A Healthy Start
for Your Puppy or Kitten

Puppy and Kitten Care

Congratulations on your new family member! We can’t wait to welcome your puppy or kitten into the Pound Ridge Veterinary Center family.


TLC for New Pets

As part of settling your new puppy or kitten into your home, you’ll want to schedule an initial wellness visit with us. We’ll confirm your new puppy or kitten is free of congenital defects and infectious disease. Also, worms, fleas, or other parasites are fairly common in “young’uns” and we want to identify and eliminate those right away. You’ll want to be sure that your kitten or puppy is on the right diet, too.

New York State Pet Lemon Law

For those who purchased their pet through a breeder or pet store and live in New York, state law protects consumers against the purchase of an unfit pet. If there is a significant health issue with your pet, you have 14 days to benefit from the protections provided by the pet lemon law. Protecting your interests starts with a timely and careful veterinary examination.

Healthy Start Exams

During your appointment, Pound Ridge veterinarians will review your pet’s health history and any other documentation you can bring along from the breeder, pet store, or shelter. We then perform a thorough physical examination checking temperature, eyes, ears, and hair coat. But we don’t stop there—we examine teeth and gums, check for lameness, and evaluate for heart murmurs. We perform a fecal test for worms and other intestinal parasites, too. After this in-depth evaluation, our doctor will assess your pet’s total health and record the findings in your pet’s permanent, computerized medical record.

To help ensure that your new pet stays healthy, we’ll make recommendations for preventive care, including vaccines, control of internal and external parasites, spaying and neutering, proper diet, and coat care. Finally, we’ll help you plan for training and socialization, so important in making your new pet a wonderful companion and member of the family.

Spay & Neuter Services

If you are not planning on showing your pet, it is recommended that he or she be surgically sterilized. We recommend dogs and cats undergo surgery at about six months of age, preferably before the first heat period.

Animal shelters across the country are continually faced with having to euthanize animals due to overpopulation. You can help decrease this burden by having your pet spayed or neutered.

Early spay (females) or neuter (males) surgery can prevent diseases such as pyometra (infection of the uterus), prostatis, and cancer of the mammary glands or testes.

Read more about spay and neuter procedures and their health promoting benefits.

Microchipping

Microchips are safe, permanent, and unique identifiers for pet animals of every species. We recommend that all patients be permanently identified with a microchip, either at the time of their first visit or when under anesthesia for spay or neuter procedure.

We look forward to providing a lifetime of care for you and your new friend.

Call our office today, located in Pound Ridge, New York, at (914) 764–4644(914) 764–4644 for your appointment!

Spay

Spaying, also known as fixing and ovariohysterectomy, is the surgical removal of a female dog or cat’s uterus and ovaries. It’s a surgery performed while the pet is anesthetized and, depending on the circumstances, may require a night of hospitalization. Most veterinarians recommend that pets be spayed around six months of age, as we do.


Why spay your pet?

There are several reasons to have your pet spayed:

  • Prevent unplanned and costly kittens and puppies, which will need to be taken care of and have homes found for them.
  • Decrease the medical risks associated with giving birth to puppies or kittens:
    • Pets that have trouble giving birth may require surgery, i.e. cesarean sections, in order to save the mother and her offspring. Cesarean sections are much more expensive than a routine spay.
    • If the mother dies during a C-section or if she refuses to nurse her offspring, the pet owner may have to hand raise the babies, a time-intensive and demanding job.
  • Help prevent cat and dog overpopulation. There are far more cats and dogs in the United States than there are available homes. Stray and unwanted cats and dogs overburden animal shelters. Even if you do find a home for your puppies or kittens, you are taking up space that could otherwise be used for the thousands of animals who are living in shelters and waiting for homes.
  • Reduce your pet’s risk of cancers and disease:
    • Reduce the risk of mammary cancer to practically nothing by having your pet spayed before her first heat. 50% of mammary tumors in dogs are cancerous, and 95% of mammary tumors in cats are cancerous.
    • Eliminate your pet’s risk of ovarian cancer.
    • Eliminate your pet’s risk of pyometra, a life-threatening infection of the uterus that develops several weeks after a heat period and requires emergency surgical removal of the uterus. Pyometra carries a risk of septicemia (widespread infection that travels through the bloodstream), so treatment and recovery usually require several days of hospital stay. Spaying your pet before she enters her first heat is a much safer and less expensive way of removing her uterus.

When should your pet be spayed?

Cats and dogs need to be in good health and at the right age for spaying:

  • Most spays are performed on puppies and kittens at about six months old and before the first heat.
  • Early age spaying: There is currently a move in the veterinary community to spay pets at much younger ages than six months, i.e. between eight and 16 weeks old. Some people worry that eight to 16 weeks is too young for surgery, but the scientific studies done so far suggest that performing an early age spaying surgery is no riskier than performing the surgery at six months, provided that the animal is healthy.
  • Spaying surgery can also be done on older pets.
  • Pets need to be up to date on all vaccinations. They should be tested for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

The surgical procedure

Anesthesia

Spaying surgery is performed under general anesthesia, which means that the pet is unconscious while the surgery is performed. The animal patient is usually given an intravenous injection and then intubated (a tube is inserted through the mouth into the airway). The protocol is similar to what is done when people are anesthetized.

Surgical prep

In preparation for surgery, the animal’s abdomen is clipped and the skin scrubbed with an antiseptic. The pet is placed on her back and the surgery area draped with sterile towels.

The surgery

Spaying surgery is done through an incision in the abdomen and takes anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour, depending on age, animal size, the skill of the surgeon, and other factors. Overweight animals are usually more difficult to perform surgery on since it’s harder to see into their abdomen through the layers of fatty tissue. It may take longer to perform the surgery on a pregnant animal or an animal in heat because of the increased blood supply to the reproductive tract.

As with any surgical procedure, sterility is essential in order to prevent infection. Just like the doctors in the ER, the surgeon will be capped and masked, have scrubbed his or her hands and forearms beforehand, and will have put on a sterile gown and gloves. All the instruments and other tools used before, during, and after the surgery will have been sterilized.

Potential complications

Possible complications include bleeding after the surgery and incomplete removal of the ovaries, which can cause the pet to sometimes behave as though she is in heat even though she can’t get pregnant without a uterus.

Recovery

Most pets can go home the same day, while others may need to stay in the hospital overnight. You will be provided specific instructions for home care at the time of your pet’s discharge from the hospital.

The incision should be monitored twice daily for any signs of infection: swelling, redness, and discharge. The incision site should be kept clean and dry.

Your pet’s activities should be limited for the first week or so following surgery. Dogs should only be walked on a leash and not allowed to run or roam. Pets should be protected from stressful environments (e.g., excitement and extreme temperatures). Following that first week, the animal can resume a normal level of activity.

Both cats and dogs can be fed their regular meals the day after surgery. Pets sometimes want to eat more after surgery. Pet owners who are concerned about a pet’s appetite or weight should talk to their veterinarian.

If your pet has external sutures or staples, you’ll need to go back to the veterinarian’s office to have them removed, usually 10 to 14 days after surgery.

If your pet is prescribed any medications, be sure to follow label directions carefully.

Be sure to call us if you have any problems or questions.

Neuter

Neutering—also known as altering, castration, fixing, and orchidectomy—is the surgical removal of a male dog or cat’s testicles. It’s a surgery that is performed while the pet is anesthetized and, depending on the circumstances, may require a night of hospitalization. Most veterinarians recommend pets be neutered around six months of age, as we do.


Why neuter your pet?

There are several reasons to neuter your pet:

  • Prevent unplanned kittens and puppies.
  • Decrease undesirable pet behavior. Having a litter will not settle a pet’s personality. On the contrary, neutered pets usually have fewer behavioral problems:
    • They are much less aggressive and territorial, don’t fight as much, and are less likely to mark their territory with urine. Most neutered cats don’t spray.
    • They are less likely to roam the neighborhood, looking for females in heat.
    • Neutered pets may be more affectionate.
  • Eliminate your pet’s risk of testicular tumors.
  • Reduce your pet’s risk of prostate disease, which is otherwise relatively common in dogs.
  • Help prevent cat and dog overpopulation. There are far more cats and dogs in the United States than there are available homes. In Canada, more than 120,000 cats are euthanized every year. Stray and unwanted cats and dogs overburden animal shelters. Even if you do find a home for your puppies or kittens, you are taking up space that could otherwise be used for the thousands of animals who are living in shelters and waiting for homes.

When should your pet be neutered?

Cats and dogs need to be in good health and at the right age for neutering:

  • Pets need to be up to date on all vaccinations. They should be tested for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
  • Most neuters are performed on puppies and kittens that are about six months old. Animal behaviorists generally agree that neutering pets prior to sexual maturity is the best way to decrease undesirable behavior.
  • Early age neutering: There is currently a move in the veterinary community to neuter pets at much younger ages than six months, i.e., between eight and 16 weeks old. Some people worry that eight to 16 weeks is too young for surgery, but the scientific studies done so far suggest that performing an early age neuter surgery is no riskier than performing the surgery at six months, provided that the animal is healthy.
  • Neuters can also be done on older pets.

The surgical procedure

Anesthesia

Neutering surgery is performed under general anesthesia, which means that the pet is unconscious while the surgery is performed. The animal patient is usually given an intravenous injection and then intubated (a tube is inserted through the mouth into the airway). The protocol is similar to what is done when people are anesthetized.

Surgical prep

For dogs, the area in front of the scrotum is clipped and the skin is scrubbed clean with an antiseptic.

For cats, the hair on the scrotum is usually plucked rather than clipped to avoid irritating the area, and then the area is scrubbed clean.

After the scrotum has been cleaned and scrubbed, the animal is placed on his back and the surgery area draped with sterile towels.

The surgery

Neutering surgery takes anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the animal. Pets that have only one testicle sometimes require more extensive surgery, depending on whether the undescended testicle is inside or outside the abdomen.

As with any surgical procedure, sterility is essential and standard in order to prevent infection. The surgeon will be capped and masked, have scrubbed his or her hands and forearms beforehand, and will have put on a sterile gown and gloves. All the instruments and other tools used before, during, and after the surgery will have been sterilized.

Potential complications

Possible complications following surgery include bleeding and infection of the surgery site. Pet owners should watch their pets carefully for several days following surgery. If they notice any signs of bleeding, swelling, redness, or discharge from the surgery site, they should contact us.

Recovery

Most pets can go home the same day, while others may need to stay in the hospital overnight. You will be provided specific instructions for home care at the time of your pet’s discharge from the hospital

The incision should be monitored twice daily for any signs of infection: swelling, redness, and discharge. The incision site should be kept clean and dry.

Your pet’s activities should be limited for the first week or so following surgery. Dogs should only be walked on a leash and not allowed to run or roam. Pets should be protected from stressful environments (e.g., excitement and extreme temperatures). Following that first week, the animal can resume a normal level of activity.

Both cats and dogs can be fed their regular meals the day after surgery. Pets sometimes want to eat more after surgery. Pet owners who are concerned about a pet’s appetite or weight should talk to their veterinarian.

If your pet has external sutures or staples, you’ll need to go back to the veterinarian’s office to have them removed, usually 10 to 14 days after surgery.

If your pet is prescribed any medications, be sure to follow label directions carefully.

Contact our hospital, located in Pound Ridge, New York, if you have any problems or questions after your pet’s surgery.