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Puppy & Kitten Wellness D_and_sunshine.JPG

In most cases, you will be visiting us several times during your pet's first few months so we would like you to feel comfortable asking questions - remember, that's why we're here! There is a lot for us to talk about during your puppy/kitten visit. Be sure to ask us about our wellness plans as well.  These plans are designed to allow you to provide the important preventive health care recommended for your pet with affordable monthly payments.  This summary is designed to give an overview of the following topics:

   Vaccination Schedule

We recommend beginning your pet's vaccination program between 6 and 8 weeks of age, with boosters every 3 to 4 weeks until he or she is 16 weeks of age. After this initial series, boosters are recommended yearly.  In most cases, we vaccinate for the following diseases:

Puppies:

  • Canine Distemper Virus
  • Canine Hepatitis Virus
  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Canine Parainfluenza Virus
  • Rabies
  • In some cases, we may also recommend vaccination against Bordatella.

Kittens:

  • Herpes Virus
  • Panleukopenia Virus
  • Calicivirus
  • Feline Leukemia 
  • Rabies
  • In some cases, we may also recommend vaccination against Bordatella.
  • In addition, we recommend testing all kittens for Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. (more on that later).

Intestinal Parasites

Examples of intestinal parasites include hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, giardia and coccidia.  Puppies and kittens can pick up intestinal parasites from their environment. They can also get roundworms and hookworms from their mother before birth. Humans can potentially develop serious problems if exposed to roundworm or hookworms.  Therefore, we recommend that all puppies and kittens have a fecal exam performed to check for these parasites and have a deworming for hookworms and roundworms done several times between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening condition commonly seen in dogs and some cats.  The parasite is transmitted through mosquito bites.  Heartworms travel to the major blood vessels of the heart and lungs where they can grow up to a foot long and live for 5-7 years, all the while causing damage to the heart and lungs.  Animals may not show any signs of heartworm disease until the condition is advanced.  All dogs and cats are at risk for heartworm disease, no matter where they live.  Once a dog is infected with heartworms, treatment can be difficult and expensive.   Heartworm disease is potentially fatal and highly preventable.  Therefore, we recommend that puppies (and kittens) start heartworm prevention as early as 6 weeks of age and continue it throughout their lives.  The product we most recommend for heartworm prevention is Heartgard.  Heartgard also helps prevent roundworm and hookworm infection.  Testing for heartworm disease is recommended for puppies at 7 months of age then yearly thereafter, even if they are on prevention. 

External Parasites

The most common external parasites we encounter are fleas and ticks.  Fleas and ticks can be a problem year round.  Fleas can cause skin problems, anemia, tapeworm infection, flea allergies and other diseases.  Ticks can spread serious, potentially life-threatening diseases, such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and others, to the pets and people on which they feed.  Some dogs may have a reaction to tick saliva and develop tick paralysis.  There are many different types of flea and tick preventives on the market, but we generally recommend veterinary products, as they have been proven safe and effective.  If your pet has a flea or tick problem, we recommend that you bring them in and consult with our staff on the best treatment and prevention protocol.   

FeLV / FIV Testing

Both Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus are similar to HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus which causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in people. Neither FeLV nor FIV can infect humans and HIV cannot infect cats. Both viruses can be transmitted from mother cats to kittens. While neither disease is curable, both may be manageable with early detection. We recommend that all cats be tested when first adopted, then retested 6 months later to ensure they are truly negative.  Cats that spend time outdoors should be tested at least yearly.  Cats that have been bitten by a stray or feral cat should be tested 3 months after the bite. 

Spaying / Neutering

It is very important to bring your pet in for one of these routine surgical procedures to help lengthen and improve the overall quality of your pet's life.

For females, spaying eliminates or greatly minimizes problems with:

  • unwanted pregnancy, which helps prevent pet overpopulation
  • attraction of male dogs during "heat" cycles
  • potentially life-threatening uterine infections
  • breast cancer

For males, neutering eliminates or greatly minimizes problems with:

  • aggression and dominance
  • roaming, which helps prevent pet overpopulation
  • territorial marking with urine
  • mounting behavior
  • prostate cancer and infections
  • testicular cancer
  • perianal adenocarcinoma (an extremely malignant cancer of the rectum and/or anus)

When should an animal be spayed or neutered?

Pets, especially female dogs, should be spayed or neutered between 4 & 6 months of age.  Ideally, all animals should be spayed/neutered before puberty (6 months of age) to maximize the health and behavioral benefits.  Older animals should be spayed/neutered as soon as possible to reduce the risk of health problems and unwanted pregnancy.  Breeding animals should be spayed/neutered when their last litter is weaned.  Appropriate vaccinations and preoperative blood work should be performed prior to surgery.

Myths About Spaying and Neutering

My dog will be less protective.

It is instictive for dogs to protect the home and family.  Their personality is formed more by genetics and environment then sex hormones.  However, inappropriate aggression, especially toward other animals, may be reduced by spaying/neutering.

It is better for a female to have a litter first.

It has been proven that spaying prior to puberty (the first heat cycle) reduces the risk of breast cancer by up to 99.8%.  The cost associated with having a litter may be high, especially if there are any complications or a C-section is performed.  Litter sizes may be large and finding homes for all of the puppies or kittens may be difficult.

My dog or cat will get fat.

The hormonal changes associated with spaying or neutering do reduce the animal's metabolic rate by about 30%.  The solution is to feed them 30% less food than they ate prior to surgery and provide plenty of exercise.  Even intact animals may become obese if they are fed too much and do not get enough exercise.

My male pet will feel less manly.

Pets don't have any concept of sexual identity or ego.  Neutering will not change a pet's basic personality.  He doesn't suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.  However, neutering may reduce undesirable behaviors, such as urine marking or mounting.

My pet is so special, I want a puppy or kitten just like him or her.

Your pet's puppies or kittens are unlikely to be carbon copies of your pet.  Even professional breeders cannot make this guarantee.  There are shelter pets waiting for homes who are just as cute, smart, sweet and loving as your own.

My animal should not be fixed because it is purebred.

An estimated 1 out of 4 shelter animals are purebred.  There may not be a demand for certain breeds in your area.  Only animals who are a good representation of their breed (see AKC guidelines) and have no history of hereditary medical problems should be bred.  If you are not going to breed your pet, then it should be spayed/neutered.

 

Adult Wellness

Vaccination Schedule

Adult cats and dogs who have not been vaccinated before or have an uncertain vaccination history should come in for vaccinations two times 3 weeks apart for their inital series.  We recommend that animals who have had their initial series receive their booster vaccines yearly unless a 3 year vaccine has been given. 

Intestinal Parasites

While intestinal parasites are less common in adult animals than they are in puppies and kittens, yearly fecal exams and deworming treatments are recommended to help ensure the health of your pet and reduce the risk of human infection with hookworms or roundworms. 

Heartworm Disease

Dogs not consistenly on heartworm prevention should be tested for heartworm disease as soon as possible to determine their heartworm status.  All it takes is one missed dose of prevention for a dog to be susceptible to heartworm infection.  It is recommended that dogs on heartworm preventive be tested yearly in order to catch any breaks in prevention. 

External Parasites

We recommend that your dog or cat be on a flea and tick prevention product recommended by the veterinarian, especially if the pet spends time in areas where fleas or ticks are commonly found.  If your pet is currently infested with fleas or ticks, we recommend that you bring them in and consult with our staff on the best treatment and prevention protocol.   

FeLV / FIV Testing

These two serious infectious diseases of cats are commonly spread from mother to kittens, through social grooming, shared food/water bowls, or through cat bites.  Cats should be tested for Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus when first adopted, then retested 6 months later to ensure they are truly negative.  Cats that spend time outdoors should be tested at least yearly.  Cats that have been bitten by a stray or feral cat should be tested 3 months after the bite.  While neither disease is curable, many animals are able to live much longer, happier lives with early detection and proper treatment. 

Spaying and Neutering

Spaying of females and neutering of males is recommended when pets are puppies and kittens.  However, if the pet has grown into adulthood without being spayed or neutered, this procedure should be done as soon as possible.  The older a cat or dog grows, the more important it is that he or she be spayed or neutered.  While health problems associated with not being spayed/neutered can occur at any age, the chances of having a disease that could have been prevented with this surgery increases as the pet ages.  Older cats and dogs are at a much higher risk for developing life-threatening cancers or infections of their reproductive tract.  Therefore, no matter the animal's age, spaying and neutering is recommended for the continued health and happiness of that pet. 

Senior Wellness

Just like people, your pet's health will change as he or she ages.  Because pets age faster than humans, major health changes can occur quickly.  The chart below illustrates how quickly pets age in comparison to people (use to determine the "true" age of your cat or dog in "human years").  Routine wellness exams and screening test are recommended for older animals to detect hidden disease early and ensure their lifelong well-being.  We recommend that pets 8 years of age or older have a physical exam and blood work done at least once a year (every 6 months is ideal).  10% of pets that appear healthy actually have hidden diseases thay may be detected on blood work. Detecting diseases early (before the animal appears ill) is the key for early intervention and a more favorable prognosis.     

Other routine wellness measures, such as vaccinations and heartworm prevention, should be continued throughout the animal's life unless otherwise indicated by the veterinarian. 

Age

(yrs)

Weight (pounds)

Feline

Canine

0-20

0-20

20-50

50-90

> 90

1

7

7

7

8

9

2

13

13

14

16

18

3

20

20

21

24

26

4

26

26

27

31

34

5

33

33

34

38

41

6

40

40

42

45

49

7

44

44

47

50

56

8

48

48

51

55

64

9

52

52

56

61

71

10

56

56

60

66

78

11

60

60

65

72

86

12

64

64

69

77

93

13

68

68

74

82

101

14

72

72

78

88

108

15

76

76

82

93

115

16

80

80

87

99

123

17

84

84

92

104

131

18

88

88

96

109

139

19

92

92

101

115

20

96

96

105

120

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