Congratulations on your new pet. There’s a lot of information when you get a new puppy but it is all very important. This information sheet will make sure that you know what is going on while we discuss with you all the most important things about having a new puppy. We want to make sure that you can enjoy a long, healthy, happy lifetime together.
First and foremost we’re going to do a general physical exam on your puppy. We will weigh your puppy and if there are any problems we will take his or her temperature. There will be a lot of questions that we ask you during an exam; that’s because you get to see him or her without the stress of the veterinarian’s office. If you have noticed any problems, we will be sure to address them during this exam. Speak up! You know your puppy much better than we do. We will also be looking over your puppy from nose to tail to make sure there are no problems that you may not have seen, or not known to look for. This exam will be repeated in 4 weeks. We will be checking on his or her growth and health in this general exam. A general physical exam should be repeated at least once every year for the rest of your puppy’s life or when there are any problems.
Parasites can be internal and external. Fecal testing is an important part of the puppy exam as it checks for internal parasites. We will want to do at least two tests while your puppy is this young. In this test, we are looking for internal parasites like roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, coccidia, and giardia. These can cause problems for your pup. Some of them are zoonotic; they can be transferred to humans. With proper hygiene, yearly fecal exams general preventative care, and treatment if needed, you can prevent your human family from exposure to these parasites.
Another internal parasite is heartworm. This can cause serious heart and lung disease in your pet. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes. Prevention is strongly recommended (monthly year-round), along with periodic testing (yearly) for confirming complete protection. You and the doctor will discuss and decide what risks and benefits there are of including a preventative in your dog’s monthly routine.
External parasites include things like fleas, ticks and mites. We will discuss with you the various ways of preventing internal and external parasites. Most of these preventatives are monthly and very easy to do. Prevention is much easier than getting rid of a flea problem in your home after it has started.
When your puppy is coming in for each exam, we will be checking his or her teeth. If there is a problem like an underbite or overbite, sometimes, with early intervention, we can help fix or lessen the problem. This will also be an important point of examination at around 6 months, usually when we spay or neuter your puppy, to be sure all the appropriate baby teeth have come out.
Dental examinations will be a part of your pet’s lifelong examination. Dental health is too often overlooked in pets. While they are young, it is best to start work on preventing dental problems. The best way to do this is to brush your pet’s teeth every day. Like fleas, preventing the problem is much easier (and less expensive) than treating it.
Vaccines, of course, are another important care point for your new puppy. There are two kinds of vaccines: core and non-core vaccines. The core vaccines are the distemper/hepatitis/parvovirus vaccine and rabies vaccine. The former will need to be repeated every 4 weeks until your puppy is 16-20 weeks old. Then dogs need a dose a year later and, currently, every 3 years thereafter. The rabies vaccine will be given once at or after 12 weeks of age, repeated in a year and, depending on the vaccine chosen, given yearly or every 3 years for life as law allows.
Non-core vaccines include the ones for kennel cough, leptospirosis, canine influenza, and Lyme disease. Your pet will be individually evaluated for whether or not he or she needs these vaccines. You and the doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of each vaccine to decide if your pet should receive them.
There is a lot to learn about your new puppy so be sure to ask questions if you have any. The technician you see today will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have. Some things that you might want to know more about:
- Spay/Neuter: when, why
- Parasite control: risks and benefits
- Zoonotic diseases: both parasitic and non
- Pet insurance
- Diet: what to feed, how much
- Diseases or problems (that are known to be tendencies of the breed of your dog)
- And as many more you can think of…
There are no questions that should go unanswered. If you think of more when you get home, call us; or keep a list for your next appointment.
We will be sending you home a lot of information, even though it seems like you’ve already received a lot today. Take the time to go through these brochures, notes, DVD’s, etc. Schedule your next visit and bring more questions with you. The more you know, the better and longer your relationship with your puppy will be.