Saturday, March 23, 2013


Date: 23 March, 2013
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs & rabbits
The old Sheltie has a cauliflower lump Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVSDate: 23 March, 2013
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
Sunday Mar 10, 2013

I was reviewing this Sheltie X's case, operated by Dr Daniel 3 days ago, using electro-surgery to excise the large gingival mass.

In this surgery, intubation is compulsory as it takes a longer time to excise this lump. Electro-cautery to seal the bleeders. Monosyn 2/0 sutures were used to close the large wound after electro-excision. I asked Dr Daniel what was the post-op situation 3 days after op now?

"Any stitch breakdown or complaint from the owner?"
"No news," he said. He phoned the owner but the line was busy.
"You can text to her," I advised.
After 10 minutes, I phoned the owner. The mother said: "I have not checked the mouth, but the dog is OK." She asked the daughter to check the mouth but she would not want to do it.

"I will check for you," she replied. "The stitches are still there."
"Give soft food or dry food with water for the next 14 days," I advised.
"My Sheltie is eating dry food with water all the time," she said.
"How long was the gum tumour there?"
"I don't know. Four months probably."
"One month," the daughter said.
"If the tumour grows so fast and so large within one month, it is likely to be cancerous and will recur," I advised.

This is an cauliflower-type gingival lump. Could it be malignant? Since the owner did not want histology, there is no way to know its nature.

It is good practice to build up client loyalty in this competitive world. Getting feedback from the owner after surgery is one excellent way to show you care.

But many of us don't do it often esp. if the vet has 40 cases a day to handle and is mentally exhausted at the end of the day. Too many customers/vet does not mean it is a good thing as each case becomes a bottom-line figure rather than a personal involvement and continued education through follow up on the clinical or surgical outcomes. Follow ups make a vet hone his skill and become better at the next case as no vet knows everything and every case is so much different. .

In Singapore, busy owners may need repeated dialing or to phone their residence number just to communicate with them. Some don't return calls and some don't have time to talk! Sometimes I just text the message to them and we never talked at all since text messages are so convenient.

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