Puppy’s First Visit to the Vet
When you take your puppy to the veterinarian for the first time, your good doctor will probably want to give him or her physical exam before anything else. This is really important – your veterinarian can find physical problems with your puppy, such as poor gait, heart murmur or skin infections, just by looking him or her over and get your puppy on a treatment plan right away.
In addition, your veterinarian will want to make sure your puppy is free of a variety of illnesses and conditions, and to do so he or she will perform a variety of tests, including:
Fecal exam to check for intestinal parasites
Chemistry and electrolyte tests to help evaluate internal organ status
A complete blood count to screen your pet for infection, inflammation, or anemia and other blood-related conditions
Start parasite control (through the use of prescription medication) to treat intestinal parasites and prevent heartworm
Begin protecting your puppy from flea- and tick-borne diseases
If your puppy is older than six months old during this initial visit, he or she will also need to undergo a heartworm test. Because it usually takes 6-7 months for an infected dog to test positive, heartworm wouldn’t show up in tests on puppies younger than six months of age.
Vaccinations often depend on a variety of factors, including your dog’s age and your geographic location. In general, however, all puppies and dogs should have the following vaccines:
Distemper, Parvovirus, Coronavirus, Hepatitis, and Parainfluenza – these are often combined into a single vaccine.
Rabies, a shot which initially requires boosters at intervals determined by state regulations
There are a number of other vaccines that could be recommended by your veterinarian. In addition, most vaccinations require boosters, from once every few weeks (for puppies) to once annually or every few years. We understand that this might seem confusing, but it’s really important! The best thing to do is talk with your veterinarian, who will set up a vaccination schedule for your dog.