Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2919. 20 minutes to spay a caterwauling 7-month-old cat

Tuesday Aug 30, 2016

I was demonstrating spay to an RI Intern. RI sends 3 batches of Sec 4 interns to Toa Payoh Vets based on their interest in veterinary medicine.

Today, I demonstrated the pre-op and operation of a 7-month-old cat being spayed by me.  

How long does it take for an experienced vet to operate a 7-month-old caterwauling cat?
Incision to end of stitching = 20 minutes.

The time is longer as the cat was moving on incision and I had to top up with 3 minutes of isolfurane + O2 gas, hence prolonging the surgery.

I tried a tested anaesthetic formula used by the other vet who sterilize at least 20 stray cats per day.
the formula is as follows:

Cat 2.6 kg
Xylazine 20 = 0.26 ml IM. Wait 5 minutes.
Ketamine     = 0.16 ml IM 
Surgery with top up gas if necessary.

I tried this formula but combined in one syringe xylazine and ketamine IM instead of separately in 2 syringes. Waited 15 minutes. But the cat showed signs of movement on incision but the anaesthetic gas was effective.

A video is produced by my RI intern.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

2916. Review of 2-year-old pug with urticaria

August 21, 2016

The 10-kg pug started to itch again. Pustules and red skin between the thigh and belly area (video).
Rashes in armpits. Several rashes at left and right sides of the body. Ears no longer inflamed and painful as the owner had used a steroidal ear ointment but the hair loss and shorter hairs of the flanks tell a story of ear itchiness.

"The hind legs start to hammer at the flanks when the dog has ear pain or itchiness," I told the young couple as this hair loss area is commonly seen in other dogs with ear canal infections. (video).

"The 4 paws are also itchy now," the lady said after the end of medication with the white tablets. These were anti-fungal tablets. In reality, the pug was itchy despite the Royal Canine Hypoallergic diet soley fed..

The allergy test report from the US had arrived 1 week ago. said that the dog is allergic to chicken, corn, oatmeal, malassezia but not allergic to beef, pork, turkey, carrots , milk, eggs or two dust mites.

1. Home-cooked pork + brown rice + carrots
2.  E-collar 14 days 24 hours per day
3. Amitraz wash for the rashes
4. Review in one months
5. Medication for rashes
6. Ear ointment once a week and massage

1. Anal sac expression weekly before bathing (grey oil seen/expressed today)
2.Lateral ear canal resecetion and tail fold surgery advised in 6 months.
3. No treats and other food for next 3 months except the above-mentioned diet of pork + brown rick and carrots. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

2915. Throat X rays of the dog and cat - A 14-year-old Miniature Schnauzer has a large neck abscess

Aug 19, 2016

It is very important that old dogs get their dental work done and all rotten smelly loose teeth extracted. In this dog, in March 2014, I was consulted about a big lump on the dorsal part of the tail end. "It is a sebaceious gland tumour," I said. Surgery removed the tumour and no more visit from the dog.

Today, the old dog came in gasping for breath and crying. Panting a lot. "The dog cannot stand for the past 2 days. Not eating. He has a large swelling under the chin, also diarrhoea," the mum said. The daughter was working and so she brought the dog down.

A soft firm swelling across the neck below the chin. Around 3 inches x 4 inches x 3 inches. I got an X-ray done as I suspected an abscess. Lanced and reddish-brown pus flowed out. Around 100 ml collected.

No anaesthesia is given as the dog's tongue turned deep purple when restrained for examination. The dog had great difficulty breathing. Rotten teeth spread bacteria into the heart valves.

Glucose 2.6  (3.9 - 6.0). Dog was not able to stand up.

Liver enzymes   ALT/SGPT    117  (less than 59)<59 p="">
                           AST/SGOT    133 (<81 br=""> less than 81)                   
Urea                   15.3 (4.2-6.3) but creatinine is within normal range. Kidneys are normal in this case.
Total white cell count  39.8  (6-17)
Neutrophils  90%  (60-70%), Absolute 35.8  (3-11.5%)
Lymphocytes 10%  Absolute 3.98
Monocytes, eosinophils and basophils are zero.
Platelets 431 (200-500)

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What the owner wants is a dog alive. Therefore, the diagnosis must be correct and X-rays are needed to provide the evidence of neck abscess. Aspiration of the neck swelling confirms pus. Incision of 2 cm drains out most pus. The next day, syringing the abscess and removal of the gelatinous pus which is formed due to the medication of baytril and a low dose of dexamethasone. 
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<59 p="">As you can see the video, the dog is much comfortable on Day 2 after treatment and no longer pants in great pain.  The outcome is good and the dog will go home on Day 3, after another IV drip today.<59 p="">Teeth scaling and check up every year for a senior dog would have had prevented such a condition of neck abscess and great pain in the neck. Owners need to spare some time to bring dogs older than 5 years old for yearly dental check up and vaccination.  However, a majority do not do it.
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looking for bone inside the throat

normal throat and neck

normal throat and neck.  Normal oropharynx (No. 4)  is not swollen


the cat has normal nasopharynx (throat)

cat has normal nasopharynx (throat)

Submandibular Abscess causing great breathing difficulty. This 14-year-old Maltipoo had pus in the right ear for many weeks.The bacteria inside this area finally penetrated into the right neck area, forming a very painful right submandibular abscess. See lateral view of X-ray as evidence. The dog's abscess was lanced and drained under general anaesthesia. The dog is normal now. This is a case where ear canal infections can lead to right neck abscess. The owner had consulted a vet earlier for the ear infections but had not followed up when the infections had not gone away. The bacteria went into the neck via the eustachian tube and multipied, form a gigantic abscess.

Dec 9, 2014

Total white cell count 68.5 (6-17)
 N 98%  (60-70%)       N absolute 67.13  (3-11.5)
L  1.6%    L Absolute 1.10
M 0.1%  Absolute 0.07
E  0.3%   Absolute 0.21
B  0%

Platelets  142  (200-500). 
Several abnormal lecuocytes seen. Occasional nucleated red blood cells seen. Large platelets present. 

HISTOLOGY report from 2 biopsy punches on side of submandibular swelling.
No malignancy



heart disease (swelling in throat due to fluid from heart disease)


GR with premolar 4 abscess



special type of equipment is needed if you want to x-ray a terrapin's throat

do not copy this image into video
normal throat (no neck abscess) with a pellet inside the gullet. For illustration.

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In dogs, an ear abscess is not obvious. But in a terrapin you can see a swelling of the ear to know that he has an ear abscess. Treatment is similar. Incise and drain the pus.  
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2914. A 2-year-old multipoo passes bloody watery stools for 2 days - X rays

Aug 19, 2016

"My multipoo was passing bloody watery stools for the last 2 days," the lady owner was worried and showed the picture of the stools in her smartphone.
 No abdominal pain. X-rays show some spherical balls inside the colon and watery stools inside the descending colon. IV drip and sent home.

It was a puzzle as to what the spherical balls were. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2913. FINAL SCRIPT. Is there a Myanmerese vet to help this orphan bear cub with 2 tongue swellings?


Around January 2016, in the jungles of central Myanmar,  a  mother bear rushed out as the poachers came nearer. She stepped onto a bear trap and was shot. Her 2 bear cubs dashed deep into the forests. These one-month-old cubs were worth a fortune to the poachers as pets in private zoos.
AUDIO. Sounds of gun-fire from youtube free audio

Villagers brought them to a monastery where they would be safe. (VIDEO. Thabarwa Center)

Two siblings. One had two tongue growths under the tongue. At first they were small soft cysts filled with liquid. They were the size of a fish ball. Over the next 4 months, they expanded to be bigger than golf balls. The affected bear cub was now 5 months old and could not swallow properly while his sibling was putting on weight. He could slurp milk mixed with bananas and bread. He had a swollen paw.  (VIDEO IMAGES)

What was causing the swellings under the tongue?



WARNING. This video contains surgical procedures. Viewer discretion is advised.

PATIENT: Asiatic Black Bear, Ursus Thibetanus

The bear cub suffers from  a rare surgical condition known as SUBLINGUAL MUCOCOELE. Surgical treatment would be similar to that performed on dogs and cats. But is there a Myanmarese vet who has the experience and facilities to perform such operations?

Myanmar has a population of more than 50 million people.
Will there be a vet able to help this 5-month-old bear cub to swallow and eat properly?

The sources of vets to help would be as follows:

1. The Naypyitaw Zoological Garden and Safari Park. IMAGES AS FOLLOWS:

(VIDEO 1).




2. The University of Veterinary Science at Yezin. (use IMAGES.
The University produces around a hundred graduates a year


USE PARTS OF THIS VIDEO. GOOGLE "How to download youtube video"

3. The private practitioners in small animal practice and in farm practice. There could be at least a hundred such practices in Myanmar and some will be competent in anaesthesia and surgery of animals other than bears.

4. Foreign vets focused on wild animal surgery in foreign universities and bear rescue work outside Myanmar.

Dr Sing Kong Yuen does not know whether the Thabarwa Centre volunteers searched for a bear vet locally from the 3 above-mentioned sources. He was contacted by Dr Thin Thin Soe, owner of Royal Asia Veterinary Surgery (RAVS, VIDEO), a private practice for dogs and cats mainly to assist the clinic's senior vet, Dr Thein Tung Aung who had volunteered to operate on the bear. Dr Aung had seen the bear and had operated on such cases in dogs before.

His teacher, Dr Khyne U Mar, a noted elephant veterinarian and co-founder of an elephant cae and research centre had highly recommended him for the job. So, he would be operating with Dr Sing from Toa Payoh Vets, scheduled on Sunday, June 5, 2016.

Dr Aung had worked in Singapore for around 10 years as a veterinary assistant to a few private practices and around 4 years in Yangon's RAVS. Dr Sing founded his practice, Toa Payoh Vets some 35 years ago and had been practising to date. Their combined years of veterinary experience would total 50 years. But they had never anaesthesized or operated on a bear!    

Background of experience and skills. (VIDEO OF DR AUNG IN RAVS ON A LESS BUSY DAY IN JUNE 2016)

Graduated in 1987 from Yezin Univ.
1992 - 2012  Vet assistant in various Singapore veterinary practices. Had assisted in operating ranulas in dogs in Singapore. Mucocoeles are an uncommon condition in dogs in Singapore.

2012- 2016  Royal Asia Veterinary Surgery. Likely to be the busiest vet practice in Yangon with over 100 cases per day.

Conclusion: Dr Sing is of the opinion that Dr Thein Tung Aung has the sufficient years of anaesthetic and surgical experiences in dogs and cats to anaesthesize and operate on the bear cub safely and competently if there are no bear veterinary surgeons available.  Not all vets do surgery although they may be involved in zoo work.   

Friday JUNE 3, 2016
So, Dr Sing purchased the air tickets to go to Yangon.  However, Dr Khyne said that an NGO (Non-governmental organisation) had already contacted a Scottish vet specialised in Wild Animal, Dr J Bacon who agreed to operate on the bear. 

It will be in the interest of the bear to have the best vet operated and so Dr Sing backed out while Dr Aung assisted and offered RAVS operating room for the surgery.


Sunday JUNE 5, 2016 and Monday JUNE 6, 2016The operation was done in 2 days as the tongue swellings were gigantic and edematous. The bear cub was highly stressed.


1. Removal of the affected sublingual glands. Complicated long surgery. Nerve injuries.

2. Marsupialisation which is done in this case. Avoid injury to the adjacent lingual nerve and submandibular duct unlike excision. Recurrence. Ductal laceration. Salivary leakage.

Domitor 2.5 ml (medetomidine 2.5 ml) added to the bottle of Zoletil 50 (50 mg zoletil powder)
Intubate, isoflurane + oxygen gas anaesthesia

1.0 - .5 ml/100 kg IM
Adult bear, use shoulder muscles, no fat. Backside lots of fat.
This 5-month-old bear, backside muscle IM injected.

On Jun 5, 2016 (lst operation), given IM 0.1 ml IM. Wait 5 minutes. Observe. Wait 10 minutes. Check reflexes and stimulate using stick poking.

On Jun 6, 2016 (2nd operation) to extend opening.
0.15 ml IM used. Intubated and given isoflurane + oxygen gas

Antisedan   50% of the initial combined dose of Domitor + Zoletil.
Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), Male, 5 months, weighs 10 kg. Stressed.
Claws are very long and sharp
Dam killed by poachers, 2 male cubs sent to Thabarwa Monastery
One sibling has tongue growths - diagnosed as severe ranula (sublingual mucocoeles).  Tongue distended by salivary materials.
Right hind limb edema, preputial swelling

3 months in a cage in the monastery and fed liquid milk, bread and banannas.

1. The L and R sublingual salivary glands are located on each side of the ventral side of the tongue. The glands serete saliva which is drained by a long duct (mandibular salivary duct). The duct is around 6 mm in diameter in this bear. it opens near the tip of the tongue.

2. In this bear, the duct of both glands become obstructed at a young age, probably at one month of age. The swellings were seen at the Monastery when the bears were rescued and homed there.
Saliva back up to form a large swelling called a cyste, mucoceole or ranula. If infected, the bear experiences discomfort and pain
and will not eat.

3. Marsupialisaion
The cyst is opened. The swollen parts are excised. The edges are sutured, lforming an open pouch (fistula).

UNIVERSITY OF VETERINARY SCIENCE, YEZIN produces around 100 graduates a year with focus on livestock.  


3 - 4 wks  post op

Aug 17, 2016


8 weeks post op
The bilateral sublingual mucocoeles have recurred. The affected 7-month-old bear is fed better and given spacious accommodation. He shifts his tongue sideways to swallow the food. The bear vet advised dog food pellets as the bear was malnourished. The monks built a much larger enclosure and so there was much space to exercise. 

The other normal sibling bear with the normal tongue has grown up to a bigger size.


The recurrence of the mucocoeles do happen in the surgical method of marsupialisation. This is because the drainage duct had closed up again during the healing process. This results in  obstruction of saliva flow along the mandibular salivary duct to the tip of the tongue.


1. Anti-inflammatory 2-4 weeks before surgery to reduce the swellings first?
2. Anti-inflammatory 2-4 weeks post surgery to prevent stricture and closing up of the duct?
3. A soft catheter inserted inside the mandibular salivary duct and stitched to the mucosa as in urethrostomy in the dog with Elizabeth collar to prevent licking? Not practical for the tongue.

4. The complete removal of the sublingual salivary gland will not lead to recurrence. The surgery is complicated in this neck location, as there are numerous nerves and blood vessels. Nerve paralysis, much bleeding and infection may occur. There are very few vets in this world, with much experiences to operate in this area as mucocoeles are rare.  

It is great to see that the bears are now housed safely in spacious enclosures and given the best of care in the monastery. The major threats are commercial trade in live bears and bear parts esp. gall bladders (bile). Bear paws are a delicacy. As for Dr Sing, he hopes that one day, the bear cubs could join his fellow bears and be housed in the beautiful spacious open-concept Naypyitaw Zoological Garden he visited in June 2014.  VIDEO OF zoo bear scratching his back against a tree 




Dr Thein Tun Aung and Sing Kong Yuen

video to be clipped and show some footages as follows:

MOV 9549  Dr Sing flight to Yangon   01:49 - 03:29
03:53 - 06:37   to give some action for viewers

MOV 9631.  Dr Sing checks on bear cubs at Thabawa Centre 2 days pre-op by bear vet
00:00 - 02:35. Sublingual mucocoeles (bilateral) affecting proper eating

MOV 9632 and 9640. Whole video of bears pre-op and seen by Dr Sing


v-stripe on chest = Asiatic bear
image of normal sibling with no tongue swellings





Operating Surgeon
Dr Heather Jane Bacon, BSc (Hons), BVSc, CertZooMed, MRCVS, Edinburgh University, Animal Asia, Scottish Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine 

Assisting Surgeon
Dr Thein Tun Aung, BVS (Yezin)
Senior Veterinary Surgeon
Royal Asia Veterinary Surgery, Yangon

Veterinary Nurse
Caroline Nelson, RVN, BSc, Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, Animal Asia Foundation

Facilitator contacting Dr H J Bacon on behalf of the Thabawa Centre, Myanmar
Maiken Fransisca, co-founder and CEO, Giving a Future Animal Asia   www.giveafuture.org,

Facilitator contacting Dr Thein Tun Aung on behalf of the Thabawa Centre, Myanmar
Dr Khyne U Mar, BVS, MPhil, MSc(Wild Animal Health), PhD, FRCVS
A well known elephant veterinarian and co-founder of an elephant and research centre

Consultant Veterinary Surgeon to RAVS
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Founder of Toa Payoh Vets, Singapore.  www.toapayohvets.com
Writer and producer of this veterinary educational video for VETERINARY FILES FROM MYANMAR sponsored by Toa Payoh Vets

Interns from Raffles Institution Secondary 4 classes
video-editing and case writing