Give Your Puppy or Kitten the Right Start in Life
At Gray-New Gloucester Animal Hospital, each pet's first year of care is customized based on its specific needs to help your puppy or kitten get the right start in life. Just like human children, puppies and kittens require additional physical exams and vaccine boosters to ensure that they live a long and healthy life.
Below are our recommendations, in addition to ones noted above, for your puppy's or kitten's first year.
- Physical Exams: Your puppy's or kitten's lifetime of wellness starts with its first comprehensive physical exam. Puppies and kittens should have 3-4 exams between the ages of 8-16 weeks. These visits are important because they give our veterinarians an opportunity to assess your pet's overall health and to administer vaccines.
- Vaccinations: Due to their immature immune systems puppies and kittens must receive a series of properly staged vaccines. Since every puppy and kitten is unique, we tailor our vaccination recommendations based on their lifestyle and/or breed and according to the suggested guidelines. Puppies and kittens can start their vaccines at 8 weeks of age. They will require booster vaccines every 3 to 4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. After their initial vaccines, they will need boosters every year for certain diseases.
- Diagnostic Testing: We recommend that puppies are tested for Heartworm at 6 months of age if not done previously. Kittens should be tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDS at their first visit if not done previously; these viruses can be transmitted from the mother during pregnancy or from exposure to other infected cats. Intestinal Parasites are common in puppies both and kittens. We use a dewormer to treat for roundworm and hookworm, which are common parasites. We strongly recommend bringing in a stool sample for every pet to screen for other parasites, such as whipworms, tapeworm, coccidia and giardia.
- Additional Recommendations: Your veterinarian will also discuss and recommend other services, such as spaying, neutering or microchipping that can lead to a longer and healthier life for your dog or cat.