By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a U.S. pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats founded in 2005.
There are few things cuter than puppies and kittens. But their adorable new-to-this-world state also makes them very susceptible to health issues. Here are 5 common health conditions you need to know if you have a puppy or kitten.
Puppy and Kitten Health Issues
Puppies and kittens often contract intestinal worms from their mothers during nursing. Hookworms, Roundworms and Whipworms are the most common types of worms in adult dogs, but Giardia and Coccidia are also seen in puppies and dogs of all ages. Cats and kittens most often carry Roundworms. Some of these parasites are transferrable to humans and as known as “zoonotic” diseases. This means that you can contract parasites from your new puppy or kitten if you come in direct contact with fecal material. This could happen if you walk in your yard barefoot, or while cleaning the litter box. Your veterinarian will diagnose which worms are present with a fecal float test, and then she will choose the appropriate dewormer. Diagnostics and medications usually costs between $50-$100.
Puppies and kittens are at risk for getting fleas. Heavy flea burdens can cause anemia (low red blood cells) as the fleas literally suck all of the blood out of the small puppy or kitten. This can be fatal if left untreated. Severe cases may need a blood transfusion which can cost over $500.
Kitten-Specific Health Issues
3. Viral Infections
Kittens are at high risk of contracting highly contagious viral infections such as Calici virus and Herpes virus. These viruses typically cause upper respiratory issues such as congestion, nasal discharge, coughing and sneezing. Kittens may also experience runny, crusty eyes. Often times, kittens experiencing these illnesses will also have secondary bacterial infections as well. Costs for veterinary care usually run $75-$150 depending on how sick the kitten is.
Puppy-Specific Health Issues
This highly contagious virus causes severe bloody diarrhea and vomiting in puppies. The only way to prevent this disease is through vaccination of puppies. Typically, puppies get a Parvo virus vaccine at ages 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks. Puppies who are not fully vaccinated may still catch this potentially deadly disease. Signs include lethargy, vomiting, not eating and bloody diarrhea. Treatment costs range from $800 to over $2,000 depending on how sick the puppy is and how long it needs to be hospitalized
This skin mite causes patchy baldness which can turn into red, itchy and infected area of skin. Mild cases may only have one or two small patches of alopecia (hair loss), while severe cases may be almost completely bald. Puppies with severe Demodex are often treated with Ivermectin for several weeks or months. Treatment can be up to several hundred dollars depending on the size of the puppy and how long the treatment needs to be given.
By knowing about these common health issues you can take proactive steps to help prevent them when possible, or be better prepared should an issue arise. Talk to your veterinarian to learn more about these conditions and to set up a vaccination schedule where applicable.
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