Aside from vaccinations, pets should be brought to the veterinarian for the following:
a. Gastrointestinal Worms - Puppies can be dewormed as early as 2 weeks old. Frequency depends on the age of your dog and its health status (pregnant, history of worms, etc.). Kittens can be treated as early as 3 weeks old. Schedule and frequency of follow-up doses depend on your vet’s judgment and your cat’s specific needs.
Pets are also usually dewormed before vaccination, to ensure that the animal is physically ready to be vaccinated.
b. Heartworm - Dogs and cats get heartworm from mosquito bites if the mosquito drew blood from an infected animal. Heartworms travel through blood vessels and cause lung and heart problems if left untreated. The disease is usually symptom-free for the first 6 months of infection. Symptoms only manifest when the disease has progressed and the worm load is large.
The safest way to protect your pet from heartworm disease is to prevent it. To start a heartworm program, your vet usually draws a little blood to use for testing. If the result is negative (no heartworms), the pet can then be started on regular preventive medication.
- Application of tick and flea preparations
Soaps, collars, topical applications, shampoos, and rinses are available to treat or prevent infestations. Owners should be aware that ticks and fleas are the carriers of certain organisms that cause diseases.
If you have the patience and the time to bathe and groom your pet yourself, by all means, do so. But for those who prefer to leave it to the professionals, some vet clinics double as grooming centers. It is not recommended to bathe very young animals. If necessary, the first bath should be done when a healthy puppy is around 8-10 weeks old.