a puppy vs getting a rescue puppy/dog
  • Owner's responsibilities

Contact us to book your appointment. We look forward to meeting you.

Fleas & Worms

How often should I worm my pet?

Your dog or cat should be wormed 2-4 times per year depending on how much they go out or hunt, or if they have fleas, as these little pests carry an intermediate stage of one of the tapeworms. We can worm your pet in the surgery with a single dose tablet. The vet will advise you of the best routine for your pet.  For some parasites, monthly worming is recommended.

Which products should I use?

No one likes fleas and preventing an infestation before one takes hold is much easier than treating your pet and house afterwards. Remember, 95% of a flea population during an infestation is not on the pet, but in your home! Not only that, but the skin condition Flea Allergic Dermatitis can be very sore for your pet, as well as being expensive to treat. Prevention is always better than cure!

We recommend a variety of products, all of which are prescription medicines which have passed rigorous safety and clinical trials, to ensure that they do the job without risking harm to your pet. Not all products can claim this! Not only will these product kill adult fleas but it also kills any larvae as well! They are usually performed monthly. Please be aware, that the dog and cat spot-on are species specific (i.e. never apply a dog product to a cat, or vice versa!).  

For any information or advice on what specific products to use, please speak to one of our friendly staff. All of our contact information can be found here.

All of these products are available on our Pet Health Club, as well as for sale separately, once your pet has been examined by a vet. Joining our Pet Health Club provides significant savings on the cost of routine preventative care for your pet!

Free flea check

If you would like further advice on effective flea product, for your pet or your home, then please do not hesitate to contact us, or pop in to discuss in person. For prescription products we are required by law to examine your pet, as many of these medicines are only safe in healthy animals. They are also dosed according to your pet’s weight, and so an accurate weight must be obtained. We do offer a free of charge check-up service, for the provision of flea and worming products, though. This will be required on an annual basis.


Benefits of neutering

Females – In addition to the health benefits already mentioned, spaying also stops the bleeding that occurs with every heat cycle and prevents any changes in behaviour associated with the cycles. In cats, unspayed females that are allowed outside will almost certainly become pregnant. The process of mating can also lead to injury and the transmission of incurable viral diseases, such as Feline AIDS, or Feline Leukaemia Virus.  

Males - Some male dogs develop antisocial behaviour when they reach maturity. This may be in the form of aggression to other dogs, or sexual behaviour - mounting other dogs or people! If left to their own devices, uncastrated dogs may patrol a wide area in search of a mate and can detect a female in season a long way away. A dog who wanders is far more likely to be involved in a car accident. Unneutered tom cats are much more likely to wander as well, get into fights, be at risk of disease and road traffic accidents, and hence will generally live much shorter lives than their neutered counterparts!

At what age should my pet be neutered?

Congleton Veterinary Centre is committed to establishing protocols that are based on best practice and supported by up to date veterinary science. With this in mind, our clinical team has devised the following recommendations which relate to the age at which you should consider having your pet neutered.


Castration (males)

To reduce the risk of joint disorders later in life, we recommend that dogs are not castrated until they are have reached musculoskeletal maturity. This may be anywhere from 12 months old to 2 years old (in the case of large/giant breeds). Therefore, whether or not your dog is ready for castration is something that we shall discuss with you at the time of his first annual booster.

Spay (females)

Similar to dogs, bitches should ideally not be spayed until they are musculoskeletally mature. Evidence also exists showing a correlation between older bitches being at increased risk of developing mammary tumours. Bitches should not be spayed when they are in season, due to the increased risks of bleeding and post-operative complications.

Our advice, therefore, is that bitches should be spayed between their first and second oestrus cycles(more specifically, approximately 3 months after the end of their first season).

Neutering eliminates the potential for developing uterine, ovarian, and testicular tumours and other gonad-related diseases (e.g. pyometra) by removing the primary organ. Although the timing of this procedure may play a role in the development of certain diseases, patient genetics and environmental factors are equally important factors.


For both castrates and spays, our recommendation is that cats should be between 4-5 months of age, and be a minimum of 2 kilograms in weight.

Procedural details for your consideration

  • Although the end result may be the same, how this is achieved can vary greatly between veterinary practices. At Congleton Vets we pride ourselves in giving these routine surgeries the same care and attention as more complex ones. After all, it may be routine for us, but it isn’t for you or your pet!
  • As such, our charges are based on the fact that all anaesthetics are monitored by Registered Veterinary Nurses. Further safety is achieved by using our multi-parameter anaesthetic monitoring equipment on all of our patients. This allows us to monitor your pet’s blood pressure, ECG, end-tidal carbon dioxide, heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, and body temperature throughout his/her surgery.
  • IV fluids are given as standard to all bitch spays at no extra cost (and when clinically indicated for dog castrates and cat neuters).
  • Our fee includes all pain relief and anaesthetic drugs used, as well as non-steroidal medication for you to give to your pet at home, ensuring that their comfort is maintained post-operatively.
  • Two post-operative check-ups are also included as standard (one for cat castrations).
  • If there is a clinical indication based on history or physical examination for pre-anaesthetic blood screening, then this should be performed on the advice of the vet. For pets over the age of 8 years then this is strongly recommended prior to any procedure being performed under sedation or general anaesthesia.
  • Due to the risks of infection, we do not recommend that dentistry is performed at the same time as neutering your pet, although in some circumstances a risk-benefit analysis may dictate otherwise.
  • Please note that to ease affordability, and to increase compliance, our neutering fees are heavily subsidised and do not follow our standard fee structure. Therefore, these charges should not be compared to the prices of other soft tissue surgeries performed at Congleton Veterinary Centre.
  • All Pet Health Club members benefit from a 20% saving on the cost of neutering.

Are there any risks?

All neutering involves an anaesthetic and operation for your pet, and as such does incur slight risks. However, all of our vets and nurses are highly skilled and qualified at performing these procedures, and familiar with the anaesthetic protocols required.  

Neutering your pet at an early age reduces the chance of health problems causing any complications, either at the time of surgery, or during recovery.  

Pre-anaesthetic blood testing can help us identify underlying health problems, as well as providing a baseline of results that can be useful for comparison in later life. Please see our separate section about this, for more detailed information.  

Overweight females may have increased surgical risks associated with the amount of fat surrounding their reproductive organs and blood vessels.  

After neutering, all animals have a lower metabolism. As such, there is the inevitable likelihood of weight gain, unless their food amount is reduced, or they are converted to a lower calorie diet. Weight gain begins as soon as a few days after neutering. We will gladly give you advice on how to avoid this, including information about specialist life-stage diets designed specifically with neutered pets in mind (e.g. Royal Canin’s Neutered Adult range, for dogs and cats).

Pet Passports

A note about Brexit

The outcome of the Brexit negotiations will change the rules/policies for taking our pets abroad into Europe. If you are concerned, you can speak to us today or read this article to find out more information.

If you are planning on taking your dog, cat or ferret on holiday abroad, it is important to plan ahead and ensure that your pet has a valid Pet Passport which is issued by your vet. In 2012 the Pet Travel Scheme rules were relaxed for travel to EU member states and listed 3rd countries (information on these can be found here). Any pets re-entering the UK from these countries must be able to tick off all of the things mentioned below.


This is a small microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) inserted under the skin and provides your pet with a unique identity number which can be detected by an electronic scanner.

Rabies Vaccination

You must wait 21 days after the vaccination (or the last of the primary course of vaccinations) before your pet can enter another EU or non-EU listed country.  

After the first vaccination and waiting period, you can enter the UK whenever you like as long as booster vaccinations are given on time, booster requirement can be discussed with our vets.

Rabies vaccination rules differ for pets entering from outside the EU or from Non-Listed countries and will require blood tests one month after the injection was given to ensure that the vaccination was effective. After a satisfactory blood test, there is a statutory three months waiting period before entry to the UK can occur. If this test is negative you will have to re-vaccinate your pet, so it is important to plan well ahead of travel.

Tapeworm Treatment (dogs only)

Before travelling back into the UK, your dog  must be treated against tapeworm. This treatment must be given by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours before the scheduled arrival time in the UK.

Treatment against ticks is no longer compulsory although it is recommended as ticks in mainland Europe can carry potentially life-threatening diseases. You may also wish to protect your pet against other diseases, parasites and insects and this can be discussed with your vet.

Before planning travel to countries outside the EU, you will need to contact DEFRA to find out about any specific requirements as these will vary for each country. Our vets can then ensure that these particular requirements are fulfilled.

We stress that it is the owner's responsibility to ensure that your pets’ rabies vaccination is up to date and their microchip is readable. We are happy to check this free of charge prior to any travel arrangements.


What if my pet is late in receiving their vaccinations?

There is a little bit of flexibility with the timing of the booster vaccinations. However, it is advisable not to leave it too long as this could affect your pet’s immunity. If greatly overdue, then the vet is likely to recommend that the initial two-part vaccination course is repeated.

At what age can I vaccinate my pet and against what?

Vaccinations protect your kitten, puppy, or rabbit against many severely debilitating and potentially life threatening diseases.

Kittens have a primary course of vaccinations consisting of two injections starting from 9 weeks of age. This is performed by one of our vets, and will include a full health check. The second injection is given 3-4 weeks later, and is usually performed by one of our qualified nurses. Flea treatment, worming, and micro chipping will also be performed at one of these appointments. We will also be able to discuss feeding, development, neutering, and insurance. A cost effective way to not only spread the cost of these preventative care treatments, but also save you money in the process, is to register your pet on our Pet Health Club. Once the primary vaccination course is complete, an annual booster is then required to provide ongoing immunity and protection throughout your cat’s life.

Puppies can be vaccinated from 6 weeks of age; however the second vaccination must be received after they are 10 weeks old. These two injections are known as the primary course, and your puppy is not protected from infection until 1 week after the second injection. Depending on the age at which the 1st vaccination was received, a 3rd injection may be required, to protect your puppy against a bacterial disease called Leptospirosis. Full protection requires two injections, with an interval of 4 weeks. So, the full vaccination course will either involve a total of two or three injections, based on the age when the first vaccination was received, and with what. It may seem confusing; however all of this will be explained to you as soon as you make contact with us. You are more than welcome to come in even before you have your puppy to discuss preventative care, our Pet Health Club, insurance, and much, much more. The more information and knowledge you have before your puppy arrives, the better! Vaccination is also available against Kennel Cough, and this is recommended at the time of your puppy’s primary vacation course, so they are fully protected once they start socialising and interacting with other dogs. An annual booster vaccination is required to maintain immunity throughout your dog’s life.

Rabbits are vaccinated from 5 weeks’ of age, against myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD). Only one injection is required for these, with an annual booster. In recent years a new strain of RHD has been identified, and as such a new vaccination has been manufactured to protect against this. This is given two weeks after the combined vaccine, and provides immunity for 6 months. Therefore, in at risk rabbits, this second vaccination should be received twice yearly. At risk rabbits would be all those rabbits other than exclusively house rabbits.

Time to Say Goodbye

We understand what a joy it is when you bring a new pet into your home. Regardless of the species – dog, cat, rabbit, hamster or even iguana – a pet becomes part of our lives and we are honoured you chose us to take care of his or her health needs. We also know that quite often there may be a nagging thought in the back of your mind about what will happen when the time comes to say goodbye.

Research among pet owners carried out by Compassion Understood found that 21% of owners would like to know more about end-of-life care and euthanasia options at a time when their pet is fit and healthy, leaving 79% who prefer to leave thinking about it until later in their pet’s life. Every pet owner and their situation is unique and we like to be as open as possible about the subject of euthanasia and offer advice and support. Congleton Veterinary Centre is a Compassion Understood Platinum Accredited practice, which means that 100% of our team have taken specialist training to ensure that we can help you prepare for your pet’s end-of-life and offer support to you and your family whatever choices you make about your pet’s euthanasia.

You may find it helpful to visit the Compassion Understood website:

And if you have any specific questions or you would like further information about a topic, do give us a call and ask to speak to one our staff members who will be able to help you.

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