Cherokee Hospital for Animals

Johnson City Puppy Care & Kitten Care

Welcoming a new puppy or kitten into your home is an exciting and joyful experience. However, it also comes with a lot of responsibility, including providing proper veterinary care for your pet. We will discuss the importance of puppy care and kitten care and how we are here to help!

Puppy and Kitten Wellness Examinations

Cherokee Hospital for Animals - Puppy Care

Pets need regular check-ups to maintain their health and catch any potential issues early on. These exams are especially important for puppies and kittens, as they are more susceptible to certain health problems and require additional care during their first year of life.

Early Detection of Health Issues

During a wellness exam, we will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet. This includes checking their eyes, ears, teeth, and overall body condition. They will also listen to their heart and lungs and check for any abnormalities.

These exams allow for early detection of any health issues that may be present, such as heart murmurs, dental problems, or skin conditions. Catching these issues early on can prevent them from becoming more serious and potentially life-threatening.


Cherokee Hospital for Animals - Kitten Care

Vaccinations protect your pet from potentially life-threatening diseases. When puppies and kittens are born, they have some immunity from their mother's milk, but this protection only lasts for a few weeks. As they grow, their immune system becomes weaker, making them more susceptible to diseases.

Vaccinations work by introducing a small amount of a virus or bacteria into your pet's body, which triggers their immune system to produce antibodies to fight off the disease. This process helps your pet develop immunity to the disease, so if they come into contact with it in the future, their body will be able to fight it off.

Core vs. Non-Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are those that are recommended for all puppies and kittens, regardless of their lifestyle or environment. These vaccines protect against diseases that are highly contagious and can be fatal, such as rabies, distemper, and parvovirus.

Non-core vaccines, on the other hand, are recommended based on your pet's lifestyle and risk of exposure to certain diseases. These vaccines protect against diseases that are less common or only pose a risk in certain areas, such as Lyme disease or feline leukemia.

It's important to discuss your pet's lifestyle and environment with us to determine which non-core vaccines are necessary for your pet.

For puppies, the core vaccinations include:

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Adenovirus
  • Parainfluenza
  • Lepto
  • Rabies
  • Bordetella (recommended for most)

For kittens, the core vaccinations include:

  • Feline herpesvirus
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline panleukopenia
  • Rabies

Recommended Vaccine Schedule

The recommended vaccine schedule for puppies and kittens is based on their age and the type of vaccine being administered. It is important to follow this schedule to ensure that your pet is fully protected against diseases.

Puppy Vaccine Schedule

Puppies should receive their first round of vaccinations at 6-8 weeks of age. These initial vaccinations are crucial for protecting them during their most vulnerable stage of life. The following is a typical vaccination schedule for puppies:

  • 6-8 weeks: Exam, DA2PP booster
  • 9-11 weeks: Exam, DA2PP booster
  • 12-15 weeks: Exam. DA2PP with Lepto, Bordetella
  • 16-19 weeks: Exam, DA2PP with Lepto, Bordetella, Rabies

After the initial round of vaccinations, your puppy will need booster shots depending on the vaccine. We will create a personalized vaccination schedule for your puppy based on their lifestyle and risk of exposure to certain diseases.

Kitten Vaccine Schedule

Kittens should receive their first round of vaccinations at 6-8 weeks of age. The following is a typical vaccination schedule for kittens:

  • 6-8 weeks: Exam, FVRCP booster
  • 9-11 weeks: Exam, FVRCP booster
  • 12-15 weeks: Exam, Purevax Rabies, FVRCP booster and Purevax FELV booster if going
    to be outside cat and tested neg for FeLV.
  • 16-19 weeks: Last Purevax FeLV booster-if going to be outside cat.

After the initial round of vaccinations, your kitten will need booster shots depending on the vaccine. We will create a personalized vaccination schedule for your kitten based on their lifestyle and risk of exposure to certain diseases.


One crucial aspect of pet wellness is diagnostic testing for parasites, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Puppies and kittens are more susceptible to parasites and viruses due to their underdeveloped immune systems. These young animals are also more likely to encounter contaminated environments, making them more vulnerable to infections. Diagnostic testing can help identify any potential health issues early on, allowing for prompt treatment and prevention of further complications.


Parasites are organisms that live on or inside another organism, known as the host, and can cause harm or disease. Puppies and kittens are at a higher risk of contracting parasites due to their curious nature and tendency to explore their surroundings with their mouths.

Parasite Testing

Parasite testing involves collecting a stool sample from your pet and examining it for the presence of parasites. This test is typically done during the first veterinary visit and is repeated throughout the puppy/kitten series. Some of these parasites can be spread to humans and especially children, so it is extremely important to make sure your cuddly puppies and kittens are not spreading parasites to your family.

Common Parasites in Puppies and Kittens

Some of the most common parasites that can affect puppies and kittens include:

  • Roundworms: These are the most common intestinal parasites in puppies and kittens. They can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and a pot-bellied appearance in young animals.
  • Hookworms: These parasites can cause anemia, weight loss, and diarrhea in puppies and kittens
  • Whipworms: These parasites can cause bloody diarrhea most commonly in puppies.
  • Fleas: Fleas are not only a nuisance but can also transmit tapeworms and cause skin irritation and allergies in puppies and kittens.
  • Ticks: Ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to puppies and kittens.
  • Giardia: This parasite can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss in puppies and kittens.
  • Coccidia: Coccidia is a common parasite that can cause diarrhea and dehydration in puppies and kittens.


Heartworms are parasitic worms that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected animals. They are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and can affect both dogs and cats. Heartworms can grow up to 12 inches in length and can cause serious damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs. We recommend starting your pet on heartworm prevention at their first puppy visit and continue monthly throughout their life. We first test them for heartworms after 6 months of age and then yearly to ensure they remain heartworm negative.

Methods of Parasite Prevention

There are several methods for preventing parasites in dogs and cats. The most common include topical treatments, oral medications, and collars. We will discuss which options are best for your pet.

The Importance of Testing for FIV and FeLV

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) are two of the most common viral infections in cats. These viruses can weaken the immune system, making cats more susceptible to other infections and diseases. Kittens can contract these viruses from their mothers, and they can also be transmitted through bites from infected cats.

FIV and FeLV Testing

FIV and FeLV testing involves a simple blood test that can be done during the first veterinary visit. If your kitten tests positive for either virus, further testing may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Early detection of these viruses is crucial, as it allows for proper management and treatment to improve your pet's quality of life.

Symptoms of FIV and FeLV

Symptoms of FIV and FeLV in kittens may not be apparent until the disease has progressed. Some common signs to watch out for include:

  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Pale gums
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

Treatment for Parasites and FIV/FeLV

If your puppy or kitten tests positive for parasites, FIV, FeLV, we will discuss treatment options with you. Treatment for parasites may involve deworming medication, while treatment for FIV and FeLV may include supportive care and management of symptoms. We always deworm puppies and kittens for roundworms due to the high prevalence and the zoonotic potential.

Spay and Neuter Procedure

Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that remove the reproductive organs of your pet. For female pets, this is called spaying, and for male pets, it is called neutering. These procedures not only prevent unwanted pregnancies, but they also have numerous health benefits. Spaying and neutering can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, eliminate the risk of uterine infections, and decrease aggressive behavior in male pets.

When to Spay and Neuter Your Pet

The optimal time for spaying and neutering your pet is 6 months. For female cats and dogs, this is before their first heat cycle, which usually occurs around 6 months of age.


Microchipping is a simple and effective way to ensure the safety and well-being of your furry friends. It involves inserting a small microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, under the skin of your pet. This microchip contains a unique identification number that can be scanned by a veterinarian or animal shelter to retrieve your contact information. When we microchip your pet, we will submit the registration information for you, so your pet is covered the minute they walk out the door.

Join the Cherokee Hospital for Animals Family Today!

Located directly outside of Buffalo Mountain Park and just off of University Parkway.

Phone: 423-928-7272

Send Us A Message!

  • Monday:
  • Tuesday:
  • Wednesday:
  • Thursday:
  • Friday:
  • Saturday:
  • Sunday: