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What to Expect

  • Your Pet's First Visit
  • Your Kitten's First Year
  • Your Puppy's First Year

Your Pet's First Visit

At Richview Animal Hospital, we take great pride in being the area's trusted team of veterinary professionals. We understand that your pet is an important part of your family, which is why we treat each creature that comes through our door as one of our own! Although we offer an extensive range of veterinary services for dogs and cats at various stages of life, one of the most common services we provide is that of the annual wellness exam.

The Importance of Annual Wellness Exams

Our veterinarians strongly recommend wellness exams at least once a year for most pets. However, more frequent exams may be recommended for older pets or pets with a history of certain medical issues. Regardless, regular wellness exams allow us to keep an eye on your pet's health and wellness patterns, making note of any potentially problematic changes. In an ideal scenario, wellness exams serve as our way of providing pets with a clean bill of health and added peace of mind for their owners. 

However, in some situations, wellness exams allow our veterinary team to spot potential "red flags" or symptoms of medical issues that need to be addressed. As a result, we may be able to diagnose a health issue in its early stages, which drastically increases the chances for successful treatment or management.

What to Expect From Your Pet's First Exam

With all of our new patients, we typically recommend a general wellness exam for their first appointment with us. Once you arrive with your pet, we will take the time to get to know you and your loyal companion. Specifically, our veterinarian and veterinary assistants will review your pet's past medical records (if you were able to bring them in, which we do recommend) and give you an opportunity to bring up any questions or concerns you may have about your pet's health. Once your pet feels comfortable with us, we will begin the exam.

Wellness exams typically begin with a general physical examination, where our veterinarian will perform a complete "head-to-tail" exam that includes weighing your pet, listening to their breathing, and checking their heart rate. We also generally recommend wellness blood testing as part of your pet's exam; this allows us to assess the health of your pet's internal organs and other parts of the body, as well as allow us to compare results from year-to-year and check for changes.

We will also take the time to ensure that your pet is up-to-date on all vaccines and immunizations. If needed, we can administer this right here in our office. Some vaccines will be needed every year, whereas others may only be needed every three years. We will provide you with a vaccination schedule for your pet so you know which vaccines are needed for future visits.

Other possible components of your pet's first wellness exam may include:

• A stool analysis, depending on your pet and his or her lifestyle
• Viral testing (for cats), which can check for FIV and FeLV
• A tooth and gum examination
• Nutrition counseling

Towards the end of your pet's appointment, we may make recommendations for future appointments. For example, depending on the state of your pet's oral health, we might recommend that you schedule a dental cleaning for your pet to remove plaque and tartar build-up that could otherwise lead to painful tooth decay or gum disease. We might also make recommendations regarding your pet's diet and lifestyle to improve health and wellness. Ultimately, our goal is to help your pet lead the happiest and healthiest life possible!

Your Kitten's First Year

Have a new kitten in the family? If so, congratulations! Cats are clean, intelligent animals that thrive with the right care, and we know you want to provide that for yours. At Richview Animal Hospital, we want to help. We work hard to give every patient the best shot at a long, healthy life, and we know that cats and dogs alike face fewer risks in adulthood when they receive proper care as babies.

Now that you have a new cat, it's time to learn exactly what your cat will need to build a strong foundation for years to come. Our team will help you learn more details about proper at-home care, but remember to pay attention to the following basic needs during your cat's first year of life.

Veterinary Care for Kittens

It's never too early to check your kitten for common diseases, infections, and other health risks. Your kitten's veterinarian also needs to keep track of his or her growth, rule out abnormalities, and start the first round of core vaccinations to protect your kitten from life-threatening diseases. Bring your kitten to our hospital as soon as possible for their first wellness exam. Our team will help you schedule your kitten's next round of booster vaccinations, which are very important to maintain as your cat grows. Other wellness options include topical and oral parasite prevention products, which protect young cats from fleas, ticks, and mites.

Vaccines

In their first year of life, kittens require a lot of care and attention. A series of vaccinations is given in the first year to help ensure a healthy beginning. At every vaccination appointment, a full physical examination is performed by the doctor to make sure that your kitten is growing and developing properly.

Kitten Vaccination Schedule:

8 wk - rhinotracheitis, calici virus, panleukopenia

12 wk - rhinotracheitis, calici virus, panleukopenia, chlamydia & feline leukemia virus (FeLV)

16 wk - rhinotracheitis, calici virus, panleukopenia, chlamydia, FeLV, rabies (1yr vaccine) & feline leukemia (FeLV)

1 yr - rhinotracheitis, calici virus, panleukopenia, chlamydia, FeLV, rabies (3 yr vaccine) & leukemia for high risk pets

Spaying and Neutering

We also recommend spaying or neutering your kitten as soon as possible. At Richview Animal Hospital, we emphasize the importance of this routine procedure, which involves the removal of sex organs and is called spaying for female kittens or neutering for male kittens. In addition to fighting pet overpopulation, spaying and neutering allows us to reduce every pet's chances of behavioural problems, preventable diseases, and more. If you schedule your pet's surgery as soon as they reach sexual maturity, they will enjoy the lowest possible odds of developing uterine infections, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions.

Nutrition

Kittens need more calories and hydration than adult cats, so we recommend free-feeding wet food that was formulated specifically for their growing bodies. Ask our veterinary team to recommend high-quality food that contains the extra supplements and nutrients your cat needs.

Socializing Your Kitten

Kittens learn how to socialize from their siblings and mother, but human contact within the first 12 weeks of life will make it easier to socialize with humans too. We'll help you learn how to handle your kitten gently, play with them in familiar ways, and help them overcome fears and acclimate to their new forever home. Over time, your daily interactions will build an unbreakable bond between you and your cat.

Contact Richview Animal Hospital today to schedule your kitten's first physical exam.

Microchipping

In addition to kitten wellness packages, we also offer microchipping.  A microchip can help identify your cat in the event he or she escapes your home or car and gets lost.  Microchips are inserted under your cat’s skin between their shoulder blades. 

The chip contains your cat’s unique identification number. When your cat is found, the shelter, veterinarian or rescue scans for a chip and from there will call the customer service center and provide the location of your cat. The service center then calls you to let you know your cat has been found.

Your Puppy's First Year

Bringing home a puppy is always an exciting time. You’ve got a cute and cuddly new family member who is just too irresistible to resist. Soon after you’ve introduced your new friend to everyone, it’s important to set up an appointment with a veterinarian. Make sure to bring any health information that the shelter, breeder or seller provided you with, such as records of vaccinations. Also, bring a fresh stool, so the vet can test for the presence of intestinal parasites.

What To Expect During Your Puppy’s First Exam

During a puppy exam, our veterinarian will weigh the puppy, check their temperature, test for heartworms and check their pulse. In addition, the veterinarian will listen to the heart and lungs and examine internal organs by palpating. Your puppy’s nose-to-tail exam will include an inspection of the ears, eyes, teeth, gums and genitals. Based on your puppy's history and age, we will discuss the series of vaccines required and vaccinate your puppy with core vaccinations, such as canine parovirus, canine distemper, bordetella and rabies.

Our veterinarian will also recommend the routine administration of heartworm prevention to protect your puppy from heartworm infection.

Most veterinarians recommend spaying or neutering puppies by six months of age. It’s particularly helpful to have your female puppy sterilized before her first heat cycle. The benefits of having this procedure done on your female puppy include prevention of cancer of the reproductive system, prevention of uterus infections, reduction in the chance of breast cancer and unwanted pregnancy.

Neutering a male puppy will prevent prostate cancer, testicular cancer and reduce roaming. Plus, a puppy exam will give you a good opportunity to learn about recommended nutrition, daily oral home care, and behaviour for your pet’s optimal development and health.

Microchipping

We also offer microchipping. Microchips are inserted under your puppy’s skin between the shoulder blades and contain a unique identification number. If your puppy gets lost, the finder or shelter can have the chip scanned and provide the location of your companion. You’ll get a phone call from the lost pet service center.

Pet owners can also shop our online store for puppy collars, food, toys, grooming supplies, toothbrushes and toothpaste. As a matter of fact, we offer over 3000 pet products online. Even refill your pet’s prescriptions. Orders over $50 ship for free.

Dog Licensing

Pet licensing is a Municipal Code in Toronto that requires all dogs and cats to be licensed and wearing a tag. Richview Animal Hospital can help you license your pet with the city of Toronto.

Puppy Vaccination Schedules

In their first year of life, puppies require a lot of care and attention. A series of vaccinations is given in the first year to help ensure a healthy beginning. At every vaccination appointment, a full physical examination is performed by the doctor to make sure that your puppy is growing and developing properly.

Below is the recommended Puppy Vaccination Schedule:

8 wk - Full Examination + distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza & parvovirus
12 wk - Full Examination + distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, parvovirus, bordetella & leptosporsis for high risk pets
16 wk - Full Examination + distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, parvovirus & rabies (1yr vaccine) & leptosporsis for high risk pets
1 yr - Full Examination + distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, parvovirus & rabies (3yr vaccine) & leptosporsis for high risk pets

The protection provided by the vaccine will gradually decrease over time. This is why your pet will need boosters at regular intervals.

Why do Puppies Require Boosters?

A puppy that is nursing will receive maternal antibodies passed through its mother's milk. These maternal antibodies will protect the puppy from disease during its first few months, gradually declining in efficacy over time. These maternal antibodies will interfere with any vaccinations given and make them ineffective. Puppies need to be given a series of boosters within their first 4 months of life to gradually stimulate the production of the puppy's own antibodies while minimizing the interference of its maternal antibodies.

How Do Vaccines Work?

Vaccines work by preventing infection and decreasing the physical symptoms of disease. Vaccines contain altered viruses or bacteria (these altered states don't cause disease). At the time of vaccination, your pet's body will produce antibodies in response to the introduction of these altered viruses. These antibodies will destroy any disease causing viruses or bacteria that are subsequently exposed to your pet.

Why Do Puppies Need Vaccines?

The instinctual social behaviour in dogs increases their exposure to other animals. This, in turn, increases the risk of disease. Many diseases that dogs can get from other dogs are serious. Some are fatal or can seriously jeopardize good health. Fortunately, there are vaccines made available that can greatly decrease the risk of contracting disease. The best way to treat disease is to prevent it altogether. Along with a full physical exam, vaccinating your pet is an effective way of preventing disease and illness.