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As responsible pet owners, we all want to keep our pets as healthy and happy as possible. Good food, regular exercise, and lots of love and attention will go a long way to help them stay fit and healthy.

However, when it comes to preventing specific illnesses, there are some other steps that we need to take to protect our pets. And, sadly, not all illnesses can be seen from the outside, so we need to make sure our pets are getting thoroughly checked each year – inside and out – so that they can stay as healthy as possible.

Health Checks

Many people think that the annual trip to the vets is about getting our pets vaccinated. She’s here for her jabs, we hear, and understandably so. But at least as important as the vaccinations is the health check that goes with it.

In most situations, it would be irresponsible of a vet to give a vaccine without doing a health check. If our pets are sick for another reason, then a vaccine is unlikely to work properly, and could even in rare circumstances make them more ill. But these health checks aren’t just about our pets’ health on the day – they are also about their long-term health and happiness.

Many health conditions cause slow, creeping changes that can be difficult to spot at home. Indeed, the first signs of some illnesses may be things that can’t see from the outside – a heart murmur, or a change at the back of the eye, or a mass in the belly. This means that annual check-ups are vital for pets of all ages – and senior pets may benefit from having them more often, too.


It’s always better to prevent illness than it is to try and treat it, and one of the simplest ways we can do that for our pets is to make sure that they are up-to-date with their vaccinations.

Cats, dogs, and rabbits all need regular vaccinations to prevent life-threatening illnesses. After the initial course when the animal is young, some of these vaccines only need to be given every three years, but some need boosting annually in order to be effective.

We can recommend which vaccinations your pet needs, based on their age, lifestyle, and any previous vaccinations that they have had.

Flea & Worm Treatment

Our pets love to go exploring – and sometimes this means that they pick up some unwanted visitors. Fleas, ticks, mites, and worms are all common issues for pets and can cause anything from minor irritation (with a few fleas or mites) to life-threatening illnesses (with lungworm, or tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease or Babesia).

Our pets’ risk of picking up different parasites will vary depending on their age, lifestyle, and where you live. We can discuss this with you and develop a personalised recommendation for your pet.


Once they reach the right age, neutering (removing the sex organs) can help our pets to live a longer, healthier life than they otherwise would. Neutering reduces the risk of certain cancers and removes other risks such as a pyometra – a life-threatening infection in the uterus. It also reduces our pets’ urge to roam in search of a mate, meaning they are less likely to get into accidents. In almost all scientific studies, neutered pets live longer than un-neutered pets do.

There are some other changes associated with neutering – it increases the risk of pets becoming overweight, and may increase the risk of joint disease in dogs if done at the wrong age. We are more than happy to discuss the benefits and risks of neutering your pet.

Cats and rabbits can be neutered from around 4 months of age, but dogs should wait until they are a little older – exactly when will depend on their size and breed. We can recommend the right age for your pet to be neutered, taking everything into account.

Weight Management

Our pets do tend to gain weight as they get older, in much the same way that humans do. Being overweight or obese will put our pets at a higher risk of developing many different illnesses, including diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.

Your pet’s weight will be measured as part of their annual health check, and we’ll also check their Body Condition Score – a measure of how close your pet is to their ideal weight. It’s much easier to keep our pets healthy if we notice weight gain in the early stages and act quickly, rather than leaving it until they are significantly overweight before acting.

Dental Health

Keeping our pets’ teeth healthy is not just important for their oral health, but for the health of the rest of their body, too. Dental disease can lead to an increased risk of conditions such as kidney disease or heart disease, as well as significant pain for our pets from toothache, so it’s just as important for our pets as it is for us.

Regular brushing is the best way to keep our pets’ teeth healthy. This can be done with a regular brush or a specialised pet one, but be sure to only use pet-safe toothpaste – human ones contain xylitol and fluoride, which can be toxic to animals.

There are many different kinds of dental chews available for pets which may have some benefits, too. However, they are usually high in calories, so be sure to reduce your pet’s food accordingly. You can also get special diets that are designed to help keep pets’ teeth clean. For advice on dental health products for pets, check out the Veterinary Oral Health Council website.

We will examine your pet’s teeth at their annual check-up and can advise you if there are any issues. If your pet has developed some dental disease, then they will need their teeth examined and cleaned under anaesthetic to keep their mouth healthy.


Regular check-ups are vital to keeping our pets happy and healthy. Not only will it allow our vets to spot pets’ illnesses sooner, but we can create personalised health plans to protect your pets from a range of different health conditions, helping them to live their best lives.