Emergency 0113 2369030
Out of hours 0113 2369030
Holly House Vets Hospital 0113 2369030
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Holly House Vets Clinic, Ilkley 01943 609285
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Holly House Vets's home page
Emergency 0113 2369030
Out of hours 0113 2369030
Holly House Vets Hospital 0113 2369030
Holly House Vets Clinic 0113 2369030
Holly House Vets Clinic, Ilkley 01943 609285
Holly House Vets - Exotics 0113 3224341

Dog Advice

Helping you to take care of your dog

Dog Advice

Helping you to take care of your dog

Thinking About Getting a New Puppy?

Our behaviourist will be happy to talk you through all the decisions and preparations to make in preparing to bring a new puppy home. For further information, head to our Dog training and pet behaviour page

These consultations cover:

  • Various breeds better suited to your specific lifestyle
  • Training tips and tricks
  • Preparing your house for the newest arrival
  • Discussing reputable breeders or rescue centres
  • Choosing from the litter or rescue centre
  • General healthcare - diet, neutering, vaccinations, insurance etc.
  • Pet Health Club

Puppy Products

We are now pleased to be able to offer you everything you need to welcome your new puppy into your home, from crates, to toys, to disinfectant!

Please click on the links to browse our catalogue and price list.

Puppy Classes

These fun and interactive classes are led by our Dog Behaviourist, Hazel and are suitable for puppies aged between 12 weeks and 6 months. 

For further information about our puppy classes, head to our Puppy Class Course page or contact us to book a session.

Puppy Socialisation

Puppies need to learn how to interact with other people, dogs, animals and objects around them, this is called socialisation. The socialisation process will help your puppy gain confidence in their ‘new world’. 

Whilst work should start early (aiming to familiarise your puppy with everyday sights and sounds in the first 16 weeks) it should also be continued long after to ensure your puppy remains well adapted. Puppies should be carefully introduced to anything they are likely to meet during their life, but these need to be positive experiences so the puppy gains confidence. Traumatic experiences early on can be hard to overcome later, so it is important this work is undertaken with empathy.  

The types of things you should cover in your socialisation programme may include different people, dogs and other pets, livestock, places, household appliances, traffic and car travel, noises and being handled. 

If your puppy responds fearfully to any of these and does not quickly learn to accept them, please seek help with our behaviourist as soon as possible for further advise how to help your dog. Remember our behaviourist is available to help you devise and implement individualised socialisation programmes and guide your through succesfull implementation. Find out more about our training services on our Dog Training and Pet Behaviour page or contact us to book a session.

Puppy Nutrition

How Big is my Puppy Likely to Grow?

It is important to have an idea of how big your puppy will become so that your puppy gets fed the correct diet for his/her breed size. Each size of dog grows at a different rate and therefore will have different nutritional requirements.

Small Breedsproud dog

Require plenty of proteins, carbohydrates & fats. They will stop growing at about 8 months old, so this diet will encourage a quick, healthy growth rate.

Medium Breeds

Require a high intake of energy & nutrients, as well as balanced amounts of calcium & phosphorus for steady bone mineralization. They will stop growing at around 12 months old.

Large & Giant Breeds

Stop growing at 15 - 18 months, and 18 - 24 months respectively. They will need a controlled energy intake food with moderate fat, to ensure correct formation of the skeleton without excessive weight gain. This is particularly important in giant breeds, as joint development is critical because as adults they will be put under a lot of pressure.

Bear in mind that the biscuits in diets designed for different sized breeds come in appropriate sizes and textures to prevent damage to teeth and jaws.

Nutrient Groups

As with a human nutrition, a puppies body needs nutrients like protein, fat and fibre to function. Ingredients are simply vehicles that deliver this mixture of nutrients to the body.

When choosing the ingredients for pet food, it's the total nutrient balance of ingredients that's important. A nutrient is any food constituent that helps support life. Each of the six nutrient groups plays an important role in your pet's health:

  • Proteins: Main element of body tissues like muscles, blood, skin, organs, hair and nails
  • Carbohydrates: Provide energy for the body's tissues
  • Fats: Fats absorb, store and transport vitamins, moisturise skin and coat, make food taste great and supply energy
  • Water: The most critical nutrient for survival
  • Vitamins: Assist in maintaining an animal's metabolism
  • Minerals: Necessary to develop healthy skin & hair, skeletal support and development

Avoiding Nutrient Excesses

Remember that more nutrients are NOT always better in pet nutrition - many nutrients are actually toxic in excessive amounts! Every dog has unique nutritional needs based on age, health, size and activity level.

Too much protein in a dog’s diet will cause an increased growth rate, which in return can cause skeletal and muscular defects.

It is important that your puppy’s diet only contains a moderate amount of salt. It is required in the diet to control their electrolyte balance. However excessive amounts can put a strain on their heart and kidneys. It is ideal for your puppy to have no sugar in their diet, as this can contribute to obesity and can cause damage to their teeth.

Feeding Routines

It is wise to give your puppy has a regular feeding routine.

  • Ideally a puppy aged 8-12 weeks will be fed 4 times daily
  • Once aged 12-16 weeks will be fed 3 times daily
  • Once your puppy is 16 weeks old, their diet can be reduced to twice daily

The recommended daily allowance of food should be split equally into the number of meals they need.

Should I Use Wet or Dry Food?

Wet and dry foods both have advantages and disadvantages. Generally most vets and vet nurses advise a modern dry food, but there is no right or wrong, just choice!

The main advantage of dry food is that it is more economical – with wet foods, you will be paying for a product that is usually around 75% water, whereas dry food only contains 10% water. Why pay for water when you can get it for free out of your tap? Obviously, a small disadvantage of dry food will then be that your pet will be more thirsty and therefore drink more water, which makes the water content of wet food an advantage.

Dry food lasts a lot longer once the bag is opened – you’ll be able to safely use it right up until the whole bag is finished. Wet food is only usually safe to keep for 24 - 48 hours once opened. It is a myth that dry food is “good for teeth” as the kibble is not abrasive enough to clean teeth, unless specifically designed for this. Other precautions need to be taken to contribute towards dental health; these are explained within another leaflet.

Foods for a Puppy to Avoid!

Foods to avoid giving to your puppy include chocolate, grapes, raisins, onion and garlic.

These are extremely toxic to dogs, and can cause illness. In extreme cases, they can even cause a fatality. It is advisable to only feed your dog food which is designed for dogs, to be certain that they don’t consume anything which may be toxic to them.

Treats can be given in moderation. Too many treats may cause an upset stomach, as they tend to be quite rich – so it is recommended that they are only given as a reward for good behaviour.

If you have any problems or queries, please don't hesitate to call us and we'll be happy to help.

Good luck with your new family member and we look forward to seeing you again!

Training and Behaviour


All dogs benefit from training and it’s many advantages:

  • Increased control over your dog’s behaviour
  • Enhanced relationship and understanding
  • Physical and mental stimulation
  • Increase confidence through problem solving skills
  • More enriched lifestyle as the dog is better behaved and can fully engage in family life


Dogs may develop behaviour problems for many reasons and these can have a huge impact on the owner – dog relationship and the welfare of the dog, but many are easily resolved with the right help.

Common behaviour problems are:

  • Reactivity on lead
  • Fear and phobias, including noise aversion
  • Separation anxiety or issues when left alone
  • Aggression towards unknown people or guarding objects
  • Repetitive Behaviour
  • Excessive Behaviour

Find out more about our training services on our Dog Training and Pet Behaviour page or contact us to book a session.

Identity Tags and Microchipping

Identity Tags

Dogs and cats should wear identity tags with your details on so that you can easily be contacted if your pet gets lost or is in an accident. It is a legal requirement for your dog to wear a tag with your address on it. The obvious problem with tags is that they can easily be lost. It is not wise to put your dogs name on a tag as they may come when called to a stranger.


On 6th April 2016, it became compulsory for every dog owner in England to have to have his or her dog microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old. It is also a legal requirement that contact information help on the microchip database is kept up to date.

According to the government, owners who do not comply with the new law risk face fines of up to £500.

  • Microchips are a permanent way of identifying your pet
  • A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is injected under the skin on the back of the neck
  • A chip can be implanted during a routine appointment, or while your pet is under anaesthetic for another reason
  • Each chip carries a unique number that can be read using a special scanner, so if your pet is lost or stolen they can be traced back to you
  • Vets, dog wardens and animal rescue organisations scan all stray animals. If a chip is found, they can then contact a central database to obtain the owner’s details. You just need to ensure that you update the details they hold, should you change telephone number or move house. Being able to contact you quickly in an emergency can sometimes be life saving for your pet
  • It is hoped that compulsory microchipping will act as a deterrent to dog theft and will mean that more lost dogs will be reunited with their owners rather than ending up in rehoming shelters
  • Microchips are essential if you wish to get your dog a Pet Passport

Join our Pet Health Club to get your dog microchipped for free!

Why Vaccinate?

Vaccination plays a vital role in reducing the prevalence and severity of several diseases – including some that are associated with a high degree of mortality.

Due to dogs being walked outdoors and likely in areas where there have been other dogs and possibly foxes, vaccination is very important to protect your pet. Dogs do not need to come in to contact with each other to pass on diseases.

Which Diseases do we Vaccinate Against?

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a nasty virus that is highly contagious. Young puppies are more susceptible to the virus than adult dogs. Clinical signs include those of an upper respiratory infection – conjunctivitis and even pneumonia with a high fever. The dog may also have neurological signs when the virus reaches the brain, causing fits. Bloody diarrhoea is also frequently present. This disease is nearly always fatal.


This disease affects the liver and kidneys and is deadly. Animals with this disease are contagious to other animals and humans. The disease is spread through contact with urine of infected animals. Dogs with leptospirosis may show signs of lethargy, dehydration, jaundice, and fever. Affected animals will eventually die of a progressing kidney failure. We have upgraded our vaccination against leptospirosis and the new vaccine protects against 4 different strains for optimal protection (L4). Puppies need two vaccinations 4 weeks apart (8 weeks and 12 weeks). Adult dogs that have been vaccinated previously will need a second L4 vaccination 4 weeks after their booster vaccination to boost their immunity against the two additional strains. Please note: this only applies the first time that they receive the L4 vaccine and they will only require one vaccination the following year.

Canine Parvo Virus

This virus attacks the intestinal tract and causes severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Parvovirus is highly contagious. Dogs contract the virus through contact with infected animals’ stools. Without treatment dogs become dehydrated and weak and often die. This virus is very common, and puppies that are not properly vaccinated are often affected. Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers seem to be at greater risk for parvovirus. There is also a cardiac form - this form is less common and affects puppies infected in the uterus or shortly after birth until about 8 weeks of age, hence the importance of vaccinating breeding animals. We recommend an additional parvovirus vaccination at 16 weeks of age following the primary course of injections at 8 weeks and 10 weeks. This is to ensure adequate protection against a potentially fatal disease.

Canine Adenovirus

Canine adenovirus causes infectious canine hepatitis, a potentially fatal disease involving vasculitis and hepatitis. Symptoms include but are not limited to: fever, lethargy, anorexia, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhoea. Infection can also cause respiratory and eye infections. The infection is passed in the urine and faeces of affected animals.

Kennel Cough (Bordetella Bronchiseptica)

This vaccination is given intra-nasally (up a nostril). This disease is transferred between dogs due to secretions from the upper respiratory tract. Dogs most at risk of contracting kennel cough include dogs that go into kennels, go out with a dog walker, go to puppy classes or take part in agility, or dogs that meet lots of other dogs in the park. The clinical signs include a dry retching cough as though they are trying to be sick, and occasionally vomiting is also a feature. Kennel cough is caused by a complex of different viruses and bacterial infections. Therefore the vaccination is not considered to be 100% effective. However we strongly recommend this vaccination as it reduces the severity of the symptoms and the likelihood of your dog contracting this infection.

How to get Started

A primary vaccination course is required and this can be done in your puppy from 6 weeks old. The first injection is given at 6-8 weeks of age and a second and third injection are required at 10 weeks and 12 weeks of age to ensure full protection.  We also recommend an additional parvovirus vaccination at 16 weeks of age.  After this primary course, a once yearly booster vaccination will provide full cover for these conditions.

Your dog also receives a full health check before receiving its vaccination, which can be an excellent way of your vet picking up on any subtle changes, which may be signs of other early disease.

Kennels are now also increasingly demanding full vaccination of your pet before allowing them to stay, so why not prepare now for your much-needed holiday.

In these modern times we should not see so many deaths from preventable disease.

Don't let your pet be a victim!



Fleas are an all year round problem for our pets. If your pet has fleas then only approximately 5% of the fleas are resident in your pet’s coat at any one time. The rest of the fleas, along with their eggs and larvae, are living and breeding in your house enjoying your central heating!

Unless there is a heavy infestation adult fleas are not often seen. The first indication that your dog has fleas will be the presence of specks of dark flea dirt in his or her coat. This is easily detected by combing your pet and putting the debris from the comb onto a piece of wet white paper, any flea dirt will produce a red blood like mark on the paper.

Fleas can bite both people and pets and their bites can cause painful allergic reactions.

There are many different types of very effective flea treatments available on prescription. Our staff at Holly House will be happy to advise you as to which is the most suitable for your pet. We recommend the use of flea control products all year round.

Many flea control products available from pet shops and supermarkets are not suitable for use on young animals and are often not very effective.

If you have seen fleas on your pet or are being bitten yourself, it is essential that you treat your house, car and furnishings. We recommend a spray, which contains no organophosphates and is effective for 1 year.

All of the flea treatments we use are available on prescription only. If we have an accurate weight for your pet and have examined them during the last 12 months we will be happy to prescribe flea treatment for your dog without you having to bring them to the surgery. Please telephone us and we can have your prescription ready for you to collect the following afternoon.

Find out more about the Pet Health Club and how you can make great savings on your dog's flea treatments.


Most puppies have round worms. They are transmitted from their mothers via the placenta and through the milk. Eggs are then passed out in the faeces and contaminate the environment where they can persist for up to two years.

Older dogs can pick up roundworms by ingesting the eggs passed in infected dogs faeces.

Young children can also pick up roundworm eggs and the infection can in rare circumstances result in blindness or epilepsy as a result of the damage the worms do migrating through the body. This means that effective worming is essential if your dog has contact with young children or is exercised where they play.

Roundworms can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and weight loss. 

Tapeworms can be picked up either from fleas or from eating raw meat. They are not human health hazard but are unsightly and cause irritation to your pet as the segments crawl around his bottom.

At Holly House we recommend that you worm your dog regularly throughout their life.

If we have an accurate weight for your dog and have examined him during the past 12 months we are happy to prescribe wormers for your dog without you having to bring him to the surgery. Please telephone us or use our online prescription request page and we can prepare your prescription for you to collect the following afternoon.

Find out more about the Pet Health Club and how you can make great savings on your dog's worming treatments.

Routine Neuter Operations

The information here covers:

  • Pre-operative procedures
  • Admission procedures
  • Contacting the in patient nurse to check progress and arrange collection
  • All about Dog Neutering

Pre-operative Arrangements

Making your Appointment

For routine neutering, please try to ring at least a week in advance to organise your pet's operation.

Pre-anaesthetic Preparation

  • Dogs should be starved from at least midnight on the night prior to an anaesthetic
  • They should be allowed access to drinking water up to morning
  • Dogs should be walked or given the opportunity to pass urine and faeces prior to coming to the surgery, but shouldn’t be allowed to get excessively wet or dirty

On the day

A vet or qualified nurse will admit your pet. They will need to ask a few of the following questions:

  • Is your in good health and a suitable age?
  • Is it the sex that has been booked in?
  • Have they been starved?
  • Are they fully vaccinated?
  • Are they microchipped yet? (if not would you like this doing whilst your pet is asleep?

There will also be:

  • A health and weight check
  • You will be offered a pre-anaesthetic blood test for your pet
  • You will be asked to complete a consent form giving us a number we can contact you on if necessary during the day
  • You will be given a direct telephone number for our inpatient nurses, enabling you to contact them easily later in the day to check progress and arrange collection of your pet

Bitch Spay

Your dog should generally be aged 6 months or older.


It is not necessary for your dog to have had a season before being spayed. Equally it is not ‘a good idea’ to have a litter of pups unless you are experienced with breeding dogs. It is an easier and quicker operation for your dog if spayed at 6-months of age, before the first season.

  • Please let the vet/nurse know if your dog has had a season and when the last one was seen
  • Ideally we will wait 3 months following a season to spay a dog as there are increased surgical and hormonal risks if spayed too soon after a season

Why spay a bitch?

Spaying significantly reduces the risk of mammary tumours if performed before the first or second season. 1:2000 develop mammary tumours if spayed before first season compared to 1:4 if spayed after the second.
Prevention of future uterine problems such as life threatening infections of the uterus.
Prevents unwanted pregnancy, false pregnancies and the hassle of seasons.

Potential side effects/complications of spaying

  • Anaesthetic/surgical risks (very low in healthy animals)
  • Spayed dogs have a lower metabolism so need to be fed 10-15% less to prevent obesity - also saving you money on dog food
  • No proven link but may be a factor in urinary incontinence in old age. However if this were to occur it can be easily controlled by medication
  • Transient false pregnancy can occur in some bitches shortly after spaying, especially in older bitches. This is more likely if spayed within 3 months of a season. It is easily treated

Post-operation Care

  • On the night you get home, offer her water and bland food such as chicken or one of our special canned diets. Dogs are sometimes sick with more complex food after an operation
  • Keep her on the lead for 7 days following the operation, lifting her into the car and preventing her from climbing steps
  • Check the wound daily for any signs of discomfort or infection

Dog Castration

We routinely castrate from 5 - 6 months of age.

Why Castrate a dog?


  • Castrated dogs are less likely to develop signs of hypersexuality, such as mounting other dogs, people's legs etc
  • Less chance of inter-male aggression
  • Less chance of dominance related behavioural problems
  • Less chance of wandering and escape in the hunt for bitches
  • Reduced desire to urine mark

N.B. In dogs castrated over 2 years of age, there is less chance of improving hormonally driven bevavioural problems by the procedure.

Health Benefits

Precludes the development of testicular tumours.
Reduces development of prostatic disease, perineal hernias and certain peri-anal growths.

Possible side effects/disadvantages of castrating dogs

  • Anaesthetic/surgical risks (these are very low in healthy animals)
  • Castrated dogs have a lower metabolism so need to be fed 10-15% less to prevent obesity - also saving you money on dog food
  • Not all male dogs develop hypersexuality behavioural problems and can lead normal happy lives if left entire. Generally there is no disadvantage to waiting until the dog is a little older to decide whether to castrate i.e. doesn’t have to be done at 6 months

Join our Pet Health Club to save 20% on the cost of neutering.

Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Tests

All patients admitted for an operation or procedure requiring a general anaesthetic are offered a pre-anaesthetic blood test.

This test is done to give the vet more information about how your pet’s organs are working. Pre-anaesthetic blood tests are highly recommended in older patients. They are also beneficial in younger patients to confirm all organs have developed correctly and are functioning well.

There are three main benefits to carrying out pre-anaesthetic blood tests

  • Detecting hidden illnesses that may put your pet at risk during anaesthesia and surgery
  • Reducing risk by adjusting the approach to anaesthesia and surgery
  • Peace of mind for you

The blood sample is taken prior to your pet receiving any medication for their anaesthetic as the results can affect which drugs are given. The sample is taken from the jugular vein which is located on their neck. This means that your pet will come home with a small clipped patch of fur in this area.

There are two parts to a pre-anaesthetic blood test

Packed Cell Volume (PCV)

This test measures the percentage of red blood cells in the blood. If the percentage of red blood cells is higher than the normal ranges then this may be an indication of your pet being dehydrated and therefore, the vet may decide to put your pet on fluids.

If the PCV is lower than the normal ranges this may indicate that there is an underlying health issue and the surgery may be postponed.


This blood test monitors organ function, in particular the kidneys and liver.

The liver is checked by measuring two enzymes in the blood, which are normally at very low levels.  If there is any damage to the liver cells they release these enzymes into the blood and cause the levels to rise. The liver has vital roles to play in the body, including metabolising the anaesthetic drugs and producing the factors needed for blood clotting to occur. 

To monitor kidney function we look at the blood urea and creatinine levels. Urea and creatinine are usually filtered out of the blood and into urine by the kidneys, keeping their levels in the blood low. When the kidney filter is not working efficiently the levels in the blood build up. Kidney function is important during and after an anaesthetic because if there is a problem it may mean that your pet can not effectively filter the anaesthetic drugs out of their system and therefore, it has the potential to complicate their recovery. If a problem is detected on the blood test, the vet may choose to alter the drugs used in the anaesthetic protocol or put your pet onto a drip.

Biochemistry also measures blood glucose levels. If the glucose is abnormally high this could be an indication of your pet being diabetic or too low can mean that they are hypoglycaemic. Either one can impact your pets surgery.

By opting to have a pre-anaesthetic blood test we can tailor your pet's anaesthetic, pain management and recovery protocols if needed. The cost of this test is £52.94.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the pre-anaesthetic blood tests further, please do not hesitate to ask the vet/nurse during your admit appointment.

Taking Your Dog Abroad

The Pet Travel Scheme’s regulations changed on the 1st of January 2012. These changes had implications for those with dogs, cats or ferrets that already had pet passports, and also for those who may now be thinking about taking these species abroad and bringing them back to the U.K.

Previously, dogs, cats and ferrets returning to the U.K. from the E.U. or other certain listed countries could avoid quarantine provided they had met certain conditions. They had to have been microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies. Cats and dogs (not ferrets) then had to have a blood test (usually 3 months after the rabies vaccination) to make sure they had responded to the vaccine. Provided a certain antibody level was reached, they could travel abroad 3 weeks after the rabies vaccine but could not return until 6 months after the blood test was taken (the ‘6-month rule’). 24-48 hours before re-entering the U.K. the pet also had to be treated for ticks and for tapeworms by a vet, and this was then signed off in the passport.

Since the changes at the beginning of 2012, if your dog, cat or ferret is travelling to the E.U. or certain listed countries, they must still be microchipped and given a rabies vaccine, but the pet passport can then be issued. There is now no requirement for a rabies blood test and no ‘6-month rule’. Animals can travel 21 days after the vaccine and then return to the U.K. at any point after this, provided the rabies vaccine is kept up-to-date. The requirement for tick treatment prior to re-entry to the U.K. has been dropped. Tapeworm treatment prior to U.K. re-entry is now required only for dogs – the treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1 - 5 days) before the dog’s scheduled arrival time in the U.K.. Pets will still have to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route.

If your dog, cat or ferret is entering the U.K. from an unlisted, non-E.U. country, it must be microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies. These pets will require a blood test at least 30 days after vaccination to check antibody levels, and there will be a 3-month wait prior to re-entry to the UK. There is no requirement for tick treatment prior to UK entry, but tapeworm treatment will be required for dogs only. Again, the pet has to travel with an approved company on an authorised route. . The rules for pets coming from unlisted countries and for species other than dogs, cats and ferrets will vary.

It does seem that the new regulations make it simpler for people to take their pets abroad, and to bring them back to the U.K., however, we would still advise that it is vital to think about the welfare implications of travelling with pets, such as stress, and also the importance of being aware of possible exotic diseases and parasitic infections which pets can be exposed to outside the U.K. The vets here can discuss possible prevention treatments dependent on the likely risk of coming across certain parasites e.g. ticks or tapeworms, or parasite vectors e.g. sandflies or mosquitoes in certain regions.

If you have any queries regarding the Pet Travel Scheme, please go to the GOV.UK website or contact the Pet Travel Scheme Helpline on 0370 241 1710. We have five L.V.I. vets (Local Veterinary Inspectors) at Holly House who can issue passports or export paperwork; Sarah Brown, Sara Ramsey, Holly McKinley, Charlotte Tuplin and Heather Chappell.

Further information:

BVA Animal Welfare Foundation Leaflet - Taking your pets abroad: Your guide to diseases encountered abroad.

Join our Pet Health Club to save 10% on the cost of your dog's pet passport.

Canine Blood Donation

Could your dog be a lifesaver?

As with people, critically ill and injured animals can sometimes require blood transfusions in order to survive. We are always looking for new donors to join our blood donor register, so if your dog matches the criteria and you would be interested in volunteering your dog to give blood, we would love to hear from you. Currently, we only call on our registered donors in the event of a patient needing an emergency blood transfusion, however in future (with enough volunteers) we hope to host a blood donor session at the hospital.

Criteria for a canine blood donor

Your dog must:

  • be deemed fit and healthy by physical examination
  • be a young, lean adult, aged between 1 and 8 years
  • have a good temperament
  • weigh 25kg or over
  • be fully up to date with vaccinations (however your pet will not be able to give blood within 14 days of having had a vaccination)
  • not be receiving any medication other than preventative flea and worm treatment
  • not have travelled abroad
  • not have received a blood transfusion before
  • have normal results if they have had routine blood biochemistry and haematology tests

Canine Hydrotherapy

The importance of hydrotherapy and physiotherapy is increasingly recognised in veterinary medicine. Hydrotherapy (controlled swimming) is especially valuable for the veterinary patient, promoting excellent limb function in a non-weight bearing and thus minimally painful and a-traumatic environment.

Many surgical and medical disorders benefit from hydrotherapy and some examples are given below.

Joint Surgery

Hydrotherapy is applicable to almost all joint injuries of dogs and can occasionally be of use in other species. Its most popular and perhaps most productive use is in aiding the rehabilitation and repair following cruciate ligament ruptures.

These patients may be managed with surgery or conservative techniques; in either case limb disuse due to pain, habit or sensory changes can lead to reduced range of movement at the knee joint and wasted or even scarred muscles. Such changes may lead to permanent and irreversible limb dysfunction despite healing of the original injury and this can be restricted through appropriate hydrotherapy.

Hydrotherapy helps to maintain range of joint movement and muscle mass by encouraging effective non-traumatic limb use. It manages to do this in a non-weight bearing environment.

Hydrotherapy reduces exercise related discomfort and protects any surgical repair from excessive strain during the healing period.


Limb disuse can be a problem after surgical repair of fractures, especially smaller dogs that can easily carry an affected limb. Controlled use of a fractured bone encourages healing, but too much can jeopardise a surgical repair. Hydrotherapy helps to strike the right balance.


Dogs with arthritis are often sore after rest following exercise, as excessive joint use causes inflammation in the affected joint and subsequent pain.

Lameness progressing to longer-term limb disuse, muscle wastage and poor joint range of movement is the result. Hydrotherapy allows joint range of movement to be maintained and muscle function to continue with minimal trauma and inflammation to the joints.

Always ask your vet first whether hydrotherapy is appropriate for your pet.

We have several local hydrotherapy pools all of whom may be able to offer professional services to you and your pet. One local hydrotherapy pool is registered as a veterinary treatment site and we have had excellent results from animals attending it.

Visit: www.carltonhydrotherapycentre.com

Carlton Kennels and Hydrotherapy Pool, Yeadon. Tel: 0113 250 5113