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Matthew Sisk: Puppys first vet visit in a lifetime of health care
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This is the fictionalized story of Lemmy.

And during the next few weeks, I will share an expedited summary of his health history in chronological order. This will give you a peek into how experiences over time affect future health.

I met Lemmy when he came to see me for his first visit as a puppy. Other than that, I won’t throw out any spoilers.

Lemmy is a wiggly blonde 8-pound dog, who is so friendly he could probably sell you a used car.

His owners estimate he is 7 weeks old. They aren’t sure because he’s a rescue from a hoarding case. Of his litter, only he survived. His personality shows no scars.

I make small talk with the owners as I begin the exam.

During the exam, Lemmy gives me kisses, and I notice he has puppy breath. That means he’s almost certainly younger than 12 weeks, as that characteristic smell changes around that time.

I notice his collar has spades (the card suit) all over it. I ask the owners if he’s named after the lead singer of Motorhead.

This comment makes me his doctor of choice. Hopefully my expertise and bedside manner are taken into account for that, but knowing your hard rock helps.

Lemmy looks great, other than a bit of a bloated belly, with a little bit of palpable gas in his intestines. His owners don’t report any problems at all, and potty training is almost complete.

If that was a problem, now would be a good time to tackle it.

A fecal exam reveals Lemmy has roundworms. It is one of the most common intestinal parasites of puppies and is classic “spaghetti” worms. They can cause serious problems, including rare but disastrous problems in humans.

We kill the worms with a simple, safe medication.

Then, Lemmy receives his first set of puppy vaccinations, and a treat for being brave.

An appointment is made for Lemmy’s second puppy visit, and he’s out the door.

A phone follow-up reveals no complications, and Lemmy leaves my world for the next three weeks.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at