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Kitten Care 101: Kitty’s First Check-up

Bringing home a new kitten is a truly exciting event, but it does not come without responsibility. Once you have decided to adopt your adorable kitten, it is imperative you bring him or her to your local vet as soon as possible to get them checked out. This is important not only for your kitten’s overall health, but also for you and your family’s health as well.

Your vet will look over your new feline friend to make sure he or she doesn’t have any transferable diseases between animals and humans, such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). In addition to looking over your kitten for any current and potential diseases, your vet will also perform a thorough physical exam to make sure there are no other problems. From checking their teeth and gums to testing their muscles and joints for mobility, there are a handful of tests your vet will do so you can rest and relax, knowing your new kitten is happy and healthy.

Below we will briefly go over what you should expect from your kitten’s first check-up, as well as a general timeline of when you should bring them in to see the vet. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. At Sykesville Veterinary Clinic, we are committed to giving each and every person who walks through our doors the best pet care possible.

What to Do before Your Kitten’s First Check-up

Ideally, new kittens should receive their first check-up 4 to 5 days after you have brought them home. It is important for them to have a couple of days to adjust to their new home so that you are able to observe them and make note of any odd behaviors or concerns.

Keep in mind that if you do happen to notice any problems or strange behaviors, you should contact your vet right away. Otherwise, make an appointment with your vet within the first week of bringing the kitten home.

Your vet will also most likely request a stool specimen to be checked for internal parasites, so make a mental note of this on the day of your appointment.

What to Expect during the First Check-up

When you bring your kitten in to the vet for a first check-up, they will likely perform a thorough physical exam and do the following:

  • Check baby teeth to determine approximate age
  • Take temperature
  • Examine organs by touch
  • Listen to heartbeat
  • Test muscles and joints for mobility
  • Check eyes
  • Check ears for mites
  • Comb fur for fleas

Once the physical exam has been completed, your vet will perform several different tests, including:

  • Fecal float – This will allow your vet to examine your kitten’s stool and check for any worms or other diseases.
  • Blood tests – It is recommended that your kitten is tested for FeLV and FIV upon their first check-up.

When your kitten is 9 to 10 weeks old, they will need to receive the “three-way vaccine”, which will vaccinate them against feline calicivirus (FCV), herpesvirus type 1 (also known as cat flu, or FHV-1) and feline panleukopenia virus (most commonly known as feline distemper, or FPV).

A newly adopted kitten will surely bring a great deal of joy and happiness into your life, but it is important you have him or her examined by your vet soon after you bring them home.

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