PUPPY PREVENTIVE CARE
We look forward tohelping you provide your new puppy with a healthy and well managed start to life, beginning with your puppy’s very first visit. First, our veterinarian will collect a history of your puppy and talk with you about his or her lifestyle, medical conditions, and prior vaccination history (if any). Next is the Puppy Preventive Care exam, which goes from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. This 10-point exam includes eyes, ears, dental condition, heart, lungs, and other systems. You will receive a print out of this report.
During the exam you’ll have the chance to ask any questions you may have about your pet’s health. You can ask about the aging process, dental health, breed predispositions, behavioral issues, diet, exercise, and any other concerns you might have. We know your puppy is a valuable member of your family, and we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to quiz the expert!
Finally, you and your veterinarian will customize your pet’s future deworming and vaccination schedule.
Typically, we recommend beginning your puppy’s vaccination program at 8 weeks of age, with boosters at 12 and 16 weeks of age. In most cases, we vaccinate for the following diseases:
- Canine Distemper Virus
- Canine Adenovirus-2
- Canine Parvovirus
- Canine Parainfluenza Virus
- Canine Coronavirus
- Rabies (at 3-4 months, followed by a booster at one year)
Other vaccinations may be recommended depending on your dog’s lifestyle and risk factors. Examples are:
- Bordetella (for dog’s who are boarded at a kennel, groomed frequently, participate in dog shows, or frequent dog parks)
You will find detailed descriptions of these diseases in your Puppy Care Handouts which you will receive at your first visit. If you don’t receive your Puppy Care Kit, please ask for one.
Puppies can be infected by intestinal parasites from their environment, and also from their mother before birth. For this reason - and because humans can potentially develop serious problems if exposed to immature forms of roundworm or hookworms - we routinely recommend deworming all puppies several times between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks.
Other Internal Parasites
In addition to intestinal parasites such as hookworms and roundworms, puppies are also vulnerable to being infected by whipworms and tapeworms - and more seriously - heartworms. Roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm infestations are easily prevented by once-monthly medication called Sentinel, which is also an excellent medication for prevention of infections with heartworms. Fortunately, in the Walla Walla Valley heartworms are not a problem. We will notify clients if it ever becomes a health risk here. However, travel outside the Walla Walla Valley to heartworm infected regions is a problem. Year round heartworm prevention will eliminate this worry for our traveling pets.
Fleas are the most common external parasites we encounter, followed by ticks in late spring & summer. A quick and easy way to test your puppy for fleas is to take a damp white paper towel and rub it several times in the opposite direction the hair grows - from the base of the tail to the middle of the back. If the towel shows tiny specks, similar to finely ground pepper, it is probably fleas. Frontline is an excellent product used to kill fleas on both puppies and adult dogs.
Spaying / Neutering
It is very important to bring your puppy in for one of these common and safe surgical procedures - ideally before sexual maturity, around 4 to 5 months of age. The female commonly will start her first estrus cycle about 6 months of age.
For females, spaying eliminates or greatly minimizes problems with:
- unwanted pregnancy
- attraction of male dogs during "heart" cycles
- uterine infections
- breast cancer
For males, neutering eliminates or greatly minimizes problems with:
- aggression and dominance
- territorial marking with urine
- prostate cancer and infections
- testicular cancer
- perianal adenocarcinoma (an extremely malignant cancer of the rectum and/or anus