Frequent questions you ask our vets

frequently asked questions

Are you just as curious as this gorgeous cat Blue? Here at Viking Veterinary Clinic, we get a lot of questions.  So, below is a list of FAQs about pets that we’ve compiled based on our expert knowledge and experience of pet owners. So, if you have queries about your cat, dog or rabbit, you might easily find the answers here. 

Kittens and puppies should be treated for worms every month until they are six months old. And for animals over six months of age, frequency of worm and flea treatments will vary depending on which product you use. However, you you should treat for both at least every three months. It’s also important to make sure you treating against all parasites! Some products are more comprehensive than others. It can be very confusing, but we are happy to advise on the best choice for each individual pet.

The short answer is yes, you do need to buy flea and worm treatments from your vet. Supermarkets and pet shops are not licensed to sell the drugs that veterinary practices sell. The products they do have on offer are generally ineffective, and some have even been linked to serious side effects in pets. So, your vet will be able to advise you and recommend the most suitable product for your pet.


Puppies, or unvaccinated dogs initially require two vaccines. The first vaccine can be given to any dog over eight weeks of age, with the second booster vaccine given three to four weeks later. Dogs then require annual vaccination for the rest of their lives. The diseases we vaccinate dogs against are: leptospirosis, parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus 1 & 2, canine contagious hepatitis, and parainfluenza.


Kittens, or unvaccinated cats also initially require two vaccines. The first vaccine is given to cats/kittens at least eight weeks of age, with the second booster vaccine given three to four weeks later. Cats then require annual vaccination for the rest of their lives. The diseases we vaccinate cats against are: feline calicivirus, feline herpes virus and feline panleukopenia. There is also the option to vaccinate cats/kittens against the feline leukaemia virus (FeLV).


Rabbits can be vaccinated from five weeks of age. They require annual vaccination. The diseases we can vaccinate rabbits against are: myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease (both RHDV1 and RHDV2).

Neutering has several health benefits and also prevents unwanted litters, thus adding to the pet overpopulation problem.


Neutering a male dog reduces marking behaviours and reduces the tendency to roam (in search of a mate). It also prevents testicular and prostate tumours, and can reduce territorial and aggressive behaviours.

Spaying a female dog removes the risk of uterine and ovarian cancers. It also removes the risk of pyometra (infection of the uterus – a serious condition.) It can reduce and in some cases remove the risk of mammary tumours, and prevents unwanted litters.


Unneutered male cats live hard lives, roaming in search of mates, and fighting with other male cats over mates and territory. This lifestyle puts them at huge risk of accidents and injuries, such as being hit by a car, or developing abscess after a fight. They also run the risk of contracting serious diseases such as FIV or FeLV (two incurable autoimmune diseases). Neutering hugely reduces the desire to roam, and removes testosterone, meaning they are much less likely to fight.

Unneutered female cats are also at risk of contracting FIV and FeLV during mating. Kittens as young as 4 months old can become pregnant and can even become pregnant again whilst still nursing the first litter. As a result they can have several litters each year, compounding the massive cat overpopulation problem in Ireland.

Cats can be neutered ideally from six months, however if at risk e.g. live outdoors, they can be neutered once they are over four months.

The age at which dogs should be neutered depends on the breed in question. They should be at least six months old, but in the case of large and giant breeds it is recommended to wait until they are 12-18 months of age. Your vet can advise accordingly.

Microchipping involves injecting a small microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, under the skin at the back of your pet’s neck. This microchip has a unique number which your vet will register, along with all your details, with a microchip database.

How is it useful?

Should your pet ever go missing, the finder can bring them to a vet, or animal shelter, where the microchip can be read with a special scanner.  All your contact are then details retrieved from the database (only registered individuals can access this information, so your personal details are totally secure!)

Microchipping makes it possible to quickly and reliably return animals to their rightful owners. Also, it is law in Ireland that all dogs must be microchipped. No puppies or dogs can legally be sold without first being microchipped. 

House training takes time and patience, try not to get frustrated as this can often make things worse. Puppies will generally toilet shortly after their meals, so once your puppy has finished eating a meal you should bring them straight outside (or to whatever area you want them to use) until they go.

Each time your puppy toilets in the right place give it lots of praise! The times your puppy goes in the wrong place shouldn’t be punished, just quickly cleaned up and ideally deodorised with a pet safe cleaner so that they aren’t drawn back to this spot again. If your puppy is having accidents at night-time crate training may help. Also, you should also limit their access to water during the night.

If your pet has vomited but is otherwise in good form, and eating well, then it is unlikely to be serious. Perhaps they just ate something they shouldn’t have? If they are vomiting and lethargic or not eating, you could monitor them for 24 hours to see if they improve, and if not arrange a visit to your vet – The Golden Rule – If in doubt, call your vet! We don’t recommend that you change your dog’s food whilst they are unwell as this could make the problem worse. So if you are aware that your pet has recently eaten something they shouldn’t have, such as human medications, items or clothing, or bits of their toys, call your vet immediately for advice.

Treats can be a great incentive during training, and can help build a bond between pet and owner. Unfortunately many treats on the market are high in calories (similar to our own ‘treats’!). So whilst there is no issue giving treats to your pet, it’s important to limit the amount, and remember that if you give your pet a treat you should in turn reduce the amount you feed them in their normal meal to avoid excess weight gain. Also make sure the treats you are choosing are suitable for the type and size of pet you are giving them to.

Firstly, it’s great that you have acknowledged this problem and want to work to fix it! If your pet is only slightly overweight you could try to cut out treats (no more human foods!!), and increase their activity levels. If your pet is very overweight/obese, we would recommend that you attend our weight clinic at the practice.  Here we can weigh and body condition score your pet, and work out what their ideal weight should be. We would then work with you to create a realistic and achievable weight loss goal, and ensure your pet loses their excess weight in a safe and manageable way.

You must have a dog licence to own a dog(s) in Ireland. These can be purchased from your post office. Click here for more information. 

You shouldn’t wash your dog too often, as it can strip their coat of its natural oils. Try not to wash your dog more than once a month, the vast majority of dogs can be washed far less frequently than this. You should choose pet shampoos which have been specially formulated for their skin and coats.

If your dog is walking on hard ground, such as pavements or tarmac, they should naturally wear their nails down and therefore don’t require nail clips. If you are cutting your dog’s nails it’s important not to cut them too short, cutting the quick, which will bleed and cause your pet pain. So if you’re unsure, ask your vet or groomer to demonstrate how to clip your dog’s nails. If you aren’t comfortable doing it, that’s alright – your groomer or vet will be happy to help.

Some breeds, such as Bichons and Poodles, require regular grooming, year round. Other breeds, such a Huskies or Samoyeds, should not have their coats shaved. Your groomer is the best person to advise you about coat care for your dog.

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