A new puppy or kitten is an exciting addition to the family. New pets are generally so lively and full of energy that it’s hard to believe anything could ever slow them down. However, young pets are just starting to build their immunities so this is the age when they need the most protection to avoid a wide range of serious or even deadly conditions.
After you have taken a couple of days to get acquainted, we recommend you contact us to schedule your new family member’s first veterinary exam. Parasites are especially harmful to younger pets and can be present at birth. Some of these parasites, particularly roundworms and hookworms, can also be transmitted to people, so it is essential that your pet be tested as soon as possible. We ask that pet owners bring in a fresh stool sample (less than 8 hours old) to test for internal parasites.
What to Expect
Generally, baby pets will immediately be started on a parasite prevention program, such as Interceptor® or Credelio® for dogs and Revolution Plus® for cats. These prevent many common parasites, such as fleas, ticks, heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms, and the diseases they carry. Puppy and kitten vaccination protocols will also be started right away.
Puppies and kittens need a series of booster vaccines to stimulate their immune system and build protection against disease. Most pets require several rounds of vaccines three to four weeks apart. At each puppy and kitten series visit, we do a thorough exam to monitor your pet’s growth and identify any problems. Spaying and neutering are best done around 6 months of age. To ensure your pet’s safety, we perform blood work prior to the surgery to make sure his or her liver and kidneys are functioning properly.
The following are core vaccinations that all pets should receive:
- Canine or feline distemper combination
These vaccinations may be recommended based on your dog or cat’s risk factors:
- Feline leukemia (cats)
- Leptospirosis (dogs)
- Lyme (dogs)
- Bordetella (kennel cough) (dogs)
- Influenza (dogs)
For more information on vaccinating your puppy, see the Web MD article Core Dog Vaccinations.
For more information on vaccinating your kitten, read the Web MD article Core Vaccinations for Cats.
Pet Care Counseling
Most new pet owners have many questions about their role as novice pet parents. Our veterinarians are happy to answer any questions you may have, whether about housebreaking, obedience training, selecting pet toys, or advice about introducing a new family member (furry or otherwise). We welcome the chance to be of assistance. This is also an excellent time to discuss how to manage your puppy or kitten’s diet, including the proper use of treats, to maintain a body weight for optimum health.