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Your kitten's first year of life is filled with wonder, exploration, and growth. It's also the time to make sure your new little one gets started off right.
A kitten gets it's immunity from mom through the placenta before birth and through nursing after birth. When a kitten weans, that maternal immunity wanes leaving her exposed to disease until her immune system fully matures. This is why we must "booster" our kittens with a series of immunizations starting between 6-8 weeks of age and again every 3-4 weeks until past the age of 16 weeks. Furthermore, to be effective immunizations must be manufactured, shipped, stored, and handled properly. A veterinarian understands which products have been manufactured appropriately and the correct method of receipt, storage and handling. Though rare failures occur, kittens that weren't already infected that complete a proper immunization series are far less likely to contract one of several potentially fatal diseases (e.g. feline leukemia virus, feline distemper virus, pneumonia, and more). If only one thing could be the most important this first year, it would be to have a proper immunization series administered by a veterinarian.
Parasites are crafty. They have complex lifecycles often involving multiple hosts. Their survival depends on successful host infection, avoiding host elimination, and keeping the host alive long enough to start this cycle all over again. Should a kitten's mother be infected, her litter may be directly infected one of two ways - through the placenta or through her milk. If not infected directly by mom, many are infected indirectly from a contaminated environment soon after birth. This is often from mom's stool or the stool of another infected cat housed in proximity. Some parasites are just a nuisance for the kitten, others are life threatening for the kitten and humans alike. The best way to evaluate and treat fecal parasites is to have a stool sample checked on every kitten. If parasites are identified, appropriate treatment will be initiated. If no parasites are identified, at least two rounds of a broad spectrum dewormer will be given. Not every parasite sheds every day. Furthermore, not every gram of stool tested will contain a parasite. You would want to make sure too, right? We agree.
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