Two clients wanted to consult me and so made an appointment at 10 am.
CASE 1. Cairn Terrier, Female, Not spayed, 2 years.
Keeps scratching all over the body. "Why?," the pastor asked me. "Can it be due to the dog food? I buy various brands and mix them."
"It is possible," I said. "Dry dog food allergy does occur, making the dog itchy." The only area with black spots due to dried up blood from skin pustules and scratching was the inguinal area, near the vulva. The vulval lips were much swollen around 20X and the mammary glands were full.
"Your dog had heat 2 months ago," I said to the pastor. "She will be behaving strangely, like carrying an object in her mouth, loses appetite, get aggressive or withdrawn?"
"None of the behaviour you mention," the pastor said. "As you know, dogs like air-conditioned rooms but lately, she just go to the kitchen to sleep. Very strange behaviour!"
"She thinks she wants to give birth soon," I expressed minute drop of milk from her mammary gland. Too little to be seen when I asked intern Michelle and the owner to see. However, another swollen nipple produced some secretion.
"Your dog is suffering from false pregnancy," I presumed the dog was not bred as the owner did not mention about breeding and from his looks, was very astonished at seeing swollen mammary glands and a bit of milk. "Was she mated 2 months ago?"
"No, no," the pastor said. "How to prevent this from happening again?"
"The only solution is to spay her," I said. "Otherwise, the false pregnancy comes again. Did you want to breed her and get some pretty Cairn Terrier pups?"
"Yes, but I can't find any male."
I said: "Enquire from the dog breeders in Pasir Ris, your seller or the Singapore Kennel Club. You may have to pay a fee of a few hundred dollars without guarantee of success. Spaying her would be better as she is likely to get pyometra in later life. Do you know what is pyometra?"
The pastor had no clue and I explained that it was an infection of the womb with lots of pus inside. Sometimes the dog can die from toxaemia due to delays in seeking vet treatment.
As for the skin itchiness, I checked the ear canals. Dark brown ear discharge. I asked the intern to check on the microscopic examination. Nothing was seen. "The brown stuff keeps coming back after ear cleaning," the pastor said.
I advised ear irrigation and let the pastor tried. He squirted the 20 ml syringe of water and wetted me and the whole table. I did it for him and lots of brown wax flushed out from the left ear.
The ear infection and the anal sac impaction (black liquid in moderate amounts) and the hormonal imbalance of false pregnancy could cause the dog to be itchy. "Resolve the basic problems first," I advised. "Before you think of dog food allergy."
Ear ointment was given. "10 drops/ear/week." I said. "Excuse me for saying this to a man of religion - you must apply the ointment religiously for one month or two and let me know if there is still scratching. If not, then the infection has cleared."
The pastor asked me: "Are you retired?"
"No," I said. "It is better for a younger vet to continue the services of Toa Payoh Vets as I am 60 years old and if I don't plan to have a successor, all my clients will suffer in the long term. That is why I don't hang around every day as Dr Vanessa is experienced."
The old Shih Tzu had seen me in March 2010 for a deep central corneal ulcer which had healed. Black pigmented central area with opaque ring. I tried taking pictures under the sunlight with my assistant holding the head and everting the eyelids of the right eye, but they may not turn out well. Need to practise how to do it.
"The dog seems to be walking lame," the mum said. Her daughter is in Melbourne studying Masters of Nutrition. I put the dog on the floor and observed. The dog walked ataxic as if drunk. The hind legs were slower in movement. This looked like a case of spinal disc prolapse. I put the dog on the examination table, pressed the T/L spinal area from the neck backwards. The dog winced in pain.
"It is not serious now, but this dog must stop jumping from the sofa," I said. The daughter had been encouraging the dog to jump from puppyhood and now, after 8 years, he has backache problems.
This seemed to be the 2nd recent case of back pain. The first one was th Chihuahua which went for extensive testing by Vet 1. So, will there be a 3rd one? Things do come in 3s.