Our pets are a very important part of our family and we want to take care of them just as we would every other family member. So how often should our four legged friends visit the veterinarian? Every 6 months? Once a year? Only when a sickness occurs? Let’s take a look.
Birth to One YearIf you are the proud pet owner of a puppy or kitten, you will want to make sure that s/he sees the veterinarian for vaccinations every 3-4 weeks until he reaches 16 weeks of age.
Puppies will possibly need to be vaccinated for:
- Kennel Cough
- Lyme Disease
Kittens will possibly need to be vaccinated for:
- Feline Leukemia
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
- Vaccinations that cover several diseases
At this stage of the game, your pet will also start medications for heartworm and flea and tick prevention if it’s needed in your area.
Your veterinarian will also check your pet over to make sure growth is normal and that there are no signs of illness. Around six months of age, your pet will need to be checked out once again and this is the time that you will want to spay or neuter your pet.
Adult PetsWhen your pet is between the ages of 1-7 (or 1-10, depending on the type of pet you own) it is recommended that your pet sees your veterinarian once a year for a checkup. Your pet will experience a head to tail physical and a blood sample will be taken to check for heartworms. If you own a cat, he may not be tested for the later due to the results being hard to interpret. Your pet may have other tests that are recommended based upon any problems he has or was uncovered during the exam. It is helpful to bring a stool sample to your visit so that your veterinarian can check for intestinal parasites.
Distemper-Parvo and Rabies booster shots occur during the first yearly checkup and then again every three years.
Rabies booster shots occur after the first year and then again every three years.
Canine vaccines that your adult dog may need will be to prevent illnesses such as kennel cough.
Feline vaccines that your adult outdoor cat may need would be for feline leukemia.
Senior PetsVeterinarians suggest that you have your older pets seen twice a year. This way if there are any vaccinations that are needed they can be administered as well as a physical exam. Along with these tests, blood and urine tests can be administered so that your veterinarian can get the scoop on your pet’s kidney and liver health, thyroid hormone levels and more.
Any changes in your pet’s behavior that you have seen should be provided to your veterinarian. These changes can indicate new problems that your pet may be experiencing.
Tip from the ExpertsSome of us have a hard time getting our pet into a carrier in order to transport him. If you experience this, here is a tip. In order to get your pet use to going into a carrier for traveling, keep the carrier out so that your pet gets used to seeing it. Also keep food and toys in it. This way it is a friendly place for your pet and not something traumatizing.
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