New Puppy and Kitten Well-Care
by Ben J. Character, DVM
Is there the pitter-patter of FOUR little feet in your home? If so, congratulations on your new puppy or kitten! Each will have a variety of different needs to be addressed as they grow over the next year.
It is important to get your new puppy a checkup as soon as possible. There are many conditions that, when noticed early, can be prevented or corrected easily, and there are others that could necessitate a return to the breeder for a different pup. Puppies will need vaccinations to protect them from several different viruses and bacteria. Vaccinations are given as a series of four shots spaced 3 weeks apart.
Puppies usually need medication to kill intestinal parasites that are picked up from mom and the environment. Occasionally, they will need treatment for ear mites. This is also the best time to start giving preventive medication for heartworms. Eventually, medication for fleas and ticks should be considered.
Similarly, new kittens should receive a thorough examination. Because of the devastating nature of the disease Feline Leukemia, we recommend testing of young kittens for early diagnosis before intense emotional bonds have been made. Vaccinations for the young kitten are started and consist of an initial shot and one booster. If tested negative for leukemia, that vaccination can be included as well.
As with puppies, most kittens need medication for intestinal worms, and are more prone to having problems with ear mites. Heartworm medication can be started, and if appropriate, flea and tick control started as well.