What should you expect from your kitten's first animal hospital visit? If your new family member is due for a veterinarian check-up, take a look at the what's, why's, and how's of the exam and appointment.
What Happens During a Kitten's First Vet Visit?
Your young cat's appointment will include a physical examination and more. More specifically, during the first-time appointment the vet will:
- Take a full history. Even though your kitten is weeks or months old, the vet needs to know anything that may impact your pet's health.
- Perform a hands-on exam. The vet will palpate (gently feel) your kitten's abdominal area, listen to their heart and lungs, examine the joints, check the eyes, ears, and mouth, and look at their coat and skin.
- Vaccinate your kitten. The first vet visit will also include pet vaccinations. The specific immunizations your cat receives depends on their age. Feline Calicivirus and Feline Panleukopenia Virus vaccines start at six weeks, but the rabies vaccine isn't given until 12 weeks.
- Order bloodwork. If your kitten has no known health history, the vet may order blood tests for feline diseases such as FIV and FeLV.
Along with the exam and vaccinations, the first visit is a time to ask questions and get to know the vet. Whether you have health, behavior, or care concerns, talk to the vet candidly about these (or any other) issues.
Why Take Your Kitten to the Vet?
The first vet visit gives your kitten a healthy start. Even though your new pet may seem healthy, the well-check can:
- Catch minor problems before they become major issues. What may seem like a fairly innocent issue may turn into a serious health problem. A well-visit allows the vet to check for symptoms you may not know to look for.
- Prevent illnesses. Vaccinations offer your pet protection against dangerous feline diseases. This preventative measure is a way to stop the spread of some illnesses when your cat is healthy.
- Establish a relationship with a veterinary provider. If your cat gets sick or injures themselves, you'll need a vet ready to treat them. The first visit allows you to start a relationship with an animal hospital or an individual vet.
Now that you know what happens during a first-time check-up and why this vet visit is an important part of your kitten's healthcare, it's time to tackle the how's. Make your kitten comfortable and choose a carrier that provides plenty of room to move in all directions.
If the sights, sounds, or smells of the waiting room make your cat nervous, stay calm and speak gently to your kitten. Even though it's tempting to take your cat out of their carrier, leave them inside to create an added sense of safety.