Routine Dog Vet Visits That You Need To Know Before Picking Up Your Pup

Alice Nguyen | 11 July, 2022

            Apricot cavoodle waiting at the vet

Dogs aren’t as invincible as you’d like to think. They, too, could get sick from bad food, injuries, and pathogenic organisms. This is especially true for puppies since their senses, immunity, and other physical attributes haven’t fully developed yet.

Did you know that about 20 000 puppies contract canine parvovirus (CPV) across Australia each year? And almost half of them tragically pass away.

“Parvo” is just among the many diseases that couldn’t have reached our dogs had they been subjected to vaccines and routine check-ups. In other words, raising a puppy isn’t just about providing food and shelter. It’s a life decision that requires time and total commitment.

Hence, before you pick up your pup, get to know these routine dog vet visits to keep your furry buddy healthy and strong.

1. Deworming 

Puppies lick and sometimes eat everything they bump on. Unfortunately, some things have soil and faeces with fleas and intestinal worms (e.g. tapeworm, hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms). Sometimes they’re even born with these parasites if their mother’s milk is also infected.

Once left untreated, your pup will experience poor growth, appetite loss, pot-belly, and diarrhoea. Hookworms and whipworms also latch on your puppy’s intestines and suck its blood, sometimes causing a life-threatening case of anemia.

Family members may even be infected while engaging with the new puppy.

Therefore, deworming must commence as soon as possible—when your pup is 2 weeks old already. Then, the deworming process must continue based on the following schedule:

  • Every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age
  • Every 1 month until 6 months of age
  • Every 3 months for the rest of their adulthood

The University of Sydney Veterinary Teaching Hospital (UVTHS) recommends Milbemax Allwormer to eliminate all intestinal worms. To be sure, consult with a veterinarian. 

2. Vaccination

Vaccination protects your puppy from life-threatening infectious diseases. Specifically, vaccines contain agents similar to disease-causing microorganisms. Hence, introducing vaccines to your puppy’s body allows its immune system to recognise and attack the foreign agent once the body reencounters it in the future.

Since vaccines work better when injected into a healthy host, subjecting a sick pet to vaccination would be less effective. Remember, vaccination isn’t a cure. It’s prevention. 

Moreover, vaccines don’t instantly work. Booster vaccinations every 2-4 weeks are necessary for your puppy to gain immunity. 

There are two types of vaccines: Core and Non-Core. According to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), core vaccines are those which every pet must receive to protect them from life-threatening diseases. On the other hand, non-core vaccines are required based on the animal’s geographical location and environment.

The following, which are collectively known as the ‘Duramune C3 vaccine’, are core vaccines:

  • canine distemper virus
  • canine adenovirus
  • canine parvovirus

Moreover, non-core vaccines in Sydney are grouped as follows:

  •  Bronchi-Shield III vaccines
    • parainfluenza virus
    • bordetella bronchiseptica
  •  C2i vaccine  (recommended for those living in places exposed to rats and standing water, such as north-eastern NSW and inner Sydney) 
    • leptospira interrogans

UVTHS recommends the vaccination schedule below:

  • 6-8 weeks of age: 1st vaccination, C3 vaccine
  • 10-12 weeks of age: 2nd vaccination, C3 + Bronchi-Shield III vaccines
  • 14-16 weeks of age: 3rd vaccination, C3 vaccine
  • 16 weeks of age (if third vaccination given at 14-weeks of age): 4th vaccination, C3 vaccine

For best results, follow your veterinarian's recommendation.

3. Desexing

If you’re not planning to breed your dog, desexing is the answer. It’s a surgery involving the removal of a dog’s reproductive organ.  

Apart from preventing unplanned puppies, it also reduces the risk of mammary cancer and uterus infections in female dogs and prevents prostate diseases and testicular cancer in male dogs. Moreover, it also significantly lessens a dog’s aggressive behaviour and tendency to roam around for mating.

Dogs are usually desexed when they’re 5-6 months old. But, recently, veterinarians recommend desexing as early as 8-16 weeks or before the dogs reach puberty. 

4. Routine Wellness Examination

Although your pet seems healthy and well, a routine wellness examination at least once a year is necessary to detect underlying illnesses. It’s also an opportunity to inquire about your pet’s nutrition and behaviour. 

Since puppies are more vulnerable to diseases and their environment, it’s ideal for them to receive at least three examinations in their first year

When they’re around 1-6 years old, they’ll undergo the following health screenings:

  • Vaccination Booster
  • Parasite check
  • Heart check
  • Dental care
  • Blood test
  • Chemistry panel
  • Urinalysis

Additional health screenings are necessary once they’re over 7 years old.

  • Osteoarthritis check
  • Chest radiograph
  • Thyroid check

Final Thoughts

Owning a dog is a serious responsibility. If you think you aren’t ready yet to dedicate time and resources for walks, plays, dogs accessories, and vet visits, perhaps it isn’t the right time to take this wonderful creature under your wing.