Troublesome Ticks and Horrible Harvest Mites

Tick & Harvest Mite

Ticks and Harvest Mites are small parasites that survive by feeding on different animal hosts, including mammals, birds and even humans if they get the opportunity. They can be a real nuisance for affected pets, often causing irritation, inflammation and sometimes infection and disease.


There are many tick species in the UK but the ones that commonly cause problems by feeding off our pets are the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus) and the hedgehog tick (Ixodes hexagonus).

Ticks are mostly found in areas with long grasses, in woodlands or in heathland but they can be found in gardens if they have been transported by wild animals during their larval or nymph stages. They can attach anywhere on the animal’s body but are usually found around the head, neck and ears. Owners often mistake ticks for wart-like growths on their pets because of their size and colour.

Ticks locations

Tick facts
  • Ticks transfer saliva into their host and remove blood as they feed.
  • The tick body swells up as it becomes engorged with blood.
  • Ticks are usually active in the spring, summer and autumn months.
  • Larval ticks have 6 legs and are so small they look like specks of dirt.
  • Nymph ticks have 8 legs and are about the size of a poppy seed, and are the most likely stage to bite humans.
  • Adult ticks also have 8 legs. The female is much larger than the male and grows to about pea-size when fully engorged with blood.
  • Ticks will happily feed off humans if there are no other convenient food sources available.
  • Never be tempted just to brush or pull off the tick – any mouth parts left in your pet’s skin may become infected, resulting in an abscess.
  • Ticks can transmit many diseases through their saliva including Lyme Disease in the UK and Erlichiosis and Babesiosis in other countries.
  • Ticks can carry several different infections at the same time.
  • Localised infection may occur at the site of attachment without causing other symptoms in the animal’s body
  • If an animal has a really heavy tick infestation it could become anaemic


Tick Life Cycle
  1. Larval ticks hatch from the eggs and the following spring or autumn they crawl onto grass stems and seek out small rodent hosts using the sensory organs on their front legs. The larvae feed for several days before dropping off into the environment to moult into nymphs (In the UK this stage usually takes a year to complete)
  2. Nymph ticks seek out slightly larger hosts this time – usually rabbits, and feed for several days before dropping off into the environment to moult into adult ticks (Again, taking about a year)
  3. Adult ticks climb up onto taller vegetation to seek out a host. They usually feed off larger animals such as sheep, deer, dogs and cats. The adult female feeds for up to two weeks and then drops off into the environment and can lay several thousand eggs before dying.
  4. The whole life cycle can take up to 3 years to complete in the UK.


Common Ticks found on dogs and cats in the UK
Ixodes Ricinus
  • Also known as the sheep tick, castor bean tick or deer tick. Despite its name it will feed on any mammals or birds and lizards.
  • Its preferred hosts for the larval and nymph stages are small animals (rodents then rabbits and birds) and for the adults, large animals such as sheep and deer on which it has the greatest reproductive success.
  • It is the most common tick to be found feeding on dogs and humans in it’s nymph and adult stages. This is likely due to the fact that it searches for a host by climbing up to the top of tall vegetation, so passing pets are easy targets.
  • It only feeds once at each developmental stage.
Ixodes Hexagonus
  • Known as the hedgehog tick.
  • It is often the most common tick found on cats and the second most common tick on dogs.
  • The larvae are mainly found on hedgehogs (hence the name) and also other smallish mammals that have nests/dens such as stoats, weasels, foxes and badgers.
  • Pets are accidental hosts because hedgehogs commonly live in parks and gardens
How to remove a tick from your pet

We recommend that this is done using a specially designed ‘tick hook’ (pictured), these are readily available from veterinary practices, pet shops and on-line. If you are unsure how to use one, bring your pet to the practice and one of our nurses can show you how it’s done.


How NOT to remove Ticks

If any part of the tick is left in your pet’s skin it may cause infection, abscess or the transmission of disease. In order to avoid this

  • DO NOT pull the tick off your pet, using fingers or tweezers
  • DO NOT burn the tick off your pet;  you could seriously injure your pet.
  • DO NOT use alcohol  on the tick; It wont make the tick drop off and we feel that alcohol has better uses!
  • DO NOT use Vaseline; whilst it  will eventually smother the tick, it will take 24-48 hours to work.
Tick Prevention

Fortunately there are now several really great products that repel ticks (and fleas) available for your dog and cat. These products are only available from your veterinary practice or can be obtained from a pharmacy if you have a prescription from your vet.

Castle Vets only recommend tick products that actually repel the ticks and prevent them from attaching to your pet for a meal. It is really important that you check any products and read the labelling carefully before you buy them. Most products that state they are for treating ticks, only kill the tick AFTER it has attached to your pet and drank blood.

WARNING – Never use dog flea or tick products on cats. The active ingredient used in some dog products is highly toxic to cats and can cause seizures and death

Harvest Mites

Adult harvest mites feed on plants and tiny insects, but their first stage larvae feed on the blood of mammals and will happily attach themselves to our pet dogs, cats, and rabbits for a meal.The harvest mite larvae swarm in large groups on dirt, long grass, vegetation, low bushes and plants while they wait for a suitable host. When a suitable host passes by they climb on and gather in areas where there is not much hair and the skin is quite thin.

Harvest Mite Facts
  • Harvest mite larvae are a problem in late summer until early winter
  • They are active during the day, especially if it is dry and sunny
  • They are very small but can just about be seen by the naked eye as bright orange dots,
  • The mites often attach to ears or paws, but may also be found on the pet’s chin, lips or tummy.
  • The larvae feed by injecting a fluid into the skin which liquifies the skin cells. These liquid skin tissues are then ingested by the mite.
  • Harvest Mite saliva can cause irritation, inflammation and crusting of the skin and, if the pet then scratches, licks or nibbles these areas, it can make the inflammation worse and can sometimes result in a bacterial infection.
  • The Animal Health Trust is investigating a possible link between Seasonal Canine Illness and Harvest Mites.
Harvest mites in a dog’s coat
Harvest Mite Life Cycle 
  • Eggs are laid by an adult female in or on the soil or in ground debris and plant matter.
  • Approximately ten days later the six-legged larvae emerge. These larvae need to feed on mammal hosts for approximately 2-10 days, in order to develop and survive.
  • The larvae then return to the soil and after 5-6 weeks further develop into the 8 legged nymph. Which develops twice more before becoming an adult harvest mite.
  • The adult mites feed on plants and tiny insects.


Harvest Mite Treatment and Prevention

There is no official licenced preventative treatment for Harvest Mites in the UK but Fipronil spray treats some other mite effectively and is thought to have an effect on the harvest mite. Fipronil spray is a prescription medication that is available from most veterinary practices (alternatively you can ask your vet for a prescription so that you may buy it elsewhere).

Harvest mites are only active during the day, and most infestations occur when pet’s lie in long grass on warm sunny days. If you find that your pet is particularly sensitive you could restrict outdoors access to early morning and the evening to avoid them.

Further Information

Please contact us at the practice if you would like advice on parasite prevention and treatments or to make an appointment with one of our veterinary nurses who can show you how to remove ticks safely. You can telephone us on 0118 9574488 or visit the Castle Vets website
 For more information on ticks and parasites you can also visit

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Pet Vaccination


Figures from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) have demonstrated that 11 million pets in the UK are vulnerable to preventable diseases (data taken from 2012/2013 survey). The research suggests that while 40 per cent of owners would risk their own lives to save their pet, nearly 50 per cent of pets are not vaccinated or neutered to protect them from disease. A spokesman said:

More than 11 million pets could die prematurely in the next decade from devastating preventable illnesses such as Parvovirus, Feline Leukaemia and certain forms of cancer because their owners are failing to vaccinate or neuter them.”
Why Should We Vaccinate?

In the past many animals became severely ill because of diseases which, thanks to vaccination, are now rarely seen. Although these diseases are less common, they have not been completely eradicated. If the number of pets protected by vaccines drops our pets could be at risk from an outbreak of infectious diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans. This is similar to the human measles outbreak that has been seen recently in the UK, because so many children were not vaccinated.

Vaccination protects our pets from the many diseases that cause illness, pain, distress and even death. Vaccinating your pet against preventable diseases is a vital part of responsible pet care. When you vaccinate your pet, not only are you protecting them from these diseases but you are preventing the spread of disease to other animals.



How do vaccines work?

Pathogens are microbes such as viruses or bacteria that cause disease. Vaccines include a small amount of weakened or harmless microbe, which when introduced into the body stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies. The immune system is then able to remember the microbe so if the body is invaded by the real pathogen, it is able to fight it instantly and stop the disease developing. With some vaccinations, the immune memory can reduce over several years, which is why booster vaccinations are needed.

A vaccine is usually given by an injection under the skin, although sometimes may be given as drops into the nose.

All vaccines have to undergo rigorous testing to prove they are safe and effective before they are licensed for use. When used appropriately and as recommended they are both safe and provide crucial protection for animals against a number of diseases.


Do homeopathic vaccines work?

Some people are tempted to use homeopathic ‘vaccines’ However, these ‘vaccines’ have no scientific basis and there is no independent evidence to show that they work in protecting pets against disease. A few properly designed trials have been carried out using homeopathic vaccines and have shown no evidence of protection against disease.

What do the vaccinations protect against?

Canine Distemper: Spread by bodily secretions, e.g. saliva. Symptoms include fever, depression, coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea and discharge from eyes and mouth. Dogs that recover, may go on to have neurological problems in later life such as muscle spasms, circling and seizures. Some recovered dogs also suffer from eye problems hand a thickening of the skin over their nose and foot pads.

Canine Parvovirus: Spread by contact with faeces from infected dogs. This virus can survive in the environment for up to nine months. It causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea (often with blood). Approximately 80% of dogs will die from this disease if left untreated.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis: Spread by contact with the saliva, urine, faeces, blood or nasal discharge of infected dogs. The urine of an infected dog can be infectious for up to a year, and the virus can survive in the environment for many months. There are two versions of this virus – one causes a kennel cough type infection, the other causes hepatitis (an infection of the liver). Symptoms include lethargy, coughing, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, jaundice and abdominal pain.

Leptospirosis: The main source of infection is via infected urine, or by contaminated water, so dogs are at risk if they swim in or drink from stagnant water or canals, especially in areas with high numbers of rats. This disease can be passed humans and can be fatal! Symptoms include fever, lethargy, increased thirst, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and jaundice. In severe infections dogs develop kidney and/or liver failure and will often die.

Kennel Cough: A highly infectious disease that is easily spread wherever there are lots of dogs in one place. It is spread from small droplets in the air which are inhaled, or from direct contact. Even when a dog has recovered from kennel cough he can still pass it to other dogs for several weeks. Symptoms include sneezing (in the early stages), a harsh cough and nasal discharges.



Feline Herpes Virus & Feline Calicivirus: These viruses can by spread by direct contact with affected cats, in the air (sneezing and coughing cats), or contamination of the environment. Cats that recover can become carriers and transmit the infection to other cats. Symptoms include fever, inappetance, discharge from the nose/eyes and sneezing. It can also cause drooling and severe mouth ulcers. More severe strains can lead to pneumonia. Stress or illness can cause flare-ups of the virus in carrier cats.

Feline Infectious Enteritis: Spread by the faeces and urine of infected cats, the virus can survive in the environment for long periods. The virus attacks the cat’s immune system, leaving the cat unable to fight infection. Symptoms include lethargy and inappetance, fever, seizures, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration. Kittens born with this disease suffer from tremors and poor coordination and may also be born blind.

Feline Leukaemia Virus: Spread by saliva/nasal secretions and is thought to require close contact with an affected cat for the infection to be transmitted (fighting / bite wounds, mating, grooming between cats). It may also be transmitted from a mother cat to her kittens via her milk. Symptoms include poor body condition, poor coat, anorexia, recurrent infections or disease, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), diarrhoea and jaundice. The virus infects the cat’s bone marrow, which can result in leukaemia (cancer of the white blood cells) and anaemia, cats may also develop lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).



Myxomatosis: This is transmitted to rabbits by flying and biting insects such as mosquitos, rabbit fleas and mites. It causes severe swelling of the lips , eyelids, ears and genitals. Treatment is rarely successful and rabbits with this disease are often euthanased.

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease: This is a highly contagious disease and can be transmitted to rabbits from other rabbits, or contaminated food, equipment or clothing. Viral Haemorrhagic Disease is nearly always fatal and causes severe internal bleeding.


When should we vaccinate?

Puppies and kittens usually have an initial course of two vaccinations starting when they are 8-9 weeks old (sometimes younger in high risk areas) and then a yearly booster vaccination to provide continuing immunity.

Rabbits have an initial vaccination that can start from 5 weeks old

All animals then have an annual or booster vaccination to keep their immunity levels up. Dogs in particular may not need to have all parts of the vaccination every year, but your vet can advise you on the best course of action as it may depend on the area you live in and which diseases are prevalent.

Vaccination Safety and Necessity
 “I’ve read a great deal about yearly booster injections for dogs not being necessary and the harmful have side effects. Do you offer any alternatives – titre tests, less frequent boosters etc?” 

At Castle Vets we offer a thorough and comprehensive annual health check which is important for your pet in order to ensure he or she is in full and good health. During these annual health checks, vaccination is always discussed but not always given depending on the individual’s circumstances.

Providing that the dog has had its two initial (puppy) vaccinations and its first year booster, Castle Vets will only give the full booster vaccination for Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus every three years. We do recommend an annual booster for Leptospirosis and Parainfluenza, because studies have shown that immunity to these viruses does not last very long. This of course is always based on the individual dog’s needs and circumstances.

Vaccinations are one of the most important weapons in the fight against infectious diseases and many diseases have been virtually eliminated through vaccination control programs. Vaccination is necessary in order to protect our pets against life threatening disease and is the only proven method of doing this. In the past many animals became severely ill because of diseases which, thanks to vaccination, are now rarely seen. Although these diseases are less common, they have not been completely eradicated and if the number of pets protected by vaccines drops our pets could be at risk from an outbreak of infectious diseases (this is similar to the human measles outbreak that has been seen recently in the UK, because so many children were not vaccinated.) When you vaccinate your pet, not only are you protecting them from these diseases but you are preventing the spread of disease to other animals.

Remember that there are no specific cures for diseases such as Distemper, Hepatitis, and Parvovirus, and that these diseases are often fatal. In the case of Leptospirosis, treatment is available but can be extremely expensive and it may not always be successful.

It is worth noting that most boarding kennels require proof of annual vaccinations before admittance. Some pet insurance companies also insist on annual vaccinations, but more are now moving towards an annual health check which we fully endorse.


Blood testing antibody levels

It is possible to perform blood tests to check for the levels of antibodies in the blood, which will show us how well an animal is protected against a certain disease. Some owners request these tests so that they know whether or not to have their pet’s annual booster vaccination. Castle Vets are happy to do this for you if your wish, but because of the prices charged by the laboratories few owners take up this offer.

What about harmful side effects?

Serious side effects such as anaphylactic shock and vaccine associated fibrosarcoma are extremely rare. Very occasionally an animal may have a localised reaction such as, swelling or irritation at the site of vaccination, or they may have systemic affects such as fever, loss of appetite or lethargy. These symptoms can occur within minutes to 1 week after vaccination but usually disappear on their own.
The very small risk of a vaccine side effect is greatly outweighed by the benefit of protection against serious disease. This point has been endorsed by the Working Group set up by the government’s independent expert Veterinary Products Committee who undertook a thorough review of all UK licensed dog and cat vaccines. An independent and scientifically peer reviewed study carried out by the Animal Health Trust, has produced the clearest evidence yet that routine vaccination of dogs in the UK does not increase frequency of illness.

Further information

Do not be worried about asking your vet questions regarding your pet’s care, that is what they are there for. If you have any concerns or would like to know more about vaccination or any aspect of your pet’s health and care please discuss this with one of our vets who will be happy to advise you. You can contact Castle Vets by visiting our website or by phoning us on 0118 9574488.

Much of the above information has come from the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) and we would urge you to visit their website if you would like more information on vaccines.

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Before you get a new pet – THINK!

lots of pets

It is a wonderful feeling to be the proud owner of a new pet and anyone who has taken on a pet will know that, within a matter of hours, you are completely hooked, but there are a few things to think about before your commit to and bring home your new bundle of fun and cuteness.

1. Cost

piggy bank

Can you afford the costs necessary to give your chosen pet the correct care? The average annual costs of owning a pet can be quite high and have been estimated at £1000 – £1500 for a dog, £1000 for a cat, £400 – £500 for a ferret, £500 for a rabbit and £400 for a guinea pig. (For cats and dogs that amounts to approximately £12000 – £18000 over a lifetime!) You will need to think about the costs of providing food, bedding, Housing for small animals, a bed, routine vet bills and pet insurance for accidents and illnesses.

2. Size of the petsize of pet

Do you have enough space at home and in the garden for your chosen pet? Even small pets like hamsters and rats require fairly big cages. Where will your pet eat, drink and sleep? The size of the pet will also effect how expensive it will be  for vet bills, insurance, food, housing and equipment.


3. Coat types and grooming

Most pets will require grooming and/or bathing of some sort and you will need to check their coats, mouths, ears, eyes and bottoms every day to make sure they are clean and healthy.
Pets with long coats will require daily grooming to prevent matting and you will need to consider if you will have the time to do this. Some animals shed lots of fur which may not be good for allergy sufferers.

long haired pets

4. Breed of pet

Different breeds of animals often have very different personality traits so you should consider what your pet has been bred to do in the past before making your decision; for example everyone loves the look of the stunning Dalmatian or the handsome Siberian Husky, but you might not realise that these dogs were originally bred to run for miles and have huge amounts of stamina so, therefore, require lots and lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and prevent unwanted behaviours. Terriers have been bred for their ability to dispatch rodent pests quickly so don’t be surprised at their feisty and bold behaviour. In the cat world the Siamese can be very vocal, Maine Coons are known for being very affectionate and Bengals can be very destructive when they get bored. With rabbits the Dwarf-Lop is generally friendly and outgoing where as Netherland Dwarfs can be very skittish and are generally unsuitable for children.

breeds copy

5. Time

Do you have enough time to keep your chosen pet properly exercised and mentally stimulated? Exercise is really important for the health, fitness and well-being of your pet and you will also need to spend time with your pet so you can play with it and provide any training it might need.
All dogs need at least 2 20 minute walks a day (most breeds need much more than this) and the opportunity to run about off the lead in a safe area and meet other dogs if they are socially inclined. Depending on the breed of dog you choose, you may need to provide activities such as agility and training classes to keep it fit and stimulated.
In an ideal world a cat should be able to get outside, but if you have decided to keep your cat indoors then you must provide adequate mental stimulation for it and it will need much more of your time than an outside cat would to prevent boredom.
Rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets need an outside enclosed run or they can be exercised on harnesses in safe areas.


6. Genetic and hereditary Problems 

cat ok

Some breeds of animals have inherited genetic problems and this should be researched before you get a pet as these problems can cost a lot of money to treat, for  example hip dysplasia, heart disease, respiratory problems, eye problems and dental problems. If you are buying from a breeder you should always ask if the parents have been tested for disease and problems associated with the breed.

Looking for and choosing your new pet

Before you get a new pet we recommend that you take your time to find and get to know a good breeder or if you are getting a pet from a rescue centre, try to get as much background information as you can from the staff.

Many animals are being bred purely for profit (‘farmed’) without care for their welfare, health or temperament and are usually passed on to a seller or dealer before being sold on to the public. Avoid buying pets from pet stores or places that have many litters of pets for sale (this even applies to birds, reptiles, rabbits and other small mammals); it is worth paying a little extra to obtain an animal from someone who has put a lot of time and effort into ensuring the health and wellbeing of the parents and offspring.

If you are getting a puppy or kitten make sure you see the mother with her babies and check that she has been regularly vaccinated; cases of poor health and diseases such as Parvovirus in puppies and Flu in kittens obtained from unscrupulous breeders, are often seen in veterinary practices and very young animals have tragically died, leaving new owners distraught and heartbroken.

Pedigree Breeders

These are ideal if you are looking for a specific breed of pet. A good breeder may do a home check and will ask lots of questions to make sure you can provide a suitable home for your new pet. Do your research regarding the average cost of the breed you are interested in and expect to pay quite a lot for rarer breeds. The Kennel Club has a list of breed clubs and breeders for puppies and is a good place to start looking.

Hobby and ‘Accidental’ Breeders

These may be owners who have decided to breed a one-off litter from their pet or their pet has had an accidental mating. most of the guidelines for pedigree pets should apply when you are visiting and asking questions of the owner. If the pets are crossbreeds you should also try and find out what the breeds are so you will have an idea about how big your new pet may grow.

Guidelines for choosing your pet

  • Always visit the ‘breeders’ home to meet the litter.
  • Always see the mother with her litter – do not accept any excuses for the mother not being there.
  • Handle the litter (as long as they are over 4 weeks old)
  • Check that the litter and mother looking healthy and happy
  • In the case of puppies and kittens, are they happy to come over and interact with you?
  • Expect lots of questions from a breeder that cares about where the pets are going to and how you will look after them.
  • Ask about the type of food they will be weaned on to
  • Ask whether the parents have been routinely vaccinated, flea treated and wormed
  • Don’t be overwhelmed by the cuteness of the animals in the first litter you visit! If things don’t feel 100% right to you walk away, the right pet is worth waiting for.

Cat specific checks

  • Ask if the parents tested for Feline immunodeficiency virus and Feline Leukaemia before mating
  • Have they been raised indoors or outside? Indoor raised animals are much happier with the day to day sounds of a busy household and the coming and going of people and other pets.

Dog specific checks

  • Handle the mother so you can get an idea of her temperament (it is not always possible but if you get the opportunity, meet the father too)
  • Ask about how the puppies will be socialised and what experiences they will have had before they come home to you (will they have seen lots of people, travelled in a car, experienced household noises such as the washing machine and vacuum cleaner?)
  • Have they been raised indoors or outside? Indoor raised animals are much happier with the day to day sounds of a busy household and the coming and going of people and other pets.

Pedigree specific checks

  •  Ask about any genetic/hereditary problems in the breed and what tests have been done to ensure that the parents don’t have these. A good breeder will have no problems discussing these issues with you and will have had the appropriate tests done on the parents.
  • You will need to obtain a pedigree certificate and a contract of sale when you take your new pet home with you
  • A good dog breeder will ask you to spend time with adult dogs of the same breed and chat to other owners so that you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for! This is particularly important if you have chosen one of the less commonly seen breeds.

mums and babies

Rescue Centers

These places have lots of pets in need of new homes and are a good place to start if you don’t want a pedigree animal. They may visit your home and ask lots of questions to make sure you can provide a suitable home for your new pet and that you understand how to care for it correctly.
Some places to try are
Battersea Dog and Cat Home
The Blue Cross
Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue (Berkshire)
Cat Protection

Puppy and Kitten Farms or Mills


These are commercial animal breeding facilities that are operated with an emphasis on profits above animal welfare and are often in substandard conditions regarding the well-being of animals in their care. The animals from these places are not looked after properly and will not have been bred for good health or good temperaments. Sometimes these animals are transported for huge distances to be sold by middle parties or pet shops to new owners.  Remember that NO responsible breeder would ever have their litter sold by a pet shop or anyone other than themselves.

  • Every animal purchased from an irresponsible breeder leaves a space for another to take its place. 
  • The trade in pet farms, pet mills and pet shops is consumer led.
  • Many animals become ill soon after purchase, some even die. 
  • You are the consumer – make a wise choice.
To avoid falling into the puppy/kitten ‘farm’ trap
  • Always see the mother with her babies – if you cant see the mother interacting with her offspring how do you know she is the mother? Don’t accept excuses about the mother being out for a walk or sick – if you don’t see the mother how do you know that she has a good temperament?
  • Never let the breeder bring the animal to you – if they offer this how will you know anything about the environment they have grown up in or the temperament or health of the parents?
  • Don’t buy animals from pet shops or garden centres – these animals are usually from puppy farms and kitten farms or from people that breed solely for profit. You will have no idea about their history, temperament or if their parents suffered from any genetic disease or ill health.
  • Always buy puppies and kittens that have been raised in a household environment rather than a kennel, shed or barn (these animals will not have been used to regular human contact or common household noises and events, which can make them fearful and nervous and can lead to behavioural problems)
  • Always make sure that the mother has been regularly vaccinated; diseases such as Parvovirus in puppies and Flu in kittens obtained from unscrupulous breeders, are often seen in veterinary practices and very young animals have tragically died, leaving new owners distraught and heartbroken.
  • Don’t buy from any breeder that has more than two bitches or queens with litters.

If you find yourself at what you suspect is a puppy or kitten farm, please do not buy a puppy out of sympathy because any purchase will only encourage these people to continue. If you feel that the adult dogs or puppies are being neglected in any way contact the RSPCA.

It is not acceptable to obtain puppies (or kittens) from “Puppy Farms” or other establishments who sell them on for these unscrupulous breeders. A national campaign called PupAid has been set up to raise awareness and stamp out unacceptable breeding practices.



For further advice you can telephone the surgery and speak to, or make an appointment with, one of our veterinary nurses who will be happy to discuss breed types, personality traits of pets and where to look for a good breeder with you. You can contact us by telephone: 0118 9574488  or by visiting the Castle Vets Website

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Hearing Dogs Pup-Mobile Appeal

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a unique charity that helps profoundly deaf adults and children by training hearing dogs to alert them to important sounds and danger signals.

They need help to raise money for a new van or ‘Pup-Mobile’ so that they can transport people and dogs and also deliver food and equipment.

Please check out this site and give what you can. Give them a share too so you can get more people involved

Hearing dogs for Deaf People fundraising site