How We Vet Our Dogs And Puppies

The following is a guide only for a dog or puppy who comes newly into our care and for whom we have no prior history. Our Vetting is complete. We want to ensure that the dog is healthy not just for the first few years…but for life.  On average it costs us 225 euros to bring an adult dog to full health including the cost of sterilization.


  •  All adult dogs (6 months+) are sterilized
  • All are completely treated for all types of parasites (worms, flees, ticks, skin parasites)
  • All are microchipped and registered
  • All are vaccinated (please note, care must be taken that vaccines are not given at the same time as antibiotics)


1. Leishmaniosis

  • All Dogs over 6 months are tested for leishmaniosis. Younger dogs do not give a result of any accuracy due to the antibodies carried by a puppy from the mother.
  • A negative is not a definite negative it means only that there are no signs of leishmaniosis in the blood at that time. A dog should also be thoroughly examined for symptoms of leishmaniosis.

 2. Heartworm

  • All Dogs over 6 months are tested for heartworm by blood smear. We are looking for microfilaria (baby heartworm in the blood).
  • If microfilaria are found we will then perform the heartworm test for dirofilaria.
  • If microfilaria positive but dirofilaria negative it is NOT life threatening it is relatively easy and inexpensive to treat – but treatment is VERY Necessary.
  • Puppies under 5 months are not tested for heartworm – it takes 6 months for heartworm to develop into dirofliaria. All puppies receive 6 months heartworm prevention.

Important: All dogs and puppies (either from or having visited Portugal) and even if they leave Portugal for a colder climate country – should receive 6 consecutive months of heartworm prevention such as milbemax.

3. Tick Fever

  • All dogs and puppies are tested for tick fever by blood smear.  We are looking for abnormalities in the blood cell count, shape, size. If abnormalities are found we assume “suspicion” of tick fever.
  •  There are many types of tick fever – and they keep finding more, some of the more common are: Babesiose, Rickettsia, Hepatazoom, Ehrlichiose, Anaplasma, Lyme, Borellia.
  • To perform a lab test for tick fever you must test for each individual type. Even this is not complete as there are other more uncommon forms which it is impossible to test for in a lab.

Note: Other than general blood analysis and cell count, there is no other way to test for all types of tick fever.

Note: Many times a dog will be tested for the “most common” types of tickfever in Portugal such as ehrlichea or anaplasma. It is our experience that at least half of the dogs we work with carry one of the other and less common types of tick fever.

  • Treatment for tick fever is relatively easy, although it can take up to several months to see the benefit of the treatment in the health of the dog or puppy. It includes two to four imizol injections (each spaced 10 to 15 days apart) and 28 days of the antibiotic doxiciclane.

Important: If your dog is sick, lethargic, stiff, has problems with gaining weight, poor coat quality, tiredness…never rule-out tick fever! It can be very easy to miss and it may take years for symptoms to develop.

We always advise consulting a veterinarian.