So, it’s happened.
The question you have dodged for months from your kids has finally become a reality.
“Mom…Dad…please?! I promise I’ll take care of it!”
Now, a little fluffball of attitude and cuteness has made himself the newest member of the family.
You’ve finally got a routine down on potty training and you are well-prepared for those needle teeth with your bottle of no chew spray.
But what about the vet visits? When do puppies and kittens begin getting vaccines and for how long? Does your little bundle of joy have intestinal worms? What type of flea prevention can be used at this age?
Thank goodness your veterinarian can answer all of these questions! Hopefully, many of them will be answered in this article!
All About Vaccines
Typically vaccines begin at 6 weeks of age for kittens and puppies alike. Up to 6 weeks of age, they are protected by passive immunity from their mother. Some vaccines must be boostered every 2-4 weeks. Vaccines given before or after the 2-4 week period are considered ineffective.
Vaccine recommendations vary among veterinarians and are usually based on the epidemic of the disease in their area. Listed in the table below are the core vaccines and our recommended schedule for vaccinating.
|12 weeks||DAPP||FVRCP, FeLV|
|15 weeks||DAPP, Rabies and Bordetella||FVRCP, FeLV, Rabies|
DAPP is a combination vaccine for dogs used to help protect against the following:
Distemper: Disease caused by virus; affects gastrointestinal, nervous and respiratory systems; no known cure
Adenovirus II: Vaccine protects against canine infectious hepatitis and helps protect against infectious tracheobronchitis (a.k.a. kennel cough)
Parainfluenza: Highly contagious virus affecting respiratory system; vaccine protects against infectious tracheobronchitis (a.k.a. kennel cough)
Parvovirus: Highly contagious virus affecting gastrointestinal system; no known cure
Bordetella: Helps protect against bacteria that causes infectious tracheobronchitis (a.k.a. kennel cough)
FVRCP is a combination vaccine for cats used to help protect against the following:
Rhinotracheitis: Disease caused by herpesvirus-1 which affects respiratory system and reproductive tract
Calicivirus: Virus affecting upper respiratory tract
Panleukopenia: Caused by a virus that results in severe infection;affects gastrointestinal, nervous and immune systems; highly contagious; also called feline parvovirus
FeLV is a vaccine that protects against feline leukemia. Feline leukemia is a retrovirus and is fatal. There is no known cure.
Rabies: Fatal virus affecting central nervous system; can be transmitted to humans; no known cure; required for all pets by law
There are other vaccines available, such leptospirosis and canine influenza. However, these vaccines are considered optional and are not part of the core vaccine schedule. These types of vaccines should be discussed with your veterinarian. Many are given based on the area you live and the lifestyle of your pet.
“All I Need Is the Vaccine.”……NOOOO!!!
A visit with the vet should definitely be at the top of your to-do list after acquiring your new pet. Other than vaccines, a physical exam from the veterinarian is important to ensure he/she is developing normally. Things such as heart murmurs can be detected at this early age, and is well-worth knowing about!
Not to mention those nasty intestinal worms (roundworms and hookworms to name a few). Some of which can be passed to humans. Since some of these parasites are passed directly from the mother to the puppies/kittens, it’s very important to have them checked multiple times. We actually recommend testing their stool at each puppy/kitten visit.
Why multiple times?
Eggs from intestinal worms are shed in the stool, which are what we see when we look at a sample under the microscope. However, eggs may not be deposited into the feces 24/7. Also, every type of worm has a different life cycle. Therefore, it is important to check multiple times to make sure your pet is safe!
Aside from promoting good health for your new puppy or kitten, establishing a good relationship with your veterinarian from the get-go is always a good practice.
When the inevitable happens and Lucy eats the entire Thanksgiving turkey off the table when no one is looking, you are going to want your veterinarian there to help!
And who better than the veterinarian who has seen her since she was just a little fur ball?
Questions or thoughts about first time visits to the vet with your puppy/kitten? Comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts!