When you get a puppy or kitten, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian within their first week home with you. Scheduling the first visit as soon as the adoption date is set up is a good idea. A preventative care regimen will need to be started to protect your pet from diseases and parasites, and they should be checked to see if any are already present.
Before the First Visit
You’ll want to know if your new pet was given vaccines or dewormer by their last caregiver before your first visit to the veterinarian so that they don’t repeat services unnecessarily. If you can get a hold of any medical records, take them with you to the appointment.
You’ll also want to bring in a small, fresh stool sample to be tested for worms. Plastic containers work well to seal it up. Double bagging it is another option.
During the First Visit
Like any appointment with a new doctor, your pet’s first vet visit will begin with paperwork. The paperwork will ask for your contact information and personal information about your pet. Some questions regarding your pet may include:
- Where did you get your pet?
- What type of food are they eating?
- What type of toys do they play with?
- How are they getting along with family members and other pets?
Your veterinarian will check various areas of your pet for abnormalities, which may include the eyes, ears, teeth, skin, abdomen, heart, lungs, and joints.
The vet might also check for conditions specific to your pet’s breed. Be sure to ask about other common health issues for their breed, because the symptoms of many hereditary conditions won’t be present until your pet is an adult. Awareness is important for early detection of diseases.
During the examination is a great time to ask if you’re looking for any specific tips or recommendations about care, training, and feeding.
Your pet will undergo their first round of vaccinations and preventative medications for fleas, ticks, and heartworm during the visit. Pets are due for these every 3-4 weeks until they’re between 4 and 6 months old.
There are core vaccines and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are recommended for all dogs and cats. They protect against diseases that are widely spread but easily preventable with antibodies.
For dogs, the recognized core vaccines are canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and the rabies vaccine. The core vaccines for cats are feline panleukopenia, feline calicivirus, feline rhinotracheitis (also known as feline herpesvirus), and rabies.
Any other vaccines recommended for your cat or dog are considered non-core vaccines. If these vaccines are administered, your veterinarian may have reason to believe your pet is at greater risk of exposure to certain diseases based on geographical location and their previous living situation.
This infographic provides a comprehensive list of core and non-core vaccines, tips for before, during, and after your pet’s first vet visit, lists of the top pet insurance claims for kittens and puppies, and more!
Some other general services recommended for young pets are spaying/neutering, dental cleaning, and microchipping.
Not only can spaying or neutering prevent unwanted litters, but it has health benefits for your pet. Spaying can prevent breast tumors and uterine infections, and neutering can prevent testicular cancer and some prostate problems.
Another benefit of spaying your cat or dog is that they won’t go into heat after the procedure. Neutering may lessen some undesired behaviors in your male pet, like territory marking in the house and aggression.
Healthy puppies and kittens may be spayed or neutered as young as 8 weeks old. However, the traditional age for dogs to have these procedures is 6-9 months.
By age 3, most pets show evidence of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can be painful and affect other vital organs. That’s why it’s so important to start taking care of your pet’s teeth early!
A yearly professional cleaning is recommended, but you should also brush your pet’s teeth at home. It’s easier than you’d think. Learn how to brush your pet’s teeth for a healthy mouth.
Microchips help thousands of lost pets a year make it back to their families. They are no bigger than a grain of rice and can be implanted in your pet by your veterinarian. Each microchip comes with a number that can be entered into a database to bring up the contact information of the pet’s owner.
After the First Visit
After you bring your new pet home from their first vet visit, make sure to follow any instructions or recommendations as given by your veterinarian. This may include flea/tick, heartworm, or dewormer medication regimens, a schedule for meals, and tips for care and training.
Remember to schedule your pet’s next visit for 3-4 weeks after the first one. Getting your kitten or puppy the proper preventative care can help them live a longer and healthier life.
Pet health insurance offers coverage for vaccines, medications, your pet’s annual check-up, spaying/neutering, microchipping, and much more! Get a pet insurance quote today.
Top Pet Insurance Claims for Puppies and Kittens
Young pets are more susceptible to some illnesses than adult pets because their immune systems are still developing. And, because they have such an abundance of energy, they get into all kinds of trouble that can cause accidents and injuries.
According to our data, the top accident and injury claims for puppies are lacerations, bite wounds, and swallowed objects. The most common illness claims for puppies are ear infections, stomach issues, skin irritations, and diarrhea.
The top accident and injury claims for kittens are bite wounds, swallowed objects, and back leg fractures while illness claims are most commonly for diarrhea, parasites, upper respiratory infections, and conjunctivitis.