Puppy Visits - What to Expect
The following protocols will accomodate most puppies, but the actual vaccination schedule and visit will be tailored to fit your puppy's needs.
We recommend your puppy be given health checks starting at 6 weeks of age. These visits should continue every 3 weeks until the puppy is 18-21 weeks of age (depending on the breed). On each visit, we will examine your puppy and ask questions about his/her behavior and health at home. We will listen to the heart and lungs, look at the eyes, ears, teeth, and skin, and check for problems that may be present at that age. We will also look at a fecal sample to check for worms. Although we may not find any health problems on these visits, this does not mean that the puppy will never develop a condition for which he/she will need to be seen in the future.
On each visit, your puppy will receive a Parvovirus/distemper combination vaccination that may cause him/her to act lethargic (tired) for a day or two. Each of these boosters are VERY important. They should start at 6 weeks of age and continue every 3 weeks until 18-21 weeks of age. Your puppy will receive the rabies vaccination at 12 weeks of age. The reason for all these boosters is to make sure that the puppy's immune system is as ready as possible for the most common diseases he/she may encounter (this includes parvovirus). Each puppy receives some protection from the mother in the mother's milk, but this protection wears off at different times in different puppies, so we need to make sure to catch the earliest window when your puppy is vulnerable to infection. You should be careful about letting your puppy interact with others until it a week or two after his/her second booster.
All dogs who come to the clinic that are older than 15 weeks on their first visit will still need at least two visits - one for their first vaccination, and another for the booster vaccination.
After receiving his/her vaccination, your puppy may act lethargic (tired) for a day or two. This is normal and he/she should be back to normal soon. Rarely, an allergic reaction can occur. If it does, you would see some swelling in the face within 2-3 hours of vaccination. If you notice this, you can bring your puppy back in for an injection to address this. There will sometimes be a small bump at the injection site, but this will get smaller as the day goes on. We will send home a dewormer with all puppies until they are old enough to start the monthly wormer.
Your puppy will start on monthly heartworm preventative at 8-12 weeks of age. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. These parasites live in the heart and cause heart failure. Since the environment we live in never gets cold enough to completely extinguish mosquitoes, we strongly recommend your puppy stay on heartworm preventative all throughout the year for the rest of his life. The preventative comes in a pill or chewable that is given monthly. We perform heartworm tests on the yearly exam to make sure the product is working; for the safety of your pet, we do not dispense this product to dogs older than 6 months without an up-to-date heartworm test. These products also eliminate hookworms and roundworms, which can cause disease in humans.
Flea and Tick Prevention
We have different products available to treat fleas and ticks that are safe for puppies. Some can be used as early as 7 weeks of age, and are very effective. We will be happy to discuss the options with you, and any concerns you have.