During its first few weeks a puppy is usually protected by antibodies from its mother’s milk.  Once the protection wears off, the puppy can fall victim to any of the following diseases, if not vaccinated:

Canine distemper:  Initial symptoms are usually loss of appetite, high temperature, catarrhal discharge from the eyes and nose with an accompanying cough and diarrhoea.  Nervous     systems may also develop in the form of fits, a nervous twitch or paralysis. There is no specific cure for canine distemper and the condition is often fatal.

Canine viral hepatitis:  A contagious viral condition which only affects dogs.  In very acute cases sudden death can occur without any noticeable symptoms.  Usual symptoms include loss of appetite, high temperature, with liver and kidney damage which may not be apparent to the owner.  Sometimes the virus affects the eyes, leading to a cloudiness often referred to as “Blue Eye”.  There is no specific cure and the virus often proves fatal.

Canine parvovirus: This is a contagious viral condition which affects dogs only.  In acute cases, it can cause sudden death without symptoms.  Where symptoms do develop, they include loss of appetite, high temperature, acute vomiting and diarrhoea, often containing large quantities of blood.

Leptospirosis: There are two forms of this disease caused by different bacteria.  Both are contagious and can infect humans.  One form, called “Weils’s disease” can cause severe damage to the liver with jaundice and is often fatal.  This condition is commonly picked up by dogs from rats.  The other form of Leptospirosis effects the kidneys and may become chronic, resulting in kidney failure.  Modern vaccines combine protection against all of the above diseases and two doses are usually necessary.
When the puppy is approximately 10 weeks old take him to your vet who will advise you on the              vaccinations he will need.

Dogs are basically healthy creatures but are susceptible to a variety of illnesses.  Below are some conditions that may affect your dog:

Internal parasites. Puppies and dogs can  suffer from various types of worms including roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms.  Regular dosing is essential, as humans especially children can also be infected by some of these parasites.

External skin parasites. A common problem for puppies and dogs which requires immediate treatment.  External parasites such as fleas, ticks and lice can be detected by checking the coat regularly and treated with medication from your vet.

Diarrhoea. This may be a symptom of illness or be related to diet, and is often caused by     feeding the animal on excessive quantities of milk or protein. All food should be with-held for approximately 24 hours (8 hours for puppies) and only water provided.  However, if the condition persists, consult your vet.

Kennel cough. This is a highly contagious viral condition, especially when dogs are confined together.  It causes a severe persistent cough, but except in the very young, old or infirm, it is not usually life threatening.

Stings. Bee and wasp stings usually produce a  swelling and can be very painful.  Try to remove the sting and bathe the area, using a mild antiseptic.  Stings in the mouth or throat require urgent vet treatment as the swelling may be so severe as to cause death by suffocation.

Bad breath. Diseases of the teeth and gums are as common in pets as they are in their  owners and can cause pain and discomfort, as well as foul breath.


It is essential that your cat or kitten is fully protected against feline diseases as early as possible  Kittens are normally vaccinated when they are between 10 and 12 weeks old but still require an annual booster each year of their life.

Your cat or kitten can currently receive vaccinations against the following diseases.

Feline Infectious Enteritis:This is a highly contagious viral disease which can prove fatal within a matter of hours.  Symptoms include a high fever, loss of appetite and persistent vomiting although, occasionally, death can occur before any symptoms become apparent.

Cat ‘Flu’. This condition affects the cat’s respiratory system.  Symptoms include discharge from the eyes and nose, sneezing, coughing or wheezing, a high temperature and a total loss of appetite. It can be a fatal condition, especially in old or sick cats, as well as in kittens.

Feline Leukaemia. A common, highly infectious, viral disease which can cause a  whole range of symptoms from suppression of the immune system to full blown cancer of the blood.  However, visible symptoms are not always present and infected animals may appear healthy whilst continuing to transmit the disease.  At present there is no known cure for an animal which contracts the feline leukaemia virus.

Chlamydia. This condition also affects the cat’s upper respiratory system.  Symptoms include a watery or ‘sticky’ discharge from the eyes and nose.  Although not often fatal the disease is infectious and can be difficult to treat.

Cats are susceptible to a variety of illnesses.  Although it is not possible to list them all here, below are some of the common conditions which may affect your cat.

Abscesses are hard, painful swellings of pus which develop under the skin, due to bacterial      infection. They are often the result of fighting and can develop if the animal has been bitten or scratched.  The infected area should be wiped, using mild antiseptic.

Fractures can be sustained in serious accidents or falls require immediate veterinary  attention.  Keep the cat as calm as possible and avoid giving the animal any food or drink until veterinary treatment can be obtained.

Constipation can be caused by factors including diet, lack of exercise and ingestion of large amounts of hair.  Small doses of liquid paraffin should ease the problem. Consult your vet if problem persists.

Diarrhoea may be a symptom of illness or be related to diet, and can be caused by feeding the animal on excessive quantities of milk. All food should be withheld, for approximately 24 to 36 hours (8 hours for kittens), and only   water provided to drink. If the condition  persists consult your vet.