Adopting a pet is a very exciting and memorable moment for all family members, but adoption also comes with its share of responsibilities so that your pet is healthy and alive as long as possible. The veterinarian is your main ally. The first appointment at his clinic can be very comprehensive. Before this first appointment, here are five important points to consider to maximize the health and happiness of your pet.
Just like babies, puppies and kittens also have an immune system that is not yet able to fight off many infections and diseases. Getting your pet vaccinated will maximize the immune system and protect it from life-threatening diseases. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), all puppies and kittens should receive the basic vaccine every three to four weeks between the ages of 6 and 16 weeks.
The basic vaccine for puppies is DHPP which protects against several infectious diseases such as Distemper (Carré disease), hepatitis, parvovirosis and para-influenza viruses.
The basic vaccine for kittens is the CRP which protects against three infectious diseases: feline panleukopenia, feline infectious rhinotracheitis and calicivirose.
In addition to these basic vaccines, all animals should receive the rabies vaccine at about 16 weeks of age.
In addition to these basic vaccines, there are other complementary vaccines that veterinarians can administer to animals, depending on their lifestyle and where they live. These include vaccines against leptospirosis and kennel cough (Bordetella) for dogs and feline leukemia (FeLV) for cats.
It is not uncommon for young dogs and cats to contract internal parasites. They can become infected with these parasites from birth (transmitted by the mother through the placenta or milk) or become infected through contact with other infected animals. Some common internal parasites are known as roundworms, ankylostomes, coccidia and giardiases. The CLDC (Companion Animal Parasite Council) recommends stool examination or deworming at least four times in the first year of life. Failure to treat worms may cause various gastrointestinal problems and potentially lead to their transmission in humans.
Protection Against Fleas, Ticks and Heartworms
Choosing a monthly protection to protect your pet from fleas, ticks and heartworms is an essential care for its well-being. Fleas and ticks are parasites that attack the skin and feed on blood. They can also cause irritation where the skin has been pricked and transmit many diseases: for fleas, tapeworms; for ticks, a variety of life-threatening diseases such as Lyme disease and rocky mountain spotted fever (rickettsiosis).
The heartworm is a parasite that lodges in the blood and is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Once infected, it can measure up to 14 inches and will reside in the heart. Untreated, this parasite could lead to heart failure and even death. According to CPAC, new data show that all dogs and cats are likely to contract the worm if they are not protected. Depending on the lifestyle and where your pet lives, your veterinarian can offer you the right treatment to protect them from these dangerous parasites.
Puppies and kittens require a specific diet that helps them grow and stay healthy. According to AAHA, quality food should be high in fat, calories and protein for maximum growth. Food should have the right levels of calcium and phosphorus to help the bones develop properly. Your veterinarian as well as the nutritional information displayed on the food bags represent one of the best resources to choose the right diet for your pet.
Castration and Sterilization
Castration and sterilization are the best methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies and keep your pet healthy. Sterilizing your kitten or dog will prevent several medical conditions including breast cancer and pyometer (uterine infection with serious consequences). Castrating your dog or cat will prevent unwanted sexual behavior as well as medical conditions such as prostate and testicular cancers.
Visiting the veterinarian regularly for annual examinations and vaccines will ensure the well-being of your pet and his family.