Monday, July 19, 2010

138. Separation anxiety in a 6-month-old Bichon Frise

Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
20 July, 2010
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

A young couple purchased a Bichon Frise at around 2 days ago. The dog barked a lot when the couple went to work. He has "separation anxiety," I said. The couple had tried all solutions from the internet including placing a clock. "The neighbour downstairs now close their windows. They do not do that," the wife said. How to solve the problem?

1. Spend time with the dog but this was not possible. Spending time means changing clothes to go out to work but comes back in 5 minutes, then 15 minutes and gradually increase the time of outing. These need several days to be effective.

2. Bring dog outdoors more often. Not practical advice. "The dog seemed afraid of going out, afraid of the drain grates and just wanted to sniff around," the man said.

3. Get another puppy. Not practical as the HDB apartment regulations prohibit more than one.

4. "Get a rabbit," I wanted to let him adopt a rabbit on a trial basis as I have one. "The dog will kill him," the man said. "Put the rabbit inside the cage," I said. The couple rejected this idea.

5. "Come back for lunch daily," I said. This was not practical.

6. "There is no solution," Mr Aung said when I asked him. "De-bark the dog." This was not acceptable by the owner.

7. "Give Kong balls with dog treats inside the holes," I suggested this method to occupy the dog's attention while the owners are at work. In theory, the dog tries to pull out the favourite treats hidden inside the holes of the Kong balls." The couple had tried but the dog was not interested. This was before I examined the dog's mouth and found that he had this rare gum abnormality. His gums practically cover all his back teeth from the four sides of the jaws. So, how could he shear or chew on dog treats? See pictures at:

8. There is one impractical solution. Place the dog with a house-hold where there is always somebody at home. But this is not a practical solution as the couple will have to give away this dog free of charge to a friend.

In any case, I had just excise the enveloped gingival epithelium of this quiet Bichon Frise so that his covered back teeth are now exposed. We will wait and see whether he is happier now as he can eat hard food and now ignore his chew toys or treats.

Pictures of my gingiva (gum) electro-excision is at:

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