Happy Father’s Day Cary!

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!

” I believe, with my role, I can make a difference and touch the lives of not only our patients but also their owners.” ~ Cary with Big Man

“Aaahhh…with that special touch, you can ‘cary’ me all day long!” ~ Blue

“The best part of my job is the ability to help our patients feel or get better. Another thing I love about my job is the people I work with.”

“Our life priorities completely change after starting a family.”

Jennifer and two bundles of joy!

“To be a good father, you need patience. Lots and lots of patience. When life gets tough, you just have to roll with the punches!”


Now here are tributes from some of Cary’s team mates at Mount Pleasant (Farrer)!

“Cary is reliable and understanding. He is our Captain America!” ~ Nelson

“Cary is just like a father to us.” ~ Kerry May

“Cary is such a patient and good teacher. He is also very humble.” ~ Dr Daphne Low

“Cary is a great fatherly figure in the clinic! Knowledgeable and trustworthy, but grounded and comical. Someone we can always count on!” ~ Dr Teo Jia Wen

“Cary is an excellent team leader and father figure to our team.” ~ Dr Heng Yee Ling

“Cary is not just my colleague and senior but also my adviser, my counsellor. I don’t only ask him about work matters but also seek his advice on personal matters like how to handle a growing kid. He is one of a kind. When it comes to knowledge, he is a living encyclopaedia – he knows every single thing! That’s our Cary.” ~ Emz

Happy Father’s Day Joel!

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.

“In our line of work, it is not all cuddles & kisses with our furry friends. Things can go downhill in an instant, thus, every shortcoming is an opportunity for improvement for the team.”

“Our clients’ satisfaction & compliments fuel me to strive harder to provide better care & service to their pets.”

“The continuous knowledge & enhanced skills set I gain motivate me to perform better & give my best in times of crisis.” Read more about Blood Donation for dogs & cats.

“I feel elated whenever we discharge healthy & happy patients. Knowing you have contributed to their recovery & well being is always the best takeaway from my job.”

A weekend of diagnostic imaging with Dr Cathy Beck from University of Melbourne. As Joel says: “The good teacher makes a poor student good and a good student superior.”

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.

Joel & Shella

“I am so ecstatic & looking forward to fatherhood. We have been praying for this blessing for years since we got married. We are thankful that we have been blessed.”

With Cake, the super duper adorable adopted Pug.

“I have been a fur daddy for so long. Now we will have a little human as an addition to our family!”

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.

Mount Pleasant Gives Back 2016

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.

Unspayed female dogs come into their first heat at around 6 months old. The cycle usually occurs twice a year with 4 to 6 puppies (sometimes 10) per litter from a Singapore Special. If animal welfare groups like SOSD are not actively trapping and sterilising our street dogs, we will be flooded with puppies!

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.

The Jurong Island project is a collaboration between SOSD Singapore, ACRES and Noah’s Ark CARES to sterilise and rehome stray dogs on the island.

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.

We salute all hardworking volunteers whose greatest wish is for more dogs, like chubby Doc, to find good homes!

“Gigi and her family were living in Mandai few years ago before the land was cleared. They had nowhere to go. We took them back to our shelter.”

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. 

Gigi looking better at her review with new fur sprouting all over. She still has a long way to go but at least she is on the right track!

With more than 100 rescued rabbits looking for homes, House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS) strongly advocates sterilisation, education and adoption.

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.

Chubby Paisley, in Dr Joanna Goh’s arms, was given up when her owner couldn’t make a lifetime commitment. Speedy, with Dr Daphne Low, was rejected by a petshop. No one will buy a rabbit with splayed legs. Contact HRSS if you can commit to Paisley, Speedy and friends!

Honey and Candy

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.

Thank you Mdm Chua and Suan Eng for your kindness, sweat, tears and late nights at the shelters. We wish you good health and happiness throughout the new year!

The least we can do to help a Wonder Woman with a gigantic heart and wicked sense of humour is to sterilise some of her community cats.

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 is the sole survivor in her litter when Noah’s Ark CARES rescued her. Unfortunately, her right hind leg was already injured in a traffic accident. Over time, with no treatment, the limb became deformed.

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.

Besides radiography, computed tomography (CT) scan was done to obtain a 3D image of Justine’s hindlimb so Dr Dennis Choi can decide on the best surgical correction plan.

The deformed bones were cut and realigned, then held in the correct position with an external skeletal fixator. Pins are placed through skin and bone, then connected externally to a rigid frame.

Over a month, Justine’s right hind limb was straightening out nicely but then, she suffered from a luxating patella and had to undergo a second surgery. At her review 10 days post-surgery, Justine is doing well. We will see her again in 4 weeks’ time and hope she eventually finds herself a forever home!

Mdm Wong’s Shelter and Friends has a simple mission – “Providing care, compassion and hope and giving all animals a chance for leading loved lives”.

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. 

THANK YOU Rachada and volunteers who give so much time and compassion to our community animals. Support their work!

Cat Welfare Society has been helping community cats since 1999. As Laura from CWS said, “Rescues require a joint effort. If you need help, reach out and let us know who we can put you in touch with. I hope every cat-lover will take an active role in ensuring that our community cats are sterilised so no kitten is born into this type of hardship again.”

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.

With Veron Lau from CWS

To further support the good work of our animal welfare groups, we are selling eco-friendly tote bags at $10 each. All proceeds go towards animal welfare. Tote bags are sold out at Mount Pleasant (North). Get yours from our other 8 clinics listed here.

Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Clementi)

Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Farrer)

Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Bedok)

Mason & Addie representing Mount Pleasant Central (Whitley)!

Super Mommy Jia Hui: Happy Mother’s Day!

“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.

With @RaphaFluffyButt at Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang)

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. 😉

Jia Hui with Katrina and Mittens

Mittens is a rescued cat & also our Mount Pleasant Hero!

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.

Whenever I hug my child, I make sure it’s from my heart & we will always exchange an “I Love You”.

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.

But don’t get too engrossed in work & forget your children. They will grow up real quick & be very independent by the time you realise it.

Every moment with your child is going to be a precious memory.

We all have to juggle & maintain a balanced work & family life. For me, I always prioritise my baby. She comes first.

Super Mommy Dr Kitty Huang: Happy Mother’s Day!

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.

Dr Kitty Huang with Dr Loh Hui Qian, Mount Pleasant (Mandai), examining some cats rescued by Cat Welfare Society.

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.

” It can be frustrating and challenging when the ideal treatment plan needs to be altered. In the end, all we want is to keep our patients comfortable and give them a good quality of life.”

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!

“I am very lucky to have an understanding boss & supportive team at Mount Pleasant (Mandai). The relatively flexible work shifts definitely help my time management.”

“Most importantly, utmost understanding from hubby and family support in caring for my boys when I am at work or need to work late due to emergencies.”

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!

Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

The hip consists of a ball-and-socket joint. A normal hip joint is held in place by muscles, a deep socket and strong ligaments.

  • The ball or femoral head is the top part of the femur or thigh bone.
  • The neck is the narrow portion just below the ball.
  • The socket (or acetabulum) is the concave portion on each side of the pelvis.

Several conditions of the hip, e.g. canine hip dysplasia, can be corrected by a surgical procedure called Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO). Hip dysplasia is caused by abnormal growth of the hip during puppyhood which results in looseness of the joint & development of painful arthritis.

Baby the Japanese Spitz had been limping & “bunny hopping” due to hip dysplasia – the ball of her femur did not fit properly into the hip socket.

signs of hip pain
  • Decreased tolerance to exercise
  • Stiffness
  • Limping
  • “Bunny hopping”
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Difficulty lying down or standing up
  • Reluctance to run or jump
  • Shifting of weight to fore limbs
  • Loss of muscle mass on hind limbs
Physical Exam and x-rays

In severe cases, your vet can feel the hip “pop” in and out of the socket during a physical examination. X-rays will help to:

  • diagnose hip dysplasia, dislocation or fractures
  • identify if the acetabulum is shallow
  • check for bone spurs (a sign that the hips are degenerating)
  • determine if surgical correction is required
FEMORAL HEAD OSTECTOMY (FHO)

FHO is a surgical procedure to remove the femoral head – the ball and neck portion of the joint – to alleviate the pain of bone rubbing on bone. During healing, scar tissue will form and act as a “false joint”. The surrounding muscles continue to support the hip joint.

Dr Estella Liew proceeds to surgically remove the femoral head.

With the femoral head removed, your dog will no longer suffer the pain of bone rubbing on bone. During the healing process, scar tissue will develop to form a functional pain-free “false joint”.

After FHO, strenuous exercise is restricted but your dog is encouraged to use the limb as soon as possible, in a controlled manner. Your vet will advise on a strict physical therapy programme to ensure a good range of motion in the affected hip. Most dogs will start using the surgery leg within two weeks.

WATCH BABY’S VIDEO HERE.

Pleasant Pet News 2017

Pleasant Pet News is a quarterly newsletter from our desk to yours – sharing articles of various medical conditions we treat, events, new programmes and updates. Pick up your free copy at any of our 9 clinics or download soft copies from the links below. We always welcome stories of your animal friends. Drop us a note at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg to tell us about their life, challenges and journeys of recovery!


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.

Ziggy the Little Warrior recovering from tetanus

Click to read => Pleasant Pet News Jan-Mar 2017

  • Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
  • FIV & 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

Our team at Mount Pleasant Central (Whitley)

Corkscrew Tail Amputation

Note: The following surgery images may be unpleasant for some readers.

Ingrown or corkscrew tail is an abnormal inward growth of the tail commonly seen in brachycephalic or flat-faced dogs such as Pugs and Bulldogs. Due to the tight and deep folds, a corkscrew tail often results in repeated skin infection that leads to irritation, pain and odour.

Dog breeds with corkscrew tails include Boston Terriers, Pugs, Bulldogs & French Bulldogs like 5-year-old Boris.

Dogs with screw tails are prone to itchy & painful skin infections, especially where the curls are very tight & the folds are deep.

The deeper the folds, the worse the skin fold dermatitis which typically manifests as moist, inflamed & painful skin. Mild dermatitis can be treated with daily cleaning & antibiotics. However, the warm moist conditions are a breeding ground for bacteria, making the infection difficult to treat medically.

If the case is severe & there is constant itch, pain & odour, amputation of the affected tail is necessary. Dr Dennis Choi, Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang), proceeds with a surgical resection of Boris’ infected corkscrew tail.

The tail & infected tissues are carefully removed.

Sufficient skin is left for the area to be stitched up properly.

Post-surgery: No more constant tail cleaning or bacterial infections to deal with.

2 months after surgery, the surgical site has healed nicely & fur has grown back. Boris is healthy & well with a clean rear end – no more itchy irritated butt – thanks to his family’s decision & good care!

Boris with his lovely guardian Zoan. We love the cheerful playful nature of Frenchies! However, many are predisposed to health issues such as brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome due to their flat faces & pinched nostrils. Fortunately, Boris does not have breathing problems. If you are intent on purchasing a Frenchie puppy, choose only responsible breeders who understand the underlying health issues of the breed. Consider adoption.

Dogs And Cats – Normal Vital Signs

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.

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).

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

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

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. Kent Soon, vet student, while on attachment at Mount Pleasant (Mandai).

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.

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.