Pet Care Information

Keeping you up to date

At Maltman Cosham Veterinary Clinic we feel “prevention is better than cure” so have written and provided a large number of pet care leaflets that will keep you up to date with the latest on how to keep your pet in good health. They are available at our reception including puppy, kitten and rabbit packs.
If you would like any sent or emailed to you please contact our reception who will be happy to do this for you.

If you have any pet health care issues you would like to discuss with us you can go to our contact us page and our vets and nurses will be happy to discuss any concerns you have. 
We also have a large selection of pet care leaflets on specific diseases we will give you these if your pet is diagnosed with any of these conditions.


It is now a legal requirement throughout the United Kingdom for all dog owners to have their dog’s microchipped and recorded with a government compliant microchip database.

Dog breeders, meanwhile, must ensure that puppies are microchipped and recorded by the time they are eight weeks old and before they are sold. When a dog is transferred, the new owner’s details must be added to the database. Owner details must be kept updated. Failure to keep these details updated means that, in the eyes of the law, the dog is no longer considered microchipped and a fine can apply. Despite these microchipping laws, it is still mandatory for your dog to wear an ID tag.

There is no law requiring cats or other animals to have a microchip inserted although we strongly recommend it.

A microchip is a small electronic device about the size of a grain of rice. It is coded with an individual number which can be read with a microchip scanner. The scanner emits low frequency radio waves which lead to the temporary activation of the chip allowing it to be read.

The implantation of the microchip is with a sterile needle and it is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades, this should cause no more discomfort than a routine vaccination. Once the microchip has been inserted under the skin the surrounding tissue encapsulates the microchip and should prevent it from moving, occasionally the microchip can move to be slightly off centre but this is of no concern and the microchip will still be easily read. We can check your pet’s microchip position when we examine them at their annual vaccine or before your trip abroad if travelling with a pet’s passport. The microchip is coated with the same material as human pacemakers and this means that the body should not react to it as foreign material.

There are a huge number of organisations in the UK with scanners, including all veterinary practices, local authorities and animal welfare charities. All animals presented without an owner, for example as strays or following an accident, will be scanned. When they are microchipped they can be reunited with their owners easily and quickly.

Once your animal is microchipped you will be asked to fill in all your contact details on the submission form which will be stored on a confidential national database. It is important you remember to keep these details up to date with changes of address and mobile phone numbers. Your details will only be given out to recognised organisations with scanners that have your animal’s details.

There is no system at present that can safeguard your pets from being stolen, but having a microchip does allow you peace of mind that your pet may still be reunited with you if at some point it is presented to a vet or organisation that scan it for a microchip.

It is important that if your pet does go missing that your inform the microchip company who will make a note of this on their records and are then aware the animal is missing.

If you are considering starting a pet passport to allow your pet to travel abroad then a microchip is a statutory requirement to permanently identify your dog or cat.

Since April 2016 it is now law that all dogs must be microchipped and we strongly recommend that all cats are microchipped too.

Insurance advice

On principle, we are not a practice that introduces you to one insurance company or another as we do not believe it is right for us to promote insurance on a basis where we may receive commission or incentives. Practices can become qualified to provide financial advice on insurance across the board, but again we do not believe that is what you want us to be here for.

What we do want to do, is make you consider whether or not you wish to insure your pet(s) long before they are ill and needing treatment. Animals can receive a near-human standard of care these days and owners opinions will differ in how far along these lines they want to go. What there is no getting away from is that the fees associated with high quality care are significant and therefore you may want to insure your pet so that you do not have the worry of finding the money at a time when you may be emotionally drained as well.

So how do you choose between one policy and another?

The following points are important:

  • Level of veterinary fees covered – this will usually be offered as a sum for each separate condition (£4,000-£6,000 is probably the level to opt for if you want to cover the worst possible situations – it is fair to say most bills will come nowhere near this though).
  • Cost is obviously a factor and it is fair to say that pet insurance is definitely one area where you get what you pay for. You can pay as little as £10-12 per month for dogs, but as much as £50 per month. Look for a compromise between keeping the premiums middle of the road and still having good cover.
  • Other policies may work by offering an annual limit for fees for all conditions, which is reset at each renewal date. During the year, all conditions may be treated provided the total claims remain within the annual limit, which again we would advise is set at £4,000-£6,000. By definition, these policies should offer lifetime cover for each condition, but do check this.
  • Budget policies are more appropriate for rabbits where expensive ongoing care is less common. Equally some cat owners who want to cover their cat for injuries sustained in a road accident may decide to use an annual budget policy to keep premiums down and this is appropriate for trauma, but be aware that a condition lasting forever like diabetes would only be covered for a year.
  • Many of the budget policies will not offer cover for life and we feel this is a big problem – the condition will be excluded after a year so that all remaining costs are yours to pay irrespective of whether you have claimed or not – for example, if your pet had an ear infection two years previously and now needs more expensive ear surgery for the same problem recurring then the insurers offering such a policy will look back in the history and note the initial problem, irrespective of whether you claimed for it or not, so that the exclusion is put on from the date one year after the initial illness and the problem is no longer covered now you need it to be 2 years later (which is particularly infuriating if you never claimed for the initial costs because they were too low).
  • “Lifetime cover” or “cover for life” is the single most important phrase you are looking for – you want whatever condition has been diagnosed to be covered until the fee limit is used up rather than find that condition becomes excluded after 1 year as is the case with some policies. For example, your dog may have a condition which is going to cost £500 per year for 8 years in which case a policy which pays over the lifetime of the pet will cover the £4,000 required provided the fee limit chosen is high enough, whilst a policy where the condition becomes excluded after a year will pay the first £500 and leave the remaining £3,500 to you (no matter what the fee limit is with the latter type of policy, the payments will only continue for 1 year).
  • What is the excess? This is the proportion of the claim which you have to pay regardless and is usually £50-100 per condition. If you claim for two conditions at the same time, you will be left with two excesses to pay. Ongoing claims should not incur excesses. Beware some policies where the excess includes a proportion of each claim (for example, £50 plus 20% of each claim – which would be very significant if you were claiming several thousand) – this is one way to keep premiums down but it can back fire.

Further insurance questions

What is not covered?

We are not aware of any policy that will cover preventative treatments or procedures, including vaccinations, wormers, flea products, spaying and castrating. More and more will not cover dental work. Any condition which predated the insurance policy will not usually be covered and this is a consideration if you change insurers when there are pre-existing conditions even if they have not been claimed for.

How to claim?

We need to have a claim form from your insurance company – put your name, address, signature and policy number on it and leave it for us to do the rest. Generally we ask clients to pay their fees & then claim from their insurers. Equally, we understand that where the bill is large you may find full settlement difficult and we will consider such cases on an individual basis. Please discuss fees with your Veterinary Surgeon in the first instance. Where a balance is outstanding, we will insist that the practice is paid directly.

If your insurers refuse the claim, then your complaint needs to be directed to the insurer rather than the practice as your insurance contract is with them. We will be prepared to make representation on your behalf to explain any misunderstandings, but we cannot be responsible for their decisions.

Sources of further information:

Further information on policy costs can be explored on the websites of the individual insurers or any of the price comparison websites.