Kitten Care

What Can I Expect For Veterinary Care For My Kitten?

Wellness Visits: Your kitten will have an exam with the doctor every 3-4 weeks until they are 14-16 weeks of age. During these visits they may receive age and lifestyle appropriate vaccines, dewormers and testing.

When kittens are born, their immune systems are not yet mature and therefore are very susceptible to infection. When our young pets first nurse their mothers,  they receive all the antibodies that the mother has to offer providing them with immunity until their own system can take over. Birthing order, how well they nursed and other factors influence how long the maternal antibodies will provide protection. This period of time is very individual from pet to pet. By 14 to16 weeks of age, maternal antibodies are gone and the pet will be able continue on its own immune system. Any vaccines given while maternal immunity is present will be inactivated. We will vaccinate your kitten with a series of vaccines ending at a time when we know their own immune system should be able to respond. Waiting until your pet is old enough to definitely respond, as we do with the rabies vaccination, could leave a large window of vulnerability if the maternal antibody wanes early.

Parasite / Fecal exam: A fecal sample will be done to determine if your kitten has any intestinal parasites.

Microchipping: Microchipping serves as a permanent form of identification. Our microchips are read universally. If your pet is lost and turned in to a shelter or veterinary hospital, they will be scanned with a chip reader which picks up the id number that corresponds to your name and phone number. We commonly microchip your pet while they are under anesthesia for their spay or neuter, although it can be done at any time.

Vaccinations: Vaccinations are one of the crucial steps in assuring your kitten will have a healthy and happy kittenhood. To better understand vaccines, it is important to understand how your pet is protected from disease the first few weeks of its life. A newborn kitten is not naturally immune to diseases although it does have some antibody protection which is derived from its mother's blood and early milk (colostrum). These are called maternal antibodies. High levels of maternal antibodies present in the kittens' blood stream will block the effectiveness of a vaccine. When the maternal antibodies drop to a low enough level in the kitten, immunization by a commercial vaccine will work. It is commonly felt that these antibodies fall off between 8-12 weeks of age. Since it is not determined when each individual kitten looses their maternal antibodies, we protect them by giving a series of vaccines with the last vaccine given between 14-16 weeks when the maternal antibodies have dropped off

Neutering/ Spaying: We recommend surgery at 5-6 months of age. Females : A “spay” is an ovariohysterectomy (removing both the ovaries and the uterus). At 5-6 months of age, your kitten will not have gone into heat yet and all medical evidence suggests that spaying a cat before her first heat dramatically reduces the risk of breast cancer later in life. Other medical benefits of spaying your pet include preventing pyometra (a potentially life threatening infection of the uterus) and uterine and ovarian cancer. Males have an orchiectomy in which both testicles are removed.

Heartworm and Flea and Tick Preventative: Monthly heartworm and flea and tick prevention are recommended and are dispensed based on your pet’s weight and age.

Keep those teeth clean: Pet’ s should have their teeth brushed every 24 hours. Getting your kitten used to having their teeth brushed at a young age will make it easier when they get older. Start with introducing your pet to the toothpaste by letting them lick it off your finger. Slowly work your way up to rubbing your finger along the gum line/ teeth with paste on your finger and eventually to brushing their teeth with a pet toothbrush.  Take it slow, use lots of praise, affection and rewards.

Feeding Guidelines: So many foods...how do I choose? When it comes to feeding your kitten, the most important factor is choosing a high quality diet. We have many years experience with the diets available in Gustopher’s Pet Boutique (off of reception) and feel confident in recommending them to your kitten.

How often? Meal feeding your kitten is better then free feeding. This helps later in life with weight issues and if becomes necessary to change diets for other reasons.

How much food? Following the recommendations on the side of the bag is a good guide to start with. Adjustments can be made from there if necessary.

When do I change to adult food? Typically you will transition your pet to adult food between 9-12 months of age.
176 River Road  Andover, MA 01810
www.riverroadveterinaryhospital.com

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