Earl Grey Says “Thank You Dr Kitty Huang”

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Earl Grey says big THANK YOU to Dr Kitty Huang and team.

When Faith Tan spotted Earl Grey, he was already injured. She was rushing off to work and managed to get Elaine Yap to send him to AMK Veterinary Surgery (now known as Mount Pleasant Vet Centre, Mandai) where Dr Kitty Huang diagnosed a diaphragmatic hernia. The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the abdomen & the chest. A fall from a high place or car accident can cause it to rupture.

Elaine says, “We started helping community cats simply because of our love for animals and seeing those in need. I’m glad Earl Grey is recovering from surgery. Dr Kitty has been very supportive.”

Best news? Handsome boy has found himself an amazing new home!

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Kopi The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Congestive Heart Failure

There are many causes of congestive heart failure in dogs. Mitral valve disease (MVD) is a degenerative disease of the heart valves affecting the mitral valve on the left side of the heart. MVD is a common cause of heart murmur and congestive heart failure in dog breeds like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Prognosis is guarded once signs of congestive heart failure develop. Left-sided congestive heart failure leads to fluid build-up in the lungs which can cause coughing and breathing difficulties in your dog.

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As the condition progresses to right-sided congestive heart failure, fluid accumulates in the abdomen (ascites) which gives 7-year-old Kopi a heavy pot-bellied appearance. Owners may mistake fluid accumulation as weight gain. Very often, body mass is actually decreasing.

ABOUT THE HEART

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  • The heart is divided into 4 chambers: right atrium (RA), right ventricle (RV), left atrium (LA), left ventricle (LV).
  • Blood enters the RA from the head, neck and abdomen, and flows into the RV where it is pumped through the pulmonary artery into the lungs.
  • Blood is then oxygenated before it flows back to the heart into the LA and then the LV. The oxygenated blood is then pumped forcefully from the LV into the aorta and back into the rest of the body.
  • A valve is present between the upper and lower chambers of the heart (tricuspid valve and mitral valve) and between each ventricle and major blood vessel (pulmonary valve and aortic valve). The function of these valves is to prevent the blood from flowing backwards as the heart pumps.
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Radiography is an important diagnostic tool to identify cardiomegaly & presence of fluid in the lungs. X-rays showed Kopi’s heart was severely enlarged & pressing onto the trachea.

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An enlarged heart pressing onto the trachea can lead to coughing & breathing difficulties. Dr Jade Lim, AMK Veterinary Surgery, also detected heart murmur of grade 5/6.

Common signs of congestive heart failure
  • coughing
  • tachypnea (rapid breathing)
  • dyspnea (laboured breathing)
  • lethargy
  • poor appetite
  • weight loss & muscle wasting
  • sudden collapse
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Abdomenocentesis was done to remove excess fluid from Kopi’s abdomen. A needle is inserted into the abdominal wall to drain excess fluid so that Kopi feels more comfortable & can breathe more easily. A total of 2.4L of fluid was drawn out. After the procedure, Kopi weighs 6.06kg.

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Kopi continues with the necessary medications to manage her heart condition. Diuretics like furosemide help to flush excess fluid out of the body. Pets on diuretics will drink & urinate more, so they should always have excess to fresh water.

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Another patient, a 16-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, is also living with congestive heart failure & ascites.

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230ml of fluid was removed from her abdomen today.

Congestive heart failure is a progressive disease. Pets living with congestive heart failure have to monitored very closely, especially for signs of breathing difficulties. Limit your dog’s activities to avoid straining the heart and provide a low-salt diet to decrease fluid build-up in the body.

When medical therapy fails to manage your dog’s condition and provide a good quality of life, euthanasia is the kindest option.

While it is tough to see Kopi living with congestive heart failure, we are glad her family is positive and optimistic. No doom and gloom for this sweet and strong girl who was wagging cheerfully after the procedure.

Dogs always find a reason to be happy, don’t they?

 

Prolapsed Rectum In Kittens

If you see a red cylindrical mass coming out from your cat or dog’s behind, take them to the vet immediately.

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The red bulge is the kitten’s rectum protruding through the anus. This is usually caused by chronic diarrhea or persistent straining due to constipation. This kitten was seen at AMK Veterinary Surgery.

The rectum is the final part of the large intestine that terminates at the anus. Your cat may develop rectal or anal prolapse if it is suffering from digestive disorders that cause chronic constipation or diarrhea. Rectal prolapse can also be caused by:

  • presence of worms or other intestinal parasites (common in kittens and puppies)
  • inflammation of the intestines
  • inflammation of the bladder
  • rectal or anal tumours

While the vet is able to place the prolapsed tissue back into the anus, the underlying cause should be identified and treated to prevent recurrence of prolapse.

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The prolapsed tissue will be gently massaged with lubricating gels or glucose solutions to reduce swelling & then placed back into the kitten’s anus.

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Dr Tricia Ling placed a purse-string suture around the anus to narrow the opening & prevent the tissue from prolapsing again. The syringe is in place to ensure the anal opening is not sutured too tightly, leaving space for stool to pass out normally.

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Sutures will be removed 3 days later. Stool softeners may be prescribed to prevent straining during defecation.

Animals with rectal prolapse should be taken to the vet as soon as possible. Left untreated, the prolapsed tissue may become traumatised, diseased and eventually die off.

Keep your kittens parasite free with routine deworming and tick and flea prevention. Provide plenty of fresh water to prevent dehydration and constipation. Watch out for any signs of digestive, gastrointestinal or urinary tract problems. Recurrent prolapse may require surgery (colopexy). 

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Dr Gloria Lee: Nothing Is Coincidental

Whether it is a word casually spoken or a bird falling right in your path, Dr Gloria Lee from Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Mandai) believes nothing is coincidental. We are always where we are meant to be. 

“I believe in fate, totally. I take what this life has given me to do. There is no such thing as coincidence in my book.”

have you always wanted to be a vet?

I grew up in Kuching, Sarawak, surrounded by animals. My parents always had mongrels and would feed cats who happened to adopt us. They also raised ducks and quails. When I was in primary school, a classmate said I should be a vet since I had so many pets. The seed was sown.

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“When I was around 8, we had a Calico cat (in my brother Stephen’s arms) who was very attached to me. She always tried to accompany me when I bathed!”

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“When Calico had kittens, she would bring me her firstborn & I would stay by her side throughout the birth. There were no vets (& no sterilisation of pets) in Kuching until the 1980s.”

HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR BIRDS?

Like many young people, I was not prepared to practise my trade when I graduated so I took on a year of Zoology at another university.  During that time, I chanced upon a baby dove fallen from its nest and brought it to a wildlife rehabilitation centre,  Fauna Rehabilitation Centre, in the outskirts of Perth. It was a small privately-funded place, run by dedicated volunteers.

That was one of the turning points in my life.

I spent several years learning and helping the centre on a pro bono basis. I am grateful my parents were patient and allowed me the time to find myself.

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“My bathroom was converted to a water bird room; I sometimes shared a shower with a Black Swan or a Cormorant. My spare bedroom transformed into an aviary where I fostered birds too young to be released to an outdoor aviary but needed to learn to fly.”

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“Birds are much more challenging patients. The anatomy & physiology of a chicken is different to that of a parrot or a dove. They are 3 different species. It is like treating a domestic cat, a lion & a tiger.”

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“Birds hide their illness well. Being so small, it’s virtually impossible to perform standard treatments. It’s all about prevention.”

what is the best part about being a vet?

I find it rewarding to help community animals and the people who are protecting them. It is also heartwarming to help the elderly and the poor give their sick companions a better quality of life.

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With Kelly of MercyLight Adoption & their dogs Aki, Nino, Eden & Seven the Sheltie!

how do you cope with the emotions & frustrations of work? 

I don’t shut down and compartmentalise well and often bring my worries home. Knowing I have eased the suffering of an animal and meeting wonderful clients make things easier. Having an understanding spouse/partner is very important.

Several years ago, when my schedule became hectic, my husband Victor made a tough decision to semi-retire so that we can have some work-life balance. He comes to the clinic whenever I am at work and gives me sound advice whether I want to hear it or not. I respect him for that.

Gardening is a relaxing hobby I share with Victor who trained as a Horticulturist. I am the Hon Treasurer of the Singapore Gardening Society and he is the Hon Secretary. When all else fails, a good Scotch whisky always soothes my soul and spirit!  Sorry to the Irish and Japanese but I do enjoy Guinness and sashimi too!

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“Victor helps me see things in a different perspective. He takes care of other parts of my life so I don’t have anything else to worry about. My mom absolutely adores him. She never calls me – always him!”

tell us more about your pets

I have adopted dozens of animals in my life. We currently have 3 Scottish Terriers named Chivas, Regal, Macallan and 6 adopted stray cats. We gave all of them “alcoholic names”!

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Siblings Miguel, Cuervo & Sake rescued as kittens.

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Miguel, Sake & Cuervo now!

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Sake, had a glass too many?

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JD (Jack Daniels) as a kitten & now, Muscat & Half Pint!

what advice would you give aspiring vets?

It is not enough to have a love for animals.

A love for animals is not going to see you through 12-hour work days and clients who expect you to save their already dying pets. Many young vets are casualties of burn-out. They stop working in clinics because they have become disillusioned.

You need a deep-seated compassion for an animal’s right to quality of life and quality care. You need to accept that you cannot save every one of them.

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Our vets at Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Mandai), formerly AMK Veterinary Surgery: Dr Gloria Lee with King Billy, Dr Kitty Huang with Joey, Dr Jade Lim with Pom Pom & Gusto, Dr Tricia Ling with Sunshine & Skye, Ming Ming the resident cat rescued by Dr Kitty.

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The Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Mandai) family, formerly AMK Veterinary Surgery,at Dr Tricia Ling’s wedding – Ai Lin, Xue Ting, Cheriel, Dr Teng Yi Wei, Melissa, John, Dr Kitty Huang, Dr Tricia Ling, Dr Gloria Lee, Shu Yin (now at MP Bedok), Dr Jade Lim, Jasmine.

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“I will continue to build & strengthen my healthcare team & look after their career welfare. They are my second family.”

What Is Bloat?

Gastric Dilation and Volvulus Syndrome (GDV), commonly known as bloat, stomach torsion or twisted stomach, is a life-threatening condition.

When your dog suffers from bloat, the stomach can blow up rapidly like a balloon. Reference: www.vetdepot.com

When your dog suffers from bloat, the stomach can blow up rapidly like a balloon. Reference: http://www.vetdepot.com

The stomach fills up with air, fluid or food and puts pressure on other organs, making it difficult for the dog to breathe.  As the stomach enlarges, it may rotate or twist, trapping the air, fluid or food. Blood supply to vital organs is cut off, leading to tissue damage and destruction. 

SYMPTOMS OF BLOAT:
  • abdominal pain and distention (swelling)
  • excessive drooling
  • vomiting
  • depression
  • anxious behaviour
  • shortness of breath
  • collapse
A COMMON SYMPTOM of BLOAT IS a painful & swollen ABDOMen. 
BLOAT APPEARS TO BE MORE COMMON IN: 
  • older dogs
  • large to giant breeds
  • deep and narrow chested dogs
  • dogs who eat rapidly or eat one large meal per day
  • dogs who gulp large amounts of water during meals

Not all dogs who experience stomach bloating will end up with volvulus (torsion/twisting of stomach). The only way to determine if your dog is experiencing bloat or GDV is through X-rays. 

IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR DOG IS suffering from GDV, RUSH HIM TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY. a twisted stomach can prevent blood flow to vital organs & result in shock or death very quickly. 

The gas in the stomach can be released by:

  • orogastric intubation – inserting a tube through the mouth into the stomach
  • trocarization – inserting a large needle directly into stomach wall 

Surgery is done to empty the stomach and rotate it back to correct position. The vet may also perform a gastropexy – suture the stomach to the abdominal wall to prevent the stomach from twisting in future.

Exact causes of bloat are unknown. However, we may prevent bloat in our dogs by:

  • avoiding strenuous exercise before and after meals
  • feeding frequent small meals instead of one large meal
  • using specially designed bowls that make dogs eat slower
  • restrict water during meal times
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13-year-old Gusto (Dr Jade Lim’s best friend) is currently recuperating at Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre (Gelenggang) after surgery for GDV.

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Gusto as a baby. We wish him speedy recovery!

Woody The Woodpecker: Suspected Concussion

Today,  a juvenile Sunda Woodpecker was brought to AMK Veterinary Surgery by a kind client who rescues injured wild birds. We shall call the woodpecker Woody for now.

Woody the Sunda Woodpecker is still a juvenile. Looks like it has suffered a concussion (head trauma).

“This Woodpecker is still a juvenile. Looks like it has suffered a concussion (head trauma).” ~ Dr Gloria Lee, AMK Veterinary Surgery

Woody is hospitalised and will be given 50% glucose solution by mouth every two hours.

Birds can suffer from concussion (head trauma) if they fly into a hard surface like a wall or window. If you find a bird lying dazed on the ground after hitting a window:

  • gently carry and place it in a box or dark container with a lid
  • leave it somewhere warm and quiet (away from pets and predators)
  • release the bird outside once it is awake and alert (some birds will revive within  a few minutes, unless it is seriously injured.)

If the bird doesn’t recover in a couple of hours, take it to a veterinarian.

Woody is currently hospitalised at AMK Veterinary Surgery where it will be kept in a quiet area and monitored closely. Although Woody’s prognosis for the next 24 hours is poor, we are still hoping for the best!

Stay tuned for Woody’s progress.

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The Sunda Woodpecker or Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker is the smallest species of woodpecker in Singapore.

Woodpeckers have a distinctive manner of hopping up and down tree trunks and branches, while drilling the wood for insects.

Here are some interesting write-ups on the Sunda Woodpecker from Nature Watch and Bird Ecology Study Group.