Preventive Care: Puppies & Kittens
Bringing a new puppy or kitten into your household is a very exciting time. With your new family member comes a myriad of questions about his/her care. Your veterinarian is an excellent source of information to answer your questions about obedience training, nutrition and feeding, house breaking, grooming, handling, disease prevention, when to spay or neuter and many other concerns you may have about your new pet. Routine veterinary visits for your puppy or kitten generally begin at 8-10 weeks of age. Progress exams continue every 3-4 weeks thereafter until 16 weeks of age. During these visits your pet will receive a thorough exam and your veterinarian will help determine what vaccinations are needed based on your pet’s individual risk factors.
Puppies and kittens will receive a vaccination series often termed, the “distemper” booster. The “distemper” booster is actually a combination of vaccine particles that help to protect your pet from the distemper virus, canine hepatitis virus and parvovirus. The feline version of the “distemper” vaccine provides protection against the feline rhinotracheitis virus, calicivirus and panleukopenia virus. These diseases are very common among dogs and cats and can often cause serious disease or death in unvaccinated animals. The rabies vaccine is given according to state and local laws at 16 weeks of age. Depending on your pet’s lifestyle and risk factors it may be recommended that your pet receive other vaccinations. In dogs, vaccines such as the leptospirosis vaccine, lyme vaccine, bordetella/parainfluenza (a.k.a kennel cough) vaccine, and canine flu vaccines may be indicated. In the instance of a kitten, the feline leukemia vaccine may be recommended.
Puppies and kittens often have a host of intestinal parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. At each puppy or kitten visit your veterinarian may run a fecal flotation test to detect these parasites and dispense the appropriate deworming medications. Since many of these parasites can be passed to humans, your pet will receive a series of dewormings to eliminate their parasite load.
The easiest time to teach a pet anything is when they are young, so puppy and kitten visits are an excellent time to discuss brushing teeth, trimming nails, flea and tick prevention and any other health concerns you may have for your four legged friend. We are excited to be your pet’s healthcare provider and look forward to many wonderful years of good health!