Dogs And Cats – Normal Vital Signs

Vital signs in our dogs and cats are affected by their state of anxiety , life stage and activity as well as external factors such as room temperature. These reference numbers are to serve as a general guide.

Heart rate per minute 80 – 120
Respiratory rate per minute 15 – 30
Temperature 37.5 – 39.2 Celcius
Heart rate per minute 100 – 140
Respiratory rate per minute 20 – 30
Temperature 37.8 – 39.5 Celcius
How to CHECK Temperature

The most accurate way to take our dog’s or cat’s temperature is with a digital thermometer inserted rectally. Lubricate the thermometer with a water-based lubricant like KY jelly. Insert the thermometer gently into the rectum, located just below the base of the tail, and leave it in place until it beeps.

You may have to gradually condition your dog or cat to allow this. Do it slowly & gently. Someone to hold onto your pet is helpful too.

How to MEASURE Heart Rate

The average heart rate of dogs and cats may vary according to breed and size, so it is important to know what is normal for your dog and cat when they are relaxed and at rest. Count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply by 4 to get the heart rate in beats per minute (bpm).

Dr Iin, Mount Pleasant (East), with Batman the Chihuahua. Small dogs generally have faster heart rates while large dogs & those in good physical condition have slower rates.

Dr Janson Tano, Mount Pleasant (North), providing complimentary health check to Tobi the Maltipoo at Happy Pets Happy ‘Hood. Heart rates may also be higher when your dogs & cats are in the clinics or at events, due to anxiety & excitement.

Feel your dog’s heartbeat with one hand over the left side, just behind the front leg.

You can also check the heart rate by locating the femoral artery near the top of the inner thigh.

How to MEASURE Respiratory Rate

The chest rises with inspiration and falls with expiration. One cycle of inspiration and expiration equals one breath. When your dogs or cats are at rest, check their respiratory rate by counting the number of breaths for 1 minute. 

Practise these steps at home until you are familiar with your pets’ normal vital signs and know when they seem “off” and require vet attention.


Always seek veterinary advice when your pets display signs of pain or discomfort. The earlier the problem is identified and treated, the better the outcome. Your pet needs emergency medical attention if you observe the following symptoms:

  • not breathing or there is no heartbeat
  • struggling to breathe, gagging or trying to vomit
  • having seizures or fits
  • showing signs of extreme pain (e.g. whining, trembling)
  • heatstroke (e.g. panting, weakness, high temperature)
  • vomiting or having diarrhea for more than 24 hours
  • straining or unable to urinate or defecate
  • bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth
  • ingested toxic substances (e.g. rat poison, insecticide, medication, household cleaners)
  • sudden loss of vision or bumping in things
  • difficulty in giving birth
  • swollen abdomen (could be life-threatening condition called bloat or gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV) – “stomach twisting”)


Our After Hours Emergency Clinic is situated at the same location as Mount Pleasant Central Vet Clinic at 232 Whitley Road S297824, Tel 6250 8333.

Comparing Radiography (X-Ray) And Ultrasonography

By Dr Chua Hui Li
Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Clementi)

Radiography, or commonly known as X-Ray, along with ultrasonography are two most common diagnostic imaging tools vets use to help reach a diagnosis of your pet’s problems. So what exactly is radiography and ultrasonography, and how are they different from each other in their uses?

main differences between radiography and ultrasonography

The main difference between radiography and ultrasonography lies in the different technology used to acquire the images that we see. They also have different advantages and disadvantages in their use to diagnose a problem. Different disease conditions may also require different imaging modalities for diagnosis or further investigation.

when do we use radiography?

Radiography uses ionising electromagnetic waves (radiation or “X-Rays”) to produce a still shadow image of the internal body parts including bones. Radiography allows the vet to assess the entire animal in a single image.

On a radiograph, bone & other very dense structures appear white, soft tissues such as fluid & organs show up in shades of grey, while air appears black. If your cat is vomiting, your vet may take X-rays to check for intestinal obstruction or foreign bodies. If your dog is limping, X-rays can reveal causes such as bone fractures, degeneration or dislocations.

We use radiography to help diagnose:

  • bone fractures or abnormal growths from bones
  • bone diseases, arthritis or other joint problems
  • slipped discs and certain spinal problems such as Wobblers
  • lung diseases
  • enlarged hearts
  • certain tumours and their spread to the lungs or bones in particular
  • diaphragmatic hernias
  • certain foreign objects in the body
  • bladder or kidney stones
  • late pregnancies
  • dental disease
  • middle ear disease
  • problems relating to the stomach or intestines

Some body parts such as the brain, nasal sinuses, blood vessels, the reproductive tract and gall bladder cannot be seen on radiographs. Radiography may allow us to see the shape, size and location of these body parts but does not provide information on the appearance of these organs, their internal structures or movement as well as blood flow.

when do we use ultrasonography?

Ultrasonography uses ultrasound waves (transmitted into the body via a probe/transducer) to produce real-time images of the internal organs on a screen, with details of their structure and function.

For an abdominal ultrasound, the fur on the abdomen will be clipped. A conducive gel is placed on the probe/transducer that is attached to the ultrasound machine. The procedure is painless & non-invasive.

Ultrasonography allows us to:

  • capture movement and internal structure of the certain organs such as the heart, making it possible for us to assess how well it is functioning.
  • detect early pregnancies, predicting when the foetuses are due as well as the viability of the foetuses.
  • assess the appearance of internal organs such as liver and spleen to determine if they are abnormal looking due to infection, inflammation or growths.
  • look at the bladder in greater detail where the bladder wall and its contents are seen and evaluated for stones and masses.

Other common uses, just to name a few, include the detection of pyometra (uterine infection), fluid accumulation in body cavities, smaller tumours not visible on radiographs, origins of tumours seen on radiographs, and certain kidney diseases such as renal cysts or kidney blockage.

Ultrasonography, cannot evaluate the skeletal system or lungs as bone and air reflect most of the ultrasound waves to produce a black shadow image.

Despite their differences, radiography and ultrasound may be used as complementary tests for the same section of the body. Depending on the animal’s case and circumstances, one may be chosen over the other.

other types of veterinary diagnostic imaging
  • Computed Tomography (CT) 
    Combines the use of X-Rays with the latest computer technology to show different levels of tissue density, produce cross-sectional images of the body part being scanned and provide more detailed information than X-Rays. CT scans are often used to detect structural changes deep within an animal’s body, e.g. tumours, fractures, lung and chest problems.

Sedation is not required for animals undergoing X-rays or ultrasound, unless the animal is anxious, boisterous or in pain. However, general anaesthesia is required for CT scans as the animal must be kept still for several minutes inside the scanner. CT scans can be performed at Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Gelenggang).

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    Commonly used to evaluate tissue disease or injury of the brain and spinal cord. Animals have to be under general anaesthesia because they have to remain still during the procedure. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field and pulses of radio waves to create detailed anatomic images of the body part being scanned.
  • Fluoroscopy
    Uses a continuous series of X-Ray beams to capture real-time images on a monitor. With the “X-Ray movie”, we see the inside of a body in motion. In orthopaedic surgery, fluoroscopy allows us to see bones in numerous angles and improves the accuracy of incision, aids in the positioning of plates and minimises tissue trauma.

    Fluoroscopy allows Dr Patrick Maguire, Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang), to operate on Brownie’s fractured leg using less invasive surgical techniques so that there is minimal trauma to the tissues & Brownie can recover faster.

Fractured Bones In Kittens

When Toby (now named Rooney) was found and taken to Mount Pleasant (Mandai), he suffered from a fractured hind leg. His whiskers looked like they had been burnt with a lighter. Still, he trusts humans and is such a joy to be with. Dr Loh Hui Qian fostered Toby for a period of time before he left for The Cat Museum, Muses & Mansion of Singapore where he met his forever family. In this article, Dr Loh shares about young animals’ higher propensity of healing.

1 Aug 2016: All is well now, Toby. You are safe in Dr Kitty Huang’s hands!

Immature animals heal much faster than adults as the fracture sites have a relatively greater blood supply and more pre-existing osteoblasts (cells with bone-forming potential). Older animals or those with concurrent systemic disease (e.g. renal insufficiency or Cushing’s disease) may take longer to heal than young healthy patients.

week 1

Toby is a 4-month-old stray kitten found with a limp on the right hind leg. Upon presentation, Toby was toe-touching on the right hind leg but he was still very active. Radiography revealed a displaced, simple, complete transverse fracture of the mid femur. There were no radiographic signs of osteomyelitis noted.

At that point in time, first intention healing via surgical correction with either a bone plate or intra-medullary pin was recommended to the stray feeders who found Toby. However cost was a concern for  them and they needed time to consider.

Toby was then placed on strict cage rest. During this time, he was very comfortable with his fractured leg & not reliant on pain relief.

week 3

A repeat radiograph was taken and a big bony callus had developed between the two fracture ends. The option of breaking the callus to realign the femur and inserting a bone plate or intramedullary pin was explored. However this approach seemed too invasive for a kitten and because the stray feeders still bore financial constraints, a decision was made to let the bone callus stabilise the fracture and allow secondary healing.

week 5

A third radiograph was taken and an exuberant amount of firm bony callus had been formed. The callus was drawing the two fracture ends to an even closer proximity. The soft tissue swelling had also completely resolved and Toby was using his right hind leg as per normal with no signs of pain or discomfort.

Toby Superpower! Put together by Ai Lin of Mount Pleasant (Mandai).

Toby’s speedy recovery from a complete femur fracture further affirms that young animals have a higher propensity of healing. Cats are also usually able to compensate for an impaired function very well. Toby is now prancing around happily, just like any other kittens.

Living it up at Dr Loh’s house while she was fostering him.

Hanging out with Rao Rao before moving to The Cat Museum, Muses & Mansion of Singapore where he met his forever family!

“One HAPPY FAMILY!!! Look at cutie Rooney’s face!” Photo & caption from The Cat Museum, Muses & Mansion of Singapore. Thank you Serene, John, Sarah & JK for giving little footballer his very own home!

“You made this house just for me?!!! Love you!” Photo & caption from The Cat Museum, Muses & Mansion of Singapore

Discovering hidden talents? Haha! Photo from Instagram @rooney.thecat

Rooney’s family celebrated his 1st birthday on 1 April 2017 with his favourite can of cake! Photo from Instagram @rooney.thecat

Happy Birthday Rooney! We are so glad you have a wonderful family of your own. Live well & be healthy & happy! Photo from Instagram @rooney.thecat

Dr Loh Hui Qian with Faye Faye our Mandai resident cat who has since crossed the rainbow bridge.

Why Is My Pet Drinking So Much Water?

Have you been filling up your dogs’ water bowls more often? Taking them out more frequently to pee? Or scooping a lot more wet cat litter? Polyuria and polydipsia is defined as urinating and drinking more than usual. It is a clue our pets are having health problems.

Our pets cannot tell us what is bothering them. If you notice your dog or cat drinking & urinating more than usual, bring them in for a health check. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the earlier we can start appropriate treatment.

how much is too much?

Excessive drinking in our dog or cat is defined as:

  • consuming more than 100ml/kg per day for dogs (e.g. Your 10kg dog is drinking more than 1L of water per day)
  • consuming more than 60ml/kg per day for cats (e.g. your 4kg cat is drinking more than 240ml of water per day)

Excessive urination is defined as more than 45 to 50ml of urine/kg per day (for both dogs & cats) but it is difficult for pet owners to measure. Watch out for behavioural signs such as going to the litter tray more often, waking up at night to urinate, accidents inside the house.

common diseases that cause polyuria and polydipsia (pu/pd)
  • Hyperthyroidism (common in older cats, rare in dogs)
  • Cushing’s disease (common in older dogs, rare in cats)
  • Hypercalcaemia 
  • Diabetes mellitus 
  • Acute or chronic kidney (renal) insufficiency
  • Liver (hepatic) disease
  • Uterine infection (Spaying your female dog/cat will prevent pyometra, a serious infection of the uterus.)
  • Lower urinary tract disease => Read about Bladder Stones

Read about Cody the diabetic puppy here

Few things to observe at home which may help with the diagnosis of your pet’s condition 

Measure the amount of water intake at home over a few days to determine if your pet is really drinking excessive amounts. Sometimes, a diet change (especially from wet to dry food) or foods/treats high in sodium content can cause your pet to drink more.

  1. Is the PU/PD sudden or gradual?
  2. Is there difficulty with urination, e.g. straining or passing blood?
  3. Is your pet eating the same amount but losing weight?
  4. Has your pet been vomiting?
  5. Has your pet been taking steroids (like prednisone) which are known to cause PU/PD?
take your pet for a vet check if you determine that water intake is indeed excessive

Complete Physical Examination

Your pet’s body condition, temperature, mucous membrane colour, breath odour, heart rate and abdominal palpation will shed more light on the possible underlying cause of PU/PD.

  • Pets with renal failure may present with a uremic/foul breath.
  • Pets with liver disease may present with liver enlargement and jaundice (yellow discolouration of gums and skin).
  • Pets with Cushing’s disease may present with a pot-bellied appearance , hair loss and thinning of skin.

Full Blood Tests & Urine Test

  • Kidney markers, liver markers, thyroid hormone and blood glucose can rule in or out renal disease, liver disease, hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus.
  • A urinalysis (urine test) can also determine the presence of a lower urinary tract infection or other underlying diseases.

Depending on initial test results, other diagnostic tests may be recommended. E.g. An ultrasound to diagnose uterine infections, Cushing’s disease & severity of kidney or liver disease.

Treatment can start once a diagnosis is made

In many cases, PU/PD will resolve when the underlying conditions are regulated. In renal disease, PU/PD is usually a permanent state. Never restrict your pet’s water intake. Provide ample water at all times to prevent dehydration.

5 Tips For A Happy And Healthy Kitten

Bringing a new kitten home is one of the best feelings in the world. But there is going to be a lot of hard work too, especially if this is your first cat. Here are some tips to get you started on the right paw towards many years of good health and happiness with your furry best friends! 


Your kittens can receive their vaccines at 8, 12 & 16 weeks old, followed by a booster one year later. Speak with your vet about a vaccination regime for your kittens thereafter. Oreo, Vodka, Cola, Mint & Smookie have received their third vaccinations from Dr Cheryl Ho at Mount Pleasant Central (Whitley).

Vaccines contain antigens (weakened or inactivated forms of disease-causing organisms). When the vaccine is injected into your kitten’s body, it stimulates a mild immune response and production of antibodies. Should your kitten be exposed to the disease in future, his immune system is prepared to recognise and fight off the organisms or reduce the severity of the disease.

Vaccinate your kittens to protect them against infectious diseases such as feline panleukopenia, feline rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus. Discuss with your vet about testing for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

Feline panleukopenia, or parvovirus, is a highly contagious disease. The virus is spread through body fluids and contact with faecal material. Kittens can acquire the virus when nursing from an infected mother. It attacks the immune system as well as the lining of the intestines causing vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and inappetance. Due to the high mortality rate, this disease is best prevented than treated.

Mommy had cat flu during pregnancy & baby Jesse was infected too. Common viruses that cause cat flu are feline calicivirus & feline herpesvirus. Clinical signs include sneezing, nasal discharge, mouth ulcers or in Jesse’s case, conjunctivitis & corneal ulcers.With veterinary care from Dr Daphne Low & lots of TLC from rescuer Nadiah, Jesse is recovering well.

#2. WORMS? bleah!

Your kittens may be infected with intestinal parasites from the environment or their infected mothers.

Roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms are commonly found in kittens. Other intestinal parasites that might infect your kittens include giardia and coccidia. Faecal examinations are done to determine the type of parasites present and the appropriate dewormer or medication given. Speak with your vet about a proper deworming schedule.

Maintain good personal hygiene to prevent the spread of parasites to other pets and family members. Keep litter boxes clear of faecal material. Wash and disinfect your hands after handling any animals.


Products to prevent fleas include shampoos, sprays, spot-on solutions & oral medications. If you have other animals in the household, they should be treated at the same time.

Fleas are tiny, blood-sucking parasites that often cause skin problems. Kittens can get infested with fleas through contact with other affected animals or from the environment.

Check for flea dirt on your kitten’s skin. They resemble ground black pepper & consist of flea faeces & digested blood.

If your kittens are allergic to fleas – due to contact with flea saliva – she will be intensely itchy. Cats with Flea Allergy Dermatitis develop hair loss and infections due to excessive scratching and chewing. Heavy infestations can cause anaemia.


If you are thinking of letting your family witness the miracle of birth before spaying your dog or cat, please reconsider. Thousands of shelter animals are waiting for homes. Here are some of the community cats Mount Pleasant (Bedok) sterilised for caregiver Thara under #MountPleasantGivesBack

Neutered cats (males) are generally calmer and less likely to spray urine or wander out of the house in search of female cats in heat. That means they are less likely to get into accidents or fights with other cats which could lead to infectious diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Neutered cats are also less at risk of developing prostate diseases. 

Spayed cats (females) no longer go through heat cycles which greatly decreases the chances of developing mammary cancer and tumours. Because the uterus and ovaries are surgically removed, your spayed cat will not develop pyometra (a serious infection of the uterus) or ovarian cancer.

Some owners think that spaying or neutering makes their pets fat. That’s not the case. It is the lack of exercise and overfeeding that cause our dogs or cats to put on weight. Monitor food intake and provide regular exercise and activities to keep your pets fit and trim!


#TisoyTheCat wants to remind the humans: “Keep our buddies safe – indoors – by meshing up our windows & gates.”

Cats have amazing balance. But they do tumble off open windows or balconies when they are distracted, startled by sudden loud noises or simply caught in a clumsy moment.

It appears that cats falling from greater heights have time to twist and position their bodies to reduce the impact of the fall. When they fall particularly between 2nd and 7th floor, there’s not enough time to “fall correctly” and they can suffer severe injuries. Visible injuries include fractured legs and jaw. Other injuries like ruptured bladders or collapsed lungs are less obvious but require emergency treatment.

Besides the pain your cat goes through, treatment can be costly. Some cats require intensive care in the hospital with long periods of recovery and rehab. Others become paralysed or do not survive. Then there is the emotional trauma of guilt when a family cannot afford treatment or disagree on euthanasia.

Keep our cats safe by securing our windows and gates. Plastic meshes are available at hardware stores and easily fixed with cable ties. Other options include more durable metal meshes, customised and invisible grilles.

Worried that a life indoors is boring? Play with your cats regularly. Provide entertaining toys. Depending on your cat’s character, train him to walk on harness & leash to enjoy the outdoors. Consider a feline playmate.

Or a canine buddy! #AdriannaAlonso @ Mount Pleasant (North)

Kittens love to play! Entertain them with wand toys, balls, catnip stuffed toys or simple objects like crumpled paper & a pen in your pocket! #FlashTheCat @ Mount Pleasant (Farrer)

Like human babies, your kittens need lots of rest. Remember to provide a quiet cosy corner for them to take lots of cat naps!

Palliative Or End Of Life Care For Our Pets

Every season serves a purpose. Even or especially the last one we walk with our best friends. A season of profound lessons. Of accepting “there is nothing we can do” about the disease. But knowing “there is always something we can do” to make our best friends feel more comfortable. And pain-free.

what is palliative care?

As our animal friends approach their golden years (some in their younger days), they may develop terminal illnesses like kidney failure, heart disease or cancer.  When we understand that the condition is not treatable or the decision is made not to treat it – yet our pet still has “that light in her eyes” – then we talk about palliative care.


Some animals are not good candidates for surgery or chemotherapy. Palliative care provides an alternative to premature euthanasia.

The primary aim of palliative care is to provide comfort to the terminally ill. Relieve pain for the dying. Maximise quality of life in the final days. Until death occurs naturally or humane euthanasia becomes necessary.

It is about a moral duty to offer compassionate comfort care but not prolong the suffering of animals who are in pain or experiencing poor quality of life.

It is about learning to provide home care, manage chronic wounds, administer oral and injectable medications, supplements, fluids and special diets (if necessary).

It is about knowing when to start and realising it is time to stop.

managing pain

Pain is debilitating. Chronic pain can create a “stress response” associated with elevations of cortisol, reducing your pet’s immune response, leading to infections and slower healing.

In palliative care, we manage pain with various drugs (e.g. steroids, opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and holistic therapies (e.g. acupuncture, massage, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy).


Consider acupuncture to relieve pain from old-age conditions like osteoarthritis. Acupuncture may also relieve nausea which may then improve your pet’s appetite.

How do i know if my pet is in pain?

Firstly, animals tend to hide their pain – an instinctive survival advantage. Secondly, they cannot verbally communicate their pain. We have to watch our pets closely to detect any changes in behaviour. They may be in pain if they are:

  • unusually quiet or withdrawn
  • restless, pacing around or trembling
  • hiding and avoiding human interaction
  • whining or whimpering
  • biting or snapping when touched
  • licking or biting a body part excessively
  • limping or exhibiting stiff body movements
  • having difficulty lying down or sleeping
  • refusing food

** Read more about MANAGING PAIN.


A “preemptive” approach to pain – using analgesics before the onset of pain – is most effective. Animals who receive post-surgery pain control heal faster & eat sooner than those who don’t.

my pet is not eating, what can i do?

We tend to get upset when our pets will not eat. And the immediate urge is to force feed them so they do not go hungry or lose weight. But this might make them even more averse to eating.

Most of the time, our pets are feeling pain or nausea which makes them withdraw from food. It takes a combination of appetite stimulants, medications to relieve pain and nausea, and novel ideas to tempt them to eat.

  • If you are feeding dry kibbles, start by soaking kibbles in water or broth to soften it or mixing in canned food to make it more appealing and easier to eat (especially for senior pets with dental problems)
  • Warm up the food to make it smell tastier
  • Feed small amounts throughout the day instead of one big meal
  • Offer strong-smelling foods like cheese or tuna or even small amounts of burgers and bacon if your main aim is to have your pet eat something (always consult your vet about appropriate diet for your pet’s condition)

Feeding tubes are very useful for animals who are ill & have lost their appetite, or are keen to eat but have difficulties swallowing or keeping food down. For chronically ill animals, discuss with your vet if force-feeding or tube-feeding will actually improve quality of life.

my pet is not drinking enough water

Dehydrated animals will lose elasticity in their skin. Their gums become pale and dry, the saliva is thick and sticky. They are listless and their eyes may appear sunken. If not corrected quickly, the condition becomes life-threatening.

  • Flavouring the water with some broth may tempt your pets to drink more
  • Syringe-feed fluids at regular intervals throughout the day
  • Hydrate your pet subcutaneously, especially for animals who are losing water from frequent urination, diarrhea or vomiting. 

Some cats & dogs prefer to drink from automatic water fountains


Your vet can teach you how to administer subcutaneous fluids at home & depending on the medical condition, advise if fluid administration will make your pet feel better or worse.

stay as active as possible

When our pets are ill, they tend to rest a lot more. However, light regular activity is important to keep them mobile, increase circulation and prevent pressure/bed sores.

Engaging in day to day activities also keeps them mentally alert. So continue short play sessions and go on leisurely walks if your pets are up to it. Drive them to the parks and beaches or simply enjoy the car rides. Pick up yummy treats along the way!

Some basic lifestyle changes can offer relief for pets suffering from chronic pain which affects mobility:

  • Control weight and incorporate light exercises (e.g. hydrotherapy) to decrease joint stress and improve muscular support of the joints.
  • Provide easy access to litter boxes or garden for elimination (e.g. gently-sloped ramp)
  • Raise food and water bowls to a comfortable level (e.g. place bowls on non-slip stools)
  • Provide non-slip floor surfaces to help your arthritic pets get up and walk more easily (e.g. yoga mats)
  • Provide comfortable but firm beds for your arthritic pets
  • Use body harnesses, slings, wheel chairs or carts for animals who have trouble getting around

keep clean and comfortable 

Maintain your pets’ grooming routine to keep them clean and happy. Use pee pads or diapers if they are incontinent. Brush their fur and clean their face and body daily with a warm damp cloth, especially for cats who have stopped grooming themselves regularly.


Prepare comfortable sleeping spots in quiet areas & keep them clean & dry (especially if your pets are incontinent). Surround your pets with their favourite blankets & toys.

prevention is really better than cure

Very often, we only take our pets to the vet when signs of illness become obvious. Sometimes, that can be a little too late. As our pets enter their senior years, frequent health screenings can help us detect age-related diseases at an early stage.


when to let go – choosing Euthanasia

There is a period of time between the first thought of euthanasia and actually choosing it. When we are unsure if it is the right thing to do (for moral or religious reasons). When we wonder if we should wait awhile longer because he looks brighter today. When we simply need time for closure with our beloved pets who have shared our life for the past 15 years.


We all know one day death will come. But perhaps, we are not prepared for how dying looks like.

We may say that based on medical tests and reports, your vet knows best when is the right time to euthanise. We may also say that based on years of living so closely with your animal friends, who knows better than you?

Because we are so emotionally bonded with our pets and fearful of the flood of grief that follows, it helps to have a daily record of their activities so we can be objective in deciding when it is time to end life.

When our animal friend is no longer responsive to his surroundings nor recognise us. When she refuses to drink or eat, even her most favourite food. When they are constantly crying in pain. When breathing becomes laboured. When they seem anxious and confused. When the bad days outnumber the good.

You see, living longer does not always mean living better. As much as we want our best friends to have a good life, it is just as important for them to have a good death. Love them enough to give them that.

Thank You Marisa & Gillian!

As the end of the year draws near, some of us may be reminiscing moments lost and gone. Timely are these favourite quotes of Marisa and Gillian, reminding us about ‘following your heart’ and ‘seize the day’.  Today, we seize the moment to say THANK YOU to these ladies of Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Changi). Marisa has been with our big family for 20 years!


“I studied nursing in university but was unable to attend the final exam due to an untimely bout of chicken pox. Refocusing my studies on laboratory work instead, I eventually graduated as a medical technologist and was introduced to Mount Pleasant (Whitley) by a friend. I have enjoyed working with clients, colleagues and animals for the past 20 years.” ~ Marisa of Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Changi)


“My paternal grandfather motivated me to be strong and independent. Being a man of the older generation with traditional ideologies, he strongly believed that a woman’s place is at home as a daughter, wife or mother taking care of the family instead of receiving education or joining the workforce. Moreover, with 7 siblings, money was scarce. As one of the eldest, I was determined to break out of this tradition and give my younger siblings a better life.”


“Cooking and gardening are my passion. Making delicious food for family and friends to enjoy from ingredients grown with love puts a smile on my face. Something few people know about me? I am a huge fan of Korean dramas! Doctor Stranger is my newest favorite; the plot is great and lead actor Lee Jong-Suk is very professional.”


“If I have the resources, I would love to engage in charity work. Helping the poor, caring for the sick or providing education to those who need it are different ways to give back to society. In the mean time I strive to do at least one act of kindness everyday, no matter how small the gesture may be.” Marisa with colleagues from Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Gelenggang) at our Christmas celebration.


“It is most rewarding when everyone from vets to technicians and nurses work seamlessly together as a team.” Marisa with Teri, Dr Pauline Fong, Dorothy and Dr Clara Chua.

I have a poster in my room that reads Seize the Day: Do not grieve over the past, for it is gone. Do not worry about the future, for it is yet to come. As long as it is called TODAY, live this day as if it was your last, and you will find each day worth living for!”. This is what I live by.


ACS student attachment programme at Mount Pleasant (Changi). Dorothy, Dr Eric Yeoh, Michael, Marisa, Wella, Dr Tan Choon Yi.


Part of our Mount Pleasant (Changi) family, past and present.


“When I was a kid, I knew from the start I wanted to work with animals. I joined Mount Pleasant in November 2015.” ~ Gillian of Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Changi)


“Back then, there wasn’t any particular reason other than the fact that I love animals and always dreamt of being around them. Working in this industry seems more than perfect for me. Now that I’m older, knowing that we are able to help these animals who aren’t entirely able to help themselves, makes my job more meaningful.”


World’s cutest polar bear dog spotted at Mount Pleasant (Changi)! Baby Naga was the runt of a stray litter, rejected by mom barely a week after birth. She was crying in a pile of junk when Gillian found her, just hours before it poured. “First 2 weeks was tough. Naga had to be bottle-fed with puppy milk formula every 2 hours. After each feeding, I had to massage her genital area until she urinates and defecates. Now her eyes are opened, she can eliminate on her own. She drinks milk every 4 hours and prefers a human baby milk bottle!”


“My mum has always been a hundred percent supportive of me pursuing my dream to work with animals. She knew it was what I’ve always wanted to do.”


“She was the one who encouraged me to apply for the Veterinary Technology course in Temasek Polytechnic. That was beginning of my entire journey right up till today.”


“One thing I would really love to do is to swim with sea otters! One thing few people know about me? ‘Keeping Up with The Kardashians’ is my guilty pleasure!”


gill8 Gillian with her best friends Benji and Vapour. Benji is a Mount Pleasant Hero!

I love this quote from John Grogan, Marley and Me: “A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”

Thank You Thelma & Kerry May!

“It is very rewarding when a sick animal puts his or her entire trust in us. We do not share the same language but with our actions, we hope they understand we are doing them no harm.” Today we say THANK YOU to Thelma and Kerry May of Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Farrer)!


“I joined Mount Pleasant in 2002, with our very first hospital at Whitley Road. I’m a registered medical technologist and also a respiratory therapist when I was in the Philippines. I am curious and intrigued by animals – there are so many species and sizes!” ~ Thelma of Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Farrer)


“As with any job, it is always rewarding to feel appreciated and respected.”


“I believe in thinking positive. Someday, everything will make perfect sense. For now, laugh at the confusions, smile through the tears, and always keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” With Big Man who was rescued by Noah’s Ark CARES after he was hit by a truck. He is now the resident bouncer, greeter, food taster, dancer and Mount Pleasant Hero!


“I enjoy cross-stitching and making trinkets and giveaways. If I can be anything in the world, I would be an astronaut – I want to see the universe!”


“In the beginning, cute furry animals were the appeal. As time goes by, it becomes apparent that as stewards of this earth, it is our responsibility to take care of helpless animals.” ~ Kerry May


“I joined Mount Pleasant in October 2015. Working with animals is a challenge I enjoy taking on. It is very rewarding when a sick animal puts his or her entire trust in us. We do not share the same language but with our actions, we hope they understand we are doing them no harm.”


“If I can be anything in the world, I would be an animal whisperer! To understand the needs of animals. If I did not have this opportunity to work with animals, I would most probably be a chef.”


“We adopted Teddie about 2 years ago. He’s not the most well behaved fur sibling I could ask for but I cannot imagine life without him now. He taught me patience, which is especially helpful when I deal with nervous patients.”


At a farm in Taiwan


“My colleagues are my inspiration. Their passion and love for their jobs and animals is my motivation. (We all know what is Big Man’s motivation!) I believe in giving my best in all that I do.”


A common – make it very common – scene during meal times!


Part of the big happy family at Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Farrer)!


Opening ceremony of Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Farrer) in March 2015!


Team bonding!


Forest Adventure!


Dr Heng Yee Ling and her team have a special interest in veterinary ophthalmology. The clinic is equipped to treat a variety of eye conditions like glaucoma and corneal ulcers. Dr Heng also performs cataract surgeries.

ACS (Barker Road) Student Attachment Programme

We believe in educating our community in animal care and veterinary medicine, especially students who are considering the pathways to be a veterinarian.

In November, a group of Secondary 3 boys from ACS (Barker Road) came to “work” at our clinics. Some are so inspired and eager to learn, they came for extra days!


“I love dogs. Job shadowing in a vet clinic is unique and interesting, not something I can do whenever I want.” ~ Joel Mathews with Mason at Mount Pleasant Central Vet Clinic (Whitley)


“The most challenging part of being a vet, in my opinion, is having patience and perseverance.”


“Having patience in handling pets, especially difficult animals. And having perseverance as the doctors need to take on night shifts and perform surgeries which may take a few hours.”


“The best part of being a vet is the opportunity to work with animals. They bring joy to your working life!”


“I’m an avid animal lover. Becoming a vet is a very natural choice for me, having been surrounded by animals since I was born. Through this job shadowing opportunity, I had a feel of what a vet’s life is like and learnt to be a better companion to my pets.” ~ Leon Saint Claire with Sophie at Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Mandai)


“Sometimes, vets face problems which they have to resolve quickly. They have to think fast and not hesitate. Another challenge is the difficult decision of euthanasia – a life is on the line, for better or for worse. Hence, I feel that vets cannot crack under pressure. They must make the right decisions for the well being of the animal, and also the owner.”


“Job shadowing strengthened my conviction to be a vet. Seeing an animal’s flame rekindled gives you a sense of satisfaction. You feel joyous for helping the family and improving the life of an animal – be it a bird, cat, hamster or dog. Furthermore, a growing stray population may give rise to more animal abuse. By becoming a vet, I may be able to make a positive difference to this predicament. That’s the beauty of being a vet – it is more than just a job.”


“I chose to job shadow at a vet clinic as I have a strong interest in animals and have dogs since I was born. We had a Maltese. After he passed, we welcomed Bambi and Belle into our family. They are Labradoodles which we personally chose from England after meeting their parents to check for any hereditary issues.” ~ Brandon Au Yong with Guan Wei at Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East)


“I love animals and want to help them get better. I have plans to pursue a veterinary degree in Australia. During job shadowing, I learnt how to take better care of my dogs and how to observe their behaviour for signs that they are unwell. I also learnt how various blood test machines work.”


“The hardest part was to witness blood from certain surgeries or teeth extractions as I associate blood with pain. The vets do their best to relieve pain and perform procedures as quickly as possible. The best part of this whole experience – I was able to interact with animals and help care for them as well as interact with vets and technicians to learn about the industry and their work.”


“When I was young, we stayed with my extended family and 10 dogs. I love our dogs and my interest lasted through the years till now when only 2 dogs remained.” ~ Michael Boey at Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Changi)


“Our dogs are old and have had their fair share of visits to the vet. I’m always interested to learn what goes on in a consultation and when animals are hospitalised. Being a vet is one of my dream jobs.”


“For an animal lover, the contact with animals is possibly one of the best parts of being a vet. I cannot bear seeing any animal sick. I would want to find out what is affecting them and how we can nurse them back to health.”


David with Sophie at Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Bedok)


Daniel at Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (North)

Under Mount Pleasant Community Outreach – Education, our programmes include talks at schools and organisations, project collaboration, work experience, student attachments and clinic visits. Email to be part of our outreach! 

Thank You Wei Juan & Madeleine!

At Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Gelenggang), we see many patients who require intensive and palliative care which makes it an emotionally challenging place to work in. Today we say THANK YOU to Wei Juan and Madeleine, two strong ladies who see the good in every journey!


“I’ve been an animal lover since young. Always have that special interest & love for anything that involves animals – articles or variety shows. I chose to study Diploma in Biotechnology – Vet Science in Temasek Polytechnic to gain more knowledge about animals.” ~ Wei Juan


“I did my student internship at Mount Pleasant in 2008 & have been working with Mount Pleasant since then. It is very rewarding when sickly pets get nursed back to health & seeing them discharged with wagging tails, or seeing happy ‘parents’ bringing home their meows. It really makes my day.”


“If I have the ability to fund my studies, I would still pursue my dream of being a vet.” With Dr Sophie Cho & Jia Hui.


Happiness is contagious! Bee Hong, Wei Juan, Jia Xuan.


“One thing few people know about me? I may be gentle to the furballs but I am an aggressive gamer! Strategic games are my favourite. It helps to keep my brain alive.” With Benjamin our senior vet tech.


“A quote that motivates me: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. This has somehow pushed me to never give up & keep on trying.”

“There are many happy new beginnings but also moments when you know the end of the journey is near and you have to let go of your loved ones. For our clients who lose their beloved pets, I comfort them by reassuring them that their babies or kiddos are no longer suffering nor in pain. That they have not really left us. They are up in heaven watching over us right now. Everyone, including me, need time to heal our broken hearts.”


“I joined Mount Pleasant in January 2015. Growing up, I was surrounded by animals but working with animals wasn’t always a priority in my life.” ~ Madeleine with Tiger the Irish Wolfhound


“It wasn’t until the death of our family dog Sundae that I felt a strong need to care for animals.”


Volunteering at the old premises of SPCA


“The most rewarding part of my job is being able to learn new things & successfully applying them at work.” With Renga, a rescued German Shepherd whom we found out was lost for 7 years.


“There are many careers out there that I would love to experience. If I could be anything, I wish to be an animal behaviourist or a singer.”


“I have a Labradoodle named Cosby, four guinea pigs & a betta fish so I never feel alone. It’s like a sleepover in my room every night! When I had a bad day, I would usually go home & Netflix & catch up on sleep to destress. Having something to look forward to also encourages me to keep going on.”


“Mental health is very important & often overlooked. We should not be afraid to speak up or seek help. I recently volunteered for World Suicide Prevention day organised by the Samaritans of Singapore.”


“I get inspired by everyday things such as people I meet or things I read. I love the Latin quote: ‘Ad astra per aspera’ which means ‘through hardships to the stars’. Through all the difficulties I am facing, I believe I am able to get through them & get to something even better at the end, like I always did. I like the quote so much, I have it tattooed on me!”


Part of our big Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang) family!