The living Christmas present, part II
Vail, CO Colorado
n last week’s article we talked about letting your new puppy or kitten adjust to its new home, feeding, walking and establishing who is the boss in the family. Now we will talk about your first visit to your veterinarian.
You should make an appointment within two to three days of getting your new present. The first thing we will do is perform a fecal exam and look for parasites. Most puppies and kittens come with roundworms or hookworms courtesy of their mother. We’re also looking for other GI worms, coccidia and giardia.
It is important to de-worm for hooks and rounds even if none are found on the exam as fecal exams are an inexact science and worms are transmittable to people.
Next we will do a very thorough physical exam with an emphasis on congenital, or birth, defects. The most common ones seen in pups are in the heart and hernias in either the belly button area or in the groin. Yes, dogs and cats have belly buttons.
Un-descended testicles are also pretty common but they may make an appearance before too long; however, most should be down by two months of age. Other parts of the physical include checking eyes, ears, nose, throat, lymph nodes, skin, limbs, toes, hips, the chest and more. The exam is the most important part of your visit.
The doctor or staff will then review immunizations or vaccines. A series must be given every three to four weeks. They start at six to eight weeks of age and end at 12-14 weeks.
The reason a series is necessary is that dogs and cats receive immunity through their mother’s milk to these diseases. There is no way to tell when this immunity from their mom disappears but we know it is from six to 14 weeks of age. Thus, by giving a series we know we are covered.
Over the next few visits we will go over many things and we’ll try to send you home with some things to read as there is a lot to cover. We’ll show you how to trim nails, clean ears, bathe your pet and what shampoos are best for your breed of dog. We can give guidance on nutrition and training.
Lastly, courtesy of our major veterinary pharmaceutical companies, you’ll get a goody bag with free samples and some coupons. Don’t be skeptical like me ” these companies have been great to both veterinarians and pet owners and are a big reason pets are living so much longer than they used to.
Stephen Sheldon, DVM
Gypsum Animal Hospital
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