We believe in a preventive medicine approach to health care. Many infectious diseases can be prevented by routine vaccinations. Easy to use, once a month treatments will prevent heartworms, intestinal parasites and fleas and ticks. The physical examination is a major component of the preventive medical approach to health care. Physical exams frequently reveal minor problems before they develop into serious illnesses. It is far less costly to you and your pet to prevent diseases than to treat them.
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Your Puppy's First Visit:
A thorough physical exam of your puppy is important, but not the only reason for the visit. We hope to inform you about proper home care as well as veterinary care of your puppy. We want to answer all your questions and make sure you and your puppy get off to a good start.  Your puppy needs a Physical Exam as soon as possible, preferably within the first 48 hours. We want to be sure that you have a healthy puppy and we want to make sure he remains healthy. Physical exams are given with all vaccinations.
Please bring the following with you:
Your new puppy
 ♦ Medical records
 ♦ Diet history
 ♦ Fecal (stool sample) if possible
 ♦ List of questions you need answered

Subjects to Discuss or Consider:

  • Spay and Neutering is usually performed around 6 months of age. However, many puppies adopted from the pound have had surgery as early as 8 weeks of age.
  • House-training is easier and faster by using a crate. It may seem heartless to crate train, but it is a kinder and safer method of house-training than the old method of punishing bad behavior.
  • Elimination Accidents are going to occur. We have several products designed for easy clean up and elimination of stains and odors.
  • Diet and feeding schedule will be discussed thoroughly. Most puppies need to eat least 3 times a day.
  • Grooming should be enjoyable for you and your puppy. Combing tangled or matted hair is very painful for your puppy. Comb often to prevent tangles and use a cream rinse on longhaired pups. Use praise and treats, as a reward.
  • Pet Identification: Pet ID Tags, Tattooing and ResQ Microchips are all available.
  • Fences: Look for escape routes and close them before your puppy finds them.
  • Mushrooms: Puppies sometimes die from eating mushrooms that grow in your yard. Dispose of any mushrooms in your yard.
  • Antifreeze: very small amounts will kill your dog. Dispose of antifreeze appropriately and beware of spills in your driveway.
  • Heat Stroke: Dogs need protection from the heat. Make sure your pet has protection from the sun, plenty of clean water and perhaps a small swimming pool in his yard. Never lock your dog (or anyone else) in the car in the summer. Even a few minutes may be fatal.

We recommend regular physical examinations for your puppy or dog. The first visit includes a complete physical examination, and young adult animals should have a complete physical examination yearly and whenever problems develop. We recommend bi-annual physical examinations for all dogs over 7 years of age to help keep them healthy and happy for a long time.

A Vaccination Program will be tailored to your pet and is dependent on the health of your new puppy, his age, his medical history, and his needs. Generally, vaccinations begin at 6 to 8 weeks of age and are repeated every 3 weeks until he has received two vaccinations after or three vaccines.
  • DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, & Para influenza) - Protects from several viruses, mostly involving the intestinal tract, respiratory tract & liver. Several boosters are needed, generally 3-4 weeks apart. Recommended for all dogs. Distemper Information; Parvovirus Information; Hepatitis Information
  • Leptospirosis - Protects from this bacterial disease that is spread through water sources with wildlife contamination, usually affecting the kidneys & liver. This may be included with the Distemper vaccine. Two initial boosters are needed, then an annual vaccine. More information
  • Lyme Disease - Protects from this tick-borne disease. Two initial boosters, followed by annual vaccines. Recommended depending on risk level.  More information
  • Rabies - Protects from this deadly virus. Generally done around 16 weeks of age. First vaccine is good for one year. Required for all dogs.
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough) - Helps protect from this contagious respiratory disease. Required for boarding and most grooming facilities. More information
  • Influenza (H3N2 and H3N8) - Helps protect from this contagious respiratory disease. Required for some boarding and grooming facilities. More information

Fecal Examination & Deworming:
Checks for and treats intestinal parasites which may be harmful to your puppy and you. We will generally de-worm your puppy initially. Repeat fecal exams are often needed to ensure your puppy’s health. These parasites can all potentially cause problems in people also. Good hand washing (especially with the kids) will prevent problems!  More information

Common intestinal parasites:
  • Roundworms: The most common intestinal parasite. Very commonly found in puppies, passed from their mothers. Adult worms resemble spaghetti. More serious symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and a pot-bellied appearance. More information
  • Hookworms: Also fairly commonly found. Acquired from infected mothers and contaminated environments, adult worms are small, and not readily seen in stool or vomit. Can cause diarrhea and anemia, which can be dangerous in puppies. More information
  • Whipworms: Less commonly seen, but a potentially dangerous parasite. These worms can cause diarrhea with blood, anemia, and severe disease, even in adult dogs. Acquired through contaminated environments. Detecting these worms may require multiple fecal samples. More information
  • Tapeworms: Tapeworms are long, flat, segmented worms that live in the small intestine. They are acquired when your dog ingests fleas containing tapeworm eggs. These are not often detected on the fecal examination, but rather are detected when the segments are seen around the anus, or on the outside of the stool. These segments resemble a grain of rice. These worms are less harmful to your pet. More information
  • Coccidia: These parasites are not worms, but rather protozoa. Contracted though contaminated environments, stools, stress can trigger symptoms. The most common symptom is a watery diarrhea, which may be severe in puppies. This parasite may be transmitted directly to people also. More information
Spay & Neuter
Spay is the common term for surgical sterilization of female animals. The medical term for this procedure is a complete ovariohysterectomy. The entire female reproductive system (the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus) is removed through an incision in the abdomen.
Benefits of Spaying include:
Spayed female dogs will not come in heat and will not have bloody vaginal discharge associated with the heat cycle.
       ♦ Spayed animals are less likely to develop breast cancer and cannot develop ovarian cancer.
Spayed animals can not develop uterine infections (pyometras)
No unwanted litters: 61% of dogs and 75% of cats entering animal shelters are killed.
Neuter is the common term for the surgical sterilization of male animals. Castration is the medical term for this procedure. In dogs, both testicles are removed through an incision near the scrotum. In cats, both testicles are removed through two small incisions in the scrotum.
Benefits of Neutering Dogs:
      ♦ Neutered dogs are less aggressive towards people and other dogs.
 ♦ Neutered dogs are less likely to roam in search of a mate.
 ♦ Neutering almost always eliminates annoying leg mounting behavior.
Neutering usually stops sexual marking in the house.
Testicular cancer, prostate cancer, prostate infections, and perianal adenomas (anal tumors) can be prevented by neutering at a young age. Neutering at any age will help reduce the risk of these diseases.
Our Dog Spays and Dog Neuters include the following services:
Pre-operative pain medication
Anesthesia: Induction (injection) and Inhalation (gas)
Veterinarian (surgery)
Trained Veterinary Assistant for: Surgical Assistant and Post operative care
Heart and Blood Oxygen Monitor
Surgical pack and supplies
Post-operative (in hospital) pain relief (as needed)
Antibiotic Injection
Dental Care:
Puppies and dogs can often be accustomed to having their teeth brushed at home on a daily basis, if started early. As dogs age, plaque and tartar will build up on their teeth, these means most dogs will eventually need a complete dental cleaning under anesthesia to keep them healthy.  More information
Flea & Tick Prevention:
We have several options for flea & tick prevention in your pet. Most of these products also help control intestinal worms. These include several monthly topical medication
and oral options. Your puppy should be on a year round preventatives for their entire life.
Heartworm Prevention:
Heartworm disease is a serious disease in dogs and is very prevalent in the area.  This parasite is spread though mosquitoes, which after biting an infected dog, can spread the parasite to your dog. The adult worm develops in your dog’s heart & lungs, and will lead to heart disease. Monthly preventative medication is recommended for all dogs, year-round , starting by at least 6 months of age . We will get your puppy started with the right monthly preventative.  More information
Your dog should receive maintenance care at home like brushing and cleaning ears. Start your grooming off with our groomer, Vee. She is available during the week. Vee can do everything from the basic bath to starting off your first puppy clipping! More information
Take advantage of our monthly puppy class to get you started on the right foot with training and housebreaking your puppy. This class is intended to give you advice on general training & housebreaking issues, with individualized attention to your puppy. More information
Housebreaking tips:
Train your puppy to eliminate in the proper location and time through a combination of positive reinforcement, confinement, and close supervision.
Anticipate when your puppy will need to eliminate, and when to take them outside: 
After eating & drinking- most puppies will need to eliminate within about 30-45 minutes after eating. 
After waking up
After playing.

Teach a verbal command. Give your puppy a command to tell it when to go. Use any consistent phrase like “go potty”, “outside”, or whatever you choose. Always go out with your puppy while training. Stay with your pup until he/she eliminates. Don’t play or otherwise distract him. Use your verbal command so your puppy will learn to associate this with what you want. Praise your puppy when he/she does eliminate. Make a big deal of it , teaching how happy you are with the correct place to go. Take them back inside and pet them or play. Be patient. It will take a while for your puppy to get the hang of things. Most will not be truly trustworthy until at least 4 months of age, some longer.

Don’t ever scold, severely punish or strike your puppy when it has an accident. He may learn to associate going to the bathroom with being punished, or may even learn to fear you.  More information
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Chart Summary
The Indian Head Animal Hospital recommends a schedule of health visits, immunizations, and screening tests to ensure your puppy's health based on recommendations from the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Animal Hospital Association. Your veterinarian will examine and discuss growth, nutrition, development, house training, dental care and any other age-appropriate health matters or client questions during each visit. The following schedule is a guideline only and informative in nature. Your veterinarian will provide you with a specific schedule based on your puppy's health, life style and vaccination history
Age in weeks
Comprehensive Physical Exam
Rabies Vaccinations
Leptospirosis Vaccination*
Lymes Vaccination*
Influenza*       x x
Fecal Analysis
Heartworm Preventative
Flea and Tick Control
Spay (ovarian hysterectomy)
5 to 6 months of age
Neuter (castration)
Puppy Dental Care
Begin dental care program now!
Grooming Begin grooming care as soon as possible
Note: These guidelines are for information only. Your veterinarian may make changes based on your puppy's health, medical history, and lifestyle.
*If indicated for pet's lifestyle.
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