Market Hall Vets

Old Market Surgery St Clears Carmarthenshire SA33 4DY

T: 01994 230 451


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Dog Health

Neutering your pet

We recommend that all pets are neutered if they are not intended for breeding for both practical and medical reasons.

Some definitions:

  • Castration – the neutering of males by the surgical removal of both testicles.
  • Spay – the neutering of females by the surgical removal of both ovaries and the uterus.

Spaying female dogs

Female dogs can be spayed either before their first season at around 6 months of age, or 3-4 months after they finish a season.

It is advisable to spay your pet when she is young for the following reasons:

  • Spaying young dogs significantly reduces their risk of developing mammary cancer.

Mammary cancer is very common in older bitches. 

  • Removes the risk of developing potentially life-threatening womb infections as the uterus is removed during the operation.
  • Removes the inconvenience of seasons every 6 months.
  • Removes the risk of unwanted pregnancies.
  • Removes the risk of developing false pregnancies where bitches lactate even though they are not pregnant.

Castrating male dogs

Male dogs can be castrated for 5-6 months of age.

It is advisable to have your pet castrated when they are young for the following reasons:

  • Castration removes the risk of developing testicular cancer by removing both testicles.
  • Castration reduces the risk of prostatic disease when older.  Prostatic disease and cancer is much more common in older, entire males.
  • Reduces roaming and unwanted sexual behaviour.
  • Castration can help to reduce aggression and dominance.

Castration and spaying are routine procedures that we perform daily in the surgery.  We advise pre-operative checks with nurses prior to the procedure.

Please phone the practice for our competitive prices for these services.  If you have a farm holding number or are currently on benefits you may be eligible for reduced cost neutering schemes. Please contact reception for further details.


Keeping up to date with vaccinations is an essential part of being a responsible pet owner.  Vaccines act by stimulating your pets’ immune system to protect them against life-threatening diseases.  Only healthy animals should be vaccinated to ensure that this protective response develops properly.

In our practice we use a vaccine in dogs and puppies to protect against the following diseases:

  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Infectious Canine Hepatitis
  • Canine Para-influenza Virus
  • Canine Distemper
  • Leptospirosis

Puppies require a primary vaccination course.  This consists of 2 injections given 2-4 weeks apart.  Puppies can start their vaccinations from 6 weeks of age, but they must be at least 10 weeks old when they receive their second injection.  The onset of immunity is 2 weeks after the second injection, when it is then safe to take your pup out and about.  Your puppy will then require a ‘booster’ vaccination one year after the second vaccination.

Thereafter adult dogs require an annual booster vaccination to maintain immunity.  Some components of the vaccine give immunity for 3 years, and as such we only vaccinate against these every 3 years.  However, a booster vaccination is required against Leptospirosis and Para-influenza every year.

Kennel Cough Vaccination

Protection against kennel cough requires a separate vaccine from your pets’ annual booster.  This is an intranasal vaccine which provides immunity from 72 hours after administration and which lasts for 12 months.

Kennel cough in dogs is a syndrome which can be caused by several different viruses and bacteria.  It is very infectious and can spread rapidly from dog to dog.  As the name suggests it is common in kennelled dogs, but also in any environment where dogs are in close contact such as shows, training classes or even on a busy beach.

Rabies Vaccination – dogs, cats and ferrets

Vaccination against rabies is compulsory in many countries due to the risk of passing this dangerous and fatal disease to humans.  Currently we are lucky to be free from rabies in the UK.  However, if you are planning to take your pet abroad then rabies vaccination will be required as part of the UK Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection which can be spread to dogs via infected ticks.  The infection causes an infectious arthritis causing recurrent lameness.  A vaccine is now available to help protect against this disease.


There are lots of internal and external parasites that affect our pets.  Some pets may be more at risk to some parasites than others.

For a complete parasite control programme which is based on your pets’ lifestyle please contact the surgery and arrange an appointment with one of our vets or nurses.


We advise the following worming regime for most puppies:

  • Worm from 2 weeks of age, every 2 weeks up to 3 months of age
  • Then every month up to 6 months
  • Then every 3 months through adult life  (those in close contact with children should be wormed more regularly)

Intestinal (gut) worms are the most common worms found in dogs and cats.  They include roundworms and tapeworms.


These are very prevalent in dogs and cats.  The most common roundworm in dogs is Toxocara canis.  In adults infection is usually asymptomatic, however in puppies can be fatal.  Puppies and kittens are at risk of higher worm burdens as the worms can be passed from the mother before birth via the placenta or through milk during lactation.  Roundworm eggs are also passed in the faeces so animals are at risk of contracting worms from the environment, and cats that hunt may pick up infection from their prey.

Toxocara canis can be spread to humans, especially young children, through in ingestion of worm eggs from faeces or contaminated soil.  In humans, the worms migrate through the body to organs such as the heart, nervous system or eyes, causing blindness.  Hence, a responsibility lies with any pet owner to ensure their pet is regularly wormed.


Tapeworms live in your pets intestine and although rarely cause disease they take valuable nutrients away from your pet.  The most common symptom is seeing a tapeworm segment in your pets’ faeces, or around their backend.  Your pet may also show signs of irritation or perform a scooting motion.  One common tapeworm is spread by fleas.  Other tapeworms are spread in uncooked food or when pets hunt and eat mice/rabbits.  Sine species of tapeworm can be spread to humans so regular worming and good hygiene practices are important.


South Wales is considered a hot spot for lungworm in dogs.  The worm is spread via slugs and snails.  So dogs that tend to scavenge will be more exposed to these.  Infection causes breathing and bleeding problems which can be severe.

Routine worming products and regimes do not necessarily protect against lungworm.

Please contact the surgery for more information.

External Parasites – Fleas, Ticks and Mites


Fleas are a very common external parasite affecting cats, dogs, ferrets or small furries.

Fleas are a nuisance.  They irritate your pet and cause them to scratch or nibble themselves.  They might also bite you aswell – but thats not all.  Their saliva is very irritable and when some animals receive a flea bite they can develop a nasty allergic skin condition called Flea Allergic Dermatitis (FAD).  In addition to causing skin problems, fleas also suck blood.  Heavy infestations in young or small animals can lead to serious and potentially life threatening anaemias.  Fleas are also involved in transmitting a common dog tapeworm, and in rabbits can be a vector for the serious disease Myxomatosis.

Flea prevention has now become a year round consideration due to the luxury of central heating.  It is important to treat your pet and your home as the flea lifecycle is such that only 5% of the problem is actually on your pet.


Not only do ticks look horrible and feed on your pets blood, more importantly they can transmit potentially fatal diseases to your pet.   Ticks are common in wooded areas or areas with high grasses, particularly where livestock have been grazing.  However they can be found in your garden.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease which is spread from infected ticks to dogs.  Lyme disease does not affect cats.  Lyme disease is present in tick in Pembrokeshire.  It is important to protect your pet against ticks, remove any ticks immediately and a vaccine is now available against Lyme disease.

Tick removal

If you find a tick on your pet it needs to be removed immediately.  This needs to be done carefully as forcefully pulling a tick will often leave behind the head and this can cause a local irritation in your pets’ skin.

We can provide you specially designed tick instruments to use at home.  If you are not confident please book an appointment with one of our nurses who will happily remove it for you.

Ear Mites

Common in young puppies and kittens.  They cause ear irritation and produce a dark waxy discharge in the ear canal.  Secondary ear infection can occur. Please make an appointment with the vet if you are concerned your pet may have ear mites or an infection.

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