It was 2003 when I vaccinated this Chihuahua puppy and 8 years later, the original owners phoned me to ask for a second opinion of not eating and a "swollen stomach".
Vet 1, during the 2nd consultation, had taken blood test, barium-meal X-ray, ultrasound. According to the owner, the Vet 1 could not find anything wrong with the Chihuahua.
"I can't afford the vet fees anymore," the husband said as he had spent around $1,000. He had kept my vaccination card of 2003 and so gave me a call to quote my fees.
"If all the tests are done and nothing can be found in the abdomen, I would propose a laparotomy to open up the abdomen. This is risky as the dog is ill. If the dog has abdominal tumours, twisted intestines or stomach, inflamed livers or spleen, then this surgery would let you know the cause of the swollen painful stomach and you can decide what to do next. However, this would be the last thing to do. The cost is around $500 but I can't say exactly.
To save money, you need to get the case reports and test results from Vet 1," I discouraged him from taking the dog out immediately as it was under I/V drip for only 2 days and he should give Vet 1 some time to close the case. I gave him an appointment at 12 noon the following day and did not expect him to turn up.
He came without the case reports saying "Vet 1 says he needs to take one week to write the report!".
"It is Ok," I said. "In one week, it will be too late for the dog if he is not eating."
The husband took out a CD from Vet 1. I would handle this case together with Dr Vanessa Lin as two heads are better than one. She put the CD into her lap top and suddenly loud Chinese songs blasted through the silence.
"Wow, your laptop can play Chinese music with this CD!" I tried to inject some humour in this serious situation and to break the ice as the couple expected only me to handle their case. Normally, no music would be heard on insertion of a CD and I was thoroughly surprised by this laptop's behaviour. I wondered whether Vanessa had a new model?