I opened the clinic for half a day on this
Chinese New Year so that I can check on the sick
animals feed and clean up the kennels. Singapore
is a developed country that is thriving and has
low unemployment rates.
So there are high rentals and high manpower and
operating costs. The vet must be hands-on as it
is costly to employ more and more inexperienced
staff who will job hop after a few months of
experience. Other vets poach experienced staff
and that is part of life.
The phone did not ring throughout the morning. I
reviewed the severely dehydrated hamster with
the ear gangrene and large nose abscesses
operated yesterday at 4.30 pm. 17 hours after
surgery. Would she be alive? She was less than
one year old but from her hagged appearance with
leg skin folds raised, I thought she was very
aged. "Very little chance of surviving
anaesthesia and surgery," I told the young lady
who brought in this hamster on the eve of
Chinese New Year.
"You have two options," I said. "Euthanasia or
surgery with a high possibility of death during
or after surgery." The hamster was not eating or
drinking as her upper lip was bursting with pus
starting from the bridge of the nose towards the
upper incisor teeth. In addition, two black
gangrenous tumours filled up the right ear
"My mum said to operate," the young lady said on
this last day of the old year. It was 4 pm and
this would be my last case for the ear. "If
there are bad news, can you phone us early in
the morning on Chinese New Year?"
"No news is good news," I dislike deaths on
Chinese New Year and here, there was a very high
risk patient that could not wait for surgery as
she was downhill in her health, being scarcely
"I will give a 0.1 ml of dextrose saline under
the skin now and operate soon."
The images illustrated the surgery. I was
surprised that the hamster was still alive 17
hours after the surgery. Not moving but alive.
This was a very tough cookie.