"Do you want Dr Vanessa to operate on your dog?" I asked the young man
as his dog had been vaccinated and attended to as recently as last
week. He came in at 10 am and I was on duty. Dr Vanessa usually comes
around 12 noon. "If not, I will do the spay and you come back at 12
noon." He opted to have me operate.
3 kg. very thin. Ate 3x/day by hand-feeding. Still hungry after
Domitor and Ketamine IV at 50%. Waited 5 minutes.
The dog was sufficiently sedated to intubate.
Large tonsils of around 8mm x 4mm. Normally, can't see tonsils. I took
a pic to show the owner as this is abnormal. Could be due to eating
stools? I had a long chat with the young man about his management of
this dog (very thin and eating stools) at around 12 noon when he came
for his dog.
"If you don't spend time training him not to eat stools now, she will
eat stools as an adult for the rest of her life." I advised. The dog
would wait till the owner goes to work before pooping and would eat
The dog is crated in a cage of around 3-foot wide. A yellow plastic
pee pan (with small holes for urine to flow through but not stools)
covers 50% of the grated area. The dog lies on the grated area and
poops and pees on the yellow pan.
These are my recommendations to reduce
1. Don't confine the dog inside the crate when the owner goes to work
as the dog is adult and the crate is not big. So, the dog starts to
eat stools due to lack of space to move about.
1.1 When the owner goes to work at 9 am, put the dog inside a bigger
space e.g. bathroom. On one side, put the crate (cleaned and
neutralised with white vinegar: water at 1:3), water and feed bowls.
On the other end, put the pee pan. Get a baby gate.
1.2 SET UP A ROUTINE. The owner feeds the dog at 8 am, brings her down
to pee and poop as a routine (except on weekends, 9 am). Bring
newspapers to scoop up poo. Bring some poo in the newspaper and put on
the grass to let the dog smell it as part of the training.
1.3 Feed 2X/day instead of 3. Now the owner hand-feeds the dog as she
swallows all dry food within 30 seconds and begged for more.
1.4 Antibiotics to be given for the next 7 days and repeat. There is a
possible urinary tract infection as the dog passed white urine (no
smell) and yellow urine (very smelly) many times a day. Dogs at this
age can control their bladder unless not trained or do urine marking
(female dogs do urine marking but this is uncommon). Poo-marking is
1.5 Training may take more than 4 weeks.
Patience and spend time doing the training.
Both tonsils are incredibly large but I took
just the left tonsil as I did not think of taking the right one.
Bacterial infection or toxins from eating stools
over past 3-6 months? Could these be tonsillar growths or tumours? I
showed the image of the tonsil to the young gentleman owner as it is
difficult to open the dog's mouth to show the tonsils. They are hidden
far behind the mouth, at the fauces on either side of the back of the
SPAYING AT 6 MONTHS
Some vets believe that bones have not been fully formed. So don't spay
at 6 months. I usually advise spaying 2 months after the end of the
first heat. Sometimes, as in this case, the owner prefers the
spaying to be done at 6 months. Singapore dog licence - $75 if not
spayed at next renewal of licence. Otherwise $14 if spayed. There used
to be $14 licence only if the dog is less than 5 months old but the
AVA may have changed this.
SPAY TIPS FOR NEW VETS -
The linea alba
I note that newly graduated vets do have difficulty in locating the
linea alba, esp. in fat dogs. They take a long time locating the linea
alba. I share my over 30 years of experience in spaying dogs at Toa
The linea alba is usually covered by the subcutaneous fat. If the vet
does not cut off the SC fat, he or she can't see the linea alba which
is a fine white line joining the two halves of the abdominal muscles
at midline. I usually use blunt ended scissors to separate them by
spreading out the scissor blades to move the fat away. In this way, I
locate the linea alba within 5 seconds. This is called undermining the
Once I see the white line, I use the scalpel to nick a small hole.
Then I use the blunt-ended scissors to cut open the linea alba,
usually 1.5 cm from the umbilical scar, backwards for another 1.5 cm.
See the images below.
Tonsils enlarged in a
Shih Tzu. Spayed at 6 months