Nine Lives Vets


 Redbourn: 01582 793636            Harpenden: 01582 763265 

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Helping your cats & dogs get the best from all their nine lives!

Our team of five vets love treating cats & dogs. Your pet will be welcomed as one of the family, treated as we would our own 4-legged loved ones.


Our Redbourn Centre offers consultations at convenient times throughout most of the day from 9am until 7.30 pm. The Centre has full surgical facilities, a dedicated quiet cat-ward, digital x-ray, ultrasound and a well equipped laboratory - so if the worst does happen and your pet becomes ill you can be reassured we are ready to give the best possible care.


Our Harpenden Clinic offer consultations throughout Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, and Thursday mornings. On Tuesday afternoons we have the very popular Puppy Parties. When you sign up to our Puppy Package, four socialisation parties are included.  Day procedures are undertaken at Harpenden, for example dentistry, minor surgery and senior clinics.


We believe staying fit & well is important - our great team of nurses are ready to help your pet with clinics: weight control, seniors, arthritis, puppies, ear cleaning, thyroid & kidney monitoring.

On this page:

  • Acupuncture - how our vet Sarah could help your pet
  • Advice about puppy and kitten vaccinations
  • Why and When to neuter your pet
  • Travelling with your dog in Europe
  • Focus on Hyperthyroidism in cats

Acpuncture

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine (single-use, disposable) needles into recognised sites or sensitive acupuncture points on the body which are associated with that area of the body or the condition being treated. These points are selected after a very thorough examination of the patient, particularly of the musculoskeletal system.

Potentially most conditions could benefit from acupuncture but the highest success rate is definitely with muscoskeletal conditions (disorders or injuries of the bones, joints, tendons, muscles and ligaments). Any condition where muscles are in spasm, perhaps as a secondary consequence to unusual postures or gaits, will respond well. Acupuncture can help dogs with intervertebral disc prolapse and cruciate ligament rupture, for example, to help surgical recovery or to assist pain relief in those managed without surgery. Many elderly cats have very sore lower backs which tend to go unnoticed, but which if diagnosed can be very effectively and safely managed with acupuncture. 


You can book an appointment with Sarah our acupuncture vet on a Monday or a Friday at  our Redbourn Centre. Acupuncture appointments cost £45.00, and take between 20 and 40 minutes. If Sarah feels she can help your pet, she would normally recommend a course of appointments weekly or monthly. This is covered by most pet insurance companies as acupuncture is a well recognized treatment for animals. If it suits you better, Sarah can arrange a home visit. 

Puppies

Once you've chosen your new puppy, the best time to pick them up is 7-8 weeks old. To help settle them in with you, use an Adaptil diffuser or Zylkene capsules to calm them at night if they cry. 

They can have their first vaccination at 8 weeks. We'll give them a good check over and discuss any problems you are having. Their second vaccination comes two weeks later, and then they go out for walks a week later. This vaccination course costs £75.00


Don't forget it's now a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped. 

If the breeder hasn't already, then you are responsible for having your puppy microchipped.

It's a simple procedure that can be done during a routine appointment.


Puppy Package

The immunity your puppy gets from its mum may stop vaccinations working completely. That means they are still safe to go outside, but as this maternal immunity declines around 4 months old your puppy is then at risk. This only happens to 1 in 5 puppies, so most are perfectly safe from the normal 8 and 10 week old puppy vaccines. But for dogs that are going to live an active life, socialize with other dogs, or go into kennels we feel it is safer to give them one more injection at 4 months of age. We offer this vaccine as part of our comprehensive puppy package:


  • week 8 - first vaccination & health check with the vet
  • week 10 - second vaccination & health check with the vet
  • 3 months - weigh-in, advocate flea and worm spot-on & microchip with the nurse
  • 4 months - third vaccination & advocate flea and worm spot-on, with the vet
  • 5 months - weigh-in, advocate flea and worm spot-on with the nurse
  • 6 months -  weigh-in, advocate flea and worm spot-on with the nurse
  • Puppy Socialisation - As part of the Puppy Package we include 4 'Puppy Parties' at the clinic in Harpenden - on Tuesday afternoons. There is a rolling program that covers a variety of topics to help you to keep your new family member as fit and healthy as possible. Please book by telephone.


at the puppy clinics for the advocate, the nurse can also show you how to clean ears, look after teeth, and trim nails. The puppy package costs £120.00

Kittens

Kittens can have their first vaccinations from 9 weeks of age, with a second injection 3-4 weeks later. They are vaccinated against Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) which is caught through direct contact with cats outside - especially fighting or mating. The virus attacks the cat's immune system, and triggers multiple problems from renal failure to cancer of the bowel. We also vaccinate against Panleukopenia which is a nasty diarrhoea like parvo in dogs, and against the 2 types of Cat Flu. The course of vaccines costs £75.00

Your kitten is 'safe' to go outside a week after their second injection - but they will still be very little and won't have learnt how to look after themselves so please supervise them to begin with and don't let them out at night until they have been neutered.

Neutering - Why & when?

Cats


There are so many kittens at the Cats Protection desperate for a new home, so you're doing the right thing by having your cat neutered. Neutering also helps stop males urine scent marking, fighting and straying, and they are much less likely to catch some of the viruses like Feline AIDs. 


The procedure is done under general anaesthetic during day-trip to the surgery. We recommend you consider having them microchipped at the same time.  We use 'intradermal' sutures, so your cat does not need to wear a bucket buster collar after the op. 


Speying a female cat costs £85, castrating a male costs £65

Bitches


We do recommend neutering your female dog. It will reduce her risk of developing mammary cancer, and will completely prevent the painful and life-threatening disease of pyometra. However it can leave a small number of bitches with a form of incontinence called SMI - where they leave a small amount of urine where they have been lying down. Leaving neutering until after their first season can help reduce the risk of this, so we believe the optimum time to spey is 3 months after their first season. This also gives you a bit more time to decide if you want her to have her own litter of puppies...


Dogs


We recommend neutering when they are about a year old. This prevents prostate and testicular problems developing when they are older, whilst still gives them long enough to grow to the full potential before the effects of testosterone is taken away. We would only neuter early if they are showing serious behavioural problems, and even then it is worth consulting a behaviourist before rushing in to neuter.

The Pet Passport - Travelling with your Dog

Taking your dog on holiday to Europe is easy so long as you follow a few simple steps:

1. Microchip

2. Rabies vaccination

3. Pet passport is issued and you can go on holiday after 21 days

4. See a vet between 1 and 5 days before returning for a wormer to be given. This can be done in the UK if you are going away for less than 5 days


If travelling anywhere from the middle of France southwards you will be in the Leishmania zone and should either have your dog vaccinated against this, or you should put an anti sand-fly collar on them ('Scalibor Collar') 


How much does it cost?

  • Microchip: £26.50
  • The pet passport (including the rabies vaccination): £125.00
  • Scalibor collar: £23 to 28.50 depending on size (lasts for 6 months)
  • Seeing the vet for worming: £15-25 here, expect 30-50 euros in France
  • Channel tunnel / ferry: they charge approx £30 surcharge per pet

Focus On: Feline Hyperthyroidism
Overactive Thyroid Glands in elderly cats

The thyroid hormone produced by 2 small glands in the neck control your cat's metabolic rate. If they enlarge and overproduce the hormone everything starts to go too fast and you'll see:

  • A big appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • weight loss
  • vomiting and diarrhoea

Despite all this happening, your cat will feel fine. They will still be very bright and active. 


As the disease progresses, eventually the body can't cope as well and heart failure starts, so you'll see:

  • reduced appetite
  • rapid breathing, even panting like a dog
  • wobbly legs
  • pale gums


Although we can rescue some cats once they are in heart failure, it is better to treat the disease earlier.

Once we diagnose the condition with a blood test, and are happy the rest of the body is coping, we consider 3 main treatment options:

1. DIET: without iodine the body cannot make thyroid hormone, so simply remove iodine from the diet and problem solved! On Hill's YD diet most cats will return to normal within 3-4 weeks. The downside is that the special food is the only thing your cat can eat, and some cats don't like it. Although the food is more expensive than normal cat food, it does work out cheaper per day than using the tablets. 36 tins of food cost £36.95, and 1.5kg of dry food costs £16.95

2. TABLETS: daily medication blocks the thyroid gland from producing the excessive hormone, and most cats return to normal within 3-4 weeks. It is recommended to monitor the cat's thyroid levels and kidney function with a blood test regularly whilst on the tablets, however the frequency of testing varies from every 2-3 months up to annually depending on how well your cat is doing. The tablets cost £62.70 for a pot of 100 tablets (of Felimazole 5mg), which is usually given daily. The monitoring blood test costs £41.20

3. OPERATION: we can remove the overactive gland. The glands are a pair, but we only remove one gland at a time. The operation is quite straight forwards, however there is a very small risk of damaging a nerve or blood vessel. Surgery represents a great solution for most cats, avoiding the need for daily tablets, and often these elderly patients benefit from having a dental done at the same time while under anesthetic. Of course surgery can't be risk free, but it can give your cat a new lease of life and is worth considering. 

The operation costs from £280 all the way up to £450 depending on how complex your cat's concurrent medical needs are.

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