Puppy & Kitten Care:
Jumping in With All Four Paws

Puppy and Kitten Care

When you first bring home a puppy or kitten, you’re embarking on an exciting new chapter in your life. This furry addition will need lots of love and care, and you’re just the person to provide it. In return, you will experience a bond that you will treasure like no other.

At Marina Veterinary Center, we welcome new pets and their families. We understand that many questions will arise during these first weeks and months, and we are happy to take the time to assist you in any way we can. Our veterinarians and staff will work with you to lay a solid health foundation for your newest family member so that he or she will have a long, healthy, and happy life.

Introductory Appointment

Typically, a puppy or kitten will be ready to come home with you at around 8 weeks of age. We encourage you to schedule a checkup with us as soon as possible after that. You will want to bring any pet health records you received for your new pet, along with a small stool sample.

Since puppies and kittens often become infected with intestinal parasites, either from their mother or via their environment, it’s important that they be dewormed. Our veterinarians will also conduct a complete physical to ensure that your new pet is healthy. This head-to-tail exam will include a check of the ears, nose, mouth, teeth, skin, fur, abdomen, heart, lungs, and joints, including overall range of motion.

If your new pet is purebred, our veterinarians will discuss any potential breed-specific health issues he or she may encounter. In some cases, we may recommend additional screenings by board-certified veterinary specialists. This will enable us to develop a proactive pet wellness plan in order to protect your pet from future health challenges.

Pet Nutrition Counseling

There are so many pet foods available these days, selecting an appropriate diet for your puppy or kitten can be difficult. Our veterinarians can assist you in identifying which type of food will best suit the needs of your pet. Breed type will also influence this decision, not only because of the size and growth rate of the pet, but also because of his or her ability to digest certain dietary components more easily than others.

Pet Vaccinations

Vaccinations play an important role in protecting pets from highly contagious and potentially deadly diseases. However, not all vaccinations are necessary for all patients. Here is the vaccination protocol we suggest for our pet patients:

  • Puppies/adult dogs—For dogs, we recommend core vaccinations only. These include rabies and a combination vaccination that protects against distemper, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. Depending upon your pet’s lifestyle, we may recommend the bordetella vaccine as well.
  • Kittens/adult cats—For cats, we recommend rabies and FVRCP, which protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. We also suggest conducting a blood test for feline leukemia/FIV for all of our feline patients. If your kitty goes outside or is exposed to other felines that do, then a feline leukemia vaccine will be recommended.

At Marina Veterinary Center, we are very careful to protect your pet’s health, even when it comes to preventive health care measures like vaccines. That’s why we administer each vaccination separately to our pet patients, so if a reaction does occur, we’ll know what caused it. In addition, we only use non-adjuvanted vaccines for our feline patients.

Parasite Prevention

We recommend that West Los Angeles, California, area pets be placed on flea preventive year round. Not only do these parasites cause your pet to be uncomfortable, they can also lead to serious health risks for you and your family.

Bartonella is a form of bacteria that is transmitted by fleas to cats and may be passed on to humans. It can be especially dangerous for those individuals who have compromised immune systems. We recommend testing all cats that are six months of age or older for bartonella and treating those that are infected.

Heartworm prevention may also be necessary for some pet patients, depending upon their specific lifestyle and risk factors. We will be happy to help you determine whether your puppy or kitten would benefit from this medication.

Lastly, we highly recommend an annual deworming to ensure that your pet is free of intestinal parasites. Depending upon your pet’s specific symptoms, it may be necessary to conduct additional fecal testing. These recommendations are based upon guidelines developed by the Companion Animal Parasite Council.

Spay or Neuter Services

Preventing unwanted pregnancies is just one of the many health benefits of spaying or neutering your pet. We recommend that puppies and kittens have this surgery between four to six months of age, although we can perform it once the patient has reached three pounds, as long as the pet is healthy.

The earlier your pet is spayed or neutered, the better it will be for his or her health. This is because the blood supply to the reproductive organs hasn’t fully developed in younger pets. In addition, they are able to recover more rapidly from the surgery.

Once you have decided to proceed, our veterinarians will use advanced veterinary surgical tools and protocols to protect your pet’s health throughout the entire procedure. In addition, our experienced and dedicated staff will stay by your pet’s side, providing gentle and comforting care.

A spay or neuter procedure will most likely be your pet’s first intensive experience with veterinary care. It will lay the foundation for his or her future comfort level for many years to come.

We appreciate the trust you are placing in us by bringing your new puppy or kitten here. We will do everything we can to provide the knowledge, veterinary care needed to ensure optimal health and happiness for your pet.