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At Detroit Lakes Animal Hospital we promote preventative care which begins with your kitten's very first visit. Our guidance can be a crucial part of your kitten's first few months, while he or she is rapidly becoming part of your family. In most cases you'll be visiting us several times during your kitten's first few months so we would like you to feel comfortable asking questions. Here is a summary of things we'll cover in the next few visits:
We recommend beginning your kitten's vaccinations between 6-8 weeks of age, with boosters every 3-4 weeks apart until he or she is 16 weeks of age. The most common diseases we vaccinate against are (C=core):
Rabies - C
Feline Panleukopenia - C
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis - C
Feline Calicivirus - C
FeLV / FIV Testing
We recommend testing your kitten with a simple blood test for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Both viruses can be transmitted from mother to kitten and kitten to other unprotected cats in the household. Early detection of infection will enable you to manage the disease and maintain the health of your cat.
Many new pet owners don't realize that kittens can get roundworms and hookworms from their mothers before birth. Kittens can also pick up intestinal parasites from their environment. For this reason and because humans can potentially develop serious problems if exposed to immature forms of some intestinal parasites we routinely recommend deworming all kittens several times. We will also recommend doing a fecal sample check at kittenhood and yearly to ensure he or she has not been re-infected.
The most common external parasites we encounter are fleas, ticks and ear mites. There are a couple safe and effective products used topically once monthly that we may recommend to protect your kitten from these parasites.
Spaying / Neutering
It is very important for your kitten to be spayed and/or neutered to help lengthen and improve the overall quality of your pet's life.
For females, spaying eliminates or greatly minimizes problems with:
Unwanted pregnancy, which helps prevent pet overpopulation
Attraction of male cats during "heat" cycles
Potentially life threatening uterine infections
For males, neutering eliminates or greatly minimizes problems with:
Aggression and dominance
Roaming, which helps prevent accidental death and pet overpopulation
Territorial marking with urine
A high quality feline diet is essential for proper growth and development of your kitten. Table food, scraps, and dog food are not adequate to maintain the long term health of your feline companion. Choosing the proper diet for your kitten can be very confusing but we can help guide you in the right direction.
You might be surprised to know that the number one cause of pets being euthanized in the US every year is not cancer, heart disease, or "old age". In fact it is often related to behavior problems, such as inappropriate urination in cats, which is why we feel getting started with kitten socialization and training is so important. Ask one of our staff members for advice on rearing happy, healthy kittens!