INTRODUCING… Our NEW Pet E-mail Update Service!! 


At St-Clair we pride ourselves in the gold standard of veterinary treatment and nursing care which we provide to our patients, and to ease your worry when your pet spends the day with us, we can now send an e-mail update from your pet with a photograph of them during their stay. We hope this can allow our clients to relax while we care for their furry family members. If you would like a message from your pet during their stay with us, please leave your email address during your pets admission.

Responsible Dog Breeding



Many people see dog breeding as a quick way to make some extra cash, or simply because they would love a puppy from their adorable bitch. However, it is often under estimated the time, money and effort that is needed for well produced, healthy puppies.

Firstly, when breeding your bitch you should look at the bitch herself. Does she have the best temperament to be potentially passing to her offspring? Is she fully vaccinated? Is she the correct age for breeding? Has she passed all relevant breed specific health tests? After all, we don’t want to produce a litter of potentially unhealthy puppies because Mum has passed on her faulty genes. Most importantly, do you have the time and money to care for Mum and a potentially large litter of puppies?

When assessing temperament, we should be breeding a happy bitch without any aggressive tendencies, whether this is aggression shown to people or to other dogs. The bitch should be of a nice nature, pleasantly trained and be happy to please her owner. If she get’s a big thumb up, great! Now we need to think about her maternal antibodies which she will pass to her litter. Is your bitch up to date with her annual vaccinations? You should not breed a bitch that has not had sufficient immunisations to infectious diseases. Mum passes her maternally derived antibodies to her litter during pregnancy, which last in the puppies immune systems until around 8 weeks old – which is why we then vaccinate the puppies at that age to produce new life long antibodies. If Mum has had no vaccinations, or her vaccinations have ‘ran out’ by the time she falls pregnant, her litter will not receive necessary antibodies and are therefore susceptible to nasty and infectious diseases.

If your bitch has passed the previous assessments, we now need to ensure she is the correct age for breeding. Overall we recommend that bitches are bred between 2-5 years of age, however The Kennel Club provide breed-specific requirements for individual breeds, some stating exact ages bitches should be bred. If you breed your bitch outside of the time frame provided by The Kennel Club, then you may not be able to Kennel Club register your litter of puppies.

Once you have made the decision to breed from your bitch, approaching the suitable breeding age you should then take responsibility for the health of your future puppies by ensuring Mum passes all relevant breed specific health tests. These tests differ for individual breeds as different breeds of dogs are susceptible to different genetically inherited health problems. All recommended breed specific health screening tests can be found on The Kennel Club website, and can be completed and sent away for analysis by your Veterinary Surgeon.

Breeding from your bitch is not a quick, easy and cheap process. You should have money put a side to pay for health screening and to provide relevant treatment to Mum & puppies when necessary, and to ensure that puppies receive gold standard care once they arrive. It is not uncommon for bitches to have birth complications, this means you are required to pay for medical treatment if complications at birth occur, and this can also mean paying the high costs of a caesarean section. We also have to take into consideration the chance of Mum rejecting her new arrivals, do you have the time and money to hand rear her litter every hour until they are weaned?

By this point, your bitch should be healthy, happy, passed all relevant health screens and be at a suitable breeding age. You should now find a similarly exceptional stud dog that has also passed relevant health screens. Once your bitch comes into season, you need to ensure she is mated on the correct days of her cycle for a successful mating. You should educate yourself on this before your bitch comes into season so you can be fully prepared for the mating process. Ovulation kits are available to track your bitch’s cycle, or you can monitor Mum’s discharge and behaviour to decide when is the correct time to mate. There are some fantastic books to help educate you on the tricky mating process – my personal favourite is ‘The Book of The Bitch’ by J.M. Evans & Kay White, which covers all aspects of breeding.

After what we hope is a successful mating, you have a few weeks wait until your Veterinary Surgeon can confirm pregnancy by ultrasound scan – we aim to scan potential pregnant bitches between 5-6 weeks of pregnancy. Once pregnancy is confirmed, you should then change your expecting Mum to a good quality puppy food, which should be offered until the litter has been weaned onto their own food at around 5 weeks of age. We should also ensure that Mum is regularly treated for internal and external parasites, including a prescription strength flea treatment which is licensed for pregnant and lactating bitches, and also given regular worming treatments. We recommend Panacur oral paste for worming Mum and puppies, which should be given from day 40 of pregnancy to day 2 post-whelping (approximately 25 days). Puppies should also be routinely wormed with Panacur oral paste at 2, 5 & 8 weeks of age.

You should educate yourself on how to plan for your fury new arrivals prior to birth, including how to prepare Mum’s nest and also how to recognise any early signs of complications. It is important to have a vet on hand to contact if required, and have transport encase an emergency veterinary visit is required. Be prepared that high cost veterinary treatment may be required if your bitch faces complications out of hours.

It is recommended that Mum whelps no more than 4 litters in her lifetime, any more than this will be declined for registration by The Kennel Club – nor should Mum undergo more than one pregnancy per 12 month period. Your bitch must not undergo more than two caesarean sections in her lifetime, whether these are booked as elective caesareans for breeds with known birthing difficulties, or emergency caesareans. A caesarean section is classed as ‘A procedure which alters the natural conformation of a dog’ and again, The Kennel Club will not register a litter of puppies from a Mum who has undergone more than two caesarean sections. As a veterinary practice, we also have a professional obligation to report such procedures to The Kennel Club.

At St Clair we take pride in promoting responsible dog breeding, and our fully qualified staff are on hand to help you along the way. If you have any more queries that I haven’t already covered, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01670 457271.


Amy Fletcher RVN

Keeping Pet’s COOL!


We hope everyone is enjoying this glorious sunshine! but please remember that our pets may not appreciate the summer months like we do, here are some top tips to keep your fury friends cool!☀️


  • NEVER leave your dog in a car, even for a few minutes. An open window or a windshield screen isn’t enough to keep the car cool. According to the RSPCA, if it’s 22C outside, within an hour it can be 47C inside a car. Dogs die this way every year – don’t let yours be one of them.
  • Don’t even leave your dog in a glass conservatory or a caravan. The same rules apply as for cars.
  • Do provide your dog with plenty of water, both in the house and on walks. If you are leaving your dog at home alone, make sure its bowl can’t be knocked over.
  • Do keep one room in your house cool and well-ventilated by drawing curtains and opening windows if there is a breeze, so your dog can lie down there if it is getting hot.
  • Don’t leave your dog outside all day. If it is unavoidable, ensure it has shade and water and check on it regularly.
  • Do keep an eye on your dog if it is outside. Animals will try to drink anything if they are thirsty. For example, they like the sweet taste of anti-freeze.
  • Don’t take your dog for a long walk in the heat of the day. Go in the early morning or late evening, and make the walk shorter than usual.
  • Do apply pet sunscreen if your dog has a light-coloured nose or ears. Mammals burn just like humans, and can even develop skin cancer.
  • Do have long-coated dogs clipped, and groom all breeds regularly.
  • Don’t treat all dogs equally. Take extra care with fat or muscular dogs, those with short or flat noses, long-haired breeds, young puppies, old dogs, and those with a disease or who are on medication.
  • Don’t ignore the signs of heatstroke. The RSPCA has issued a checklist: heavy panting; profuse salivation; a rapid pulse; very red gums/tongue; lethargy; lack of coordination; reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing; vomiting; diarrhoea; loss of consciousness in extreme circumstances.
  • Do take immediate action if your dog is displaying any of these symptoms. Cool it down gradually and then take it straight to the vets – heatstroke can be fatal. To cool your dog, douse it in cool water (not cold) and let it drink small quantities of cool water, until its breathing has steadied.
  • Do be aware that up to a third of dogs may suffer from hayfever, which can lead to skin irritations that could become infected. Take your dog to the vet if it is scratching excessively.



Cats enjoy warm weather. They are also good at keeping themselves cool if necessary, with a little help from humans (so perhaps they are intelligent after all). Here’s how to help protect them from excessive heat:

  • Don’t let your cat go outside between 10am and 3pm.
  • Do apply a pet sunscreen, which can’t be licked off, to the nose and ears of pale-coloured cats when they do go outside.
  • Do keep the blinds closed and the curtains shut to keep the house cool for your cat. Keep the windows closed if it is hotter outside than in.
  • Do let your cat choose a cool place to lie down. They will naturally gravitate towards a slate floor or a fan in summer, just as they will curl up in a warm place in winter.
  • Do provide your cat with plenty of water, in various positions around the house. Cats often prefer their water to be placed away from their food.
  • Don’t worry if your cat is sleepy during the day. Cats need 16 hours of sleep a day and will sensibly nap even more on a hot day, rather than rushing around getting hotter.
  • Don’t worry if your cat seems to be grooming itself more than usual. This is a cooling mechanism similar to sweating: as the saliva evaporates off its fur, the cat will cool down.
  • Do pay attention to your cat’s feet. Cats, like dogs and mice, have their sweat glands on their paws. If your cat is leaving wet paw prints, it is sweating and will need to replenish its fluids. You can try cooling it down by dipping its paws in water, but this may not be appreciated …
  • Don’t worry if your cat starts panting. Cats pant more rarely than dogs, but will pant to take on cooler air if they are particularly hot. Heavy panting could be cause for concern, however (see heatstroke, above).

Small Furries


  • Don’t get lax with hygiene: hot weather results in more flies and maggots and can lead to flystrike, an often fatal condition that affects rabbits.
  • Do groom your pet and brush out loose hair. Consider having long-haired rabbits and guinea pigs trimmed for the summer.
  • Do keep hutches and runs in the shade all day. Move them as the sun moves round if necessary.
  • Don’t keep the hutch on the ground: improve ventilation by putting it on bricks or similar.
  • Do keep water topped up, and be extra-vigilant about evaporation.
  • Do give small animals pieces of water-rich fruit and vegetables, such as celery and apple, to keep them hydrated.
  • Do provide a ceramic tile or a frozen bottle of water for your pet to sit or lean on.
  • Do use a misting spray to cool off larger pets, such as rabbits. This can be used on dogs, too – remember to avoid the face.