Payoh Vets Clinical Research
Making veterinary surgery alive
to a veterinary student studying in Australia
using real case studies and pictures
2010 CASE: An old dog
with multiple warts
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
16 August, 2010
Be Kind To Pets
think that anaesthesia is always safe and the vet
can take his sweet time to perform surgery," I
said to Ms Lai on her 2nd last day of a one-month
internship. "You have not seen any anaesthetic
deaths in the old dogs being operated at Toa Payoh
Vets," I told her. "That does not mean there will
be none for a vet who handles old dog anaesthesia.
"In old dogs, anaesthetic durations of less than
15 minutes are usually safe, but in this old Shih
Tzu with over 75 skin warts, the anaesthesia will
take a long time. He has a short nose and is said
to be even higher anaesthetic risks with some vets
recommending oxygen mask for a few minutes before
general anaesthesia for such breeds."
I gave Domitor 0.1 ml IV and isoflurane gas. There
was no problem for the over 45-minute anaesthesia.
However, towards the end of surgery, I checked the
tongue. It was maroon red in colour. That was not
a normal colour and would not be present in
younger dogs. There was an imbalance in the blood
system. The dog was breathing normally and was
well anaesthesized at 2% isoflurane gas
maintenance. Quickly, I removed the connections to
the anaesthetic machine for a minute or two. The
tongue colour started to change to a pinkish hue.
I re-connected and completed the surgery soon.
As to what
is the cause of so many warts, it is hard to say.
It is reported that young dogs with immature
immune system get warts or viral papillomas but
this Shih Tzu is already 12 years old and is in
good bodily condition. There is something
stressful for him - his right ear has a stinking
pus. Will the bacteria in this right ear reduce
his immune system over the years? It is hard to
In old dogs,
proper planning and anaesthetic observations by an
assistant are very important. Clipping of coat and
IV drip prior to surgery help to reduce
anaesthetic time. All owners are worried but many
expect a dog to be alive at the end of surgery.
It is understandable that some vets in Singapore
do not want to perform anaesthesia in old dogs.
2001 CASE: Two dwarf hamsters' backsides are
Dr Sing Kong Yuen,
BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Case written: Oct 15, 2001
is the problem with my babies?" asked Ms Chin, a successful
manageress of a shopping mall. "Two healthy hamsters of less
than 10 months of age and their back sides were not only bare,
but also are graying with pigmentation. Can you tell me what's
Phone consultations are free. In this case, it was just
not possible to diagnose skin problems over the phone as there
are many causes of hair loss in animals and people.
Ms Chin brought in her babies. She was correct in her
description of the problem of hair loss.
Do hamsters suffer from boredom and get mental problems
associated with the lack of attention from the owner who had to
go to work, so called "separation anxiety in the dog which goes
about messing up the furniture once the owner leaves the house".
Or the loss of freedom to roam and burrow and suffer the risk be
killed by predators?
In caged or stabled animals, long periods of confinement are
said to make some animals bored. This leads to a
behavioral problem, defined as "compulsive disorder". In this
disorder, the hamster grooms its back sides so frequently that
no hair will grow. Due to continual irritation, the skin
pigments gather to form a dark hyperpigmented skin.
In this case, the
two hamsters have the same problem. It seems logical to conclude that
they have a behavioral problem, grooming each other excessively
or excessively grooming their back sides themselves. One may adopt
this habit after observing another hamster doing it. It may be
hard to break this habit.
The hamster behaviour experts will propose that a video camera be
installed to spy on its habits of grooming, but this is getting too
expensive for the ordinary hamster owner!
Some pet shops may recommend anti-flea sprays. Or maybe an
anti-licking spray. These sprays may intoxicate the hamster as it
grooms itself to get rid of the smell. Being so small, a small
amount of insecticide will damage its heart and kidneys, causing
other animals suffer from this problem of compulsive and
excessive grooming? The cat is said to suffer from a
similar problem called pyschogenic alopecia. Nobody
knows why the cat does it too. There are drugs to reduce
this problem in the cat.
An anti-inflammatory and antibiotic injection may be
helpful in some cases but the hamsters may need to be
anaesthesized first as no self respecting rodent will take
an injection without biting the veterinarian. The
cost may be much more than just going out to buy a new
hamster! Ms Chin preferred not to treat the hamsters
as she did not want them to risk dying under anaesthesia.
See a case at:
The hamster with skin warts
dwarf hamster has a hanging wart
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Be Kind To Pets
All rights reserved. Revised: August 16, 2010
Toa Payoh Vets