Common Pet Questions

At what ages do puppies and kittens get their shots?

The standard schedule is 8, 12 and 16 weeks. Our goal is to keep the vaccine active in the body until about 20 weeks of age, and each vaccination is active for 3-4 weeks at a time. If the puppy or kitten gets their first vaccine from the breeder early, at 6 weeks of age, then they need the follow up vaccines at 9 weeks, 12-13 weeks, and 16 weeks.

At what age do we spay or neuter a puppy or kitten?

We aim for 5 ½ to 6 months of age. The first heat can happen anywhere between 6 months and 8 months of age, and we want to do a spay before the first heat has happened. This is because when that first heat occurs, the blood supply to the uterus increases a lot, and the larger blood vessels stay there; if there has not yet been a heat, the uterus itself and the blood vessels are still small. Also, for dogs, if they have never been through a heat cycle, we take down their chances of breast cancer later in life.

What about declawing a cat?

This is NOT RECOMMENDED. A declaw is not some sort of fancy nail trim where it just never grows back – it is an amputation of the last toe bone, from which the nail arises. It forever changes the way the cat bears weight on the paw, and can lead to lifelong pain. There are better options: we can teach you how to do a nail trim, and keep the points on the claws down every 6 weeks. Or, there are “Soft Paws”, little silicon nail covers that glue on over the nails to minimize scratch damage.

Is parasite control really necessary? 

  • Heartworm is really hard to avoid, you can not keep mosquitoes from biting; even an “indoor dog” goes outside to pee, plus mosquitoes make it into the house. If your dog gets infected with heartworm, it can cause heart failure. If you diagnose it before the heart failure stage, you can treat it; but the treatment is really expensive, and really hard on the dog. And if you do succeed in clearing the heartworms without the dog suffering a serious blood clot, there is a permanent “footprint” of damage on the chambers of the heart and the blood vessels of the lungs.
  • Intestinal Worms can seriously drag down a dog’s health, and can be devastating to a puppy. And they can go to people. Roundworms are particularly a threat to children under age 8, and can cause organ damage and eye damage as the larvae migrate to these tissues. Hookworms can affect people of any age; and the really gross part is that if the larvae are in you lawn from the dog pooping out eggs, then they can infect you by burrowing into the soles of your bare feet.
  • Ticks transmit diseases, including Lyme disease. The tick-borne diseases (Lyme, Ehrlichia and Anaplasma) can cause serious illness; and treatment just quiets them down, they can never be eliminated from the body once they are infecting it.
  • Fleas – they are a significant nuisance to have in your house, they can cause a lot of skin irritation for bitten pets, and they will bite people too.

How do I make an appointment?

You can hit the Request An Appointment button located on any page in this site; or e-mail us at [email protected]; or call (289) 20 PET DR (289-207-3837)