Routine treatments: Dogs

This is the first in a series of posts I’ve put together really for my own reference. My aim is to consolidate what I’ve seen of routine companion animal medicine in my placements so far. Although I don’t imagine I’ll be tested on it at interview, I think it’s probably a good idea to keep it fresh in my mind!

Routine treatments – dogs


The RSPCA recommend vaccination against four diseases:

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Infectious canine hepatitis

Puppies are usually vaccinated via two injections at 8 and 10 weeks old, followed by a booster 12 months later. Most practices then recommend annual boosters although there is some debate on whether this is suitable for every dog. These injections must all be given by a vet.

There are two other vaccines dogs may need: against rabies, if they are going abroad, and against kennel cough (including canine parainfluenza Bordetella bronchiseptica) if they are going into kennels. The kennel cough vaccine differs from the others as it is usually given as a nasal spray. Different practices include different vaccines in their regimes, so some dogs will also be vaccinated against canine coronavirus.

The RSPCA have vaccination factsheets for dogs and cats on this webpage.


Puppies are usually first wormed at 2 weeks old and then treated every 2-3 weeks until they are 12 weeks old. They can then be monthly wormed until 6 months old and wormed every three months from then on. Depending on the dog and owners’ lifestyle, health and environment this may need to be varied with advice from the vet. At times the vet may need to analyse a stool sample from the dog.

Supermarkets now sell a variety of flea and/or worm treatments but it’s more advisable to use the product the vet recommends.

Flea Treatment

Different products have different intervals for treatment; the RSPCA’s recommended product is applied to the skin with a pipette and kills fleas for 8 weeks. Routine treatments not only keep dogs free from fleas but also play a part in protecting the owner’s home. Although owners can administer flea treatment, there’s no harm in getting the vet’s advice at an annual check-up.

Other Procedures

Some dogs may need their toenails clipping. This can be done by the owner, a vet or vet nurse, or by a dog groomer. Depending on their breed and coat type grooming may also be needed.


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