Sunday, May 30, 2010

83. Sudden death during boarding

May 29, 2010 Saturday was my day off and it was a hot sunny day. Sex and City 2 movie was shown. I appreciated the better script and the great humour about menopausal hot flushes and irritable moods in Abu Dhabi, of actress called Samantha in the movie Sex and City 2.

During dinner, I went to the Inle Restaurant at Marina Square served a well cooked fried sweet, sour and chilly bass. This was the first time I had been to this outlet although I had eaten several times at the Peninsula outlet. I was pleasantly surprised that the fish was well presented and cooked to my taste. I am wary of smelly fish dishes not cooked properly. Then my mobile phone rang at 8.30 pm.

"A dog boarded at a kennel had died after a shower. Can you certify that he is dead?" Groomer Clara phoned me. I had known her for over 5 years and could trust her when she said she would come. Some people don't turn up after making emergency or ordinary appointments and don't inform me. Therefore, I have to be careful nowadays. Still I had to wait 45 minutes at the Surgery for Clara to arrive.

"Can you wait till tomorrow Sunday morning?" I asked.

"The owner wants it done today," Clara said.
I went back to Toa Payoh Vets. Clara arrived with a dog boarding kennel operator in a very small rectangular type of van for 2 people.

The Maltese had died. Rigor mortis had set in. His tongue was dark purple. I could just certify that the dog had died and go away. However this sudden death would be very distressful to the owner. She might want some answers for closure.

"Let me talk to the owner," I said to Clara.

"I had transported this owner's other dog to see you," Clara said. As I saw Clara rarely, I had presumed that this owner was not a client of mine.

I asked my assistant to take out the case card after checking the computer and to write a death certificate while I phoned the owner. My assistant took the card out and wrote the certificate. I checked the certificate and spoke to Mr Saw: "Do check the dog as your details are those of another breed of the owner." As the card showed one dog's details, he assumed the dog info was that of the dead dog.

I spoke to the grieving owner: "Your dog had passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Did he show any breathing problem or coughing?"

"No," the lady said. "He went for urinary stone removal via the penis and then 2 months later, the vet took the stones out from the bladder."

"When was that?" I asked.

"One year ago," she said.

"The dog had fully recovered," I said. "I don't know what is the cause of the heart attack. Do you want a post-mortem to check the cause of death?"

The owner was not keen on this advice. She said: "I am in confinement." By that I presume she had just given birth to a baby. "What do you want to do with the dog? Do you wish to have him cremated?"

After some discussion, Clara would bring the dog back to the kennel and the owner would see him on Sunday.

Some dogs do die during boarding. Many owners don't do annual health screening of old dogs. This dog was around 7 years old and was in good body condition. The teeth was encrusted with tartar as no dental check up was done.

It is important for the vet to communicate with the owner as regards sudden death in a boarding kennel as sudden death of a beloved pet during boarding, far away from home, is a very emotional issue.

Annual health screening using blood and urine tests and dental examination are seldom done by the Singaporean dog owner. Many diseases can be prevented or controlled from annual health checks if you want your pet to live long.

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