He may first appear to be a man of few words. Get to know him better and you will see the limitless knowledge he carries within. And a big genuine heart that wins over colleagues, clients and patients. In the words of his team mates at Mount Pleasant (Farrer), this man is patient, reliable, humble yet comical. He is not just a colleague but a counsellor, father figure, living encyclopaedia and Captain America! Happy Father’s Day Cary!
Our parents influence not only our life journeys but possibly the journeys of our children. If there is one lesson we can impart to our kids and them to their kids, let it be “Families stick together. We look out for one another.” Congratulations Joel on your first baby to come – Happy Father’s Day!
Why do you choose to work with animals?
I have various animals since young. From fishes, rodents, dogs to cats, birds, turtles. I have reared chickens, goats, cows and pigs back in the Philippines too. The feeling that animals project towards me is very satisfying. They teach me to be patient and caring. I also learn to be an innovative and analytical thinker to make their lives more comfortable.
Brian Herbert once said “The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice”. I believe education is a continuous process. It does not stop at the four corners of our school but rather, every day is a learning experience.
What are the important lessons from your father that will help you be a good dad?
I have a very religious family and we are inculcated since young to be family-oriented. My father taught me a bible verse that stayed with me while I was growing up: Proverbs 22:6 says “Teach your children right from wrong and when they are grown, they will still do right.”
Being the eldest child, my father always says I am responsible for my siblings while they are away. I take this task very seriously. I learnt a lot from keeping my siblings in line and teaching them the right ways in life.
We believe in GIVING BACK TO COMMUNITY. Under our initiative #MountPleasantGivesBack, we help the people who are helping our community animals. From December 2016, our 9 clinics provided free medical treatment and sterilisation to over 60 animals from various animal welfare groups and independent rescuers.
Dr Cheryl Ho, Dr Germaine Lee and team from Mount Pleasant Central (Whitley) sterilised Pipi and Elliot as part of #MountPleasantGivesBack. It was great to see volunteers, transporters, feeders and vets coming together to help our community animals. Pipi has been released back to site. Elliot is safe at the shelter after his pups were tragically crushed by heavy vehicles.
SOSD has more than 70 pups waiting for homes. But remember, pets are not just for the holidays. If you can’t commit for a lifetime, perhaps volunteer at the shelters. Or simply, spread the word.
Dr Eric Yeoh, Mount Pleasant (Changi), made a trip to Jurong Island to vaccinate and microchip 26 adorable wriggly puppies!
A microchip (about the size of a rice grain) encodes a unique identification number. It is implanted just under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. Should your pets lose their way, vets can scan them to retrieve the microchip number and contact you via a database. You can register your pet’s microchip details with AVA and PetCall.
For many years, Noah’s Ark CARES has been sterilising and rescuing injured or sick street dogs on mainland and recently Jurong Island. With urgent cases and limited funds, some dogs have to wait their turn. Gigi’s caregivers tried their best but her skin condition did not improve.
Dr Simon Quek and team at Mount Pleasant (Clementi) helped Gigi with blood tests and skin scrapings. Gigi went back with medications and shampoo to treat the allergies and secondary bacterial and fungal infection.
Dr Heng Yee Ling and team at Mount Pleasant (Farrer) sterilised 10 beautiful bunnies for HRSS. One bunny, Speedy, was scheduled for a spay but turns out to be a boy!
Male rabbits can be castrated around 4 months when their testicles descend into the scrotal sacs. Cryptorchid rabbits like Speedy have testicles retained in the abdominal cavity, with an increased risk of testicular torsion or cancer. Dr Daphne located the very small undescended testicles and successfully sterilised Speedy.
If we can be anything in the world, be a giver. For 50 years, Mdm Chua has been giving her life and love to community animals. She and her daughter Suan Eng are caring for homeless dogs and cats on the streets and in shelters. Every single day.
Dr Audrey Loi and team at Mount Pleasant (East) are glad to give Mdm Chua some support by sterilising their rescued cats Honey, Candy, Kitty and Hazy at no cost to them.
Dr Chan Munling and team at Mount Pleasant (Bedok) sterilised more than 10 of Thara’s rescued cats under #MountPleasantGivesBack.
Angel, in Thara’s arms, was found sitting next to a prawning pond but unable to eat. Something about her tugged at Thara’s heart. Despite having her hands full, she brought Angel home and nursed her back to health. Casey Bear the ginger boy was “abandoned like trash inside a carrier”.
So what keeps Thara going despite the frustration she feels at times? “When I see pictures of my rescued cats in their forever homes! Knowing I made a difference however small it may be. This and the fact that 60 lives wait for me to wake up every morning. For their sake, I have to keep going for as long as I can.”
Justine was getting by as best as she could but angular limb deformity can lead to painful lameness as the body is carried in an abnormal posture. Justine is still very young. Dr Dennis Choi, Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang), decided to help her under #MountPleasantGivesBack. Watch video of surgery.
Dr Gloria Lee, Dr Kitty Huang and team at Mount Pleasant (Mandai) provided free medical treatment to a senior dog and a newly rescued boy.
Xiao Bai came for a skin check and senior wellness exam. Dr Kitty Huang ran blood tests including total T4 screen to rule out hypothyroid (which can cause skin problems) and SNAP 4Dx to check for heartworm and tick-borne illnesses. All clear!
Stan is a young unsterilised male. Unfortunately he was diagnosed with tick fever and anaemia. He went back to the shelter with medications and was neutered only when his condition was stable. He is currently doing well.
Dr Gabrina Goh, Dr Jansen Tano and team at Mount Pleasant (North) sterilised 3 rescued cats under #MountPleasantGivesBack.
Cleo and her mom were from a household that allowed cats to roam. When some neighbours were unhappy with cats defecating along corridors, Cleo’s ex-owner intended to abandon their cats at the void deck. CWS mediators stepped in and had since rehomed Cleo’s mom.
Amy and Aibi were strays at an industrial area. The management complained about the cat population and planned to have them culled. CWS mediators convinced the management to let some cats stay on while the rest are taken in for rehoming.
“We all have to juggle and maintain a balanced work and family life. For me, I always prioritise my baby. She comes first.” Because there is no replacement for a family lost. Happy Mother’s Day Super Mommy Jia Hui. May you always have time for the people you love and the ones who love you FIRST!
why did you choose to work in a vet clinic?
It has always been a dream job of mine. Since young, I’ve liked animals. Being able to interact with them everyday is such a joy!
Working at the front desk, the greatest joy is to hear clients coming back to the hospital because they are satisfied with our customer service. It is very important that the frontline is excellent.I’m very close to some of my clients. When their pets pass away and they grieve, I still feel that tug in my heart. Sometimes I’ll tear a little even though I have worked for many years and seen many deaths.
what’s the toughest part of being a working mom?
When your child is sick and you’re at work but you have to go pick her up. Or when my child is sick and I’m the only one capable of taking care of her. I have to take leave to nurse her at home. In order not to affect my work performance, I try to give my 200% at work. I’m very passionate about my work – my clients are my testimonials. 😉
what are your sweetest memories of motherhood?
The sweetest memories were when I was pregnant with Katrina. I loved the feeling of being pregnant. You instantly feel prettier and have that glow. And of course, when your baby is born, every single bonding session builds a stronger connection between mother and child.
any advice for working moms?
Many working mums tend to be very stressed about work and about affecting their work performance. You have to have a company that really understands you and doesn’t see having a child as a cause of poor performance, so long as you give it your all at work.
With two very young boys who still wake up at different hours through the night, we salute Dr Kitty Huang’s unwavering passion to rescue and foster homeless cats. Many have found happy homes because she never stops what her very own mom has started. Happy Mother’s Day Dr Kitty. We hope you get the gift you really want – SLEEP!
Why you choose to be a vet?
A major contributing factor is definitely my mother’s influence. She is a passionate stray cat carer and I always enjoyed tagging along with her during the feeding rounds. During one of these feeding rounds, when I was about 10 years old, we came across a litter of kittens abandoned in the refuse bin to die.
We brought the kittens home to foster and tried to nurse them back to health. Unfortunately, their condition worsen after a few days and we had to bring them to a vet. The vet caringly advised that we were not bottle feeding them enough and the hot water bag meant to keep them warm and comfortable was too hot resulting in minor burns on their paws and skin.
Observing how the vet cared for and helped the kittens back to health, coupled with the passion for animals influenced by my mother, I was inspired to be a vet so I can help and care for these little friends.
what’s the greatest joy and challenge at work?
Without a doubt, the greatest satisfaction is to see my patients get better after their treatments and witnessing improvements in their condition. And of course, the joy and smile on the owner’s face.
Unfortunately, life is never a bed of roses. Due to varying reasons such as financial constraints, commitment towards care, temperament of patient, and differing views from owners etc., we are not always able to proceed with ideal treatment plans.
what’s the Toughest part of being a working mum?
Juggling between work and quality family time with my boys and hubby. On top of that, it feels like I am doing After Hours every single night! Waking up multiple times through the night to comfort and make milk for the two boys at different hours is no joke – really tiring!
what’s your sweetest memories of motherhood?
Witnessing all the milestones achieved by my boys and seeing them grow up, mingle and love our resident cats and dogs at home.
any Advice to other working mums?
As much as possible, leave work at work and bring only happiness and positivity back home. Spend quality time with kids and not forgetting the husband! Most importantly, catch up on sleep whenever you can. If I can buy time for sleep – I would!
Pleasant Pet News is our quarterly newsletter sharing articles on various medical conditions, new programmes, events and updates. Download soft copies below or pick up your free copy at any of our 9 clinics.
jan to mar 2017
The health of our dogs and cats is sometimes compromised by bacteria, viruses and parasites which cause diseases such as kennel cough, tick fever, FIV, FeLV and cat flu. We can help prevent infectious diseases through vaccinations, parasite-control and good hygiene. Early detection and treatment give our animals the best chances of recovery.
Click to read => Pleasant Pet News Jan-Mar 2017
- Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
- FIV and FeLV
- Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
- Preventing Tick Fever In Dogs
- Heartworm Disease In Dogs
- Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)
- Tetanus Or Lockjaw In Cats
- Feline Parvovirus
- Puppy Diarrhea
- Mount Pleasant Gives Back 2016
- Mount Pleasant Central (Whitley) Is Renovating
apr to jun 2017
It is estimated that 85% of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years old. Even with regular brushing, we should be visiting our dentist every 6 months. Same for our beloved pets. Examine your pet’s teeth today and seek veterinary attention early. Prevention is always better than cure!
Click to read => Pleasant Pet News Apr-Jun 2017
- June is Pet Dental Month
- 4 Steps To Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
- Anaesthesia And Your Pet
- Is Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Test Necessary?
- Preventive Care For Our Dogs And Cats
- Normal Vital Signs In Dogs And Cats
- Some Super Heroes Don’t Wear Capes
- Community Outreach And Events
JUL TO SEP 2017
We share advances in interventional radiology which allow vets to perform minimally-invasive procedures such as tracheal stent placement for animals with tracheal collapse. Learn some tips on bonding with our pocket pets as well as the benefits of sterilisation to prevent certain medical and behavioural issues. Sterilisation is a responsible decision to lessen the problem of pet over-population.
Click to read => Pleasant Pet News Jul-Sep 2017
- Interventional Radiology: Tracheal Stenting
- Bonding With Pocket Pets
- Diabetes Mellitus In Cats
- Flash Glucose Monitoring System
- Importance Of Sterilisation For Dogs And Cats
- Pyometra (Uterus Infection)
- Doing Good Giving Back
To know what’s abnormal in our pets, we have to first know what’s normal. Three important vital signs to check: temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate. 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.
DOGS: NORMAL VITAL SIGNS
|Heart rate per minute||80 – 120|
|Respiratory rate per minute||15 – 30|
|Temperature||37.5 – 39.2 Celcius|
CATS: NORMAL VITAL SIGNS
|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.
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).
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.
WHEN DOES MY PET NEED EMERGENCY 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”)
READ MORE here.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
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)
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)
- 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
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.
- Is the PU/PD sudden or gradual?
- Is there difficulty with urination, e.g. straining or passing blood?
- Is your pet eating the same amount but losing weight?
- Has your pet been vomiting?
- 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.
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.