Tips on the first visit to the veterinarian for a puppy or kitten

Summertime is here and it is puppy and kitten season. I love this time of year, there is nothing better than being introduced to the fuzzy new member of the family. This is also a very important time for a puppy or kitten, when we set the stage for a healthy life. The first puppy or kitten visit to the veterinarian is a big event. There are a lot of things to cover and for the owner to consider to keep their new pet healthy and happy.

Puppies and kittens all need to be dewormed with a broad spectrum dewormer. They can get worms from their mothers through the milk, and the worms can cause serious problems in the young animals. Often, after deworming, some pets will pass adult worms. This isn’t a pleasant sight, so be prepared, but realize it is better the worms are out than in!

Because some of the worms pets can carry can be passed on to people, there is actually a task force that was formed by the Center for Disease Control to make recommendations for parasite control in pets, CAPC- Companion animal parasite council,

This is a great Web site to learn more about parasite control for all your pets, no matter what age. In addition to deworming, we always want to check a fecal sample. This makes sure we have treated the commonly parasites and to make sure there aren’t any of the less common parasites that also need to be treated. For example we don’t routinely treat for Giardia, a parasite that is infamous for causing intestinal upset for campers that don’t sterilize their water and it is a little more common in Maple Valley then other areas I have worked in Western Washington.

Vaccines are always an important part of any puppy or kitten visit. Vaccine recommendations are lifestyle dependant, so not one size fits all when it comes to vaccinations. Remember that more doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to vaccines. Some parts of a combination vaccine may not be necessary for your pet, and may increase the risk of becoming ill after vaccination. Washington State University lists their vaccine recommendations on their Web site;, in the pet owner section.

I know in today’s economy, it might be easy to “skip” vaccines on your new pet, but it is very important to protect your puppy against parvo virus and kitten against panleukopenia. Both these diseases are devastating for young animals and if infected can cause death. I commonly have pet owners tell me their 8-week-old pet has had all its vaccines, because the person they got the pet from told them so. A pet is not fully vaccinated until at least 16 weeks old, so unless they have had boosters through four months of age, they aren’t completely vaccinated.

There are so many other subjects that are covered during the puppy and kitten exams including; spaying or neutering, appropriate diet for age and breed, long term parasite control, permanent identification through microchip application, behavior training and anything found on the full physical exam the doctor performs on the first visit.

If you have a new puppy or kitten, congratulations and remember to take lots of pictures.

For questions contact or check the Web site