Puppy & Kitten Care
The veterinary team at Old Derby Animal Hospital wants to make sure that your puppies and kittens get the absolute best start in life. A healthy puppy or kitten has the greatest chance of thriving in your home and growing up to be a well-loved member of your family. To ensure this, we make sure to meet the physical and behavioral needs of your youngest pets. Even the healthiest puppy or kitten needs to be seen by our veterinary team within a few days of entering your home. This way we can assess the little one’s health, answer any questions, and forge a special bond between your young pet and the staff of the animal hospital.
The Right Start Requires the Right Care!
We recommend the following first steps for your young pets:
- Puppies need:
- First physical examination at approximately 8 weeks of age to make sure that they are growing properly and that no congenital problems exist. This hands-on physical is quite extensive and includes examining the eyes, ears, mouth and teeth for proper development, as well as checking the heart for murmurs, and making sure that the pet’s organs and musculoskeletal system are growing correctly. This examination is repeated at 12, 16, and 20 weeks of age.
- First vaccination at 8 weeks of age, then every 4 weeks until at least 16 weeks of age. For most pets, the vaccinations will be a combination injection of several protective vaccines. Some will be injected under the skin; others may be given as nose drops. Different vaccinations will be given at different ages.
- First rabies vaccination at 12 weeks of age or older. All dogs require a vaccination to protect against rabies. This vaccine is boostered one year later.
- Firsts for Puppies — In addition to vaccines, puppies need fecal testing for intestinal parasites and to receive regular treatment as recommended. Most treatments are given by mouth, right in the office. Also, all puppies will be started on heartworm preventive, as well as flea and tick control, on one their first visits.
- Kittens need:
- First physical examination at approximately 8 weeks of age to make sure that they are growing properly and that no congenital problems exist. This hands-on physical is quite extensive and similar to the physical examination performed on young puppies. This physical exam is repeated at 12 and 16 weeks of age.
- First vaccination at 8 weeks of age, then every 4 weeks until at least 16 weeks of age. For most kittens, the vaccinations will be a combination injection of several protective vaccines.
- First rabies vaccination at 16 weeks of age. All cats, including indoor cats, require a vaccination to protect against rabies. This vaccine is boostered one year later.
- Firsts for Kittens — In addition to vaccines, kittens need testing for intestinal parasites and to receive regular treatment as recommended. A fecal test is performed at the first and second office visits. Testing for feline leukemia and FIV is also highly recommended and usually performed on the first visit to our office. Moreover, heartworm, flea, and tick prevention is started as early as possible.
In addition to these crucial first steps to a healthy life, kittens and puppies will require return trips to our office within their first year of life. Pets will be neutered (males) or spayed (females) at approximately six months of age. Additionally, your pets' weights will be monitored to make sure that he or she is not gaining too much weight and dogs will be watched for the development of hip problems. It is our goal to make sure that young pets are checked often enough to ward off major problems in the important first year of life.
During each visit, we look forward to discussing nutrition and behavior and to making recommendations regarding diet, early training, socialization, and house-training. The veterinary care team is eager to provide practical tips and suggestions for all issues. We welcome questions and look forward to meeting the newest additions to your family.