Find the Right Vet

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

BulldogStethescopeOne of the most important decisions you’ll make as a pet parent is finding a quality health care provider for your furry friend. Selecting the right veterinarian is a personal decision, but you’ll want to choose a practice that offers the highest available standard of care.

When Should I Look for a Vet?

Guardians seek out new vets for a variety of reasons, including a recent adoption or move, concerns about a current vet’s quality of care or treatment for a pet’s specific health problem.

How Do I Find a Vet?

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) evaluates veterinary practices on the quality of their facilities, staff, equipment and patient care. Search the organization’s website at www.healthypet.comfor a list of accredited vets in your area.

It’s also a good idea to ask for recommendations from friends, family and trusted neighbors—especially those who take a keen interest in their dogs’ health and well-being.

How Do I Decide Which Vet is Right for My Dog?

Here are some things to consider when selecting a vet:

  • Arrange for a first appointment without your dog to speak with a veterinarian and get an overall feel of the facilities.
  • During your appointment, look around and consider whether the space is clean, modern and well-organized.
  • Inquire about the number of vets on staff. In many practices, vets may share responsibility for patients and cover for each other during vacations or other absences.
  • Do you have good rapport with the vet? Effective communication is essential to any health care relationship.
  • Ask questions! Don’t be shy; most vets appreciate it when their clients take an interest in their pets’ care.

What Questions Should I Ask When I’m Selecting a Vet?

Although your questions may vary depending on the reason for your visit, you can use the following list as a guide:

  • Is the practice AAHA-accredited?
  • How are overnight patients monitored?
  • What sort of equipment does the practice use?
  • Does the vet refer patients to specialists?
  • How are patients evaluated before anesthesia and surgery?
  • Does the practice have licensed veterinary technicians on staff?
  • What is the protocol for pain management?

What If I Have Problems with My Vet? Can I Switch?

Don’t worry about leaving your current vet if you have concerns about the quality of care. Most veterinary practices, like all businesses, expect clients to come and go. Before you leave, remember to ask for a complete copy of your dog’s health records to be mailed or faxed to you or your new vet.

From: Vet Confidential: An Insider’s Guide to Protecting Your Pet’s Health
By Louise Murray, DVM

Clinical Suite: Obesity

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Checking in on your pet’s weight

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Q.

What is the appropriate amount of food for my pet?

A.

A variety of foods are available for dogs and cats, each having its own instructions based on recipe and ingredients. It is imperative to review each brand and bag for portion recommendations based on formulation. Remember, recommended portions are based on a baseline metabolic rate, and your pet may need a little more or less to schieve or maintain a lean body condition based on the level of his or her daily activities.

Q.

How should I begin my pet’s weight-loss regimen?

A.

There are many dietary strategies for obese pets to lose an optimum amount of weight. Regardless of which feeding strategy your veterinarian recommends, remember there is no magic button for weight loss. A thorough diet history (which may involve logging everything that is fed for a week) may assist you as you begin weight-loss planning. Your veterinarian may also calculate a daily calorie target based on your pet’s daily activity. A typical plan involves 20% fewer calories than your pet usually consumes to ensure slow and gradual weight loss.

Q.

What will happen if my pet does not lose weight?

A.

In some cases, weight loss is difficult because or hormonal imbalances or major family lifestyle changes that are impossible to fix. If obesity is becoming life threatening and a weight loss program is not working, talk to your veterinarian about pharmaceutical options.

Q.

How do I know my pet’s ideal weight?

A.

Although this seems like an easy question, breed variations in dogs and cats can make an estimated body condition score, or BCS, difficult. The best tools are your hands; feel along your pet’s body and make sure you can feel the ribs (with mild fat coverage) and a gradual waist. Refer to a body condition scale for diagrams that illustrate this. The ideal BCS is 4/9 – 5/9, but because every pet is different and can vary in caloric needs, calories may need to be adjusted to achieve an ideal lean weight.

Q.

How much exercise should I encourage?

A.

Consult your veterinarian to ensure exercise recommendations are carefully planned before encouraging your pet to exercise. Never encourage exercise if your pet is in pain or has difficulty walking or breathing. Also, note that some breeds should never be forced to overexert. This is even more critical in hot weather.

*Recommended portions are based on baseline metabolic rate, and your pet may need a little more or less to achieve or maintain a lean body condition.

 

SOURCE: Veterinary Team Brief

 

 

ADOPT a new loving furry family member this Holiday Season!

Monday, December 9th, 2013

The Holiday Season is upon us, the number one gift on most Holiday wish lists for children are a new puppy or kitten to love. This year consider giving the greatest gift of all by adopting a homeless shelter pet. Throughout the entire month of December, Miami Dade Animal Services, as well as The Humane Society of Greater Miami, will be offering reduced adoption fees. More information can be found on the flyer below. Remember: Connect. Adopt. Love.

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7 Thanksgiving Foods Dogs Should NEVER Eat

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

1

Turkey 1

Cooked bones are a serious no-no, besides being a choking hazard, they can splinter and cause injuries to your dogs internal organs. If Fido does have no problems ingesting them, it could create an intestinal blockage with very serious consequences. Cooked meat is also bad, as it is often covered in marinades, spices, oils and fats that are detrimental to your pet’s health.

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turkey 2

Mushrooms can be toxic to dogs and should be avoided. They can cause damage to multiple internal organs and the central nervous system. While not all species of mushrooms are toxic, it’s probably best to keep this little guys away from Fluffy.

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turkey 3

Nutmeg is a hidden evil. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin are good for your dogs in moderation – but remember they must be plain! We often forget we’ve added a little nutmeg and think we’ve made a Thanksgiving treat that’s safe for our pups to have. However, nutmeg can damage your dog’s central nervous system and cause seizures. So make sure this spice is nowhere near your dogs!

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turkey 4

Onions are toxic to dogs and can cause anemia. They are equally as dangerous cooked as they are raw – so this is a good item to make sure is kept far away from your pup.

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We’ve mentioned on our site before that raw bread dough will expand in your dog’s stomach and possibly cause bloat. Remember, too, that it will release alcohols that may also create problems in addition to the bloating.

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turkey 6

Sage is another common Thanksgiving herb, but it contains essential oils that might actually cause some stomach upset for your pooch. It can also cause central nervous system depression. Better to steer clear than take any chances.

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turkey 7

High-fat foods are not only unhealthy for you, they’re bad for your pets too. Fat trimmings are a common table scrap that pets might be given, but they can lead to very serious conditions such as pancreatitis.

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The Journals of Bob, the adopted cat.

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Bob was a stray cat that ended up at Town & Country Animal Hospital over a year ago. Bob was loved by everyone here and we vowed to find him the perfect home. He was adopted a few months ago, but unfortunately it did not work out. A wonderful long time client of Town & Country Animal Hospital had a cat that recently passed away. She decided it was time to welcome a new cat into her family, so when she met Bob, it was fate. Bob is so lucky to have met her because as you can see by the journal she has written below, he has finally found the perfect home.

Here is a story of Bob and his new Mom’s first few days together:

 

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I would like to introduce you to Bob.

11/17/13

The Lord has blessed. I am a new mom. Meet Bob. He is about 1 1/2 yrs old. Thank you Town & Country Animal Hospital, for introducing me to my new pet.

Bob has had a rough young life and does not know how to accept his freedom yet. His fear of companionship is greater than his need to know his new companion. Sometimes our life can place us in the same position. Our fear of tackling what we consider the unknown is greater than our need to walk in blind faith with Christ. Bob will eventually come to realize his dependency upon me. In like manner, we will come to realize our total dependency upon Christ, our Lord & Savior who will lead, guide, and direct our footsteps.

 

_________________

 

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Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Nov 11

This is my new baby. He is approximately 1 1/2 yrs old. He was born without a tail/bobbed tail. I guess that his name came about because of his bobbed tail.

I visited the vet’s office to thank one of their techs, Chris, for her prayers and for keeping tabs on me after Precious’ death and during my treatments. She showed me the cats that needed a home and I automatically felt my heart strings tugged on by Bob. The last parent had to give him up because her cats would not accept him. I do not know what happened with his first parent, but Chris knew him from a kitten. I did not know, when I said yes, that they were getting ready to send him to the Humane Society for euthanization because of space and he had been living in a cage there for almost a year. The staff is very attached to him and when they found out that I was taking him they cheered, clapped, and smiled.

There was no charge for the adoption. Chris provided me with everything that I needed to start off with (I got rid of most of Precious’ stuff). She also stated that they will take care of Bob’s shots and food needs for this next year. However, it was stated clearly that if Bob does not work out I should bring him back to them.

So far so good. He is warming up to me. Bob Loves his scratch post (not d-clawed). I will not be bringing him to Port Charlotte until I have socialized him and leash trained him. My friend Joanne said that she will take care of him while I am there.

I am excited. I will let you know how things progress.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABob has left the building!?

Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 8:48 PM

Tue, 8:48 PM

Oh no! I had been looking for him all day . It was impossible for him not to be found in my small house. This morning I took him out of my bedroom, closed all doors; closets, master bedroom, guest bedroom and guest bathroom. There was, simply, no place for him to hide. GEEZ! I told friends that the last place that I saw him was in the kitchen. Where could he have gone?

 

I looked and I looked. I called and I called…Did not hear a meow out of him.

Then….tonight….I remembered. I was watching TV when I remembered that there is a hole, at floor level, underneath the kitchen counter between the dishwasher and the cabinetry (not really visible unless you purposefully look for it). I picked up my flash light and found the block that was used to close the hole. It was laying down on its side blocking my view from seeing anything else under there. After moving the block….there he was/is laying against the back wall. After he decides to come out of hiding I will have to figure out how to fix the block so that he cannot venture into the ‘cat cave’ again.

I am happy now.
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASat, Nov 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Sat, 11:48 AM

Bob – Continuing Saga

This past Thursday Will closed the space where Bob was hiding. As soon as Will started the task, by moving the dishwasher, Bob ran out and disappeared again. I thought that maybe Bob had been closed up in the space. Will assured me that Bob was not in there.

Friday morning, there was very little evidence of Bob’s roaming. Previous nights, after I went to bed he would be the ghost cat. I would hear him pawing at his litter box and in the morning I could see that he had eaten. This was not true for Thursday night/Friday morning. I had to get reassurance from Will that Bob was not closed in to the space under the cabinetry.

I talk to Bob throughout the day, but Friday I could not recall his name so I laughed as I went through the names of previous pets; Precious, Bruce, and somewhere down the line Bob’s name popped up. He knew who I was talking to.

Friday night, I was in my bedroom watching TV and all of a sudden I heard a raucous. I asked Bob “Bob, what are you doing?” Of course he did not respond, but kept up the noise. I could not see him and did not want to turn on lights or make quick moves for fear that he would go back into hiding. The only thing that I could contribute the noise to was Bob playing with his litter box or he had found something to claw at. The noise lasted, off and on, for about thirty minutes.  I figured that I would find something shredded when I got up in the morning.

This morning, my mind was on the damage I would find from Bob’s escapade. I looked around my bedroom and in my closet, but did not find anything. Bob used the litter box…okay. Then I went into the living room. Oh my! He had fun with my artificial ficus tree. His toys were gathered in the middle of the floor and are now scattered abroad. There was a cat toy on the top of the scratching post, which was been pulled out. Oh! He did eat…just about all of his food. My guess is that he got hungry after all of that romping.

I am excited because he came out of hiding while I was still up and the TV was on and he did not go back into hiding when I talked to him. I do not know where his new hiding place is. Oh how hilarious. I am enjoying this.

Patient? I was not in the beginning. Patience is an ongoing lesson for me. Bob is this lesson’s teaching tool. Maybe in another week I can report that he came out and let me pet him.

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Subject Tuesday, November 19, 2013 11:05 AM:

You are all invited to Bob’s Coming Out Party…well, not yet.

Sunday night, I figured out where Bob is hiding. I had searched my bedroom for him, including under the bed (pulling out the storage items) and did not find him). I do not see how it is possible, but he is hiding under my bed. He must have made a cat cave out of my box spring (?). Bob came out of the room, Sunday night, while I was on my computer. I was able to chat with him without him running back to his hiding place. He walked around a while and scampered when I got up from my computer and went into the kitchen. He joined me in the kitchen where I fed him and disappeared when I turned on the sink disposal. I was beginning to think that he was really a ghost or a figment of my imagination.

Monday night, I decided not to place food in his dish until morning.

Tuesday morning, I heard Bob playing. He came back into the bedroom and meowed me. I asked him “do you want to eat?” When I came out of the room Bob led me to his food dish and stood by while I filled it. When I moved he moved back to the kitchen entrance. I said to him “come eat” and waved my hand towards his food. He walked over to his dish and ate after which he watched me from a distance.

I walked into the living room, sat on the floor, and began playing with his toys. Bob watched (as if to say, “I want to play too) as I tossed them around. Then I remembered that I had a laser light (for cats) that he could play with. He had a funtastic time playing with the light. It tired me out watching him flip, jump, and run trying to catch it. After I turned it off he would continue to look for it until I turned it back on.

I retrieved his treats and tried to get him to take them from my hand. He would not, but he did come closer to me. Bob allowed me to pet him, a little.

Bob is back in hiding now.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of Bob’s Great Adventures.

Sondra

Officer Responds To Call About Vicious Dog.. And Adopts Lovable Pit Bull Instead

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Pitbull adopted video image

 

In May 2012, a Baltimore police officer named Dan Waskeiwicz received a call about a vicious canine.

But when he arrived, he instead found a sad, shy pit bull with his tail between his legs. In a letter about the incident to the Modified K-9 Blog, Waskeiwicz wrote that people had also been yelling out their windows at the dog and even throwing bottles.

But Waskeiwicz knew the pit bull wasn’t dangerous — just misunderstood. The officer got out of his car, called the dog over, and gave him some water. Then, instead of calling the pound, he took the scared dog in his patrol car and later adopted him. The supposedly vicious pit bull — now called Bo — was warmly welcomed into Waskeiwicz’ home with two other dogs.

This week, more than a year after the rescue, Waskeiwicz shared his story with Rachel Ray on her morning show.

Bo has been happy, healthy and not at all vicious. He even has an adorable best friend — Waskeiwicz’ girlfriend’s new corgi. Waskeiwicz describes them as “the little odd couple,” and video shows the two dogs joyfully trotting around together.

All Bo really needed, it seems, was the right owner.

“I was actually looking for a dog,” Waskeiwicz says on the show, “and it just turned out great that he found me.”

 pit bull adopted

SOURCE: Huffington Post

Girl Scouts visit Town & Country Animal Hospital

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Girl Scout Troop #167 visited Town & Country Animal Hospital to learn more about pet care and the Veterinary field. They took a tour around the hospital with 2 of our technicians and learned about things like the importance of  microchiping your pet, fleas and ticks, heart worms (they got to look at an actual heart from a Great Dane infested with heart worms), they learned about x-rays, they toured our boarding facility, etc. We hope it inspired the children to get involved in the animal care field.

Thank you so much to Robin, and Girl Scout Troop #167! We hope you enjoyed your visit!

 

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Dog Walking 101

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

pugonleashHey you, new pooch parent—yeah, you with the cute puppy who can’t stop pulling! Want some tricks to keep Trixie on task? Or perhaps you’re already an old pro but want to make your outdoor excursions more fun for both you and your dog.  Follow our insider tips and your pooch will be eager to get going as soon as you pick up the leash!

It’s the Leash You Can Do

What’s the best type of leash? “Use whatever you feel most comfortable holding,” recommends the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center’s Kristen Collins, CPDT.

  • Flexi-leads are best reserved for walks in the park, when it’s safe for a dog to explore a bit further away from her pet parent. They are NOT a good idea if you’re walking in an area with high foot traffic or off-leash dogs, as the long line may get wrapped around your dog, a person’s leg or another dog.
  • Many people think chain leashes look nice, but they are much heavier than nylon or leather, and they can be very hard on the hands. Even so, they sometimes work well for dogs who like to tug or bite the leash. “Metal doesn’t feel nearly as nice in a dog’s mouth,” explains Collins.
  • Leather leashes are a good option because they are easiest on the hands.
  • Nylon leashes can cut into hands or give a pet parent “leash burn” if a dog pulls a lot or unexpectedly lunges forward. But they come in many stylish colors and designs, and they hold up well after repeated exposure to rain and snow.

Pull Over, Rover!

Constant pulling on the leash makes walks stressful for both of you. “It’s a common problem that can happen for a number of reasons,” says Collins.

  • If your dog darts after local wildlife, it may help to walk him when critters are less likely to be out and about; avoid dawn and dusk. You can also check out our article Dogs Who Are Reactive on Leash.
  • Try using a head halter to walk a dog who’s excitable on leash. “They provide power steering for dog parents!” says Collins. “The Gentle Leader® by Premier® Pet Products is my personal favorite.”

Stay Off the Grass (and Out of the Flower Beds!)

Our experts at the ASPCA Poison Control Center want you to keep your walks toxin-free:

  • During the warmer months, it’s important to keep your pet safe from toxic lawn and garden products. Insecticides and certain types of mulch can cause problems for our furry friends—during neighborhood strolls, please be sure to keep your pooch off the lawns of others.
  • Even though popular spring bulb plants like tulips and daffodils add much to our landscape, they can cause significant stomach problems for our furry friends. If your pooch likes to stop and smell—or nibble—the flowers, please keep him on a short leash during your walks.

So Nice to Meet You!

It’s great that your friendly pooch loves meeting people during walks—but not so great that she jumps up on them. “The basic idea is to teach your dog how to sit on cue and then require her to sit to interact with people,” says Collins. “No sitting, no greeting. But if she sits, she gets to enjoy the reward of greeting her friends.” It doesn’t hurt to reward the dog with a treat—or ask the person whom she’s greeting to offer a treat.

Three Things To Bring

  • If you’re planning an extended walk, be sure to bring water for your dog—especially if it’s warm outside.
  • Don’t forget the goodies! Walks are great training opportunities. Bring Fido’s fave treats along, and practice tricks and obedience while you’re out in the world. “This will solidify your dog’s skills and convince him that going on walks is fantastic fun!” says Collins.
  • Don’t get caught without extra poop bags, particularly if you’re going on a long walk.  (P.S. This is a great way to recycle all those plastic grocery bags!)

Watch for Creepy Crawlies

Depending on the time of the year and the area of the country you live in, sneaky critters like snakes, spiders, scorpions and bees can be a serious concern for pet and parent alike. If you’re walking in a densely wooded area, take extra care to keep an eye out for hidden dangers.

To Be Free or Not to Be Free—That Is the Question

Taking a walk to a dog park or other fenced-in area that’s safe for canines to romp freely? Make sure your dog is prepared for off-leash play. “Your dog must know how to come when called,” says Collins, “so the most important thing to do is teach a really reliable recall.”

Take It Up a Notch

Here are some suggestions for making walks more fun for your dog:

  • Mix it up! Try taking your dog to new places. He’ll love experiencing the new sights, smells and sounds at a novel location.
  • Choose fabulous destinations. If possible, walk to fun places, like friends’ houses or the dog park.
  • Walk with buddies. If your dog likes other dogs, consider group walks. You can either borrow a friend’s dog to accompany you, or invite family and friends who have dogs to meet you somewhere.

What’s Bugging You?

Walking in humid, mosquito-friendly areas? Spray yourself, not your pooch! Even though it’s tempting to share insect repellent with your pooch, it can be a grave mistake. Insect repellent should never be applied to dogs, who can suffer neurological problems from the toxic ingredient, DEET. Instead, ask your veterinarian for a suitable, pet-specific alternative.

Blessing of the Animals

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

We had a wonderful day Saturday the 2nd at Killian Pines United Methodist Church, at the Blessing of the Animals event. People brought their beloved pets in to be blessed by Pastor Emilio Chaviano and Rabbi Danny Marmorstein. They read a poem written by Ricki Dorn , to honor and Bless all Animals. Sarah, our Marketing Director, and Kris our Client Services Manager, attended the event and handed out all kinds of goodies to the cats and dogs that stopped by.

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Blessing of the Animals

By,Ricki Dorn

Dear God,

We ask your merciful blessing

For our devoted pets,

For us as their care-takers, and,

of course, for the vets.

First, our four-legged friends

Like horses, for their devotion,

For their shiny coats,

And speedy locomotion.

For cats and for dogs,

For kittens and for puppies,

For those who are water-bound—

Like goldfish and guppies.

For turtles and hamsters

And each furry bunny…

We give thanks for their loyalty

And antics so funny.

For our feathered birds, too

With their gossip-y chatter,

And their beautiful colors

Whose shades surely flatter.

For the serpent family,

Those long, flexible snakes

Who have such a bad rap…

—let’s give them a break.

For bugs like the ants who

Crash our picnics with glee,

The spiders who weave,

And the sociable bee.

For the pets in our homes

And the beasts in the wild—

Protect them, provide food,

Let them prosper and smile.

For all of Your critters,

The large and the small,

We ask Your Loving Kindness;

God, bless them one and all.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pets & Parasites – Why Parasite Prevention is Important for Cats too

Monday, November 4th, 2013

 

You, Your Cat, & Parasites

Cat owners know the joy that these loving creatures bring to our lives. Because cats are independent by nature, they can be easier to care for when it comes to sharing our homes with them. Therefore, it’s important to both you and your cat to keep it healthy and free of parasites.

Monitoring your cat for any changes in its behavior, appetite, and water consumption and regular visits to your veterinarian are necessary to maintaining the well-being of your cat. Your veterinarian is there to diagnose, treat, and prevent parasites, such as fleas and worms, that not only affect your cat, but the health of you and your family.

It is relatively common for a cat to become infected with an internal or external parasite at some point in its lifetime. Parasites can affect your cat in a variety of ways, ranging from a simple irritation to causing life-threatening illnesses if left untreated. All parasites, particularly internal parasites (worms), can carry and transmit diseases to people.

By following your veterinarian’s recommendations and having your pet tested for parasites annually, you can protect your cat and your family from these potentially harmful parasites all year long. Click on the parasite names below for information on the symptoms they cause, where they are located, how they affect your cat, the health risks to humans, and prevention tips.

COCCIDIA

DANDRUFF

EAR MITES

FLEAS

HEARTWORMS

HOOKWORMS

MANGE

ROUNDWORMS

TAPEWORMS

TICKS

TOXOPLASMOSIS

Parasite Control Recommendations for Cats

The use of year-round heartworm and broad-spectrum parasite medications, as well as appropriate flea and/or tick products, is the foundation of an effective parasite control program for your cat.

In addition, the following steps can be part of a proactive program to help keep your cat healthy and parasite-free:

  • Have your cat examined at least annually by your veterinarian and include a complete history.
  • Have heartworm tests conducted periodically.
  • Provide pets cooked or prepared food (not raw meat) and fresh, potable water.
  • Conduct fecal examinations 2 to 4 times during the first year of life and 1 to 2 times each year for adults, depending on the pet’s health and lifestyle factors.
  • Administer anthelmintic treatment to puppies and kittens starting at two weeks of age repeating every two weeks until 8 weeks of age, followed by monthly treatments as a preventive.
  • Also deworm nursing mothers (queens) along with their kittens.

If an optimal year-round parasite prevention program is not followed:

  • Deworm kittens biweekly from 2-8 weeks of age and then monthly until 6 months of age.
  • Have fecal exams conducted 2 to 4 times a year for adult cats.
  • Tailor parasite prevention programs to your cat based on parasite prevalence and lifestyle factors.

Source: ASPCA

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