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Puppies/Kittens

Just as the needs of infants are different than those of teen-agers, puppies and kittens need different care than their older counterparts. Because of their size, they are much more susceptible to dehydration, parasites and other ailments. These conditions, which in older animals can cause discomfort, in young animals can actually cause death.

Puppies

Puppy

When should my puppy have its first checkup?

New puppies should receive their first checkup 4-5 days after entering a new household. This gives them several days to adjust to their surroundings, and the new owner can observe them for problems. Of course, if any problems are noted, they should be checked immediately. Any vaccine history or medical records should be brought along so that our veterinarian can review them and begin a medical health program for your pet. Bring along a stool specimen to be checked for intestinal parasites.

What are vaccines and what do they do?

Vaccines are given to young puppies to stimulate their immune systems to form antibodies and protect against disease. A young puppy will receive some protection through the mother’s milk, but this is only temporary. A series of vaccines is necessary to ensure that your puppy’s immunity is sufficient to protect it against disease.

When should my puppy begin a health program?

Ideally, puppies should begin a health program while still with the mother at 2-4 weeks of age. They should be checked for intestinal parasites and dewormed if necessary. Vaccinations and physical exams should generally begin at eight weeks of age and should be repeated at 3-4 week intervals until about 16-18 weeks of age. Periodic checks for intestinal worms should be performed during this time.

What vaccinations will my puppy receive?

Your puppy’s vaccine program will be based on his age, previous vaccine history, and lifestyle. Vaccines which may be considered are as follows:

  • The main vaccine is known as “Distemper/Parvo” vaccine or DA2PP. This is actually a combination vaccine to protect against the following diseases:

    • Distemper: a viral disease that is often fatal in puppies. It is characterized by respiratory distress, coughing and seizures and is highly contagious.
    • Hepatitis (adenovirus): a viral disease spread through urine. It causes respiratory and liver problems.
    • Parainfluenza: a respiratory infection that is often involved with kennel cough.
    • Parvovirus: a severe intestinal viral disease characterized by vomiting and bloody diarrhea. It is often fatal and highly contagious.
  • Rabies: Your puppy will also receive a rabies vaccine at 3-4 months of age. Rabies is always fatal, is a public health concern, and NH law requires all domestic animals be vaccinated for Rabies.

Other vaccines which may be recommended for your pet include:

  • Bordetella: known as kennel cough or tracheobronchitis. It is highly contagious and often difficult to treat. It is recommended for all puppies and for adult dogs that are at higher risk such as those who visit boarding kennels, dog shows, obedience schools, daycare, grooming facilities, dog parks, and pet stores.

  • Lyme disease: a tick-borne disease more prevalent in the northeast states recommended for hunting dogs or dogs that spend time in the woods or other tick infested areas.

  • Leptospirosis: a bacterial infection that may cause permanent kidney damage. This vaccine is not given to every dog; it is only given to dogs that are at specific risk to the disease.

  • P3 or Dental vaccine: this vaccine protects against the three major bacteria that cause periodontal disease and tooth loss. We generally recommend beginning this vaccine at one year of age for breeds that have high risk for serious dental disease.

Why types of parasites are of concern?

There are many types of intestinal parasites. These include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms and coccidia. Many puppies will have some type of parasite and these can be easily treated once they are detected. Parasites can cause diarrhea, anemia, and poor growth or even death in puppies with a high burden. Some of the most common parasites in animals are contagious to people especially children and can be very harmful.

Heartworms are also of major concern. They are transmitted by mosquitoes. Undetected or untreated they can lead to heart failure, lung and liver problems and death. Generally, puppies are placed on monthly medication by 6-12 weeks of age to prevent heartworms. A blood test should be performed annually for early detection as occasionally infestation may still occur. This annual test is required in order to safely keep your pet on heartworm medication year round.

What can I do to ensure good health for my pet?

It is important to feed your puppy a high quality puppy food appropriate for his or her breed. Avoid table food as it causes intestinal problems and picky eating habits. Keep plenty of fresh water available at all times.

What about spaying or neutering my pet?

Altered pets live longer, happier lives. If you are not going to be breeding your pet (which is the case for most animals), we recommend spaying or neutering at six months of age. Your pet will generally have a better temperament and have fewer health problems if this is done at an early age. Also as a responsible pet owner, you will not be contributing to the over-population of unwanted pets that are euthanized and destroyed each year. Statistics have shown that animals treated as hit by car victims are often unaltered animals because they are more likely to roam away from home.

You have already taken the first step towards the good health of your puppy by visiting your veterinarian. Routine veterinary health care, annual vaccinations and physical exams, as well as diligent administration of heartworm preventative can all help ensure a healthy pet. It is far less expensive and much easier to prevent disease than it is to treat it.

Enjoy your new puppy and friend. They don’t ask for much, and give so much in return. If at any time you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us.

Kittens

Kitten

When should my kitten have its first check up?

New kittens should receive their first check up 4-5 days after entering a new household. This gives them several days to adjust to their new surroundings, and the new owner can observe them for problems. Of course, if problems are noted they should be checked immediately. Any vaccine history or medical records should be brought along so that the veterinarian can review them and begin a medical health program for your pet. Bring along a stool specimen to be checked for internal parasites.

What are vaccines and what do they do?

Vaccines are given to young kittens to stimulate their immune systems to form antibodies and protect against disease. A young kitten will receive some protection through the mother’s milk, but this is only temporary. A series of vaccines is necessary to ensure that your kitten’s immunity is sufficient to protect your pet against disease.

When should my kitten begin a health program?

Exams and vaccines should generally begin at eight weeks of age. They are repeated at three to four week intervals until at least 16 weeks of age. We strongly recommend checking your kitten for Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDS (not related to human HIV), prior to beginning a health program. If your kitten has one of these diseases, this may have an effect on your decisions concerning the health of your pet. Periodic checks for intestinal parasites should also be performed at this time.

We also recommend some cats be placed on heartworm preventative. Surprisingly enough, indoor cats are susceptible to this disease, which is not readily treatable in cats.

What vaccines will my kitten receive?

  • The main vaccine is known as Feline Distemper (FVRCP) vaccine. This vaccine protects against the following diseases:

    • Panleukopenia: characterized by fever, poor appetite, vomiting and diarrhea and may be fatal.
    • Rhinotracheitis: highly contagious respiratory disease and is characterized by sneezing, fever and inflamed eyes.
    • Calicivirus: highly contagious respiratory disease similar to rhinotracheitis.
    • Pneumonitis (Chlamydia): another respiratory infection that may cause pneumonia.
  • Rabies: Your kitten will also receive a rabies vaccine at 3-4 months of age. Rabies is always fatal and is a public health concern.

Other vaccines which may be recommended for your pet include:

  • Feline Leukemia: may exist in a non-symptomatic carrier state. It is generally fatal if active and is characterized by anemia, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. It is highly contagious. A blood test is required before vaccinating for this disease. This vaccine is recommended for kittens up to one year of age who may be at risk of exposure, and then annually depending on the risk of exposure if your cat goes outdoors.

  • *FIV (Feline AIDS): This vaccine is recommended only for cats that have high risk of exposure by being outdoors and getting into fights with other already infected cats.

What types of parasites are of concern?

There are many types of intestinal parasites. This includes roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and coccidia. Many kittens will have some type of parasite and these are treated routinely. Untreated intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea, anemia, poor growth and even death and the most common intestinal parasites found in cats are contagious to people, especially young children.

Canine Heartworms can also have a devastating effect on cats depending on where you live and your cat’s lifestyle. Your cat may need to be on heartworm prevention. Please discuss this with us when you are in the office for a visit.

What can I do to ensure good health for my pet?

It is important to feed your kitten a high quality kitten food. Avoid feeing table food as it can cause intestinal problems and picky eating habits. Keep plenty of fresh water available at all times.

What about spaying or neutering my pet?

Altered pets live longer, happier lives. If you are not going to breeding your cat (which is the case for most animals), we recommend spaying or neutering at six months of age. Your pet will generally have a better temperament and have fewer health problems if this is done at an early age. Also, as a responsible pet owner, you will not be contributing to the over-population of unwanted pets that are euthanized and destroyed each year.

You have already taken the first step towards the good health of your kitten by visiting your veterinarian. Routine veterinary care, annual vaccinations and physical exams can all help ensure a healthy pet. It is far less expensive and much easier to prevent disease than it is to treat it.

Enjoy your new kitten and friend. They don’t ask for much, and give so much in return. If at any time you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us.