Puppy Care

Our hospital philosophy is to provide you with the best possible veterinary care available for your puppy. We feel strongly that the preventive care plan below will help us get your puppy off to the best start possible.

Preventive Care Examination

Your puppy will need to come for a few visits to ensure proper growth, development, and to receive all vaccines and preventative care. We will perform a thorough physical exam and discuss all findings with you, then continue to monitor for proper growth and development as they progress through their series of puppy vaccine visits.

Vaccinations (for more info see our “Vaccine Guide“)

  • All puppies need a series of Distemper (Distemper-Adeno2-Parvo-Parainfluenza or DA2PP) Vaccines at 3-4 week intervals.
  • All puppies are required by law to receive a Rabies vaccine from a licensed veterinarian.
  • Any puppy that has any contact with other dogs needs a kennel cough vaccine (Bronchi-Shield Oral Bordetella Vaccine).
  • Puppies that may contact urine of wildlife/rodents benefit from 2 doses of the Leptospirosis vaccine at a 3-4 week interval.
  • Puppies that are walked anywhere that they may pick up ticks can be protected from Lyme disease with a series of 2 vaccines at a 3-4 week interval. A quick tick-disease screening test will let us know they have not been exposed.
  • Puppies that will encounter groups of dogs in kennels, daycare or groomers can be protected from canine influenza with a series of 2 vaccines at a 3-4 week interval.

Fecal Parasite Testing

By bringing a fresh stool sample (not more than 24 hours old), we can look for intestinal parasites that puppies can obtain from their mother, other dogs or by walking where wildlife has been. Parasites are especially common in puppies. Some of these parasites are contagious to people, especially children and immunocompromised individuals.


Your puppy will be given a dose of deworming medication at each puppy check-up based on his or her weight. We always treat for roundworms and hookworms, which puppies catch from their mom and are contagious to people. Almost all puppies have roundworms. They do not show up on every fecal because the worms shed eggs intermittently. We may also give additional medications to kill parasites if they show up on the fecal tests or if there is a high suspicion of their presence.

Hip Laxity Screening (JPS screening)

If your puppy is going to grow up to be over 40 pounds, we highly recommend having his or her hips tested for risk of developing hip dysplasia, which causes crippling arthritis and pain. What is involved? Bring your puppy fasted to one of the Specialists at Boston Veterinary Specialists and they will administer sedation so they can perform a special palpation of the hips and take special x-rays to determine if there is hip laxity present. If your puppy is found to be at high risk for developing hip dysplasia, a surgical procedure (JPS) can be performed to help the hips form properly and reduce the risk of developing crippling arthritis. Because the procedure needs to be done while the puppy is still growing we recommend doing the screening before 16 weeks of age. If we wait too long the opportunity to fix the problem can be missed. Once the puppy is 18-20 weeks old the surgery is less effective.

Pre-Anesthetic Testing

We will collect both a blood and urine sample from your puppy at the time of the final puppy vaccines. A CBC, biochemical profile, and urinalysis will be submitted to the laboratory for testing. This will help us identify any pre-existing problems before anesthesia and surgery.

Regular Parasite Prevention and Control

We recommend that all dogs receive year-round prevention for a variety of parasites that can be detrimental to their health and can be zoonotic (contagious to humans). The parasites that are essential to protect our canine companions against include: fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites. There are many safe and effective products that can be used to prevent these parasites. Your veterinarian can guide you to choose an individual preventative plan that fits your pet’s lifestyle.

Regular Oral Care

Your puppy will live longer and may not have to have costly dental procedures if you can maintain excellent oral health in his or her mouth by daily tooth brushing. We also recommend the regular use of dental treats or several kibbles of dental diet given as treats for your puppy to prevent dental disease once his or her adult teeth have come in, usually by 6 months of age. Hill’s Science Diet and Royal Canin make some great options.

*Due to the increasing costs of veterinary products and technology, our prices are subject to change.