We have tried to answer some of the most common questions that we are asked. There is further information available throughout our website which may also answer any questions you may have.

Q: Do I need to make an appointment to have my pet vaccinated?

A: You are welcome to make an appointment or attend open surgery for vaccinations – whichever is more convenient for you and your pet. Please see our opening times for Penwortham, Longton and Wesham.

Q: What is the procedure for a Pet Passport?

A:The introduction of the Pets Travel Scheme has enabled pets such as dogs, cats (and ferrets) to travel freely across European Union countries without the need for quarantine, provided there is a valid Pet Passport. Generally, this entails the following:

  • Identification of the animal with a recognised microchip
  • Vaccination against Rabies - this can be done at the same time as implanting the microchip
  • A blood test is taken a minimum of 30 days after the vaccination to ensure that an effective antibody response has occurred.
  • Upon receipt of a satisfactory blood test result, the passport is issued by one of our vets
  • Six months must elapse after the date of a valid blood test before the animal is allowed to enter (or re-enter) the UK.

The Pets Passport scheme is overseen by DEFRA (Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs), and they operate a Pets Helpline on 0870 2411710. Please be aware that responsibility for ensuring the correct procedures are followed rests with the pet owner.

The various stages of the Pets Passport scheme are arranged by appointment at Penwortham.

Pets Passports can only be completed by Local Veterinary Inspectors – LVIs. Fortunately, all our vets have this status.

Q: My dog is dragging his bottom on the floor. Does he need worming?

A: Possibly, but a more likely answer is that his anal glands are full. All dogs (and cats) have anal glands, which are two small pouches or sacs situated at the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock position around the anal opening. The anal glands produce a strong-smelling secretion which is deposited whenever the pet defaecates. Sometimes, these glands can become overly full, and occasionally they can become infected. If your pet seems troubled by his anal glands, he will need to see one of our vets or nurses. In most cases, we can manually empty the glands.

Some pets are more prone to recurring anal gland trouble. It is thought that diet may contribute to this problem, and we do see more dogs fed on soft food than those fed a high-quality dry food. Please feel free to discuss the options available, including preventative care, with our vets or nurses.

Q: Is my dog too old to be castrated?

A: No, there is no age limit, and theoretically he can be castrated at any age after six months. There are behavioural and health benefits to the procedure. However, the operation is always carried out under general anaesthetic, and the anaesthesia of older patients needs extra consideration. Prostate conditions and testicular tumours are far more common in older dogs, and we therefore advise having your dog castrated before he is 5 – 6 years old.

The testes are responsible for the production of a hormone called testosterone. During a dog’s adolescence (usually 6-18 months) the levels of this hormone increase and sex-related characteristics become more evident. These include mounting, leg-lifting and increased aggression, which could be dominance aggression and territorial aggression. So, castrating a young male dog will generally make them calmer, easier to train and less dominant. It can also help with inappropriate scent-marking, and rectify any problems you may experience if an entire bitch is present. However, as some of these bevaviour problems can become an established part of the dog’s routine, it is certainly of more benefit to have him castrated at an earlier age rather than later in life. For more information, please see our separate section on Neutering.

Q: How often do I have to treat my dog or cat for fleas?

A: Fleas are present all year round, and as they can carry tapeworm we strongly advise to treat all year round. For more information, please see our page on Fleas, Ticks and Worms.

Q: I am interested in becoming a vet, what qualifications do I need?

A: To become a vet you will need to go to university and complete a degree in Veterinary Science. There are currently 7 universities in the UK that offer the course – Royal Veterinary College in London as well as Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Nottingham and Liverpool Universities. The entry requirements differ slightly for each university, but competition is always fierce for places at these universities so it is advisable to get as much practical experience as possible in a variety of veterinary surgeries, farms, catteries, kennels etc. To find out more information visit the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons website, or contact the universities directly to find out the entry requirement.

Q: I would like to undertake EMS placement with Ribble Vets - how do I do this?

A: Please see this page for more information.

Q: I am interested in becoming a veterinary nurse, what qualifications do I need?

A: There are several different ways of gaining the Veterinary Nursing qualification. To begin training as a veterinary nurse you need 5 GCSEs grade C or above including Maths, English and a Science. One way of training is to work in a veterinary practice for 2 years, going to college one day a week and completing a portfolio of competence. At the end of each year you will have exams to sit. The other ways of training are to go to university and complete a Foundation Degree or a Degree in Veterinary Nursing. These two options take longer either 3 or 4 years respectively. You still have to gain practical experience in practices and complete your portfolios.

It is also a good idea to gain some practical experience in a relevant area, such as a pet shop, kennels or veterinary surgery. More information on becoming a veterinary nurse is available from the British Veterinary Nursing Association or the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.