Thank You Joyce, Grandex, Pong!

“The most useful asset of a person is not a head full of knowledge but a heart full of love, with ears open to listen and hands willing to help.” Today we say thank you to Joyce, Grandex and Pong from Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (North)!


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“Being a medical technologist by profession, I was more comfortable & adept at working with humans. When I joined Mount Pleasant in November 2009, my perception about animals took a 360 degree turn. I learn to love & appreciate animals more.” Joyce with Janice of Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (North).

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“Taking care of animals through my work in Mount Pleasant taught me to be more compassionate & appreciate life more. Loving & caring is not confined to humans. We can also share & give our love to animals. I discovered a deeper, more profound compassion within myself. I even adopted two wonderful furbabies, Adrianna & Alonso.”

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“I am very proud to be called their mom, they are part of my family now. I consider them my furry therapists because they give me a sense of healing every time I feel homesick & miss my Dad so much. He passed away two years ago.”

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“I had wanted to be a doctor, specifically a pediatrician because I love kids. Being with & taking care of kids make me happy. I think it is innate in me, taking care of people. Now I am grateful to be working with a professional & supportive team, happily taking care of these wonderful creatures. I have no regrets!”

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“My family is definitely my inspiration, especially my parents. They love me unconditionally & taught me to be selfless. Those characteristics inspire me to always be grateful, value life & keep on evolving as a better person. I lost my dad 2 years ago. Despite his physical absence, he lives on in my heart. I admire my mom more than ever. I know it is really hard for her losing the love of her life & best friend but despite the pain, she remains strong for me & my siblings.”

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“Only those who are very close to me know I have an artistic side. I love graphic arts & photography. Every time I witness or experience beautiful things or events, I capture it in order to preserve the memories. Now, I always make sure I capture every beautiful moment with Adrianna & Alonso & share it with my loved ones & friends through social media – my platform to spread good vibes & happiness.”

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“I live by this quote: The most useful asset of a person is not a head full of knowledge but a heart full of love, with ears open to listen and hands willing to help. No matter how intelligent a person is, if he or she doesn’t know how to love & care for others, everything becomes senseless. Intelligence is superficial & temporary. But when the love & care we impart to people & animals is paid forward, it becomes eternal.”


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“I grew up having pets & surrounded by farm animals.” ~ Grandex

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“I joined Mount Pleasant in May 2014. It is a very good feeling, seeing pet owners happy when their furbabies recover from sickness.”

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“Some days, we do see stray animals with medical conditions but they have no caregivers to shoulder the medical responsibilities. It is also frustrating seeing animals in a tough fight against cancer.”

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“My parents inspire me a lot. They encourage me to finish my education & inculcate good values in me.”

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“It makes my family happy when they see me enjoy what I do. Through the years, I learn to appreciate what I have & live a simple life.”


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“I love animals & during my childhood, we kept pets & livestock. Letting our livestock out of their pens & keeping them back at night is something I always looked forward to. They always cheered me up.” ~ Pong

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“If I am not a vet tech, I would love to be a farmer with my own integrated farm.”

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“I joined Mount Pleasant in March 2014. Meeting different animals everyday – especially when sick pets get better – makes me smile, no matter how stressful or tiring the day is.”

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“My father is a carpenter. My mom sells rice cakes in our village. They worked very hard just to send us off to school to fulfil our dreams. They always say they have nothing to give us but education. Because education is something that cannot be stolen from us. My parents are my role models in life.”


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The happy Mount Pleasant (North) family, many of whom happen to be wonderful singers! Enjoy this video!

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“REFER A FRIEND” to Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (North). When you are next at Mount Pleasant (North) for a consult, you will receive this voucher. Pass it on to a friend & enjoy a free consult when it is redeemed!

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Thank You Ai Lin & Dionne!

“We protect only what we love. And we love only what we understand.” To love any person or animal, to create great art of any kind, you first have to be vulnerable. Today we say THANK YOU to Ai Lin and Dionne, two strong and seriously artistic ladies from Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Mandai) who aren’t afraid to open their hearts and use their gifts. For all to see!


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“Animals really capture my heart because they are very pure & true. They always show how they feel & never try to hide any emotions from you.” ~ Ai Lin

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“When I was young, I was fascinated with stray cats. But other than the occasional cats I encountered, I did not have much experience with animals. I then forgot about animals & started studying design & animation.”

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“When I started working at the Night Safari & was spending more time with animals again, I realise I want to spend the rest of my life around animals. On April Fool’s Day 2013, I joined Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Mandai), when it was still named AMK Veterinary Surgery.”

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“The most rewarding part of my job is when our patients leave our clinic healthy & happy. When stray & lost animals are rehabilitated & find themselves good homes.” With Pickles the 13-year-old Sheltie given up by his family & Faye the resident meow. Pickles has moved to a potential adopter’s home.

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With Titbit, a rescued community kitten.

It can be difficult to convince owners that sometimes, euthanasia is the better solution. Many people do not understand and reject the idea immediately, convinced it is a cruel and evil thing to do. They do not understand the pain the animal is going through and how we feel when we see the animals suffering. Every minute and everyday.

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“Urbanisation & rapid development have caused a lot of problems for wildlife & stray animals. I think it is only right that, now, we help them as much as we can. If I can do anything in the world, I would work in a wildlife rehab centre. To help wildlife get better & eventually return them to where they belong.”

I am inspired by the quote “We protect only what we love. And we love only what we understand”. A lot of the people I know have gone on to do amazing work helping wildlife and strays in any way they can. Seeing their work inspires me every time.

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“I do some crafts on my free time & sell them at DIY markets. The money from my crafts goes to my cats & wildlife shelters.” Ai Lin is gifted at crafts & graphic design. When you visit us at Mount Pleasant (Mandai), you will see this lovely piece designed by Ai Lin at the waiting area. Plus all the awesome handcrafted cat houses for our residents & patients!


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“As a little girl, I wanted to be a vet when I grow up. Due to my family’s financial constraints, I moved on to a career in customer service but this dream was always at the back of my mind, bugging me. So one day, some 8 years ago with the passing of my first dog, I decided on a complete career switch & haven’t looked back since.” ~ Dionne with Earl Grey, a rescued community cat who now has a great home.

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“One reason was to follow my heart & my childhood dream. The other is – I felt I could’ve been a better owner to my dog, so I was driven to learn more about proper animal care before I have another dog. I wanted to educate owners & help them be better caregivers, reduce negligence & increase the pets’ well-being.” Meepie, one of Dionne’s dogs.

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Gino, Dionne’s second dog.

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“I joined Mount Pleasant (Mandai) in April 2015. The most rewarding part of my job is definitely when our patients make significant recovery. Especially those  we thought wouldn’t make it & they suddenly perked up & started eating. That’s what drives me. Spending so much time with animals has taught me a lot about gratitude, resilience & the power a little TLC – to transform a petrified inappetent animal cowering in a corner into one who is trusting, flourishing & super affectionate.”

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“The most frustrating part of my job would probably be witnessing abandonment & severe neglect on the owner’s part (e.g. ingrown nails, severely matted fur, massive maggot wounds left untreated).”

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“These, in turn, contribute to the emotional & mental strain we have to endure. After many years as a vet tech, the physical strain can take its toll as well.”

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“If I can do anything in the world, I would still choose to fulfil my childhood passions to be a Veterinary Technician & a watercolor artist, painting pets & wildlife! Both bring so much fulfilment & meaning to my life.”

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We have some seriously gifted colleagues amongst us! Half Pint, Dr Gloria Lee’s cat, comes to life under the expressive brush strokes of Dionne.

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You cannot create such beauty without love! Appreciate more artwork at Paintings By Dionne Ho.

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“I never ever want to stop learning & improving myself. I’ve always believed that nothing is impossible & I could be whatever I wanted to be. If there was something I set my heart on, I would dive straight into it, especially if I see value in how it would enhance my life, well-being & sense of purpose.” At her first painting class.

I read a ton of books when I was young. Apart from my massive Enid Blyton collection, the rest were non-fiction and most were related to Psychology. This year, I decided to pursue my other childhood interest by taking up Diplomas in Positive Psychology, traditional Psychology and Psychotherapy. I’m working towards the Professional Diploma to become a certfied psychotherapist as my way of giving back to society. I had a pretty rough time growing up, so my main field of focus will be on adolescent girls, and both men and women who are struggling with body image issues and eating disorders.

My best friend sent me this quote because it reminded her of me: She believed she could, so she did. ~ R.S. Grey


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Part of our Mount Pleasant (Mandai) family!

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Formerly AMK Veterinary Surgery, now renamed Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre (Mandai), this is one of our prettiest clinics which we share with a family of chickens & peacocks. Dr Gloria Lee & team at Mount Pleasant (Mandai) believe in helping community animals & the caregivers who are protecting them.  The clinic also provides medical treatment for exotics & rescued wildlife, especially birds.

Mousy Says “Thank You Dr Keshia Being”

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My pet rat Mousy has passed away suddenly from seizure.  Her appetite was poor in past 2 weeks. I fed her baby food, oatmeal, ripe bananas, soft brown rice and yoghurt every 2 to 3 hours. Yesterday, Mousy refused food (still drink fluids), had laboured breathing and was pacing in the cage. I took her out and cradled her to sleep on my chest or lap throughout the day. Mousy was calmer and more relaxed when I massage her belly repeatedly. Had planned to bring Mousy to consult Dr Keshia Beng the following morning but around 9 pm, Mousy woke up from sleep, suddenly had seizure and stopped breathing.

Mousy’s sudden death was upsetting but upon reflection, I take great comfort that Mousy had a peaceful painless death with me cradling her in my arms. Prayers were conducted for Mousy under Buddhism rites and she was buried in the garden.

I would like to express my thanks to Dr Keshia Beng and other vets, technicians, nurses and reception staff at Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang) for the medical care extended to my pet Syrian hamsters and fancy rats Mickey and Mousy. Plus the emotional support to help me better cope with the grief over the past year. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.

Jasmine P’ng and Mousy

Alfie & Bentlie: Guinea Pig Overgrown Teeth

A guinea pig has 20 open-rooted teeth which never stop growing. Maloccluded (overgrown and misaligned) teeth can cause serious problems. Bring your guinea pig to the vet if you notice signs of malocclusion:

  • decreased appetite
  • preference of soft foods over hard foods
  • weight loss
  • excessive drooling
  • tooth grinding
  • facial abscesses
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Alfie & Bentlie, both 5 years old with maloccluded teeth, are here for dental treatment with Dr Sarah Wong, Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East). Teeth overgrow due to various reasons like illness, improper diet or genetics.

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Unlike dogs & cats, guinea pigs do not vomit. There is no need to withhold food or water before general anaesthesia.

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Before filing: When front incisors are not evenly lined up (chipped or overgrown), it is difficult for your guinea pig to pick up & gnaw food. Overgrown teeth can also cause painful injuries to the mouth.

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After filing: Overgrown teeth are filed with specialised equipment. They should not be filed too short (just enough to avoid contact with lower gums or roof of mouth), otherwise your guinea pig will have problems picking up food.

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It is very difficult for owners to examine their guinea pig’s back teeth because of buccal pads (cheek pads) which block the view. Using buccal pad separators & a lighted scope, Dr Sarah Wong is able to see that Alfie’s lower molars are growing towards the centre, creating a bridge over the tongue. If the tongue is eventually trapped by overgrown molars, it will be difficult or impossible for Alfie to swallow.

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While lower molars tend to overgrow inwards, upper molars tend to overgrow outwards towards the cheeks. The sharp spurs can cause painful sores inside the mouth if they are not filed down. Alfie & Bentlie’s malocclusion is believed to be genetic. They may require dental treatment every few months.


some tips to prevent malocclusion:
  • WEEKLY: Weigh your guinea pigs. Weight loss is an early indicator of health problems, including malocclusion.
  • WEEKLY: Examine the incisors (front teeth). Make sure they are not overgrown or chipped.
  • WEEKLY: Feel along the jaw lines . Check for sensitive areas which might indicate the presence of spurs.
  • DAILY: Feed lots of hay! Guinea pigs need to constantly chew tough fibrous foods like grass hay to wear down their constantly growing teeth. Provide fresh, high quality grass hay (e.g. Timothy hay) throughout the day.

 

Xiao Bai The Chinchilla: Bladder Stones

Chinchillas can live up to 10 years or more, which is a long lifespan for a rodent. Some of the common ailments include dental, gastrointestinal and urinary problems.  With their dense fur, chinchillas are also prone to heat stroke.

Xiao Bai, 2-year-old male Chinchilla.

Xiao Bai, 2-year-old male Chinchilla, was eating lesser, lethargic & having difficulty urinating.

X-rays done at Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East) revealed stones in Xiao Bai’s bladder and urethra. The signs and causes of bladder stones in chinchillas are similar to that in rabbits -> “Zara The Rabbit: Bladder Stones”.

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For some chinchillas like Xiao Bai, excess minerals such as calcium that are not flushed out with urine accumulate in their bladder to form stones. Some stones may exit the bladder & get lodged in the urethra.

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Dr Sarah Wong, Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East), made an incision in Xiao Bai’s abdomen to access his bladder & remove the stones.

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Xiao Bai was unable to pass out urine due to obstruction caused by the stones. Build-up of urine may cause the bladder to rupture, resulting in a painful death.

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The full bladder was expressed & you can see the outline of the largest stone.

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Stones removed from Xiao Bai’s bladder. Some stones may form due to excess calcium in diet. Timothy hay is recommended for adult chinchillas as it has lower calcium content than alfalfa hay.

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Size of stones compared with a 10 cent coin.

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One of the stones was lodged in Xiao Bai’s urethra. Sterile saline solution was instilled through a catheter into the bladder, in an attempt to flush the stone out of the urethra. It was unsuccessful as the stone was too large to pass through the narrow urethra.

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A catheter was then inserted via Xiao Bai’s urethral orifice to flush the stone back into his bladder so that it could be removed. This process, called retrograde voiding urohydropropulsion, was also unsuccessful.

Perineal urethrostomy (removing the penis to create a wider urethral opening) can successfully treat urinary blockage in male dogs and cats, but is complicated in small animals like chinchillas. Scar tissue could possibly cause another obstruction in the urethra and there is also a high chance of stones recurring after surgery.

The most humane choice was to euthanise Xiao Bai while he was still under general anaesthesia. Our heartfelt condolences to Xiao Bai’s family. He will be missed.

Zara The Rabbit: Bladder Stones

Zara, a 4-year-old Lionhead cross, has been lethargic and eating lesser than usual.  After physical examination and X-rays by Dr Pauline Fong at Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre (Changi), Zara was diagnosed with bladder stones.

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Bladder stones (urinary calculi) can develop in rabbits of all ages & breeds. It is a painful & potentially life-threatening condition.

Some factors that lead to stone formation

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Insufficient water intake: If you are using a water bottle for your rabbit, make sure the bottle is not defective and your rabbit knows how to drink from it.
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It is more natural for rabbits to drink from a bowl. Use a heavy ceramic water bowl that is not easily overturned.

  • Infrequent urination: This could be due to lack of activity (overweight, arthritic or caged up rabbit) or lack of appropriate/clean toilet area
  • Kidney disease
  • Bladder disease
  • Inappropriate diet: Excess calcium in the diet is excreted through the urinary tract where it may be deposited and form calculi in the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra.
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Rabbits with bladder stones are often in pain & may be unwilling to move or eat. It is important to weigh your pet regularly to monitor weight gain or loss.

signs of bladder stones 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Unwilling to move
  • Painful abdomen
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Wetness around genital area
  • Skin irritation around genital area due to urine scalding
  • Blood in urine
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Uroliths (stones) are dense & readily visible on radiographs.

diagnosis of bladder stones
  • Physical examination: larger stones can sometimes be palpated in the bladder
  • Urinalysis: to detect any bacterial infections that need to be treated
  • Radiography: the stones are typically composed of calcium salts and show up clearly on X-rays
  • Ultrasonography: to detect the presence of very small stones which may not show up on X-rays
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Zara managed to pass out a stone in blood-tinged urine during the physical examination.

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Uroliths (stones) come in all shapes & sizes. Small stones may be passed out when your rabbit urinates. Larger stones may lodge in the urethra, causing life-threatening bladder obstruction.

treatment and prevention
  • If your rabbit has bladder stones (especially large ones), surgery is necessary to remove them. There is no known diet to dissolve these stones which may increase in size over time, causing further irritation or damage to the bladder wall.
  • Increase water intake by providing plenty of fresh water and leafy vegetables to keep the urine dilute.
  • Provide ample out-of-cage time for exercise to encourage frequent urination and prevent weight gain.
  • Schedule regular veterinary check ups.
  • Speak to your vet about the optimal diet for your rabbit to prevent formation of bladder stones.

Ruby The Hamster: Lumpectomy

We don’t often operate on patients who weigh just 30g.

Today, our brave little patient is an adorable hamster named Ruby. Her family noticed a lump growing along the right side of her body and scheduled a surgery with Dr Sarah Wong at Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East).

Little Ruby is well loved by Simone & family. When they brought her home more than a year ago, no one knew Ruby was already pregnant. She gave birth to twins.

Little Ruby is well loved by Simone & family. When they brought her home more than a year ago, no one knew Ruby was already pregnant. She gave birth to twins.

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Dr Sarah Wong will perform a lumpectomy to remove the lump. Unlike dogs and cats, regurgitation is seldom a concern for rodents so it is not necessary to withhold food or water prior to surgery.

In rodents, the ratio of their body surface area to body mass is greater than larger species like dogs or cats. They lose  body heat rapidly. It is critical to keep Ruby warm during and after surgery to prevent hypothermia and ensure she recovers well from anaesthesia.

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Rodent anaesthesia is challenging because of the animal’s size, metabolic rate & risk of hypothermia. Anaesthetics for rodents can be administered as an inhalant or injected. The most common inhalant anaesthetic used for rodents is isoflurane. A toe pinch will verify if the animal is deeply anaesthetised before proceeding with surgery.

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Surgical preparation includes anaesthesia induction, clipping of hair & scrubbing.

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To prevent hypothermia, we avoid wetting too large an area during the surgical scrub. Ruby is also placed on a heating pad to keep her warm throughout the procedure.

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Dr Sarah Wong of Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East) has a special interest in exotic pets, particularly rabbits & rodents.

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Rodent surgery is a delicate procedure. The surgeon has to be very gentle & careful to avoid unnecessary trauma to the tissues.

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After the lump is removed, the incision site is closed with non-absorbable sutures which will be removed when the wound is healed, usually within 7 to 10 days.

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The lump, measuring about 1cm long, will be sent to the laboratory for histological diagnosis. Lumps on the chest & abdomen in females are commonly mammary tumours which can be benign or malignant.

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Dr Wong administers post-operative analgesics (painkillers) & antibiotics to reduce pain & discomfort from the surgery.

If your hamster just had surgery, watch out for signs of pain:
  • Refuse to eat, drink or groom
  • Unwilling to move, hunched up posture
  • Redness and swelling at incision site
  • Excessive licking or scratching, self-mutilation
  •  Squealing, teeth grinding, twitching, tremors, weakness
  • Laboured breathing

Shortly after Ruby is awake, she started to groom herself. Ruby is kept warm in her cage lined with soft paper bedding to prevent irritation to the surgical site. 

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Because Ruby is a feisty little gal & started meddling with the stitches, Dr Audrey Loi made a little fibreglass body cast to keep her surgical site clean!

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The fibreglass body cast is kept in place with elastoplast.

Ruby’s family will monitor her closely for the next few days to make sure she is alert, active and eating. We will see Ruby in a week’s time for review. But before that, Ruby will like you to meet one of her beautiful twins, Rebecca. And her lovely guardians who show us that animals, great or small, all deserve to be loved!

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Hannah & Logan with Ruby’s daughter Rebecca!

March 2017: snowy’s lumpectomy

21-gram Snowy the Roborovski hamster had a lump on her right elbow. Dr Sarah Wong performed a successful lumpectomy. Click here to watch Snowy racing on her favourite flying saucer just days after the surgery.

Lump on Snowy’s right elbow

After a successful lumpectomy, Snowy was monitored closely to make sure she recovered from anaesthesia, with no problems, before going home.

Keep your hamsters warm & quiet after surgery. Usually they are back to their normal selves by the next day.