"Just have a look and tell the AVA that the dog is OK," the man brought in a very thin rib-showing cross-bred. He finally had a summons if he did not get the dog a veterinary examination.
"The dog is paralysed in his hind legs with two foot sore but that does not mean that she will become so thin," I got some pain in the thoraco-lumbar region and weak pedal reflexes of both hind limbs. "Unless he is not given sufficient food or has a disease. Paralysed dogs can gain more weight as they don't walk much. I need to do a blood test. "
"Please don't tell the AVA that I have ill-treated my dog," the man had reared the dog from puppyhood and now she is 13 years old. That would be considered aged.
"Was there a car accident earlier?" I asked.
"She ran out of the house 2 years ago but came back OK. Later she was wobbly and after that paralysed."
The blood test showed high ALT and urea levels but the haematology was normal. There was spinal pain at the T9-11 area and the pedal reflexes of the hind paws were poor. Two bed sores on each hind paw were large at 2 cm x 3 cm. The dog looked alert and her coat was in good condition.
"My dog does not like dry food," the man said that his dog at 50:50 wet and dry food. He would bring samples for me to see. It is hard to assess whether this is a case of under-feeding or the dog being a fussy eater over the years, leading to this condition.
I advised more dry food of good quality to be fed and warm water to shampoo off the urine smell off the back area. I would submit a report to the AVA care of him. X-rays, faecal worm tests, neoplasia checks of abdomen, exocrine pancreatic deficiency were not done as medical costs were a concern. This is a case where the owner shows that he cares for the old dog as others would just euthanase her.
"Some concerned animal lovers may have reported you to the AVA," I said to the man. "Your dog is paralysed and very thin. It can be a case of dog abuse and so the AVA needs to respond to the public complaint. The AVA is very busy with budget cuts nowadays. So I don't think the officers go around Singapore checking on the dog's health."
Overall, the dog is in "good" condition as regards blood test and alertness. It is just that she is very thin.
On Feb 20, 2014, I submitted a veterinary report to the owner for the AVA. This is a strange case as paralysed dogs do put on weight if they are in good health or fed much more. I can't say whether he has underfed his dog or the dog is a finicky eater.