Kittens change fast and haven't developed their immune systems, so a veterinarian will examine your pet kitten every 4 weeks, which corresponds with feline distemper/leukemia vaccines. We try to plan these visits at ages 8, 12, and 16 weeks.
Kittens have undeveloped immune systems and are very susceptible to infectious disease. In the first few months we teach their immune systems to recognize the most common and/or dangerous diseases cats can get. We vaccinate for feline distemper, 3 times at ages 8, 12, and 16. Feline leukemia is boosted at ages 8 and 12 weeks. Once the kitten is old enough (usually around 16 weeks), we give a rabies booster which lasts for a year. By 6 months of age kittens have typically finished their kitten boosters and need no additional vaccines, but if any boosters were missed, we will give them when they come in for spaying and neutering.
Young kittens are the most susceptible to parasites and therefore we are very careful about offering the maximum protection against them. On the kitten's first visit we will give an all purpose dewormer which will kill the most common types of intestinal parasites. We will run an intestinal parasite test during every kitten visit until we receive 2 back to back parasite free fecal samples. Also during your first visit we will start your kitten on a heartworm/flea preventative called revolution. It is important in North Carolina that your cat stays on a heartworm AND a flea preventative every month. By months of age we have successfully treated any kitten parasite issues and we are just continuing to give a once a month heartworm preventative as well as a flea and tick preventative.
A young healthy kitten does not usually undergo any type of extensive labwork or procedures. We will be running intestinal parasite checks every four weeks until we have 2 back to back parasite free samples as well as an initial feline leukemia/feline aids blood test to make sure your kitten has not picked up either of those diseases. When you bring your kitten in to be spayed or neutered we will run some pre-anesthetic blood work to make sure that your cat is fit to be a surgical candidate and to get a baseline for their internal body chemistry.
Spaying and Neutering Your Kitten
At 6 months old, it's time to get spayed or neutered! When your pet comes in for one of these procedures, the doctor will examine them again, making sure they continue to mature well, are fit for surgery, and have lost all of their baby teeth.
This is also an opportune time to implant a microchip under their skin to make sure that if they ever make a dash for it, everything that can be done to insure their safe return to you is done.