Sunday Dec 9, 2012
I seldom have expatriates as clients and was surprised to encounter 3.
Case 1. Shedding Husky. Buinsessman, his wife and pre-teen son who loves tennis.
Husky, female, 1 year 4 months. Shedding hair for last 2 weeks. "Hair all over the house," mum would say. Yet I did not see any hair loss as the son combs the dog daily.
"Hair shedding is common in Huskies," I said. "Causes include hot weather, ticks, recent heat and after birth."
"Was the dog carrying a toy in her mouth and protecting it?" I checked there was no milk in the nipples nor were they enlarged.
"Yes, one month ago. She would not part with it and was very possessive."
However, the left ear was very itchy and the dog would move her head away whenever I tried to examine it. A wet dark exudate presented on the cotton tip. The right ear was also itchy. So the dog tried to relieve her itchiness by using her hind legs to scratch the flanks and causing hair loss.
The solution was to treat the ears with proper ear drops and to plan to breed the Husky on the next heat. The father wanted a pup from her just for one litter. So I advised properly timing and everybody was happy.
Case 2. "Debarking" cats.
"I have never heard of anyone asking to debark cats," I said to the Caucasian caller over the phone today at 3 pm. He said that the cat would make loud noises and this may wake up his baby, due to arrive in May 2013.
"Other than this habit of making loud noises that may wake up the baby at 3a.m, he is a sweet gentle cat. I don't want to send him to the SPCA or get rid of him. Is it possible to debark him?"
"At what times is your cat vocal?" I asked.
"Early morning and late at night."
"Just like a cock crowing at dawn?" I asked.
"Yes, like a rooster but he does it at night too. What do you propose? I have him neutered at another vet at 5 months of age. Now he is 11 months old. He has been doing that since he is a kitten."
"You are the first person to enquire about debarking cats."
"That is why they refer to debarking. It is meant for dogs," he said.
I advised boarding the cat for one month to change his behaviour or crate him and cover the crate with a big towel to give him security and changing his routine. Will this work? The expat thanked me and might let me know.
Case 3. Two macadema nuts in a dwarf hamster.The Caucasian man brought his plump hamster for a review 2 weeks after treatment from Dr Vanessa. He had been to other vets but the hamster still has complete hair loss and redness on the lower body and the legs, on the back spinal area and left ear area. This has been going on for some weeks. The lower skin and neck were not so red but hairs did not grow back.
I saw scales on the shoulder area and the Mr Min could easily pluck out the hairs for a microscopic examination for ringworm. A few hairs had ringworm but most were OK. Was it skin mites? Or management? The hamster had been eating various kinds of food and had to climb into a feed bowl which was rather sharp. "Change to a lower feed bowl with smooth edges," I advised also putting the hamster on paper towels for a month."
This could be a case of management as the hamster was free to roam in the room. There are many causes and it will take time to know. In any case, I noted that the skin below the left ear was hairless and the left cheek pouch was hard. "There could be an impacted pouch," I said. "I need to give it a little bit of anaesthesia gas and check the pouch."
"Will it be safe for my hamster?" the man had said that his hamster had been passing blood for 5 days earlier.
"Yes, it will be safe as it is gas anaesthesia and takes a few seconds."
The left cheek pouch was impacted with two large cream-coloured macadema nuts and the hamster was trying to dislodge them by scratching till the skin below the left ear was bald.
"My wife is a pastry chef," the gentleman was surprised to see two big nuts of around 6 mm in length.
"No more macadema nuts or any other food other than a good quality hamster food," I advised bathing the hamster with the anti-fungal shampoo, clipping the hair, using paper towel as bedding for 4 weeks and reviewing after 4 weeks.
So, this Sunday was quite interesting with 3 different types of animals posing challenging problems for me.