The first visit to your veterinarian is critical for your puppy's long-term health and well-being. Our La Pine veterinarians explain our preventive care priorities for your young puppy's first appointment, as well as some of the common conditions we will look for.
The First Vet Visit For Your Puppy
Any vet will tell you that taking your dog to the vet for the first time, as well as the subsequent appointments, are some of the most important things you can do to help preserve their health, well-being, and safety. These initial visits allow your veterinarians to provide critical preventive care, examine your new puppy for signs of potential health issues, and diagnose any existing health conditions that your young puppy may have.
Puppies should have their first veterinary visit around the age of 6 weeks. Your veterinarian will advise you on how frequently you should bring your companion in for checkups during their first year.
But, what exactly happens when you take your dog to the vet for the first time? And what kinds of health problems are commonly discovered during these checkups? More information is provided by our La Pine Animal Hospital team here.
What is involved in your puppy's first vet visit?
The first steps of your puppy's first veterinary appointment, like any other first medical appointment, will require you to fill out some paperwork. This is to ensure that your veterinarian has all pertinent information about your new puppy on file, such as their name, breed, age, and so on. Your veterinarian may also inquire about your puppy's temperament, hereditary health history, and other factors.
This initial discussion is an excellent opportunity for you to not only provide detailed answers to your veterinarian's questions to ensure they have as much information as possible about your puppy's health but also to ask questions of your own!
Your puppy will then be given a thorough physical examination by your veterinarian. This includes inspecting their coats and skin condition, alertness level, internal health, face condition, signs of swelling, and other factors. If your dog is of a breed that is predisposed to certain congenital defects, your veterinarian will specifically look for those as well.
Following your puppy's physical examination, your veterinarian will use all of the information gathered to advise you on a suitable preventive treatment plan for the first half-year to a year of your puppy's life.
When puppies reach the appropriate age, preventive care includes starting them on a course of parasite preventive treatments for ticks, fleas, heartworms, and other parasites. It also entails planning a year's worth of vaccinations and boosters against common diseases that affect dogs and cats.
Finally, your vet will discuss "fixing" (spaying or neutering) your dog to help prevent a variety of problematic behaviors, inadvertent litters, and serious diseases as they age, as well as microchipping to help you find your puppy if they become lost.
Treatment of Common Conditions
This final step may or may not be discussed during your puppy's first veterinary appointment, depending on how your vet assesses your puppy's health. If your veterinary professional discover any health problems in your young puppy, it will be their top priority to get them diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Illnesses or conditions that would not be life-threatening in an adult puppy can be fatal in puppies due to their weakened immune systems.
But what are some of the most common conditions that vets detect during this first appointment with a puppy?
What are Some Common Conditions Diagnosed in Puppies s At their First Appointment?
While your puppy should be in perfect health when they come to see us for the first time, a young puppy may have a condition that is affecting their health and requires treatment on their first visit! Some of the common health conditions that may necessitate treatment during your puppy's first appointment are as follows:
- External Parasites: External parasites, such as fleas and ticks, are a very common health issue for puppies. If external parasites are discovered on your puppy, our veterinarians will also examine him for signs of illnesses that are commonly transmitted by these pests.
- Internal Parasites: Internal parasites, like external parasites, are fairly common in young puppies. This is especially true if you obtained them from a rescue that did not provide deworming treatment. Because this is such a common health issue, some events may prescribe dewormers regardless of test results to ensure your puppy isn't harboring any unwanted guests.
- Canine Parvovirus: This extremely serious and contagious disease can be fatal to dogs, particularly puppies with weakened immune systems. If your veterinarian detects this illness, they will take immediate action. Canine parvovirus, while preventable through vaccinations, requires intensive veterinary treatment and hospitalization to treat.
- Congenital Defects: This broad category of conditions includes facial deformities such as underbites, congenital blindness, bone disorders, and other conditions. Our veterinarians will examine your puppy for specific congenital defects based on their breed and ancestry (if a breeder has provided you with their hereditary health information). Treatment for these issues can vary as much as the issues themselves, and your veterinarian will go over their treatment or management plan with you in detail.
When we perform a physical exam on your puppy, our veterinarians specifically look for each of these health conditions. We may perform additional diagnostic testing on your puppies, such as fecal exams, bloodwork, and X-rays, depending on their proclivity to develop any of the conditions or illnesses listed above.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding puppies. For an accurate diagnosis of your puppy's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.