The first visit to the veterinarian’s office with a new puppy or kitten can be overwhelming, especially if you are also a first time pet owner. Dr Rhonda Phillips, owner and veterinarian at CFVC, summarizes it in this way: a new pup or kitten is very similar to a new baby in the household. There is a mountain of information to be processed and memorized to take care of your new addition. This is why it is extremely important to have help at your fingertips when raising your puppy or kitten.
Consider your veterinarian as your other family doctor! They and the staff of a hospital become a wealth of knowledge that can be just a phone call away. You have an entourage of trained professionals to answer questions regarding your pet’s preventive healthcare, nutrition, behavior issues, dental care, dermatological concerns, surgical procedures, and internal medicine care. Our veterinarians and staff believe that relationships with owners are one of the most important parts of our job. This allows both the veterinary team and the owners to become advocates that work together to provide the best care for the lifetime of the new puppy or kitten.
The first visit will consist of recommendations and a plan to start your puppy or kitten on their series of vaccinations and preventive care. One size does not fit all patients. Each patient needs to be evaluated for individual care. We will do a thorough physical exam that includes evaluating 16 different body systems. You may think we are petting and playing with your pet when in fact we are examining and evaluating the eyes, ears, glandular system, heart, lungs, skin and coat, neurological system, extremities, mouth, teeth and gums, reproductive system, urogenital system, gastrointestinal system, nose and throat, and musculoskeletal system. We will also discuss any breed related issues or concerns we find and will address any of your concerns about your new pet. We will recommend vaccines, initial internal parasite testing and treatment, and possible blood work based on risk factors that your puppy or kitten’s history reveals. Vaccines available for dogs are distemper combinations (with parainfluenza, hepatitis, and parvovirus), Leptospirosis, Bordetella (kennel cough), Lyme, Influenza, and Rattlesnake vaccine. Vaccines available for cats include feline distemper combination (FVRCP), Feline leukemia, Rabies, and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus vaccine. The blood and stool tests are done to help keep your new puppy or kitten healthy, but they are also done to evaluate for infections, infestations and/or diseases that could be transmitted to your other pets or to your human family members. These can include heartworms, intestinal parasites and feline leukemia.
So, next time you are wondering, what’s the big deal about the “first” veterinary visit, remember we are here for both you and your new pet to provide many years of health and happiness in your family!
Dr Rhonda Phillips, a graduate of Oklahoma State University, has practiced veterinary medicine for 24 years. She is the founder of Country Friends Veterinary Clinic, a full service small animal clinic in Royse City, Tx.