This page is here to help you plan for the needs of your pet. The Freeport Animal Hospital can provide any of the services described here. If you already know what care your pet needs and are wondering if we offer it, then please navigate to our “Routine Care” or “Services” pages. If you cannot find the service you need, please call our office at (815) 232-4916 anytime between 8:00 am and 5:30 pm Monday through Friday or 8:00 am to noon on Saturday for more details. If our staff is unable to provide a specific service, we will do our best to direct you to a clinic who can.
Before you adopt a new pet, whether young or old, from a shelter, rescue, breeder, or shop, you need to determine what the needs of that animal are. Make sure that you can afford the initial costs of vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and registration; the continuous costs of food, preventative care, and yearly exams; and the unexpected costs of emergency veterinary care. As pets age, their needs increase. Before adopting a pet, make sure that you will be in a place to care for it emotionally and physically for the next 20 years. Remember that puppies and kittens do not stay small forever and adoption is a commitment for their lifetime.
Make sure that your new pet is healthy. Bring it to the vet so that it can be checked for health problems. The veterinarian can tell you about any special needs your pet may have. The first exam will also be an opportunity to get vaccinations, to register your pet, to schedule spay or neuter surgery, and to get to know your pet’s new vet.
Vaccinations are the most important and effective method for preventing disease. Young puppies and kittens need to have a series of vaccinations to prevent common diseases. Just like in humans, a single vaccination does not always insure complete immunity. Ask the veterinarian which shots and what schedule you should have for your pet. See the table below for a typical vaccination schedule.
Fleas, ticks, and worms are common parasites of pets. Not only do these parasites cause discomfort, they can carry diseases that could infect you or your pet. Ask the Freeport Animal Hospital what medications they can prescribe to prevent or treat fleas, ticks, and worms.
The Freeport Animal Hospital offers core vaccinations and treatments against the following (keep in mind that your pet may have different specific needs – talk to your vet):
- 6-8 weeks old: PRC (panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, calicivirus) vaccination, deworming, flea and tick preventation
- 8-10 weeks: PRC and feline leukemia vaccinations, deworming
- 10-12 weeks: PRC, feline leukemia, and deworming
- 14-16 weeks: rabies vaccination
- Adult: PRC (annual booster), feline leukemia (annual booster), rabies (1 year after initial vaccination, every 3 years thereafter), deworming (when necessary), and flea and tick preventative (as needed)
6-8 weeks old: DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis “lepto”, parainfluenza,
parvovirus) vaccination, deworming, and flea and tick prevention
8-10 weeks: begin heartworm preventative
10-12 weeks: DHLPP, deworming
14-16 weeks: DHLPP and rabies vaccinations, deworming
Adult: DHLPP (annual booster), rabies (1 year after the initial vaccination, every 3
years thereafter), bordetella (“kennel cough”, when necessary), Lymes disease
(when necessary), deworming (when necessary), and flea and tick prevention
Registration and Rabies Vaccinations
Stephenson County and Ogle County require that all dogs be registered annually. Winnebago Country requires that dogs and cats be registered. We offer registration for Stephenson, Ogle, and Winnebago counties. Rabies vaccinations are mandatory for all four counties.
A microchip is a small computer chip containing a unique identification number that helps ID a pet. Microchipping is compulsory for dogs registered in the city of Freeport. Pet microchips are increasing in popularity as a compliment to traditional ID tags in cats, dogs, and other animals. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and it is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades. After implantation, it causes no discomfort and has the advantage of permanence. A single chip should last the lifetime of your pet. However, the microchip is not a GPS device and cannot help you locate a lost pet. It is an internal ID tag that allows a found pet to be reunited with its owner. The major disadvantage of microchips is that you must take the pet to a veterinarian or an animal shelter (or any other organization that has digital reader) to track the owner. The microchip contains registration information, which can easily be overlooked and forgotten when updates, such as change of address or ownership, are needed.
Pet ID tags have the advantage that if your pet is found, it is immediately apparent that it is a pet (not a stray). The ID tag contains your information so that the finder can contact you directly, instead of going through the vet or shelter. When you move or need to update information, you are more likely to notice an ID tag than a hidden microchip. That said, the best way to ensure that you can be reunited with your lost pet is to use both a traditional ID tag and a microchip.
Before your pet reaches reproductive maturity, you should consider spaying or neutering, about 5-6 months of age for cats and 6 months of age for dogs, although both surgeries are fine post-sexual maturity. Males that have been neutered are expected to be less aggressive and territorial (including urinary marking behaviors) than unneutered males. Females should be spayed to prevent unwanted pregnancy and contribution to the pet overpopulation problem. Complications due to difficult pregnancy in pets can result in costly, emergency caesarian sections.
Pets age much faster than people. As a rule of thumb, they average 5-7 years for each human year. They should have annual exams, the equivalent of you going to the doctor every 5 years, to ensure that they are in good health. As your pet ages, you may increase the frequency of these routine wellness exams.
Discuss with your veterinarian the appropriate boosters and time frame for your pet. The law in Stephenson, Carroll, Ogle, and Winnebago couties requires your dog or cat have rabies vaccinations up-to-date. Indoor and outdoor pets also have different needs, so discuss this with us as well. Most outdoor pets will benefit from parasite preventatives.
As pets age, they may lose their hearing and eyesight. This may lead to your pet being increasingly confused and unresponsive to commands. Arthritis can cause your pet to slow its pace, be less active, and experience pain and discomfort. Arthritis can increase your pet’s irritability or lead to other behavioral changes. Further, pets are susceptible to cancer and heart and liver failure. Kidney failure can cause you pet to have more “accidents” in the house. When the time comes that your pet is suffering too much, humane euthanasia (“putting to sleep”) can be administered by a veterinarian.