During their first year, puppies and kittens are growing, developing social skills, and building their immune system. Puppies and kittens need an initial examination, followed by monthly checkups, vaccinations, deworming treatments, parasite screenings and a parasite preventative. We also recommend that all puppies and kittens are spayed or neutered by 6 months of age.
Even if your pet appears healthy, puppies and kittens need to get into the veterinarian for a frequent visits to ensure that they have a good start in life. The initial examination is vital to giving your veterinarian a reference for what is normal for your pet and identifying any developmental problems that your pet may have. Puppies and kittens are very small and do not have a lot of ability to withstand illness, so a minor illness could be fatal to a young dog or cat. In addition, pets are very good at hiding illness and often many things that pet parents may consider “normal” are actually early signs of illness in a pet.
Vaccinations are recommended to help protect your pet against diseases. Some vaccinations are required by the city and others are required by boarding and grooming facilities. There are also other vaccinations that are available and are given on an as needed basis to animals that are at an increased risk for those diseases. All puppies and kittens need a series of vaccinations to help build up their own natural immunity. Because maternal antibodies gradual decrease from the time a puppy or kitten is weaned, and this occurs at different rates for all animals, it is vital that all puppies and kittens receive a series of vaccinations starting at 6-8 weeks of age and continuing until the series is complete.
DA2PPC (series of 3 vaccines given every 3-4 weeks), Bordetella (given once) and Rabies (given at 16-20 weeks of age).
FVRCPC (series of 3 vaccines given every 3-4 weeks), FeLV (series of 2 vaccines given every 3-4 weeks) and Rabies (given at 16-20 weeks of age).
Parasite screenings are recommended for puppies and kittens to screen for both intestinal and blood born parasites. All puppies and kittens can get intestinal worms through the placenta or milk, so most puppies and kittens have intestinal parasites when they are weaned. Many of these parasites are zoonotic, meaning that they can be passed on to people. It is important for us to know if these parasites are present so we can properly protect your pet and your family.
Parasite prevention (including deworming) is important to prevent intestinal worms, heartworms, fleas and ticks. There are many different brands and types available but not all work the same. Over time, parasites develop populations that are resistant to the chemicals in preventatives. This means that some preventatives are not as effective as they once were. In addition, puppies and kittens can be killed by chemicals that adults can tolerate. We recommend preventatives that are safe and are currently providing the best protection.
Spaying (removal of the ovaries and uterus in the female) and neutering (removal of the testicles in the male) is recommended for all puppies and kittens between 4 and 6 months of age. Spaying and neutering not only helps keep the pet population controlled, it also helps to protect your pet from certain reproductive cancers, roaming behaviors and inappropriate marking.
Additional examinations should be performed if your pet shows signs of illness, changes in eating or drinking habits, changes in urination or bowel movements, new masses, swellings or growths, changes in masses that were previously present, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, licking or chewing, formations of sores or rashes, hair loss, discharge from the nose or eyes, changes in the appearance of the eyes. or any other abnormalities that you notice.