Congratulations on the adoption of your new pet! We are thrilled that you decided to adopt a pet from the shelter or rescue and save a life!
When a dog or cat is adopted from the shelter/rescue, s/he is most likely current on vaccines, has been spayed or neutered and has been microchipped. Shelters and rescues work hard to make adopting a pet as easy as possible. However, it is still very important to follow up with your veterinarian soon after adoption.
A thorough wellness exam is necessary to ensure your new pet is as healthy as possible before bringing him/her into your home and introducing him/her to any other pets you may have. If a pet comes to the shelter or rescue and is already spayed or neutered and has no obvious health problems, s/he is often examined only by a veterinary technician. If this is the case, the heart and lungs may not have been listened to, the eyes, ears, and mouth have not been examined and the body has not been palpated for abnormalities.
Additionally, vaccines for puppies and kittens are given in a series. This means that while a newly adopted puppy or kitten may be current on his/her vaccines now, he/she will need additional vaccinations to stay up to date. For adult pets, some vaccines may be required by your boarding or day-care facility but are not given by the shelter or rescue. Your veterinarian will need to administer those vaccines (and any boosters that may be needed).
A visit with your veterinarian should also include a fecal exam to check for intestinal parasites and, particularly for adult and senior pets, a blood panel to use as a “baseline” and to check internal organ function. During the exam, your veterinarian will also review diet, behavior concerns and preventative medicine, such as heartworm prevention and flea control.
In short, a complete wellness exam is vital to ensuring your new companion is happy and healthy! Contact us today to schedule your new pet's first vet visit!
This blog post originally appeared on The Drake Center