Tails of Seattle: A pets blog
Veterinary Q&A: Initial care for new puppies
Posted by Neena Pellegrini
Question: What diseases are puppies susceptible to?
Answer: The most contagious and serious puppy diseases are canine parvovirus and canine distemper virus. Any unvaccinated or under-vaccinated dog is at risk of contracting theses diseases, but puppies are especially susceptible. The risk is lower if the puppies dam was vaccinated appropriately, but sometime it is difficult to confirm this.
Question: What safeguards should owners follow?
Answer: Your best bet is to avoid exposure to unfamiliar dogs until your puppy has completed his initial vaccine series, usually by 4 months of age. The catch is, a puppy benefits immensely from socializing with other dogs during the first six months of its life.
My suggestion is to spend time introducing your puppy to dogs that belong to friends and family so you know they are healthy and disease-free. Avoid dog parks and other public places until your puppy had developed a mature immune system (usually around 6 months of age).
Puppy classes are a good idea, too. They help you introduce your puppy to unfamiliar people and places without putting them at unnecessary risk.
Question: What should I assume is done if I get a rescued pup or one from an animal shelter?
Answer: If your puppy is from a rescue or an animal shelter, make sure you get a copy of all paperwork associated with his care up to the time you adopted him.
I recommend taking the paperwork with you to your puppy's first veterinary visit. Your vet will help you determine what routine care your puppy still needs. Usually, some additional vaccines, parasite checks and routine deworming treatments will be included in the standard recommendations.
As far as immunity levels, bottle-fed puppies, etc., your best resource is your veterinarian. They are medical experts with several years of schooling. Each case is an individual that should be reviewed by the pet owner, the veterinarian and possibly the breeder in a spirit of cooperation.
Dr. Natalie Warren
Warren graduated from Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. In addition to Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital, she has worked in a rural large-animal practice, suburban small-animal hospitals and urban emergency centers. She also has provided relief veterinary service to area animal shelters. She owns three cats and a horse.
Next week: A killer called 'bloat.'
Read our past Q&As:
Veterinary Q&A: Knee problems in dogs
Veterinary Q&A: Flea-control treatment
Veterinary Q&A: Bearded dragon lizards
Veterinary Q&A: Vaccinations for indoor cats
Veterinary Q&A: Lumps and bumps
Veterinary Q&A: More on aging dogs and arthritis
Veterinary Q&A: Puppy and geriatric exams
Veterinary QA: What dogs can safely chew
Veterinary QA: Why does it cost so much to clean a dog's teeth?
Veterinary QA follow-up: More on cleaning a dog's teeth
Veterinary QA: When to spay or neuter
Do you have a question about pet health? Ask now! We'll pose some of your questions to a local vet in an upcoming post.
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Apr 11 - 4:25 PM The cat's meow: Fun events for fans of felines
Apr 3 - 6:00 PM Another salmonella pet-food recall
Mar 31 - 9:25 PM Update: Pet-food recall
Mar 28 - 5:00 PM New study on how diet may impact a dog's sense of smell