Puppy and Kitten Care

Puppy_kitten-300x218 Puppy and Kitten Care

Examination & Vaccintation Schedules: the first 6 Months

Download the Recommended Puppy/Kitten Vaccination Schedule.

A thorough examination of your puppy or kitten by a veterinarian within the first weeks of ownership is very important. In addition to evaluating your new pet for any underlying congenital or infectious diseases, the veterinarian will discuss with you common medical problems to watch for in these young pets. The veterinarian will review any prior medical records for your pet and discuss any recommendations for diagnostic testing, vaccinations, or de-worming. The staff will also guide you in any training, nutritional, or behavioral questions you may have regarding your puppy or kitten. Typically puppy and kittens are examined and vaccinations and other preventative care are administered every few weeks during the first 2-5 months of life.

Middlesex County Animal Hospital typically recommends spaying or neutering puppies and kittens at about six months of age. Early age spaying and neutering prevents unwanted pregnancies and can greatly reduce or eliminate potential future health problems including uterine infections, mammary cancer, prostate disease, and testicular cancer. Middlesex County Animal Hospital typically recommends surgery at about six months of age because these pets are fully vaccinated and their bodies are better able to handle anesthesia. Please see our section on anesthesia and surgery for an overview of pre-anesthetic blood work, anesthetic monitoring, and surgical procedures. Back to Top

Common Puppy/Kitten Problems

Middlesex County Animal Hospital knows how excited you are about your new puppy or kitten and we would like to help you keep them safe and healthy. Typically within two weeks of getting your puppy or kitten, he or she should have a full physical exam. A veterinarian will check them over thoroughly from head to tail. The veterinarian will examine for any congenital problems and assess your pet’s overall health. Even puppies and kittens that are acting fine can have underlying medical problems and should be examined to detect any abnormalities.

Puppies and kittens unlike adult animals do not have well developed immune systems and therefore they are much more susceptible to various infections. Just like in people stress plays a major role in animals getting sick. Puppies and kittens are often not only in environments where they are exposed to many other animals but they are frequently in stressful environments. Susceptibility to certain infections can be decreased or eliminated by making sure your puppy or kitten receives regular vaccinations as advised by a veterinarian. A series of two to three vaccines is necessary to fully protect your pet from many viruses. Middlesex County Animal Hospital follows the American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations for vaccination of puppies and kittens starting at 6-8 weeks of age.

Upper respiratory infections are some of the most common diseases Middlesex County Animal Hospital sees in both puppies and kittens. Kittens often come down with infections that will cause sneezing, nasal, and ocular discharge. Puppies most often will develop infections that cause a hacking cough and sometimes nasal discharge. Unlike in people where colds are typically viral, puppies and kittens commonly get secondary bacterial infections and thus getting these little guys on antibiotics early can decrease the severity and length of illness. However delaying treatment can lead to a more serious lower respiratory infection or pneumonia. At the first hint of any coughing, sneezing, or discharge from the nose of your new puppy or kitten please call a veterinarian for them to be examined.

Puppies and kittens commonly develop gastrointestinal problems with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite which can quickly lead to dehydration and low blood sugar. Since vomiting and diarrhea have many different causes diagnosis and treatment can sometimes be difficult. Puppies and kittens are susceptible to a number of viral, bacterial, and parasite infections that can lead to stomach upset. Often a physical, fecal exam, and medication may be all that is necessary to bring your little guy back to health. Even more of a problem can be puppies or kittens that swallow pieces of toys, clothes, string, or anything else they can get their mouths on. Often these non-digestible items become stuck in the stomach or intestines causing the pet to start vomiting, stop eating, or both. These pets may require endoscopy or emergency surgery to remove the ingested material from the stomach or intestine. Middlesex County Animal Hospital can when necessary take radiographs and perform ultrasounds to find out if your puppy or kitten has a blockage and speed them on their way to recovery.

Like infants puppies and kittens tend to get sick much more frequently than adult dogs and cats. When they do get sick their systems do not have significant energy or fluid reserves; therefore, they tend to become dehydrated and lethargic very quickly. The key to minimizing illness with these little pets is to recognize symptoms early and have them seen for diagnosis and treatment as quickly as possible. If you have any questions whether you new puppy or kitten is acting sick or needs to be seen please do not hesitate to call us or another veterinarian to discuss any problems. We are here to help your pet and to provide you with peace of mind. Back to Top

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