Why should I vaccinate my cat/dog?

Cats and dogs like to explore the world around them and are likely to come into contact with infectious diseases as they do. Vaccination teaches their immune system in advance how to recognise and defend against certain diseases, which are often incurable and can be fatal.

Our vaccination programme for cats vaccinates against Calcivirus, Viral Rhinotracheitis and Panleucopaenia viruses with Leukaemia, Chlamydia and Rabies vaccinations available depending on your cats risk of exposure. In dogs, we vaccinate against Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Canine Parainfluenza, Leptospirosis and Parvovirus with the option of Kennel Cough and Rabies.

Your pet’s immunity following a vaccination may wane over time and will require an annual booster to preserve it. This is tied in with their annual health check.

Should I neuter my pet?

Neutering your pet has many benefits if you are not planning on breeding from them. It helps manage aggression, territory marking, behavioural problems and unplanned pregnancies as well as addressing health issues by eliminating the possibilities of certain cancers and reducing the occurrences of others.

Males are castrated while females are spayed, both of which are performed under a general anaesthetic. Recovery time is quick and they will return home on the same day, usually early afternoon. We follow up with free wound checks before removing the stitches 10 days later (if needed).

We tend to carry out neutering when sexual maturity is reached at 6 months of age, which is often the case for owners of females, who may begin to come into heat around this time. With males, it is not unusual to wait until they reach full skeletal development between 10-12 months however neutering earlier, for both sexes, is perfectly safe and very common.

Does my pet have to be microchipped?

As of April 2016, it is a legal requirement that all dogs are microchipped. This is a small transponder about the size of a grain of rice that is implanted under the skin and carries a unique 15 digit identification number for your dog that can be read using a veterinary scanner. This number will be registered under your name with you and your dog’s details for identification purposes and certification of ownership. We commonly microchip puppies around the time of their second vaccination.

While it is not a legal requirement to microchip your cat, it is commonly practiced as a means of identification due to their roaming nature. This means if they were to ever get lost, they can be traced back to you by reading their microchip number.

How often should I treat my pet for worms and fleas?

You should treat your pet for external parasites such as fleas, ticks, lice and mites once a month from about March until October. During this time, the weather is warm and bugs thrive in the environment. When the colder winter months set in, your pet is less at risk of contracting these parasites and won’t need to be treated as often.

We advise you practice worming all year round. You should worm your cat/dog once a month during the summer months and at two/three month intervals during the winter. Regular treatment breaks the lifecycle of the parasite, destroying all its stages before an infestation can take hold.

There are many products available on the market to treat your pet for worms and external parasites. As all these parasites are able to transmit disease and in some cases each other, combining the two treatments maximises your pet’s protection. It is important you purchase these products from your vet/pharmacy as over the counter products, like the ones you find in supermarkets and sometimes pet shops, are not veterinary licensed and as a result not very effective.

Are dentals important for animals?

Unlike us, cats and dogs can’t brush and floss their teeth on a regular basis which means bacteria begins to build up. This bacteria soon forms plaque and tartar which begins to invade the gums and underlying bone causing gingivitis and eventually periodontitis if left untreated . Poor dental hygiene can lead to rotting teeth, bad breath and painful gums which will cause your pet discomfort.  

While feeding your pet dry food and dental chews is more beneficial than wet food, the mechanical effect can only do so much. This means that your pet will require a dental every couple of years to keep the build-up of bacteria at bay.

I’m travelling abroad with my pet, does he/she need a passport?

The Pet Travel Scheme allows your dog or cat to leave and re-enter Ireland and Northern Ireland without the need for quarantine, following travel to approved foreign countries. For this to happen, your pet must be:

- Microchipped.

- Vaccinated against Rabies (your pet must receive this vaccination atleast 21 days before travel).

- Accompanied by a valid official pet passport with all relevant details recorded.

- Treated against certain parasites (country dependant) before you return.

All of this can be done in Ratoath Veterinary Clinic including the issuing of passports and we ask you plan ahead as timing is very important.

What should I feed my pet?

There is a vast range of pet foods available on the market and it can be difficult to know what one to pick. As a starting point, we advise you pick a dry food and try avoid supermarket brands. The big selling point for these brands is they are cheap but they are often referred to as the ‘fast food’ of the pet world, not the healthiest diet to eat every day.


Our nurses are more than happy to discuss with you your pet’s nutrition, feeding amount, food brands etc. Our biggest seller is Burns which uses quality ingredients to make a highly digestible food for a reasonable price, however, our nurses will answer any questions you have on different brands. A balanced diet will go a long way maintain a healthy lifestyle for your pet.

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