Thursday, December 6, 2012

1207. 12-year-old cat with two ingrown toe nails

Dec 6, 2012

Many phone queries cannot be answered by the receptionist as they are technical. Should the vet answer phone calls? That sounds a bit inappropriate for the top dog in a veterinary practice. However, answering phone calls should not be a shameful task as many prospects who receive satisfactory answers to their technical queries will turn up.

Sometimes, I think they are sophisticated pet owners who want to test the veterinary practice staff before they part with their hard-earned money. An old experienced vet nurse who have worked in practice for more than 10 years should be able to handle such queries but they are now as extinct as the dodo.

Two days ago, I had a phone call from a lady who asked if I declaw cats.
"Not as a routine," I said. "Only in exceptional circumstances where there is a need to do it. It is considered cruelty."
"Do you declaw the back legs as well?" she asked.
"Not necessary to do so," I said. "The cat uses his front legs to claw sofas, curtains and furniture, not the back legs."
"Well, I had a cat who uses her back leg to scratch my parquet floors!"
"Life is full of surprises and behavioural changes," I said. "This is the first time I hear a cat using the hind legs to scratch."
She thanked me and I learnt something new about cats.
Yesterday, the tanned lady in her late 30s came with her black and white cat. Her cat had two ingrown toe nails on the right fore paw. She work overseas and her maid did not dare to clip the nails till the dew claw and the 2nd digit claw curved into the flesh. The nails had exploded in width and the cat was not happy if you touch it. She was still a gentle female spayed cat though.

"A vet told me to just clip the nails and if the nails over-grow, to clip them again."
"That is the standard treatment," I said.

She wanted a permanent solution as she worked overseas and had no time to get the cat to the groomer or vet to trim off the ends of the overgrown nails. Time is short for city living folks and it is short for me too. So, I understood her situation but she had to decide whether to get the cat declawed.

"Only the two claws need to be removed," I said. I did not warn her that her cat might die under the sedation as this was a very short surgery and no cats ever die when the anaesthesia and surgery is as short as less than 5 minutes. For legal reasons, the vet has to inform the owner of the risks of anaesthesia and death on the operating table and asked her to sign the "informed consent" form.
I did not think this was necessary in this case.

"Remove the Phalanx one at the P1 and P2 joint," I said to Dr Daniel. This surgery should be a piece of cake for him unlike cystotomy or perineal hernial repair.  He operated and on the 2nd day, the lady came at 5 pm.

I was present as Dr Daniel had gone to the SAFRA gym. "Check the left front paw," I said to the sun-tanned lady with shoulder strapped blue dress. She had purchased a large luxurious towel bought from IKEA to cover the carrier.

"I thought you use the towel to wrap the cat," I said.    
"No," she laughed. "Once this cat peed through the door of the carrier onto the car seat. So, now I wrap the carrier with this big towel to prevent such incidents!"
A red car was waiting outside my Surgery. After she settled her bills with her credit card, she wrapped the carrier with the towel and went to the car. An elderly man came out and opened the door. "You must be the father," I guessed as the age difference would be twice. "Yes," he nodded his head. I said goodbye to the happy lady.

This old cat now has no kidney disorders as she had a blood test but the lady would continue feeding her the kidney diet. "The eosinophils at 9.6% is high. The platelets at 194 (300-800) are low."

"Why?" she asked.
"It is possible that the cat had ingested some poison or some application had been put on the ingrown toe nails."

This was a mystery as she said she did not do it. 
The backside hair loss on both sides would be less of a mystery. I massaged the anal sacs and 1 ml of dark chocolate oil shot out. "This would be impacted anal sacculitis," I said. "The hair should grow back after some time."



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