After adopting a new pet from a breeder or shelter, one of the first things you should do is schedule an appointment with your vet. If you do not have a vet, do some research online or ask your family, friends, and neighbors where they take their animals. You want the experience to be a positive one and most vet offices do not mind giving a tour of their facilities. As you are shown around, ask yourself: Does everyone seem friendly and competent? Do the waiting area and exam rooms seem clean and organized? Do I feel this is a comfortable environment? Do not hesitate to ask questions, but remember that the doctors and staff probably have a very busy schedule. Once you decide on a vet and schedule an appointment, here are some things you can expect during your first visit (REMEMBER TO BRING ALL RECORDS YOU RECEIVED WHEN ADOPTING YOUR PET):
- An important part of your pet’s initial exam is simply meeting the doctors and staff. For puppies and kittens, the vet will usually pay special attention to the feet and mouth. This helps your pet get used to having these areas handled and will make future examinations easier. A major goal of the first visit is reinforcing in pets and owners that a trip to the vet can be a positive experience.
- Vaccinations: Sometimes pets are vaccinated before being adopted, but if they aren’t, they will most likely be vaccinated on their first visit.
Dogs and cats will both receive a rabies vaccine. Dogs will also receive a DHPP or DHLPP vaccine that guards against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis. If you are planning on taking your dog to daycare or a boarding facility, he will most likely need a bordatella vaccine to guard against kennel cough. Your vet may also recommend vaccines for Lyme disease and coronavirus.
Cats will receive an FVRCPC vaccine that guards against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and chlamydia. Some vets also choose to give cats a feline leukemia vaccine.
After vaccines are given, one or multiple boosters may be required. Your pets will then need to be revaccinated every 6 months to three years depending on the vaccine. PLEASE NOTE: ALWAYS MONITOR YOUR PETS AFTER THEY ARE VACCINATED. IF YOU SUSPECT A REACTION, CONTACT YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY.
- Tests: Dogs and cats may be tested for heartworm if you plan on putting them on a preventative medication. Some vets also test for Lyme disease. Feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus are also commonly tested for in cats. It is a good idea to bring a fecal sample to your first visit so your pet can be tested for worms and other parasites and given the appropriate medication if necessary.
- Future Procedures: If your pet was not spayed or neutered before adoption, you will be given the opportunity to schedule the procedure during the first visit. If the operation is in the near future, the vet may want to do a blood test. Cats and dogs are usually spayed or neutered at around 6 months of age.
If you need help finding a local vet or have any questions about your experience, don’t hesitate to call Braxton’s, and please feel free to share your stories and advice with us at:
Looking to adopt a new pet, click here to learn Five Things to Consider When Adopting a Pet in Wayne, PA.
Nick has been working at Braxton’s since 2009
and is currently in charge of the store’s monthly
email newsletter, the Pet Gazette.