"Just the annual vaccination for the Ragdoll," the mother and two young adult son and teenaged daughter came on this bright sunny Sunday morning, all the way from Bedok.
From my observations, most Singapore cat owners don't bother to vaccinate their cats or do annual health examination, and so I was surprised to see them. The son used his handphone to take images of my vaccination jab. I checked the medical record. The spayed female cat, born in December 25, 2006 was vaccinated in October 2011 and Sep 2012.
The Ragdoll had a full thick coat. "Any fleas?" I noted no black spots or scales on the skin. "No," the owner said. I turned the cat upside down as part of the physical examination. Earlier I managed to open the mouth slightly as the Ragdoll wanted to claw me in objection. I asked my assistant Naing to give her two halves of a deworming tablet. He gripped the side of the mouth and put in the two halves and then closed the mouth. "Rub on the neck to make the cat swallow," I said. The owners had great difficulty in deworming this cat at home and so I asked Naing to do it to gain some experience in deworming since he was a new graduate.
Some vets will just do it but I usually give the dewormer to the owner to do it at home. Everybody was happy when the cat swallowed. Soon, one half of the tablet popped onto the consultation table. This Ragdoll had outwitted the human being causing laughter amongst the owner. "You get 50/100 for deworming," I said to Naing. Naing repeated again and was successful.
I was not expecting any hair loss since the cat looked great. "What are those red circular patches on the groin area?" I asked the owners. "They look like ringworm or some skin irritation from the litter sand."
"The hair loss is due to the cat grooming and licking as the skin is itchy," I said. "How long has these red skin patches been present?"
"This hairless area has been present for some 6 months. The cat grooms it more times."
I switched off the room lighting and asked my assistant to hold the cat upside down with the help of the owners. I asked intern Terrance to come in to see what I would do with Wood's lamp. The teenaged bespectacled daughter did not want to see any procedure and looked away. I switched on the light. No fluorescence of the hair edges at all. "Only 30% of ringworm will fluoresce," I advised. "I will check under the microscope."
I plucked some hairs at the periphery of the ring-like skin, stuck them on the tape and put the tape onto the slide. I examined the hairs under the microscope. Surprising discovery - I saw moving mites with brown heads and legs.
"I don't want to see," the teenaged daughter protested while her mum and brother saw the mites.
"It is good to acquire more knowledge by seeing the real things affecting your cat." She saw.
I asked them to bathe the cat with an insecticide but it was difficult to do at home.
"How about those spot-ons to apply?" the mum asked.
"Bathing first and then use them," I got the cat bathed at the Surgery.
Later I asked intern Terrance to take images of the mites as his 2nd project so that he would benefit from being hands on writing clinical research projects rather than standing around to observe the vet. He took some good images but too few.