New Puppy, Changing Vets, Adopted a Pet? What to Expect at Your First Pet Visit!

From your first puppy to your old cat, regardless of your pet’s age, the first trip to your pet’s doctor is significant. This first visit allows our doctors at St. Bernard Veterinary Hospital to view your pet’s medical history and do a thorough physical exam. Unsure of what to expect at your pet’s first visit? Here is a quick guide: 

For Puppies and Kittens 

Within the first week of bringing your new pet home, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Depending on the vaccinations your pet may need, you may need to schedule follow-up visits once a month for the first two-three months, followed by a visit every three months. Like humans, animals don’t build immunity to certain diseases and infections immediately. They will also need monthly heartworm prevention, which we give based on their weight from month-to-month visits. Ask our receptionist about a program we offer called the puppy/kitten program. It includes monthly vaccines, heartworm prevention, exams, and flea prevention for about 4 – 5 months. At any time during the program, your pet’s exams are at no charge if something goes wrong. Plus, a 10% discount is applied to your pet’s spay/neuter and your first heartworm /flea prevention purchase. The price is insanely low for the program, and you would spend significantly more if you did each visit individually without the program.

Over the first year of a puppy or kitten’s life, visits to your veterinarian regularly will give your pet’s doctor a chance to monitor the animal’s health. Depending on your pet’s species and breed, city requirements, and personal preferences, your pet’s doctor may recommend certain vaccines to prevent future sicknesses, such as ringworm or rabies. By doing a fecal analysis and blood tests, your veterinarian can test for any disease. During the exam, your pet’s doctor may consider other factors, such as posture, joint movements, respiratory rate, and overall body condition, and make recommendations. Our doctors may also recommend spaying or neutering your animal and discuss a good time to schedule the procedure, depending on the pet’s age. It may also be a good time to discuss insurance plans, socialization, and training strategies with your pet’s doctor to prevent issues in their adult life.

Older Pets

If you are making an appointment for the first time with St. Bernard Veterinary Hospital, and your pet has medical records, you should bring them with you. Your pet’s doctor will want to know about any preexisting conditions or just history in general. During your pet’s physical exam, the doctor will inspect your pet’s eyes, ears, teeth, heart, lungs, and other organs with a physical exam. Our doctors can also detect illnesses, intestinal parasites, fleas, heartworms, or other pests that may have followed your pet home.

Depending on your pet’s physical exam results, you may be advised to change your pet’s diet and maximize nutritional intake while minimizing the risk of digestive issues. A panel of bloodwork is also recommended if the situation is appropriate. A check-up at our office will reduce the chances of an unexpected illness. If your pet is eight years old or older, your pet’s veterinarian will look specifically for cancerous growths or bone issues. 

Certain medications may help your dog or cat manage pain or fight disease. A follow-up appointment schedule will be unique to each animal.

Your Pet’s First Visit will include the following:

  • Dental Check
  • Skin, Ears, Eyes, & Heart Check
  • Current Record Review & Health Plan
  • External Parasite Exam & Consultation
  • Diet and Nutrition Consultation

At St. Bernard Veterinary Hospital, our goal is to give your pet a comprehensive, stress-free exam and to answer any of your questions. You can rest assured that our team will provide your pet with the best medical care. Click here to schedule your appointment today, or call 504-277-0141.