TotalBond Veterinary Hospital at Forestbrook

Puppy & Kitten Care

If you've recently added a new pet to your family, congratulations! For brand new pet owners, a puppy or kitten can be challenging - keeping track of vaccine dates, providing the most appropriate diet, and shaping your pet's best behavior is a lot to juggle. You don't need to do it alone! Our team is here to provide important puppy & kitten care, as well as guide you on the journey of keeping your little one healthy as they grow into a full-fledged adult with unique needs and personalities.

Spay/Neuter Procedure

Spaying or neutering your pet is, in many cases, one of the most responsible choices that an owner can make on behalf of their pet. Preventing them from impregnating other pets or becoming pregnant themselves is only one of the benefits of this procedure. It can also protect them from a whole host of potential health issues.

Neutering and spaying refer to the same general procedure— removing the reproductive organs in your pet. When performed on a male, it’s known as neutering. When performed on a female, it’s called spaying.

Generally, there are many benefits to spaying or neutering your pet, provided their health, age, and timing is right:

  • Improved quality of life thanks to a range of health benefits.
  • Improved behavior in pets— reproductive organs lead to the production of hormones that can lead to a range of behavioral difficulties.
  • Reduces overpopulation in the pet community. There is already a shortage of homes for the thousands of pets in shelters around the country. When pets aren’t spayed or neutered, they can mate with other pets and produce even more puppies or kittens in desperate need of homes.
  • In females, spaying reduces uterine and mammary issues including infection and cancer, and puts an end to regular ‘heat’ cycles which can cause discomfort and behavioral issues. Spaying can also lead to reduced instinct to roam, howl, mark spots with urine, and become aggressive.
  • In males, the neutering procedure reduces aggression, urine marking, howling, and the urge to roam. It also prevents diseases that are common in unneutered male dogs, including prostate disease and testicular cancer.

When should I spay/neuter my pet? Or should I?

This question is not as straight forward as it used to be. Historically the answer has been Yes, and at 6 months, i.e. before sexual maturity. This helps to prevent accidental pregnancy, the development of certain sex-hormone related behaviors, uterine, ovary, testicular, prostate diseases, and importantly in females, a serious reduction in the incidence of breast tumors and breast cancer.

In the last 5 years, however, some studies are indicating that “Pre-puberty” alteration also leads to increases in urinary incontinence later in life, certain orthopedic problems (hip and knee especially), and an uptick in some other kinds of cancers (lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, mast cell tumor, osteosarcoma).

Complicating matters is that it is not uniform across the breeds studied (and so far only a few of them have been, and they are all larger breed), nor gender.

In the end, our reading of the literature, drawing upon a consensus of expert opinion, and putting all of these factors together, our typical recommendations are currently:

  • Small breed dogs: spay or neuter around 6 months. (not at high risk for joint/tendon problems or the studied cancers).
  • Large breed females: here we are a little conflicted, but if you can tolerate going through a heat cycle, on balance we think waiting to spay until 11 - 12 months may be ideal.
  • Large breed males: Wait to neuter until 12 - 14 months old UNLESS they showed behavior issues like urine marking/aggression. and then I would neuter ASAP.
  • (Note: spaying/neutering dogs when they are older and larger is a somewhat more involved surgical procedure than when younger and smaller, so you may find some additional costs associated).

A thorough discussion of the issue and scientific evidence to date can be found on PetMD.

Microchipping

Microchipping involves inserting a tiny microchip just beneath your pet’s skin which contains vital contact information about you and the pet. This helps identify your pet and return it safely to you in the event it is lost or stolen. This procedure is extremely quick and relatively pain-free. The chip can then be updated from an online database if you experience life changes like a new address or contact number.

Puppy Wellness Exams

It’s recommended that you bring your puppy in for a wellness exam at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks old. This lets us track your puppy’s development, keep it protected from common puppy illnesses, and ensure that it doesn’t develop any parasites or infections (some of which are potentially contagious to humans! - children especially). At each appointment, one of our team members will perform a full physical exam and give your pup any required and non-core vaccines. You can also ask us questions about giving your pup the best possible start to life.

Note: we recommend that you bring a fecal sample to each puppy wellness exam for analysis

Puppy Vaccinations

Vaccines are essential for keeping your new puppy safe from dangerous and fatal conditions that can wreak havoc on their growing bodies, developing immune systems, and more. We recommend that you take extra care about where you allow your puppy to visit before it’s had its vaccinations, generally completing its series by 16 weeks old. Avoid places with lots of other dogs, like dogs parks, daycares, boarding facilities, and other spots where they might be exposed to viruses or parasites common in other dogs.

Kitten Wellness Exams

It’s recommended that you bring your kitten in for a wellness exam at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks old. This lets us track your kitten’s development, keep it protected from common illnesses, and ensure that it doesn’t develop any parasites or infections. At each appointment, one of our team members will perform a full physical exam and give your kitten any required and non-core vaccines. You can also ask us questions about giving your kitten the best possible start to life.

Note: we recommend that you bring a fecal sample to each kitten wellness exam for analysis.

Kitten Vaccinations

Vaccines are essential for keeping your new kitten safe from dangerous and fatal conditions that can wreak havoc on their growing bodies, developing immune systems, and more. We recommend that you keep your kitten at home until they’ve had all necessary vaccinations.

Multi-Cat Households

Cats spending time outdoors and/or that will be living in households with other cats require special attention. It’s important that they are tested for both feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). We recommend that you have your cat tested before bringing it home to your other cats and potentially exposing them to these dangerous conditions.

When it comes time to introduce your new cat to the home, take care. Cats can be territorial and resistant to change. We recommend that you keep your kitten somewhere separate from other cats for a while, where they can smell and see other cats but not directly interact. Once they become more comfortable with each other, allow them to interact directly while supervised. Over time, they’ll all adjust just fine to the new situation.

Have questions about your new puppy or kitten? Call us today and we’ll be happy to provide answers and guidance.

Total Wellcare Club

Now's the perfect time to look into our Total Wellcare Club, which offers a ton of incredible benefits including low monthly payments, two wellness/preventative care visits per year, and all immunizations, customized to your pet according to AAHA Vaccine Guidelines, just to name a few!

Join the TotalBond Veterinary Hospital at Forestbrook Family Today!

Our animal hospital is located just 26 minutes from downtown Charlotte via I-85 N. We are by Gaston Country Club, easily accessible to the pets of Gaston County and the surrounding areas.

Phone: 704.867.8318

Email: forestbrook@totalbondvets.com

  • Monday: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Thursday: 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Saturday: 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed