“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)!
“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!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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”.
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, 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.
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.
- 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.
signs of bladder stones
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- 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
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!
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.