What Your Kitten Should Expect at GAH

Adding a new kitten to the household can be an exciting time for your family!  Depending on your previous experiences with cats or kittens you may have some trepidation about the first check up for your tiny and new pet.  We know that not every cat (or owner!) enjoys visiting the veterinary hospital.  We know that cats can learn and repeat behaviors that result from stressful situations.  A few scary experiences at the beginning can result in a kitty (and owner!) dreading future appointments.  Being prepared and informed may help both the owner and hospital staff create a safe and nurturing environment for your new kitten.

THE LOBBY:  We have a separate entrance and lobby for cats.  There may be another cat waiting in the lobby or audible barking from our canine friends but we try to keep this area quiet and comfortable.  If you feel your kitten is becoming stressed in the lobby please ask a staff member to help you relocate to a more isolated area.

THE EXAM ROOM:  We have a feline friendly exam room which some of our patients love to explore.  Your kitten may be more comfortable in your lap or in the crate, just follow their lead. The best option is for you to place the crate on the floor and allow the kitten to come out on their own to investigate.  Treats may be helpful at this point!

THE CHECK UP:  An assistant or technician will begin to take a detailed history.  This is an opportunity for you to let us know about previous medical care or treatment your kitten has already received.  Tell us what questions you have about your kitten's health, behavior and environment.  Dr. Snyder will preform a comprehensive physical exam from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail.  We will document the weight at this and all future visits.  We will share the exam findings with you and make recommendations based on our findings and your kitten's history.

LAB TESTING:  There are a few simple and common diagnostic procedures we may recommend during this visit.  We may discuss ear mites, a blood test for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and a stool test for intestinal parasites.  Ear mites are more common in young animals and the infection results in an itchy, smelly ear.  The dark debris can be seen in the ear canal and we examine this debris under the microscope to visualize the mites.  FeLV and FIV are potentially fatal retroviruses may have been transmitted to your kitten in utero or after exposure to other infected cats.  We are able to test kittens during the exam and have a result within 10 minutes.  A small blood sample obtained from the back leg is needed for the test.  We may have asked you to bring a sample of your kitten's stool to the exam.  We will submit the sample for laboratory testing which detects eggs of intestinal parasites.  Most of these tests do not have to be repeated unless an abnormal result is obtained.

VACCINATIONS:  The pediatric series of vaccinations are very important in keeping your kitten healthy.  We work aggressively to minimize vaccinations in low risk cats as they age but feel strongly about providing immunity to kittens susceptible to infectious disease.  We follow the AAFP guidelines for vaccinations and are happy to speak specifically about your individual kitten's risk assessment.  You can find additional information about specific vaccinations under CATS > WELLNESS AND CHECKUPS > VACCINATIONS.

We will discuss nutrition, environmental enrichment, training, behavior, needs of indoor vs. outdoor cats and a parasite prevention program.  Your kitten's wellness visits can be tailored to the specific needs of your and your pet and together we can work toward a fear free veterinary visit.

Office Hours

Monday 8am - 6pm
Tuesday 7am - 7pm
Wednesday 7am - 7pm
Thursday 8am - 6pm
Friday 8am - 6pm
Saturday 8am - 12pm
Closed Sunday