Congratulations! You have chosen to add a new member to your family and we are so excited for you. Ensuring you have everything your pet needs is very important to keep you both happy. Pet ownership is a huge responsibility. Your veterinarian is your partner in maintaining the health of your new pet. Ensure you have the essentials to keep him/her happy before they arrive!
Essentials for Puppies – Leash and collar, food, water and bowls, appropriate sized crate for crate training and other bed\bedding, treats for training, chew toys.
Essentials for Kittens – Cat collar, leash/harness, cat carrier, food, water and bowls, bed, litter box(es), litter and scoop, toys and treats. The number of litter boxes in the house should equal the number of cats plus one.
Why are regular checkups important?
A complete examination by your veterinarian at least once a year is the best way to keep your pet(s) healthy and in top condition. It also provides your veterinary health care team an opportunity to discuss; their ideal weight (and how to avoid obesity), behavioral problems that may occur, answer any questions or concerns you may have about your pet and detect early disease. At these visits, your pet will also be vaccinated against serious and potentially fatal diseases. Often, preventative vaccines cost significantly less than the treatment for the disease(s) that they are being vaccinated against.
What vaccinations will my pet need?
Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations during their first few months of life starting between 8 to 9 weeks of age. Regular booster vaccinations are needed every 3 to 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age to ensure your pet is fully protected against these diseases. After that, yearly boosters are sufficient to keep your pet protected. Missing a booster dose of any vaccine could put your pet at risk of contracting disease. Puppies and kittens should not be placed in contact with other unvaccinated animals until they are fully vaccinated. Doing so may put them at risk for contracting disease.
Your veterinarian will ensure which vaccines of the following are recommended for your pet.
Vaccinations for Dogs:
● Core – Rabies, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis.
● Depending upon life style - Lyme disease, Coronavirus, Bordetella, Canine influenza (H3N2)
Vaccinations for Cats:
● Core – Rabies, Feline calicivirus, Feline rhinotracheitis, Feline chlamydia, Panleukopenia
● Depending upon life style - Feline leukemia
Feeding and Diet - Good nutrition is important for your pet. Your veterinarian is your best source of information about pet nutrition. Make sure you understand the ingredients in the food you purchase as often high-quality proteins and foods that contain grain are more beneficial than low-quality proteins or grain-free diets. Dogs and cats that are fed a good quality commercial diet do not generally require vitamins and supplementation. Your pet’s diet needs will change as they progress through their life stages. Puppies and kittens need food balanced for growth and development that contains higher levels of protein, calories, and minerals than adult diets, but they need to be balanced and supplied in a nutritionally available form. Consult your veterinarian about your pet's nutritional requirements, the best food options for your pet and how much and how often to feed your pet.
Spaying and Neutering - Spaying, also known as ovariohysterectomy is a procedure for female dogs and cats. It involves the complete removal of the ovaries and uterus. This eliminates any chance of pregnancy, heat cycles with the accompanying bleeding, and desire to mate. It also protects your female pet from uterine infections and other diseases. Male pets will undergo neutering or castration which involves the removal of the testicles. This reduces the risk of developing prostate and testicular cancers, infections, and behavioral problems.
Parasite Prevention - As the weather warms up, the bugs emerge. Many are important to our environment, but some are vectors of disease, including ticks, fleas, and mosquitos. Ticks and fleas are external parasites living outside of the body; for example on the skin. Internal parasites live inside your pet and include giardia, coccidia, hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and heartworm. Parasites can be transmitted by vectors like mosquitos or from contact with infected feces or urine from infected domestic animals and wildlife. Puppies and kittens are very susceptible to infection transmitted by parasites since their immune systems are not fully developed yet. Regular preventive programs for these parasites can help ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy. In this area, March is the start of our flea and tick prevention season. Lyme disease is carried by ticks infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgorferi. Ticks can infect your pet with a bite. Fleas can cause skin irritation and transmit some types of tapeworms. Fleas leave behind fecal droppings under your pet's coat that appear as small black specks. Other external parasites include lice, mites, and ticks. Prevention against these parasites is started annually around the time that the weather starts to warm up. Medications are available in topical or oral form and often administered monthly. During the summer when mosquitos come out, heartworm is also a concern. Heartworm is a blood parasite that poses a serious health threat to dogs and cats. The adult heartworm(s) live in the heart and blood vessels that supply the lungs. They damage the heart, lungs, and liver and can be fatal if untreated. Heartworm females produce microfilaria (an intermediary stage) which are released into the bloodstream. Heartworm is spread from infected animals by mosquitos. Once in the newly infected animal, the microfilaria travel to the heart and mature into adults, and begin reproducing thereby completing the life cycle. Heartworm can be prevented with monthly administration of oral heartworm prevention, during the mosquito season. A blood test is used to determine if animals are infected with heartworm. Protection from internal parasites can be included in some of these oral preventatives but not all parasites are covered. Typically, we recommend submitting a fecal sample of your pet for a microscopic examination annually, to ensure that they are parasite free. Regular administration of an oral preventative medication as mentioned above, or deworming treatments will help take care of any parasites that we may find.
Identifying your Pet: Microchipping and License Tags
Proper identification of your pet can mean a speedy return of your pet and sometimes the difference between life and death. Provincial law requires animal shelter operators to take reasonable steps to find and notify the owner of any found dog or cat that has a license tag, microchip, or other means of identification. Unfortunately, collars or license tags may get caught or fall off if your pet escapes your property. Microchips contain a tiny computer chip encased in a glass tube that is inserted beneath the animal's skin. The microchip is permanent and cannot be lost. When the chip is scanned the shelter is able to find the name and address of the owner allowing you to be easily reunited with your pet!
Further information on any of these topics for dogs and cats can be found at: www.ovma.org/pet-owners/basic-pet-care/pet-health-101/. Please feel free to call the clinic if you have any questions, we look forward to getting to know your new pet!