Kiba Travels Back To Motherland For Life-Saving Surgery

At just 8 months young, Kiba the Shiba Inu was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect known as Double-Chambered Right Ventricle. He was experiencing fainting spells almost every day and might not live to celebrate his 2nd birthday. But Juliana and Jonathan would not let that happen. They flew to Japan for open-heart surgery — giving their best friend his best chance at life.


what is Double-Chambered Right Ventricle?

Double-chambered right ventricle (DCRV) is a rare congenital heart defect characterised by abnormal fibromuscular bands or membranes within the right ventricle resulting in an obstruction to blood flow out of the right side of the heart.

This obstruction creates increased outflow pressure and workload for the right side of the heart, leading to thickening of the muscle as well as tricuspid regurgitation (back flow of blood through the tricuspid valves).

DCRV diagnosis and clinical signs

Kiba was 8 months young when he was first referred to veterinary specialist Dr Nathalee Prakash at Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Gelenggang).

According to Juliana, “Kiba was fainting nearly every day (syncope) from anything that excites him, like daily occurrences of us reaching home. We had to quickly hold him firmly before he got too excited. Usually he would collapse on the floor for a few seconds. When it was a bad episode, he would scream and urinate uncontrollably.”

A full diagnostic work-up including radiography, electrocardiography and echocardiography performed by Dr Nathalee Prakash confirmed the diagnosis of DCRV. Clinical signs include exercise intolerance, coughing, panting and fainting.

medical management associated to poorer prognosis

Kiba was initially managed with medication to improve relaxation of the heart muscle and relieve the outflow obstruction which minimised the fainting episodes. However, medical management was associated to a poorer prognosis and meant he was medication dependent. There are also potential side effects such as slowing of heart rate and lowering of blood pressure. If the condition progresses, patients may develop signs of right-sided heart failure (which include fluid in the abdomen, enlarged liver, poor circulation) with increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

“Past publications show that in the small number of patients this condition has been documented in, surgery is the preferred option due to an improved lifespan. Furthermore, in the time leading up to Kiba’s surgery, there was some progression on repeated echocardiography, which gave further support that surgery was the right decision despite the risks involved,” says veterinary specialist Dr Prakash.

rigorous screening and quarantine 

There is no veterinary surgeon in Singapore qualified to perform the open-heart surgery on Kiba. His family thus made the huge decision to travel to Japan where Kiba will be operated on by Dr Masami Uechi of JASMINE Veterinary Cardiovascular Medical Center.

In the months leading up to surgery, Kiba had to fulfill export requirements and also go through rigorous screening to ensure he was a suitable candidate for surgery. Juliana explains, “There is a strict requirement for rabies vaccination and a 6-month quarantine before Kiba could travel to Japan. It was stressful to wait and not be able to do anything to improve his condition.”

 

29 June: Kiba with Dr Nathalee Prakash the day before his flight @kiba.shiba

off to japan for a fighting chance

Juliana and Jonathan had visited JASMINE Center in February to meet the team and view the facilities. “We are very relieved that Kiba is finally on his way for surgery after such a long wait. We have total confidence in Dr Uechi and the JASMINE team.”

30 June: “Heading back to my Motherland.” @kiba.shiba

Because love is about going that extra mile

Meeting new friends in Japan. The family arrived 10 days before the scheduled surgery, giving Kiba’s body time to adapt and reduce the level of stress before the procedure.

dcrv OPEN-HEART SURGERY

The aim of cardiac repair is to surgically remove the abnormal muscle bundles dividing the right ventricle into two cavities.  An incision is made in the right ventricle spanning the region of the defect and the location of the obstruction determined by visual inspection and palpation of the right ventricular wall. The fibromuscular membranes are then excised, taking care to avoid injury to the papillary apparatus of the tricuspid valve.

10 July: Open-heart surgery by Dr Masami Uechi and team went smoothly

11 July: “I’m doing pretty well for Day 1. Woke up in the middle of the night with a few drama screams. The surgeons took care of me and I slept through till morning.” @kiba.shiba

Kiba is very fortunate to be in a family who is able to go against all odds to save his life.

“Not every family can afford to give their pet the opportunity to correct a heart condition.  Take your time to do your research if you are purchasing a pet from breeders – ask around, speak with current owners, get to know the parents of the puppies – such congenital health issues should not be taken lightly.”

 

15 July: “I’ve been discharged! Everyone is amazed by my progress.” @kiba.shiba

“We feel extremely relieved that Kiba is no longer fainting. There have been moments when he got too excited and we held our breath and waited for the usual fainting spell – you can see sheer joy on his face when it didn’t happen. We are monitoring his progress closely – when the right time comes, we will know when he is ready for some off leash activity.”

“There is a worldwide community called the Mighty Hearts Project – fellow pet lovers who are there to support families seeking overseas open-heart surgeries for their furballs. It is good to know we are not alone.” ~ Juliana (extreme left) with Kiba

home sweet home

After 25 days in Japan pre-and-post-surgery, the family was ready to fly back to Singapore and continue Kiba’s journey to recovery.

“Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated’. I hope we will continue to pursue better healthcare for our pets and have our very own cardiology specialist in Singapore!” 

26 July: “Good to be back home. My place of comfort.” @kiba.shiba

post-surgery review 

“DCRV surgery in humans is well-researched and published with a high success rate but there is very little data in the veterinary world. The vets at JASMINE Center will continue to monitor Kiba from a distance together with the ever-so-patient Dr Prakash at Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang). Without Dr Prakash’s help over the past months, Kiba might not have made it to Japan for his surgery.”

11 Aug: Post-surgery review and echocardiogram by Dr Nathalee Prakash. Clinically, Kiba has shown marked improvements with a better body condition score, higher energy level, no episodes of fainting.

Welcome home Kiba! L-R: Cash, Dr Keshia Beng, Dr Nathalee Prakash, Rose, Jonathan, Juliana

Juliana and Kiba with his favourite vet nurse Cash

“Kiba definitely has been a strong boy and is totally loving his new life. The journey to recovery is long but he is surrounded by family and friends who will give him much love and support.” Follow Kiba and his family at @kiba.shiba


We welcome medical stories of your animal friends to educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg and be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Website and Facebook.

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Kirin: Liver Shunt Surgery

4 months ago, a kind act by rescuer Benji and Purely Adoptions got a very sick puppy off the streets. Treatment and surgery by Dr Dennis Choi and Dr Nathalee Prakash provided the best chance for a long healthy life. Top it all off, Dr Gloria Lee and Victor changed Kirin’s future by giving him the best home any street dog could ask for!

When Kirin was found in a car workshop, he was very weak and showing signs of respiratory distress.

portosystemic or liver shunt

Our liver plays a role in most of the metabolic processes in the body. Normally, blood from the abdominal organs flows to the liver via the portal vein. The blood brings the liver nutrients and is cleansed of toxins and impurities.

In a puppy like Kirin, a portosystemic or liver shunt is an abnormal blood vessel that diverts blood around the liver instead of into it. The liver is deprived of necessary nutrients and fails to grow normally. Congenital shunts can be extrahepatic (outside the liver) or intrahepatic (inside the liver).

With Purely Adoption’s support, rescuer Benji took Kirin to Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Mandai) for treatment.

Clinical Signs and diagnosis of Liver Shunts

Common clinical signs include stunted growth, poor muscle development, mental dullness, reduced appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, blood in urine. Hepatic insufficiency combined with toxin build-up can result in hepatic encephalopathy – affecting the brain and causing neurological signs such as  ataxia, seizures, head pressing and behavioural changes.

Common clinical signs of liver shunts include stunted growth and mental dullness

Kirin was referred to Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang) for a full diagnostic work-up including blood work, urinalysis, liver function tests, ultrasound and CT scan with contrast to confirm and locate the portosystemic shunts.

medical management Before Surgery

Before surgery could be performed, Kirin was managed by veterinary specialist Dr Nathalee Prakash. The aim was to reduce the amount of toxins produced and improve Kirin’s health  to decrease the risk of anaesthesia and surgery. Kirin was placed on an appropriate hepatic diet, antibiotics to reduce intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and lactulose to encourage rapid transit of faecal matter and bacteria through the intestinal tract.

Kirin with veterinary specialist Dr Nathalee Prakash at Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang)

liver shunt Surgery 

Once Kirin’s condition is stable for general anaesthesia, surgeon Dr Dennis Choi performed a challenging procedure to close the shunt. The abdominal cavity is opened and the liver shunt identified. An ameroid ring constrictor is then carefully placed around the shunt, allowing it to close progressively over time and restore normal blood flow to the liver.

Gradual occlusion is important to prevent excessively high portal system pressure, called portal hypertension, which can result in death.

Dr Dennis Choi assisted by Dr Korn

After locating the shunt, Dr Dennis Choi prepares to place the ameroid ring constrictor around it.

Over the next few weeks, the casein absorbs fluids from the body and swells inwards, gradually compressing the shunt to restore normal blood flow to the liver.

Kirin was hospitalised for a few days and closely monitored

Kirin at his post-surgery review. Surgical site healing very well.

Kirin with Dr Korn, Victor, Dr Dennis Choi, Dr Gloria Lee

A month and half after surgery, Kirin is a healthy 19kg, playful and active.

post surgery care

It takes time for liver cells to regenerate and regain normal function as the shunt slowly closes in the weeks following ameroid constrictor placement.  Kirin  will continue on a hepatic diet and medications while returning for regular blood tests to monitor his recovery. Meanwhile, this sweet little boy is bright, active and happily annoying his big brother Tully — enjoy the video below!


We welcome medical stories of your animal friends to educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg and be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Website and Facebook.

Coco: IVDD

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) or ‘slipped disc’ is most commonly seen in short-legged breeds such as Corgis and Dachshunds. It can be a very painful condition resulting in limb weakness or paralysis.


30 Jan 2018

Coco suddenly lost the use of her hind legs.

Our dog’s spinal column is made up of a series of bones called vertebrae and intervertebral discs which act as ‘shock absorbers’. When the discs degenerate, the inner contents (nucleus pulposus) herniate and press against the spinal cord or nerve roots, causing limb weakness or paralysis.
Neurological exam, myelogram and CT scan help our surgeon Dr Dennis Choi locate the ruptured disc and plan for surgery. For ruptured disc in the thoracic (mid back) or lumbar (lower back) spine, a specialised procedure called hemilaminectomy is performed to access the vertebral canal and remove the disc material compressing the spinal cord.

An incision is made along the back -> a ‘window’ is drilled through the vertebrae -> the extruded disc material is removed. The incision on Coco’s back healed very well.

While conservative management may be acceptable to treat patients with mild neurological deficits, dogs with paralysis or loss of pain sensations require prompt surgery for a positive outcome. After a week of close monitoring, Coco was discharged for home care.

15 Feb 2018

Following a delicate spinal surgery by Dr Dennis Choi, Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Gelenggang), and strict home rest, Coco improved day by day. Gentle controlled exercise and physiotherapy will be gradually incorporated to help Coco build up strength and regain normal motor function.

“Coco is a sweet girl with a mild temperament. She loves Lele and always wants to be with him. Coco is coping much better than the humans. Her independent character makes her crate rest and recovery much easier for us. She doesn’t whine while being crated. She doesn’t complain about anything, she’s the best patient.️” ~ Coco’s family (Photo: @corgiandachshund)

“We learnt a lot about IVDD from IG furiends. Some recovered, some are on wheels permanently. Coco doesn’t jump on furniture at all. They have ramps to access the couch and bed but only Lele uses it. We place dog beds everywhere so they can stay comfortable on the floor. We have taken precautions but some things just happen. Here are some advice:

  • Discourage jumping up and down furniture.
  • Crate your dog and go to the vet ASAP if you suspect IVDD.
  • Crate rest after surgery, 6 to 8 weeks recommended.
  • Use a sling support to help your dog during toilet breaks.
  • Each dog’s recovery differs. Be very patient and do not rush your dog to walk.
  • Keep your dog at a healthy weight to reduce stress on spine and legs.
17 mar 2018

6-weeks post surgery review with Dr Dennis Choi and Coco’s recovery is excellent!

Coco used to go on adventures with Lele and we know she can’t wait to get out there and explore the world. So long as it is nothing strenuous or competitive, Coco can gradually resume normal walks and outdoor activities. As Dr Dennis Choi says, “Ultimately we want to live our life. And we want to be happy.”

Coco’s excellent recovery from IVDD is possible with a successful spinal surgery, wonderful home care by her family & moral support from Lele who always looks ‘deep in thought’ but is actually a very happy boy! 🙂


We welcome medical stories of your animal friends to educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg and be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Website and Facebook.

Pleasant Pet News 2018

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.

We welcome medical stories of your animal friends to educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg and be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Website and Facebook.


jan to mar 2018

Animals come to us with different kinds of medical conditions, some more debilitating than others. Even if our pets are diagnosed with cancer, it is not a death sentence. As a team, we accept the diagnosis, manage pain and provide the medical care required to help our animals maintain a good quality of life.

Rooibos is undergoing chemotherapy with Dr Jeenise Ng who works closely with Rooibos’s family to maximise his quality of life

Click to read => Pleasant Pet News Jan-Mar 2018

  • Cancer And Chemotherapy: Osteosarcoma
  • Canine Lymphoma
  • Septic Peritonitis
  • Heartworm Disease And Prevention
  • Puppy Socialisation
  • Mount Pleasant Gives Back 2017
Apr to Jun 2018

Since we launched our Mount Pleasant Blood Donor Programme in April 2016, we are encouraged by our blood donors and their big-hearted families who have been helping us save lives. We celebrate some of them in this issue. June is our Pet Dental Month. Regular home care and a 6-monthly dental check is the best way to maintain your pet’s dental health. Prevention is always better than cure.

Click to read => Pleasant Pet News Apr-Jun 2018

  • Blood Donation Saves Lives
  • What Happens On Donation Day
  • Meet Our Mount Pleasant Heroes
  • Pets Need Dental Care Too
  • 4 Steps To Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
  • June Is Pet Dental Month

jul to sep 2018

Like us, senior pets require more medical attention for age-related health issues such as arthritis, dental disease, vision and hearing loss. Early detection of disease, appropriate treatment and pain management is crucial. Preventive veterinary care and regular health screens not only add years to your pet’s life, it also improves quality of life.

Click to read => Pleasant Pet News Jul-Sep 2018

  • Caring For Our Senior Pets
  • Pain Management For Pets
  • Caring for Parrots And Senior Birds
  • Cataracts Or Senile Nuclear Sclerosis
  • Why Is My Pet Drinking So Much?
  • Liver Shunt Surgery
OCT TO DEC 2018

We celebrate Pet Preventive Care in Nov and Dec. Health Screening is not just for senior pets – it is for pets of all life stages. Many animals do not display signs of pain or diseases that may have developed. Early detection and treatment through health screens can prolong the quality of your pet’s life. 

Click to read => Pleasant Pet News Oct to Dec 2018

  • Annual Health Screen
  • Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
  • Diabetes Mellitus In Cats
  • Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears
  • Neutering And Scrotal Ablation
  • Urinary Obstruction And Perineal Urethrostomy
  • Hamster Testicular Abscess
  • Hemimandibulectomy
  • Double-Chambered Right Ventricle

More articles at:
Pleasant Pet News 2017
Pleasant Pet News 2016

 

7 Mistakes People Make When Keeping Parrots

By Dr Gloria Lee, Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Mandai)

Dr Gloria Lee has a special interest and special touch with birds. “Birds are challenging patients. The anatomy and physiology of a chicken is different to that of a parrot or dove. It’s like treating a domestic cat, a lion and a tiger.”

Keeping birds as pets is a popular hobby in Singapore. In recent years, more people have gravitated towards keeping smaller parrots as they can be excellent companions and are easier to keep in a flat or apartment without needing large cages. In this article, I share some mistakes often seen when I consult these birds and their owners.


mistake 1: my parrots are seed eaters

Although parrots are mainly seed eaters, their diet in captivity should include less seeds and more fresh fruits and vegetables and other wholesome healthy human foods. In the wild, parrots fly great distances foraging for fruits, nuts and seeds. A seed-only diet is low in calcium and high in fat, often causing obesity and eventually liver disease.

For small birds, it is important to have a digital gram scale to monitor their weight regularly and ensure they are not losing or gaining weight too rapidly.

  • Commonly eaten fruits are all edible for parrots, except avocado and seeds of certain fruits like apples, pears, peaches and apricots.
  • All vegetables are edible, although some have to be cooked, e.g. broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, potato, dried peas/lentils.
  • Other wholesome human foods that are acceptable include hard boiled egg, bread, pasta, rice, egg noodles.

Feed in moderation and in great variety. These foods spoil faster so care must be taken to keep food containers and perches well scrubbed. Dispose uneaten foods within a few hours.

mistake 2: my Parrots need to shower to keep clean

Whilst true, never shower a bird that looks less than healthy, and always make sure they are placed in the sun to preen and dry off. It is unnecessary to hose them wet to the skin. Sometimes, it is adequate to place a shallow bowl of water on the cage floor or use a bottle sprayer. Some birds do not like to shower, and it is a source of stress if they are hosed down strongly. Always watch how your birds react.

mistake 3: Putting my sick birds in the sun will keep it warm

A bird’s core body temperature is 40°C. The environmental temperature in Singapore rarely goes above 33°C. A heating lamp (infra-red or basic non-energy saving light bulb) does a better job at raising the temperature of a hypothermic bird.

To avoid accidentally over-heating your bird, place your hand next to your bird – it should feel comfortably toasty warm. Adjust the distance between the lamp and your bird to get the right temperature. Position the lamp to one side so that your bird can get away from direct light if it feels too hot. 

mistake 4: glucose or honey water is the most important first aid for sick birds

If a bird a very sick and weak, it may not be able to swallow adequately. Dripping water into its beak can cause it to drown as the water gets into the lungs instead. The most important first aid for sick birds is warmth.

After you have raised the ambient temperature to support your sick bird’s recovery, make sure it is getting sufficient food and fluids. You may have to hand feed till it regains a normal appetite. Keep your ill or injured bird quiet, warm and inactive.

mistake 5: It is alright if my bird does not eat for a day

Birds have an extremely high metabolic rate, and a high body surface area compared to body mass. This means they burn up food very fast in order to stay warm and keep their body functioning. They must be checked by a vet as soon as possible if you notice a much reduced appetite. Never leave it for 2 to 3 days – often that may be too late.

During a physical examination, Dr Gloria Lee carefully evaluates the eyes, nares, beak, plumage, vent, legs etc. The heart and lungs are assessed by auscultation with a neonatal stethoscope.

mistake 6: It is cruel to cage a bird – Use a T-stand or allow it to free range

Only acquire captive-bred parrots, never wild-caught ones. They adapt to a roomy cage very well. Cages keep them safe. An untrained bird left to roam or on a T-stand can suffer severe accidents such as fractured legs, poisoning or trauma to the digestive tract when they chew poisonous houseplants or electrical cords etc. I have seen many cases of birds injured from flying into fans – they suffer bad concussions or need to have a wing or leg amputated.

Sparta the Conure had a tiny lump on the leg which progressively grew larger. Lumpectomy was performed by Dr Gloria Lee and the mass sent for histopathology. There was no sign of neoplastic disease or cancer and Sparta recovered beautifully. Parrots are highly intelligent and sociable birds who enjoy human interaction and playtime. Sparta’s favourite toys are balls with bells.

mistake 7: Parrots can be left in their cage the whole day as long as they have food and toys

The term ‘bird brain’ to describe dim-witted people was obviously coined by someone who does not keep parrots. Frustration, stress and anxiety are often felt by parrots, especially those that are hand-raised very well and very tame. Self-destructive behaviour and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD) are well-recognised psychological diseases which are very difficult to treat.

Do not even consider having a parrot unless you can dedicate several hours to them daily. Since some parrots like the Cockatoo can live to 80 years old, be prepared, like me, to include for their care in your Will.

“Blackie the Palm Cockatoo has a superficial ulcer on his tongue and roof of mouth. We suspect the ulcers are caused by contact irritant, e.g. household detergent or items he shouldn’t be chewing on. Cockatoos are inquisitive and love to destroy things. His owner keeps him in an area free of dangerous items but they can still find ways.” Blackie was treated with a topical spray and has started eating normally again.

“My dad takes Chucky out for evening walks. He is well known in our neighbourhood and has even taken photos with our MP!” Chucky the African Grey developed a fungal infection under his wings. He has healed well with diligent cleaning and medication by his family.

Macaws are magnificent, highly intelligent and inquisitive. Make sure you have time and space to properly socialise and bond with your parrot if you decide to have one. Your parrot’s cage should be as large as possible, with safe and stimulating toys, perches, climbing nets, baskets, swings. Birds are born to fly and thrive with exercise and exposure to outdoor environments. Providing an outdoor aviary will give your parrot a better quality of life.

A healthy bird is active, vocal, bright-eyed with nicely preened feathers. A sick bird will usually fluff up its feathers and huddle listlessly in the cage. If you have rescued or acquired a new bird, isolate it to prevent exposing your flock to possible pests or diseases. The quarantine period also allows your new bird to get used to the environment and humans with less stress.


We welcome medical stories of your animal friends to educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg and be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Website and Facebook.

Spuddy: Lymphoma And Chemotherapy

“Spud was diagnosed with lymphoma last August and nothing could have prepared us for this. We have always thought of her living her golden years with us and I even started preparing for that: a car that is easier for her to get into and a bed for her on the first floor, so she would not have to climb the stairs, in a hopefully remote future.” ~ Julie

While Spuddy is living bravely with lymphoma, it is important to make sure she is eating well, getting lots of rest and keeping to her normal routine to reduce stress levels. Spud loves going to work with her adopted sibling Elliot.

Last August, 12-year-old Spuddy was diagnosed with canine lymphoma – a cancer of white blood cells called the lymphocytes. Affected dogs are typically middle-aged and older. The cancer cells invade and destroy normal tissues,  most commonly the lymph nodes, and cause the nodes to swell and harden. As the disease progresses, internal organs such as the liver, spleen and bone marrow become affected.

the patient OFTEN PRESENTS WITH LUMPS OR SWELLINGS ON THE NECK, ARMPIT AND GROIN AREAS

Lymphoma is a common cancer in dogs.  When Spuddy was referred to Dr Cheryl Ho, her lymph nodes were enlarged. At one stage, her right submandibular lymph node (on the neck) measured 7cm x 6cm. Other signs of lymphoma include appetite loss, weight loss and fatigue.

Biopsy and other diagnostic test (such as complete blood count, platelet count, biochemical profile, urinalysis, ultrasound) allow vets to accurately diagnose lymphoma and stage the disease to determine how far the cancer has spread. Chemotherapy is a treatment choice to shrink enlarged lymph nodes and aim for complete remission.

“Facing the ugly truth revealed by the biopsy, we decided that if there were any chance of helping her through this, we would take it. Losing her in a couple of weeks or months was something we could simply not accept as we felt that she still had so much to live for. We set a simple rule: we would do anything, as long as it wouldn’t compromise the quality of her life. With that, we decided to put her through chemotherapy. We spoke to a couple of vets and an owner who went through chemotherapy with her dog, to gather as much information as we could. And so we took this route.”

Most dogs tolerate chemotherapy well. Regular monitoring and checkups are important to evaluate Spuddy’s response to treatment.

The goal of chemotherapy is to kill and slow the growth of cancer cells, produce minimal negative effects on normal cells and improve quality of life.

Most dogs tolerate chemotherapy well. Common side effects include appetite loss, decreased energy level, mild vomiting or diarrhoea over a few days. If serious side effects do occur, the medical team will review and adjust the treatment protocol.

Spuddy was started on cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine (CHOP chemotherapy protocol). She was responsive to initial treatment and the enlarged lymph nodes became smaller. However when the protocol was completed, Spud only achieved partial remission.

rescue protocol

For dogs like Spuddy with chemotherapy resistant lymphoma, rescue protocols are available where different drugs or different combinations of drugs are given together with proactive supportive care to induce remission and maintain a good quality of life.

“Spud has had many good days and some not so good days since starting her treatment but for every extra day we get to spend with her, we are forever thankful. Spud is family, a great friend and a sweet, iconic presence in the house and even in the office. That is why we are resolved to see her through this difficult battle she has undertaken.”

Week 4 rescue protocol: Most chemotherapy drugs are given by intravenous (IV) injection. A few are given by mouth as a tablet or capsule. Doses of drugs and treatment schedules are carefully calculated to minimise any discomfort to Spuddy.

Together with veterinary oncologists, Dr Cheryl Ho and team at Mount Pleasant Central Vet Clinic (Whitley) worked out a rescue protocol for Spud. Dogs who failed to respond to initial chemotherapy have been known to achieve durable remission with rescue chemotherapy.

Am I making the Right Decision?

If your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, work closely with your vets to decide on a treatment plan that works best for your pet and your family. When chemotherapy is not an option, whether for emotional, time or financial reasons, discuss other treatment plans which can help your pet feel better and maintain a good quality of life.

“We have been very fortunate to have had great support from family, friends, medical staff and colleagues at work to go through this journey with us.” Spuddy’s BFFs Carol & Elliot

There is no absolute right or wrong along the journey and there may be moments we doubt ourselves and the choices we make. Hopes high – with support from family, friends and vets who do not give up too easily – dear Spuddy will have many more good days ahead of her.

Cutie: Flash Glucose Monitoring System For Diabetic Pets

Joette with Cutie

how did cutie come into your life?

I was leading a busy and stressful life in the corporate world. The only thing I loved to do was visit the pet farms during my free time. I saw Cutie during one of my visits. She was at the back of the viewing room – her eyes so sorrowful. We both looked at each other for a long time. I could not stop thinking about her. Two weeks later, we brought Cutie home.

living with skin problems

When Cutie developed skin problems, we went to the vet very often but it just got worse. Then I met Dr Simon Quek at one of his talks. We did a skin allergy test to find out what Cutie was reacting to (e.g. pollen, dust mites, tobacco). It can be difficult to avoid exposure to certain environmental allergens. We started Cutie on immunotherapy and it has been working well.

living with blindness

Last year, Cutie was diagnosed with diabetes. Her condition worsened rapidly and within a month, she developed cataracts in both eyes. Cataract surgery was successfully performed by Dr Heng Yee Ling but unfortunately, Cutie developed glaucoma.

It was a very painful and difficult decision to go ahead with enucleation to remove both her eyes. You will find this silly – I actually let Cutie choose from 2 pieces of paper: ‘keep’ or ‘take out’. She kicked the paper with the words ‘take out’.

“We got the Muffin’s Halo to help Cutie get around. Now she is familiar with the surrounding – we do not move or add in new furniture – she can find her way around and even climb up and down the stairs. I guess she ‘activates’ her other senses and decided to move on with life.”

“I learnt something from Cutie: We don’t need a pair of eyes to see the world. We just need a heart to feel it.”

living with diabetes

We are very fortunate to meet Dr Nathalee Prakash and her team – their dedication, patience and commitment. To reduce stress in Cutie, Dr Prakash introduced us to a glucose monitoring device that is implanted into Cutie’s neck – no more poking of needles to draw blood.

Application of the sensor is relatively quick, painless and well-tolerated by diabetic patients.

“Now we can monitor Cutie’s blood glucose with ease at home. Cutie is the first dog to use this sensor!”

flash glucose monitoring system 

Effective blood glucose (BG) monitoring is essential for the management of dogs and cats with diabetes mellitus. BG readings can be affected by stress, food consumption and exercise. BG testing in a vet clinic can be stressful for our pets, especially cats. Under stressful conditions, the values obtained may not be an accurate reflection of the BG curve on a typical day.

A novel Flash Glucose Monitoring System is now available to measure interstitial tissue glucose levels every minute via a disposable sensor with a small catheter inserted under the skin. It can be worn for up to 14 days and eliminates the need for repeated blood tests at the vet clinic. The readings are collected, registered and stored automatically. Email mpvc@mountpleasant.com.sg or call 6251 7666 to find out more.

For patients living with diabetes, consistent, unchanging and constant are keywords to remember for lifestyle, diet and treatment.

Ideally, a diabetic dog or cat should be fed the same type of food, same amount, at the same time each day. A regular schedule will help minimise fluctuations in blood glucose so that the amount of insulin needed remains the same. Once the diabetes is properly regulated, our diabetic pets like Cutie can live relatively normal lives.


We always welcome medical stories of your animal friends which can educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg if you have a story to share. Meanwhile, be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Website and Facebook.

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

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 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!