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      Date:   07 July, 2012  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs & rabbits
Spaying a 6-month-old Shih Tzu that eats stools
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
07 July, 2012
First written: 22 April 2012
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Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
"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 feeding.

ANAESTHESIA
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 stools.

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 poo eating:
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 possible too.

1.5 Training may take more than 4 weeks. Patience and spend time doing the training.

shih tzu spayed at 6 months. coprophagia. tonsils enlarged. toapayohvets, singaporeLARGE TONSILS
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 tongue.

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 Payoh Vets.

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 skin.

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.
shih tzu spayed at 6 months. coprophagia. tonsils enlarged. toapayohvets, singapore shih tzu spayed at 6 months. coprophagia. tonsils enlarged. toapayohvets, singapore  
  shih tzu spayed at 6 months. coprophagia. tonsils enlarged. toapayohvets, singapore shih tzu spayed at 6 months. coprophagia. tonsils enlarged. toapayohvets, singapore
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)5221 - 5225. Tonsils enlarged in a 6-month-old stool-eating Shih Tzu. Spayed at 6 months of age.
Electro-GP-trichoepithelioma/20120342tn_guinea-pig-male-3years-large-ear-tumour-electrosurgery-toapayohvets-zoletil-isoflurane.jpg tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)5131 - 5141. Ulcerated ear tumour.
Electro-surgery to excise a guinea pig's trichoepithelioma using Zoletil 100 & isoflurane
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)

BE KIND TO GUINEA PIGS --- GET EAR TUMOURS ULCERS TREATED WHEN THEY ARE SMALL.  More case studies, goto:  Guinea Pigs

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