Congratulations on this new addition to your family! At West Orange Animal Hospital, our veterinarians will take special care of your furry-family from birth to their senior years. These initial visits are a great time to address any questions you may have about vaccine schedule, preventative care, training, diet, etc. During these “head to tail” visits we will look for any signs of illness and make sure that your new pet is in good health. We believe that regular checkups are critical to your pet’s well-being as they provide us a chance to potentially detect potential problems before they become serious. Our veterinarians will screen your pet for fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites, and any other health problems to ensure that your new family member is healthy and free of diseases that can be transmitted to you or other members in your household. Puppies and kittens are especially vulnerable to infections that can threaten their health. Proper screening and preventive products are an excellent way to get your new pet started on the road to a happy and healthy life. We look forward to taking these important first steps together!

Your initial visit with your new pet is very important – a lot of information will be covered, please come prepared with any additional questions not covered below!

Bathing

We know that bathing your pet is usually not pleasant – whether you dont have the tub or simply don’t have the time nor interest, we are happy to help your pets heal. There are many situations when your pet may need a medicated bath. Our most common baths are for dry and itchy skin – we use a soothing shampoo to help patients suffering from skin problems. Often, we will need to repeat these baths several times until we get the problem under control. We also offer baths for fleas, ticks, and ringworm.

Boarding

We understand how stressful it can be to leave your pets when you go away. West Orange Animal Hospital offers a convenient solution by providing boarding in our safe, clean, and comfortable environment.
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Dental Care

At West Orange Animal Hospital, we are committed to our patient’s dental health and implement the highest quality dental care. We implement a comprehensive approach including at home dental care including brushing and dental chews, as well as thorough dental cleanings.
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Diet

We recommend using products with “AAFCO” printed on the label – this stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials. Rather than regulating the pet food industry, AAFCO sets the standards for quality pet nutrition by creating and revising (as needed) nutrient profiles. A diet can only claim it is “complete and balanced” if it meets or exceeds AAFCO’s minimum requirements.
We recommend avoiding generic pet foods and advise that our patients are fed a diet formulated by a veterinary nutritionist. Examples of these premium manufacturers include Hill’s science diet, Purina, Iams, Royal Canin.

Please talk to your veterinarian about which specific diet will be best for your pet. Each individual is different – there is no “best food for all” – it is important how well you puppy or kitten does on whatever food you select. If you have other questions such as feeding raw food, grain-free, or how to balance a home-cooked diet – please mention this during your veterinary visit.

External parasites (fleas, ticks, mites)

Many newly adopted kittens and puppies have been infected with fleas or mites. Comprehensive parasite control includes treatment of the environment (house) as well as monthly preventatives. Additionally, we see many patients in our area infected with potentially fatal tick-borne disease such as Lyme and Anaplasma. We strongly recommend flea and tick preventatives for all patients – indoor and outdoor- as many patients can be infected within their homes.

Internal parasites (tapeworms, hookworms, Giardia…)

We routinely deworm puppies and kittens during their initial vaccine visits as young pets are frequently infected with intestinal parasites and several treatments are necessary to eliminate them. We recommend annual routine fecal analyses to check for other parasite eggs.

Microchipping

It is a frightening feeling to know that your pet is lost and on their own. Microchipping pets is the best way to ensure their safe return in the unfortunate event that they become lost. This is a safe, simple, and permanent form of identification designed to quickly identify lost pets and reidentify with their owners. This is given by a simple injection under the skin during an office visit or at the time of spay or neuter. The microchip contains a unique identification code that will be linked to your information once registered online.
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Spay and Neuter

We recommend that females not intended for breeding be spayed prior to their first heat cycle to minimize the chances of mammary cancer – typically performed at 5-6 months old. We recommend males not intended for breeding be neutered at 6-9 months of age to minimize marking, roaming, and fighting behaviors. Talk to your veterinarian about when would be the best time for your pet’s surgery. We recommend addressing congenital or prophylactic procedures at this time including – repairing umbilical hernias, extracting retained primary teeth, prophylactic gastropexy, etc..
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Training

House training: The concept is to not allow your puppy the opportunity to make mistakes. Your puppy needs to be taken outside or onto the “potty pad” frequently and shortly after each meal. Applaud your puppy after performing the task appropriately – such as providing treats or words of praise. Punishing for making mistakes is usually not helpful.

Crate training: We strongly advise puppies to be crated when not being immediately observed. This is an important practice for your puppy to learn a sense of independence and minimize separation anxiety. This will also protect your puppy from harm such as ingesting foreign objects.

Litter box training: Most kittens take to the litter box naturally. It may be necessary to experiment with different types of litter as some cats have preference. We recommend one litter box per cat plus one extra litter box. We recommend cleaning the litter box frequently.

Vaccinations

We believe that one of the most important aspects of caring for your pet’s health is vaccinating him or her against potential diseases. Your veterinarian will create a vaccination protocol based on your pet’s lifestyle and exposure to disease. We will be happy to discuss the benefits of protecting your pet with vaccinations, as well as, provide you with information on the recommended core vaccines for your pet. [kitten protocol] [puppy protocol]