You get the benefit of a physical examination
It may seem unusual as most everyone assumes a new puppy or kitten should be healthy just because they are young, but this a dangerous assumption. This exam is helping ensure your pet is healthy for vaccines- giving vaccines to an unhealthy pet can worsen certain illnesses. This physical examination helps identify birth defects or heredity diseases at an early age. With any disease early diagnosis is essential in better long term management. A great example would be hip dysplasia- identifying that the hips have not formed correctly before 16 weeks of age can allow us to perform a procedure called JPS. This simple procedure can help the hips develop a stronger joint and therefore improve the longevity and mobility of that pet! All well before they were experiencing pain or clinical signs of hip disease.
What to feed, how much to feed, what brand to feed- all these questions are common at any age but especially for a new puppy or kitten. Starting off with the right nutrition helps create good feeding habits as well as take in to consideration the needs of different breeds. Choosing the wrong nutrition can affect growth, blood sugar levels as well as healthy development of bones and joints. Having a good nutritional plan from the start can greatly influence long term health.
You get training and behavioral advice
Our goals during puppy and kitten visits are to open discussions on care and training at home. Opening this discussion can help avoid lifelong issues linked to poor training and exposure at a young age. These early visits even help make visiting the veterinarian less stressful as we make these as fun as possible with treats and interaction to build a positive relationship. Every visit tends to be about a new topic as well as any concerns that may be developing as they grow. Seeing your pet routinely through their series of vaccines helps us address and tailor training programs to meet their needs and response to initial training advice.
You get the benefit of an effective vaccine
While common vaccines are available at local feed stores there is no guarantee these vaccines will be effective. Vaccines have specific storage guidelines as well as special handling once mixed. Simple mistakes can easily be made and render a vaccine completely ineffective. When being vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian you have the benefit of knowing this vaccine was handled correctly and administered safely. Vaccines given incorrectly can lead to ineffective immunity, abscess and unnecessary pain. Additionally, the timing of vaccines is very important for proper immunity to develop as every puppy and kitten receives immunity from their mother while nursing. As long as they have this immunity any injected vaccines will not take effect. Every virus has different times of when they should be given to help anticipate when their mother’s immunity is lost.
You start prevention for parasites in your region
Often these puppy and kitten visits are discussions about effective care for fleas, ticks and heartworms. Especially here in Louisiana your kitten or puppy will be exposed to these parasites quickly and early prevention is best to avoid disease from these parasites developing. Prescribed preventions are safest as they are regulated by the FDA helping ensure the safety and health of your pet. Over the counter preventions do not have this protection and lot of these products are monitored by the EPA considering them pesticides rather than medications. Some of these products can even be deadly if ingested or given to the wrong breed. Having a discussion about your pet’s exposure and what is the safest prevention for them is essential.
Reputable Vaccine companies believe in their product being administered by a veterinarian
One of the most interesting things about puppy and kitten vaccines is sometimes they can develop these preventable illnesses while in the middle of their vaccine series. This is usually because they have not had enough time to develop immunity from vaccination or still had their mother’s immunity when their last vaccine was given making it ineffective. A lot of times, in these instances,reputable vaccine companies will help with testing and treatment for these patients. Additionally, most of the pets will do better when faced with these illnesses as they have had some exposure through vaccinationto start developing immunity and hopefullyshorten the length of their illness.
Your Pet must be vaccinated by law for Rabies
Rabies is a mandatory vaccination for cats and dogs and currently Louisiana law states that only a licensed veterinarian can administered this vaccine. Rabies is 100% fatal, but the good news is this vaccination is highly effective and is why we do not see rabies virus as commonly despite the continued natural vectors such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. If you find you can purchase a rabies vaccine be wary as your pet will still be considered by law unvaccinated and this can greatly increase quarantine times should a bite incident or encounter with wildlife occur.
Lastly – always talk to your veterinarian about your pets lifestyle and life stage – those are the two main factors in deciding what vaccinations your pet needs once they are an adult! We are always happy to help answer your questions. Come meet UVHvets.