Bringing a new puppy home is a something that is highly anticipated, but it also comes with responsibilities. After the owner, the veterinarian is the most important person in helping maintain the health of a puppy. If you do not have a vet, be sure to check with the breeder or family or friends, and get recommendations for a good dog health provider. Choose a veterinarian that has an office, which is convenient, close, orderly, and clean, with office hours convenient to your schedule. Be sure the vet is someone you feel comfortable talking with. To ensure that your new puppy is healthy, you should arrange to take him to the veterinarian for an examination within the first couple of days after bringing your new pet home.
The first time you take your new puppy for a checkup, the vet will give your puppy a thorough examination to rule out any major health problems, congenital defects, or other problems that could affect other house pets or your family's health. If possible, take a sample of the puppy's stool in, so the vet can check for worms or parasites.
The vet will start a chart with the information you provide such as the puppy's name, date of birth, and other history. He or she will record your puppy's weight, examine his mouth, throat, teeth, ears, eyes, listen to his lungs and heart, and check his breathing rates and pulse. The vet will also check for a hernia, takes his temperature, and examine the puppy's anal area and genitals.
If you have any questions, be sure to discuss them with your veterinarian. You might ask about a vaccine schedule, pet health insurance, identification microchip, what to feed your new puppy, basic care or behavior. It is often helpful to write out any questions you have and take them when you go, so you do not forget to ask about any issues you want to discuss. Many vets make a point of instructing the new owners about heartworm and other preventive care, sterilization surgery, and nutrition.
The mother's colostrum or first milk right after puppies are born provides them with a natural resistance against just about all diseases for the first several weeks or their life. After that, they require vaccinations to keep their immune systems healthy, along with providing the puppies with protection against many serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases. Every veterinarian has their own preferred protocol regarding vaccinations. Most veterinarians recommend that the puppy get its first vaccinations anywhere from six to nine weeks old. Normally they receive a booster shot every three to four weeks, until the puppy is sixteen weeks old. After their last puppy booster shots are complete, most vets give booster vaccines on an annual basis along with the dogs' checkup. Ask your veterinarian about their vaccine policy.
Many veterinarians provide core vaccines for canine distemper, rabies, infectious hepatitis- and respiratory disease (Canine Adenovirus-2), corona virus, canine parvovirus-2, kennel cough, parainfluenza, which are repeat vaccines given over a certain time.
Canine Distemper - Affecting a dog's nervous, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems, canine distemper is a dangerous and extremely contagious viral disease. Often fatal, it is transmitted through an infected animal in their urine or through contact with fecal material, or even through the air. Symptoms of canine distemper include diarrhea, thick yellow-green eye or nose discharge, coughing, seizures, loss of appetite and fever.
Rabies - Transmitted through an infected animal's bite, rabies is a fatal disease. This nervous system infection causes paralysis and then death. Most states require dogs to have rabies vaccines, as it is a dangerous health threat to the public. Dogs with rabies become aggressive and bite without being provoked.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis (Adenovirus) - This is another highly contagious, contact disease that is passed from an infected animal their saliva, stool, or urine. Infectious canine hepatitis affects the puppy's cells that line their blood vessels, abdominal organs, kidneys and liver. The symptoms of this terrible disease include hemorrhaging, liver damage, abdominal tenderness and pain, depression, appetite loss, and an inflamed mouth or nose. Most infected dogs die within six to ten days, although a few make a very fast recovery.
Corona virus - This gastrointestinal tract viral infection is highly contagious, and spread by contact with an infected animals vomit, feces, or blood. Dogs with corona virus have symptoms such as running a high fever, dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Canine Parvovirus - This disease usually affects puppies and is a highly contagious, common viral infection. Indications of this disease include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration, loss of appetite and fever.
Canine Parainfluenza - This highly contagious and sometimes deadly virus spreads rapidly among dogs kept in kennels or other close quarters, attacks their respiratory system and could be one of the viruses that causes kennel cough. The parainfluenza virus symptoms include a dry, deep sounding, hacking cough, and a low-grade fever. There is a Bordetella vaccination for kennel cough. Canine parainfluenza is transmitted by becoming airborne through contact with an infected animal.
Leptospirosis - This often-fatal bacterial disease spreads through urine contact, with some forms transmitted to humans. It causes extensive damage to a dog's kidneys, liver, and digestive tract. Some symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever, mouth, tongue, and gum sores, abdominal pain, and jaundice.
For a puppy to build up resistance against parvovirus and the other viruses listed, a veterinarian starts the puppy on a vaccination schedule starting at six to 9 weeks old, and continuing every three or four weeks until the age of sixteen weeks. Usually six months later, the puppy receives a booster parvovirus vaccination and its rabies shot, which the law requires.
It is your duty as a responsible pet owner to make sure your puppy receives the preventative care needed from a qualified veterinarian, to keep them healthy and as safe as possible from diseases. Your goal should be a healthy, happy puppy that has a good, nutritional diet, is free from worms, fleas, and other parasites, and protected against disease. Puppy vaccinations can and will save your dogs life.
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