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"Every boy should have two things: a dog and a mother willing to let him have one."-Anonymous

The veterinarians at Petchester Veterinary want to maintain long-standing relationships with you and your pet. From young weanlings to old age, our veterinarians will be intimately familiar with your pet’s medical history and be able to guide you through all life transitions and health decisions.


  • It is important to schedule a wellness exam as soon as possible after acquiring your puppy or kitten.

  • You should bring any prior veterinary records and pet health information to the appointment, along with a stool sample.

  • It’s also a good idea to write a list of questions in advance so that you can focus on your discussion with the veterinarian.

  • During this appointment, our veterinarians will conduct a comprehensive nose-to-tail physical exam. This will include examining your puppy or kitten’s eyes, ears, hair, skin, and dentation. We will listen to his or her heart and lungs, making sure that there are no heart murmurs or respiratory infections present. In addition, we will screen for musculoskeletal problems and potential congenital defects.

  • Our veterinarians will also take this opportunity to provide breed-specific counseling about potential health risks and preventive care that will help to keep your puppy or kitten healthy. This will include pet nutritional counseling as each pet has his or her own needs based on breed, size, and activity level.


Puppies and kittens need vaccinations to protect them from infectious diseases. We are very careful to ensure that we tailor our vaccination protocols to the specific needs of our pet patients, based upon their lifestyles and risk factors. We try to adhere to the guidelines set by the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents' Report on Cat and Dog Vaccines:


  • Principles of Vaccination - JAVMA Sept. 1, 2001

  • Report on Cat and Dog Vaccines - JAVMA Nov. 15, 2002


This report divides the administered vaccines into two classes: core and non-core vaccines. "Core" vaccines are defined as those that are appropriate to provide protection in most animals against diseases that pose a risk of severe disease because the pathogens are virulent, highly infectious, and widely distributed in the region. Core vaccines are considered to be highly efficacious, to have benefit-risk ratios high enough to warrant their general use, to be of substantial public health importance, or are required by law. "Non-Core"  vaccines meet one or more of the following conditions: they target diseases that are of limited risk in the geographic region or in the lifestyle of the pet, they help protect against diseases that represent less severe threats to infected animals, their benefit-risk ratios are too low to warrant product use in all circumstances, or inadequate scientific information is available to evaluate them. Veterinarians and owners/clients need to carefully consider the benefits and risks of using non-core vaccine products on an individual basis. You may also read more about this at the following site on vaccine recommendations.

Puppy Vaccinations

Your puppy will begin receiving vaccinations between 6–8 weeks of age. They will be administered every 3–4 weeks, until they are completed at the age of 16 weeks. Here are the puppy vaccinations our veterinarians recommend:


  • Distemper, Adenovirus 2, and Parvovirus—(Core). This vaccination protects against canine distemper virus,adenovirus 2 hepatitis, and parvovirus. It will be given to your puppy every 3–4 weeks until the series is complete.

  • Rabies— (Core). This vaccine is required by law. It is administered once, between the ages of 4–6 months and then either annually or every 3 years.

  • Parainfluenza-(Non-Core). Typically recommended for dogs in shows, kennels, shelters, or large colonies. Intranasal vaccination best.

  • Coronavirus- (Non-Core). When risk of exposure is high in shelters, kennels and breeding facilities.

  • Bordetella— (Non-Core). This vaccination is an intranasal vaccine and is given to protect your puppy from the highly contagious upper respiratory disease known as kennel cough. It is best when given intranasally and 2 weeks prior to exposure.

  • Leptospirosis— (Non-Core). The bacteria that causes this disease is spread through the urine of infected animals. This dog vaccine is not routinely given but in cases of risk is administered at the last two puppy appointments.

  • Lyme—(Non-Core). This vaccine is not a part of standard vaccine protocols but in Lyme endemic areas is often recommended in unexposed dogs.

New Pet Counseling
  • We are always happy to assist families with new pets. From providing house training and teething advice to showing you how to trim your pet’s nails or brush their teeth, our veterinarians and staff are here to help you. We will also teach you how to acclimate your pet to having his or her teeth brushed, ears cleaned, and other home pet care necessities. Also, since behavioral problems are one of the number one reasons why animals are given up or abandoned, it is essential that behavioral training be discussed early on.

Parasite Treatment
  • Because most puppies and kittens are born with intestinal parasites, we will begin your new pet on a comprehensive deworming program during the initial exam which you will continue at home. As your puppy or kitten matures, our veterinarians will advise you regarding the best ways to prevent the common ectoparasites and endoparasites (external and internal parasites) such as fleas, ticks, heartworm, and intestinal worms.

Kitten Vaccinations

Prior to administering any vaccinations, we will test your kitten for feline leukemia and FIV to ensure that he or she is disease-free. Then, at the age of 6–8 weeks, we will begin administering kitten vaccines every 3–4 weeks until they are completed at the age of 16 weeks. Here are the kitten vaccinations we recommend:


  • Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia—(Core). This vaccination protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, , and panleukopenia. It will be given to your kitten every 3–4 weeks until the series is complete.

  • Feline Leukemia—(Core). We recommend this vaccine for outdoor cats or indoor-outdoor cats. This vaccination is administered in a series of two, 3–4 weeks apart.

  • Rabies —(Core). This is the final vaccination your kitten will receive and will be given annually.

  • Chlamydia psittaci—(Non-Core). Not recommended for cats at minimal to low risk because of potential side effects.

  • Feline Infectious Periotonitis (Non-Core). This vaccine is not recommended due to low efficacy.

  • Bordetella (Non-Core). This vaccine is not recommended due to low efficacy.

  • Ringworm(Non-Core). This vaccine is not recommended due to low efficacy.

  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (Non-Core). Insuffcient data

  • Giardia(Non-Core). Insufficient data

Spay or Neuter Surgery
  • Dogs and cats can be spayed or neutered as early as 8 weeks. However, we typically recommend at 6–8 months of age (before their first heat). When you bring your pet to our hospital, we will discuss with you the options and the indications and benefits of performing these sterilization procedures. At Petchester Veterinary, nothing is more important to us than ensuring your pet is safe and comfortable. We have strict surgical safety protocols in place, and we are very proactive when it comes to pain management. We want your pet to have a good association with our hospital and so we always address the potential for pain or discomfort in all our surgical procedures.

  • There is nothing more heartbreaking than losing a beloved family member. Thanks to microchips (which are computerized identifications implanted under the skin), we have been able to successfully reunite lost pets with their families on numerous occasions. Please contact us to learn more about this simple procedure or to schedule an appointment.

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