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The importance of a post-purchase exam

August 6th, 2010 Posted in Uncategorized

Buying or adopting a puppy is such a big step for most pet owners. There’s so much to know and do, including house training, vaccinations, deworming, socialization and nutrition. One hopes the puppy is healthy and will be a good fit for the family. I highly recommend bringing all new puppies to a veterinarian for a post-purchase exam. Make an appointment to go straight to the vet on your way home from the breeder’s place. Better yet, ask the breeder if you can have a pre-purchase exam done by your veterinarian, before you pay for the dog.

During a pre-purchase or post-purchase exam visit, if the puppy has any serious health concerns, your vet can reveal them right away. If there are some major findings during the physical exam on the dog, such as luxating patellas that need expensive surgery to correct, or a heart murmur that might require lifelong management, you’ll get advance warning before everyone at home falls in love with the puppy.

Some pet owners choose to exchange the pup for another dog in the litter if the veterinarian identifies a serious congenital problem. Others decide to keep the puppy anyway. I feel it’s important that you have a choice, by getting the heads-up during that post-purchase exam. Then you can make an informed decision. However, once you’ve had a dog home for a couple of days, you and your family will already be so attached to it that taking it back to the breeder may no longer be an option.

I realize that most breeders have their puppies examined and vaccinated by their veterinarian before you pick it up. However, that does not replace a post-purchase exam, in my opinion. Remember, the breeder’s veterinarian’s loyalties are to the breeder, not to you.

Your vet will also start your puppy on the road to good health. If the dog has parasites, be they fleas, lice or worms, your veterinarian will identify these before the puppy introduces them into your home and yard. Treatment can be started before you even get the puppy home.

A microscopic examination of the puppy’s feces will help identify parasites such as roundworms, hookworms and coccidia. Worm eggs are not visible to the naked eye. In addition to fecal testing, we’ll also dispense medication for prophylactic deworming. Roundworms are present in 95 per cent of most puppies and kittens and can be a public health concern.

Another reason that a post-purchase exam is a great idea is that your veterinarian will give you all sorts of tips on care of your puppy. We’ll discuss house-training and obedience training. We’ll give you some tips on how to socialize your puppy so it’s not afraid of other dogs, people and noises as an older dog. We’ll show you how to clean its ears, trim its nails, and brush its teeth. We’ll give you advice on the right food for your new pet. We’ll review the vaccination history and tell you when your puppy is due for its next inoculation (sometimes we need to make changes to the breeder’s schedule). We’ll get your new dog started on medication to prevent heartworm and fleas. We’ll talk to you about pet insurance and about spaying and neutering.

For more tips on puppy care, check out the information I’ve uploaded here: www.hespeleranimalhospital.com/puppy-care-information/

I also wrote an article for The Record years ago on how to choose a good breeder. I’ve put a copy of it on our web page as well: www.hespeleranimalhospital.com/2010/06/10/how-to-choose-a-good-dog-breeder/I hope you’ll agree a post-purchase exam is a great value. Don’t forget, your veterinarian is your best source for pet care information!

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