Services available at Blackberry Veterinary Clinic in Lingfield

  • Vaccinations
  • Neutering
  • Home Visits
  • Euthanasia


Vaccinations in dogs

It is very important that your dog receives his initial course of primary vaccinations and the first annual vaccination thereafter at the age of 12 to 15 months old.

Primary and annual vaccinations are for:

  • Canine Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Leptospirosis

Your dog will have a thorough health check each year and receive booster vaccinations according to current risks in your local area, lifestyle of your dog and current best practice knowledge.

We may also recommend vaccinations against Kennel Cough on entering kennels, dogs shows or if you use a dog walker or mix in areas with many dogs routinely.

Rabies vaccination is also given for dogs travelling abroad.

Vaccinations in cats

It is very important that your cat receives their first vaccinations at 9 and 12 weeks old and then annually after that.

Primary and annual vaccinations are for:

  • Feline Enteritis
  • Cat Flu
  • Feline Leukaemia

After the primary kitten course of vaccinations, your cat will have a thorough health check each year and receive booster vaccinations for the rest of their life.

Rabies vaccination is also given for cats traveling abroad.

Why bother?

This is Joseph. He was found at the side of the road thought to be dead and he was close to death with Cat Flu. Joseph did make a good recovery, however he still to this day suffers with his eyes, a result of the infection.


Neutering dogs

Castration (male dogs)
Castration of male dogs is most commonly advised to correct or reduce unwanted male behaviour like aggression, hypersexuality and roaming (constantly trying to escape from home to go looking for love and adventure). Castration may also be advised to prevent or treat some medical conditions, such as prostatic hyperplasia/tumours, perineal hernias, and testicular tumours. Castration is not neccesarily appropriate for all male dogs so we advise discussing this procedure with us during visits for primary vaccinations and subsequent puppy growth checks and socialization visits.

Surgery is relatively straightforward involving removal of the testicles through a small excision in the scrotum while under a general anaesthetic. Castration may be performed from 6 months of age, a little older in larger breed dogs.

Chemical castration using a hormone implant is also now available. This has been in use for some years in France and Germany and is now licensed to be used in the UK. It involves injecting an implant into the scruff of the dog, where it slowly releases a hormone fro 6 months or 12 months. It is useful for people considering neutering, but not wanting surgery, and used in elderly dogs with anal adenoma tumours which are benign but testosterone dependent.

Spaying (female dogs)
Spaying female dogs is done primarily for very significant health benifits. It is also important in terms of controlling unwanted oestral behaviour (coming into season) as well as prevention of unwanted litters. There are several medical reasons to neuter pet dogs that improve health and general behaviour. Traditionally in the UK, we carry out ovario(hyster)ectomy in young bitches from 6-8 months of age, and in some places there are early neutering programs from as early as 12-14 weeks old.

Advantages of spaying:

  • Prevention of unwanted litters or to prevent passing on of undersirable genetic traits
  • Prevention of unwanted oestral behavior (comming into season or “heat”)
  • Reduction in the incidence of mammary tumours
  • Prevention of pyometra and uterine neoplasia
  • More placid temperament
  • In some cases, gut sensitivity may improve

Disadvantages of spaying:

  • Weight gain
  • Reduced activity levels
  • Hair coat changes, especially red coated bitches
  • Urinary incontinance (though this may be seen in intact biches later in life as well)

There are many myths about when to spay a bitch, such as should she have a first season or not, should she have a litter of pups or not, will it change her personality, etc. We believe that all non-breeding bitches should be neutered and the best time to do this is anywhere from 5 months of age and before her second season. The most appropriate time to spay your bitch will be determined by her specific circumstances and we are always happy to discuss the best time for your particular bitch with you.

If a bitch has had a season, we advise surgery 8-10 weeks post season, as this is the optimal time to reduce complications from haemorrhage or milk hormone production.

Neutering cats

We strongly advise that all cats not intended for breeding, male and female, are neutered between 4 and 6 months old.

Both male and female cats can be neutered from the age of 4 months. Castrating a male cat will provent him from developing all the unwanted characteristics and behaviour of a tom cat. Tom cats urine has a very strong and unpleasant odour which is very difficult to get rid of. They will also wander much greater distances in search of love and adventure and may consequently get themselves into dangerous situatons, such as busy roads and cat fights. Many un-neutered male cats will be seen here in surgery with infected bite wounds. Neutering your male cat will also ensure he cannot father any unwanted kittens.

All the cats in your local area will have established territories as determined by themselves with little regard for our gardens and fences. This means that another cat very likely already considers your gardento be part of their territory. Once your new kitten ventures into your garden they have to stake their claim for ownership of this territory and this may lead to unavoidable arguments with another cat. By neutering your cat, they will likely only get in arguments to maintain their ownership of your garden. Un-neutered tom cats are likely to be much more ambitious and will attempt to acquire a much larger territory and are thus much more likely to get into many more fights than neutered cats. Un-neutered cats are also less likely to back down”during a fight and thus are more likely to sustain more frequent and more severe injuries.

Spaying a female cat will of course prevent her from having kittens. Some people would like their cat to have a litter before spaying. We don’t necessarily recommend this as it has no health benefits at all and only adds to the number of kittens that need good homes, so please think carefully.

Home Visits

At Blackberry Veterinary Clinic, we will always perform home visits if requested to do so. We endeavor to provide the home visit on the day that it is requested but ask you to be patient with us when arranging a time for the visit as they are time consuming for us and to arrange a visit may require that we re-arrange or reschedule other appointments already scheduled at the practice. Most home visits will be preformed by a vet and a nurse. The cost of performing home visits are significantly more than the cost of treatment at the practice, so please always request an estimate of cost when arranging a home visit.

When a home visit is requested we will always discuss the appropriateness of a home visit according to the level of care that we anticipate your pet may need. For example, home visits for a cat or dog in labour may not be in the best interests of mum and the babies because if an emergency caesarian is required, valuable time may have been lost in the process of travelling to your home and the transporting of the patient back to the practice for surgery. Similarly, trauma patients are best treated at the practice because the level of care and equipment we can offer.


How do I know it is time?

As pet owners, we endeavour to make sure that our faithful companions stay fit and healthy, enabling them to live to an old age. Unfortunately, our pets do not live as long as us and at some point, we will have to prepare to let them go. Sadly, few of our pets pass peacefully away in their sleep. Therefore, we all wish to do the right thing at the right time, fulfilling our responsibility and commitment in their final days. We hope these words will help you and your family in a time of conflicting emotions.

Nobody knows their pet better than you and your closest family and friends, so let them help and share in making a reasoned judgement on your pet’s quality of life.
Indications that things may not be well may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • A reluctance to play and move around as normal
  • Restlessness or becoming withdrawn from you

When the time is right to put your pet to sleep, you may see evidence of a combination of all the above indicators and your pet may seem distressed, uncomfortable or disorientated within your home.
Is there nothing more I can do?

As your vet, we will discuss all treatment options available for your pet to relieve their symptoms, but there will come a time when all forms of treatment have been exhausted, we have discovered the disease is incurable, or you feel your pet is suffering too much. You and your family may wish to talk with your Veterinary Surgeon to help you all come to this final decision; in this case, we will arrange an appointment for you.
When and where can we say goodbye?

We hope this section will help you and your family understand your pet’s end-of-life journey. This is known as ‘euthanasia’ but often referred to as ‘putting to sleep’. After discussing with your family and your vet, and having decided that the time has come, you can contact your surgery and make an appointment. We will always try to make this appointment at a time that is convenient for you – usually at a quieter time of the day.
It is also possible to arrange this appointment to be performed in the comfort of your own home. If this is an option you would like, we will do our best to arrange a home visit. In these cases, a vet and a nurse will visit your home. When they have put your pet to sleep, they will either take the body back to the surgery for cremation or leave them with you to bury at home. Additional charges will apply for this service and certain times of day may be restricted.
Will I be able to stay with my pet?

Being present when your pet is put to sleep will be both emotional and distressing, but the majority of owners feel that they give comfort to their pet during their last moments, and can make their final goodbyes. But this is not comfortable for everyone; we understand if you do not want to stay in the room with your pet but make your goodbyes afterwards. We will always make time for you and your family to do this.
What will happen?

Initially, your vet or another member of our team will ask you to sign a consent form to give us permission to put your pet to sleep. You may have already discussed with your vet what you then wish to do with your pet’s body, but we will confirm this on the consent form.

Many owners are surprised by how peaceful euthanasia can be. Euthanasia involves injecting an overdose of anaesthetic into the vein of your pet’s front leg. Some of our vets would have previously inserted a catheter into the vein or sedated your pet if they are particularly nervous or uncomfortable.
After the anaesthetic has been injected, your pet’s heart will stop beating and they will rapidly lose consciousness and stop breathing. Your vet will check that their heart has stopped beating and confirm that they have passed away. On occasion, the pet’s muscles and limbs may tremble and they may gasp a few times, these are reflex actions only – not signs of life – but may be upsetting. If they occur, they are unavoidable. Your pet’s eyes will remain open and it is normal for them to empty their bowel or bladder as the body shuts down.


What happens next?

There are several options available for your pet. Your Veterinary team can discuss these with you and give you an idea of costs involved.

  • Communal Cremation – Leave your pet with us to be cremated with other pets. With this type of cremation, no ashes will be returned to you. For the majority of our clients, this is the most appropriate form of closure.
  • Individual Cremation – A private cremation for your pet at our nominated crematorium company, Pet Cremation Services (PCS). Your pet’s ashes will then be returned to you in either a sealed casket of your choice or a scatter box, for you and your family to scatter their ashes in a location of your choice. Our team will have several options you can choose from.
  • ‘Taking them home’ – You can also take your pet home for burial, but please bear in mind this may not always be practical.
  • Some surgeries also have a local pet cemetery company that will arrange everything from collecting your pet from the vet, preparing a grave and performing the burial. Our practice team will be able to give you further information.

When will I need to decide?

We would encourage you and your family to discuss these options before your pet is put to sleep, and to let your vet know. We will keep a note of your wishes with pet’s notes. However, in some cases the euthanasia may have occurred after an accident and you will need more time to make this decision. It is possible for us to keep your pet for a short time afterwards, to give you and your family time to reflect before making a decision.
Coping with the loss

Everyone deals with grief in different ways. When grieving for a much-loved pet, you or other members of your family may experience a range of emotions from shock, denial, disbelief and, very often, guilt. Should you wish to talk to anyone at your Veterinary surgery, we can offer support and advice.

If, after reading these pages, there are still facts you would like to know, we will be more than happy to help. Please contact us at the surgery.

The following organisations can provide further help and support:

My Family Pet - Coping with the Death of Your Pet

My Family Pet - Helping Children Understand Pet Loss

The Blue Cross also offer a bereavement support line if you would like to talk to someone. The number is 0800 0966606.