My pet isn't quite right. Should I make an appointment?
Absolutely! Since animals can’t can’t tell you what’s wrong or how much it hurts, it’s important to take cues from their behaviour. Dogs and cats are experts at masking pain, so if you sense something is wrong, it is usually worse than you think.
Do I need to make an appointment or can I pop in anytime?
Phoning in for an appointment is always best. This cuts your waiting time to a minimum.
My cat doesn’t like coming to the clinic?
Many cats do not enjoy cages, car rides, strange people and strange smells. Aggressive cats in the clinic are either stressed or sore. We want to make sure that our cat patients get the best care possible which means reducing stress and seeing them regularly.
Having the cage left at home and open with a nice bed in it can help your cat think of it more as a bed than a trap. Regularly putting treats in the cage will also help. Feliway pheromone sprays can significantly reduce stress and can be sprayed onto a tag on your cat’s cage or the bedding in the cage (make sure to let it air out first).
When it comes to getting them into the car covering the cage with a thin sheet may help reduce their stress. For the cats that stress out a lot we can prescribe medications to be given before their visit that have a huge effect on reducing stress.
Once you get to the clinic make sure to either sit with your cat in the Cat Corner or using the special hiding box there and blankets to keep them relaxed.
What does it cost?
The entry-level costs of a consultation, vaccinations and routine surgery are similar to other South Island practices. What happens next reflects the level of care you wish us to provide. However there are corners that we won’t cut, where patient safety or pain would be an issue. Costs vary depending on what procedures your pet is having and what size they are. Please phone or email us for an estimate.
Do we offer credit?
Unfortunately, we do not – we do work with a number of companies that offer credit and make the process very simple.
Is there an extra charge out of hours?
Yes, depending on the time of night and your pet’s requirements. The extra cost depends on the time of the call, how long it takes, and whether a nurse needs to be called in. The initial callout fee is $138.20.
Can I pay the account off?
It is to your benefit to pay your account at the time of service, so that you can collect your Petcare Rewards™. If you can’t pay at the time, arrangements must be made prior to the appointment. Interest is charged at 36% p.a. (calculated daily and charged monthly). It is cheaper to use your credit card (this way you can also claim your PetCare Rewards™).
At what age should I de-sex my animal?
Female cats: we recommend de-sexing at 4 to 5 months old. This is because some female kittens come into season quite early and can be a few weeks pregnant by the time they are 6 months of age. Male cats: we recommend 4-5 months too. We prefer to neuter them before roaming gets them into trouble! Female dogs: we recommend spaying before they reach puberty and have their first ‘heat’ period. This can occur anytime between 8-13 months so we advise spaying at 5-6 months of age. Male dogs: we recommend neutering to reduce inter-male dominance aggression and behaviors, decreased roaming, and masturbatory behaviours. For most dogs these behaviours do not become an issue until after 1 year of age. Testosterone has considerable influence in developing strong bones so we recommend delaying neutering until after a year of age unless there are behavioural concerns. In some breeds delaying neutering decreases the incidence of some cancers. Neutering does promote a eunuchoid syndrome with an increased tendency for fat deposition and obesity. This does have a health cost. Discuss the appropriate age for neutering with our veterinary team. No one recommendation suits all dogs. There is NO upper limit on age. It is NOT necessary for a female to reproduce before spaying.
What can I do about a stray cat hanging around our house?
The best option is to contact the SPCA to discuss what options are available.
How can I stop the neighbour's cat from spraying in my house?
We recommend a microchip cat door, the opening of the cat flap is triggered by your cats microchip number so you can control who is and who isn’t allowed in. The doors can read a number of microchips for multicat households. If the unwanted cat is using a window to gain entry, hydrotherapy is good – use a water pistol to scare the cat outside, this usually works with repetition.
Barking at Home
How can I stop my dog from barking when I am not home?
This may be related to separation anxiety, boredom, insecurity or excessive guard tendencies. You will need a behaviour consultation with our behaviourist to determine the problem. Sometimes simple training will help, other times medication may be required in addition to behavioural modification training programs. We can also help with many other behavioural problems.
How do I get rid of a flea problem?
Be sure to treat all of your pets and the environment with a top quality flea product. Visit us at Halifax Veterinary Centre to view our extensive range of products and get sound advice tailored to your needs and budget. An appointment is not necessary.
What do I feed my pet?
Here at the Halifax Veterinary Centre we have a wide selection of premium diets for all life stages. These diets are fully balanced with just the right amount of nutrients for daily requirements. Our trained nurses will help you. It’s very good to bring your pet in for weighing so we can help with the right quantities of food as well. There is no charge for general advice, and it’s very nice for your animal to have a social visit with no stresses!
How often do I vaccinate my pet?
Puppies: It is recommended that puppies are vaccinated at 6-9 weeks. Then a booster at 9-12 weeks and finally at 12-16 weeks. Later on an annual booster at 15-16 months is very important. After that the core vaccines of parvovirus, distemper and infectious hepatitis are given every three years. Leptospirosis and kennel cough (bordetella) vaccines need annual boosters. These vaccines aren’t needed for all dogs. We will advise you according to the risk factors in your dog’s lifestyle. Kittens: It is recommended that kittens are vaccinated at 8-9 weeks then a booster 3-4 weeks later. For cats in high risk situations – outdoor-living cats that meet with neighbourhood cats and strays, and cats going to boarding catteries – we recommend annual boosters. For those in lower risk situations we recommend vaccinating every two years. A new vaccine is available for protection against Feline Aids Virus – FIV. The virus is in the same family as human HIV and causes immunodeficiency disease in cats. It is spread by cat bites and about 10-14% of NZ cats become infected during their lifetime, so it is an important disease. We recommend protection of outdoor-living cats by vaccinating against FIV. Discuss your cat’s risk level with our staff. If you are boarding your pet you will need a really up-to-date programme. It is best to vaccinate a month before boarding.
How often should I worm my pet?
Puppies are born already infected with roundworms and these are laying thousands of eggs by the time the pup is three weeks of age. So it is important to start worming at 2 weeks of age, and follow up at 3,4 and then 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks. Thereafter worm monthly till 6 months, and then every 3 months. Kittens need to be wormed every 2 weeks from 6 weeks until 12 weeks, monthly till 6 months, and then every 3 months. We will do a special programme for your puppy or kitten, depending on age at presentation and previous worming history. Adult cats and dogs are generally done four times per year unless they are at particular risk, such as in pregnancy, frequent hunters, or exposure to the sheep measles tapeworm. See the nurses at Halifax Veterinary Centre; their excellent advice is free of charge.