Dr. Smith likes to see puppies and kittens, usually at 8 weeks of age, although if they comes from a kennel or humane society we would recommend within 48 hours of when you bring it home.
At your pet’s first visit, Dr. Smith starts with a physical exam, where your puppy is examined from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail, so please bring a list of any questions or concerns.
We always recommend checking their fecal matter, to make sure your pet doesn’t have intestinal parasites or worms. Its possible they got these from their mother or from their environment, and depending on which, there are different treatments. So please bring a fresh stool sample from your pet with you when you come.
We will discuss vaccines, coming up with a protocol that works best for you and your dog. Dr. Smith recommends keeping vaccines to a minimum and to give supplements that help support the immune system. Titers are offered once the puppy gets older, to check how protected they are against certain viruses. A titer is a laboratory test that measures the level of antibodies in a blood sample.
Food plays an important role in your puppy’s good health, so diet will be talked about, as well as recommended supplements such as multi-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics.
At four months of age, puppies should have a food allergy panel run and diet changed accordingly. The food allergy panel should be repeated every 2 years- sooner if symptoms occur. A comprehensive urine organic acids profile should also be run to assess and correct any imbalances (excessess or deficiencies) in vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. This test should be repeated when there is any significant change in the dog’s functionality.
During the summer and fall months in Michigan, heartworm disease is a concern so heartworm preventative will be discussed.
Fleas and ticks tend to be an issue from spring to fall, and Dr. Smith only recommends treating for them if they are a problem where you live or travel.
Raising a puppy is a rewarding, and sometimes difficult, adventure. Please ask questions on how to help your puppy fit into your life.