Your Puppy's First Visit to the Vet, Shots & Vaccinations

The sooner you visit the veterinarian, the better. Puppies should be immunized at an early age. Your veterinarian will start your puppy on a vaccination schedule and will advise you when boosters are necessary. Make sure your pet gets a regular veterinary checkup every six months or as recommended by your veterinarian.

When you take your puppy to the vet, you should know what to expect. Some of the common diagnostic tests your veterinarian may want to perform include fecal examinations to check for internal parasites and blood tests to check for diseases.

During the physical exam, your veterinarian will feel your puppy's abdomen, listen to his chest, check the condition of his coat, look in his ears for infection and ear mites, and inspect his mouth for tartar buildup or gum disease. Your vet might also discuss the right puppy food for your puppy's needs.

Puppies may begin vaccinations as early as 6 weeks of age. As soon as you get your new puppy, schedule a visit with your veterinarian to begin his vaccination program.

The following diseases are preventable by immunization:

Distemper: Viral disease that affects respiratory, digestive and nervous systems.

Hepatitis: Viral disease that affects the liver.

Leptospirosis: Bacterial disease that causes potentially fatal kidney disease.

Parvovirus: Viral infection that causes fatal or severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Bordetella (kennel cough): Airborne bacterial infection that causes bronchitis and bronchopneumonia.

Lyme disease: Tick-borne disease that causes joint disease and high fever.

Rabies: Contagious viral disease transmitted by saliva of an infected animal, typically raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. Even when no injury is apparent, report your pet's contact with an unfamiliar or wild animal to your veterinarian immediately.

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