Start the Furry Little Ones Out Right...
Be Cautious with Vaccines, Provide Natural Nutrition, Socialize!
Human doctors and veterinarians promote vaccination as a means to a good early start for babies. There are some vaccinations which save lives, but some vaccination protocols are excessive, risky, and a waste of money!
A puppy or kitten’s immune system is not competent to respond to a vaccine until eight weeks of age.
Therefore, breeders and veterinarians should not begin vaccinating until eight weeks. Vaccines should never be given closer together than two to four weeks apart.
To establish whether or not a vaccine has caused an individual to mount an adequate immune response, a blood titer test may be performed. Getting a shot does not protect you; it is the body’s immune response to the vaccine that protects you, and NOT all individuals respond! The presence of mother’s antibodies in a puppy or kitten can prevent a vaccine from stimulating an immune response.
Vaccinate only with the AVMA recommended “core” vaccines. Importantly, this does NOT include leptospirosis. Although the disease is a zoonotic (can be transmitted from dogs to humans via urine), the vaccine is ineffective and is notorious for causing reactions such as facial swelling and even immune-mediated bleeding disorders.
A sensible protocol is to vaccinate puppies and kittens twice, one month apart, ideally at eight and twelve weeks of age. Dogs receive distemper, hepatitis(adenovirus), parainfluenza and parvo vaccines. This is an all in one vaccine and should not be given with any other vaccines, such as rabies. Rabies is generally given to pups at four months or later. This is repeated in one year, and then every three years. Do a titer test on puppies at four months to see if the distemper and parvo levels are protective. Cats receive distemper(panleukopenia), rhinotracheitis(herpes virus), calici virus. An intranasal vaccine seems to cause less reactions. The state of Wisconsin does not require rabies vaccine in cats. Be sure to test all new kittens, especially those being brought into a household with other cats, for the Feline Leukemia(FeLV) and Feline Immunosuppressive(FIV) Viruses.
Like HIV, cats with these viruses can appear healthy and transmit these disorders to other cats before they exhibit symptoms and succumb to the disease. If you identify that your new, little one has an immunosuppressive disorder, you can provide healthy immune support early in life to try to delay onset of illness.
Remember, vaccine inserts say, “Vaccinate (only) healthy animals.” Don’t let anyone vaccinate your pet if he is ill or has a chronic condition. The immune system has enough to do in managing that disorder. Don’t ask it to properly handle a vaccine on top of it!
Ask your veterinarian how your pet might contract the disease to guide your decision, based on your pet’s lifestyle, as whether or not to vaccinate to try to prevent a particular disease.
Proper nutrition is critical to a great start for a puppy or kitten! Learn as much as you can about species-appropriate diets because they make sense and they promote excellent quality of life and longevity. In nature, a dog might eat a rabbit, a cat might chow down on a mouse. Wild carnivores provide these foods for their babies as they are weaned. If this is what God intended, how can we mimic this as closely as possible for our little carnivores in confinement? Thankfully, there are a variety of high quality, safe balanced, commercial frozen raw diets on the market. These diets make feeding a species-appropriate diet convenient, easy and delicious! In your fridge, you can thaw a few neat little nuggets or “meat balls” and place them into a stainless steel bowl or ceramic saucer for serving. Be sure to add a little hot water to take off the cold edge. Remember, prey is raw, but not cold! This meat diet is the prey-concept. It is crucial that a meat-based diet contain four components: flesh, organs, raw ground bone or whole raw bone or calcium added, fruits or vegetables blended to mimic the pre-digestion that occurs in the gut of the prey. Especially for growing pets, the calcium:phosphorous ratio is critical. Commercial diets have been analyzed to be sure this is correct. Feeding these brands would be much safer than a home-prepared haphazard diet.
Lastly, proper socialization of puppies and kittens is key to a long, happy life in association with your human household. Even, a two pound purse puppy needs a lot of exercise and play! Confinement or excessive snuggling can lead to aggression, anxious and destructive behaviors or elimination problems.
Babies play hard and sleep hard. Provide a stimulating environment for your kitten and a safe environment for your puppy. Cat trees are fantastic and crate training can be a life saver. Pet sitters and doggy day cares provide a wonderful service for today’s busy pet guardians!
Most important, enjoy, have fun, they’re not little for long!