Wed Nov 21, 2012
At 7.30 pm, by appointment, the mother and two adult daughters brought the guinea pig, female, 4 years to consult me. "She makes noises like an engine for the past 5 days," the daughter said. "Now, she would not eat the pellets but just the vegetables. She would lie on the litter and not be moving. Liked to bite her lower part."
I checked the heart and lungs. Normal. No nasal or ocular discharge. Large ovoid shaped pellets passed. The coat was badly matted. The "noises" could be an upper respiratory infection or pain as the guinea pig tries to "de-matt" her clumps of coat in her back half.
I recommended Agnes who does guinea pig grooming. "How much?" the daughters asked.
Agnes said: "$40.00" but she was not free till the weekend. She explained to me she had to take care of her children. It is school holidays and she had some programmes. She had to fit in work-life balance with a brood of five children.
As for the guinea pig, the mother said she would come on Friday as she would be working. I said I would be in Malacca on a "Peranakan heritage tour" and so the older daughter said she would bring in the guinea pig on Thursday morning. She would wait while my assistant would clip off the coat and de-matt the hair.
The family had shifted from Ang Mo Kio to Chua Choa Kang in West Singapore and had taken so much trouble to come to consult me. Veterinary medicine is a very personalised service for many pet owners. The vet must stay the course for years as many younger vets come and go or work in various clinics and so could not be available.