Apartment Puppies in Singapore.

The Labrador sneezed his revenge onto the vet

The new puppy may give a dry hacking cough. It may have runny nose. If it does not eat much and is lethargic within 24 hours, consult your veterinarian. Be aware that your puppy-return guarantee is usually 24 hours although some pet shops give you 48 hours after sale or longer.  

Singapore cholcolate labrador retriever with upper respiratory infection"He was active yesterday but refused to move today.  He is usually very hungry but has no appetite now," said Ms Janet Boey.  A 3-month-old handsome, thick boned chocolate Labrador retriever just flopped on the examination table without no interest in any other dog or people.  He just wanted to sleep.  His nostrils dripped a thick yellow greenish pus continuously.

I pried open his eye lids. This puppy looked like a zombie and did not move. Was it too late to save him?

His conjunctiva or eyelid membranes were a deep red in colour.  I put a thermometer into his rectum to check if he had a fever.  It was a feverish 40 degrees Celsius.

What would be the cause of his respiratory condition?  The creamy runny nasal discharge was caused by bacterial infection.  Would there be a viral infection as well?  And what virus was involved? 

I ascultated his lungs with my stethoscope. His lungs were clear of abnormal sounds. They were normal breathing sounds, not the rattling ones heard in pneumonia.  That was a good sign.   

"When did he arrive in Singapore?" I asked. Viral infections show signs and symptoms 7 - 14 days after the host succumb to its attack.  

Recently, the controlling veterinary authority permits only three-month-old puppies  to be imported into Singapore. Previously, two-month-olds had been permitted and there had been complaints of sick puppies being sold.

Singapore labrador retriever, 3 months with pus in nostrils seen "Three of his grandparents and great grandparents of yellow, black and chocolate colours had won championship awards," Mrs Boey showed the pedigree papers and the import list of puppies given by the  pet dealer in Singapore. "Will he die?"

The import papers which had a list of dogs imported was stamped 18 days ago. 

"It is hard to give a sure-to-die answer now, " I said. "His vaccination certificate would be more useful."

He had three vaccinations, particularly, against distemper viral infection, the most feared of all viruses of puppies as it infects the brain and nervous system.  There would be no cure if the virus had gone to the brain. The third vaccination was done by the pet dealer's veterinarian 16 days ago in Singapore while the other two were done in Australia.

He was vaccinated on the first day of import.  Distemper viral infection was unlikely but could not be ruled out if this strong looking puppy had a poor immune system. What other viral & bacterial pathogens would cause this fever, coughing and runny nose?

Singapore Labrador: Much less nasal discharge 48 hrs after medication"Kennel cough is the most likely diagnosis" I told Mrs Boey. "This puppy had stayed in the kennel for two weeks.  The dealer had hundreds of puppies and the puppy, being stressed from the long flight from Melbourne to Singapore would have been infected on the first few days. "

I checked the vaccination certificate from its breeder in Melbourne where most of the Singapore puppies are exported. Nno vaccination against the kennel cough virus of Parainfluenza and the Bordetella bacteria had been given as this would cost money. 

"Any guarantee that the dealer will take back the puppy and refund you theSingapore Labrador eye conjunctival membranes were normal in colour $1,500 if the puppy dies?" I asked Ms Boey. 

"The guarantee was for 24 hours after purchase," said Ms Boey.  It was  over 14 days post purchase. Nobody gives long guarantees for livestock.

Blood tests would be needed to determine the severity of the infection, but this would add to the veterinary cost.  One blood test might not reveal anything as this was the beginning of an  infection.  Bacterial and viral isolation from the nasal Labrador puppy had a slight nasal discharge 48 hrs post injection.discharge would be ideal but this would cost money. Owners always complain that the veterinary costs are high compared to the general practitioner's fees. Affordable veterinary treatment meant that it would be best not to run laboratory tests.
This was a typical case of kennel cough.  A hacking cough. Fever.  Nose discharge. Dullness and lethargy indicated fever.  I recommended that the puppy be given 3 days of antibiotics.  

Whether the yellow-eyed puppy would survive or not, I had to wait the next 3 days to see.   He looked stronger 48 hours after injection when I did a house-call.  
Not much nasal discharge. His rectal temperature was normal. Active. Finished  his feed twice per day. 

This time he resisted me checking his eyelid colour and other examination procedures. His eye membranes were not blood shot as his body temperature was normal.  When I pressed his nostrils and checked his nasal sinuses. He struggled and then, he sneezed out some light coloured discharge onto my face and white shirt.  It was good to see that he was so active, as all Labrador puppies usually are.  He should recover and be a very strong and handsome dog.


Around 90% of new puppies do not cough, in my observation.  A common veterinary complaint of newly purchased puppies of various breeds is coughing. "As if the puppy is trying to throw up something, but nothing comes out of its mouth" is the common telephone query to me. Many of them do recover from kennel cough within 14 days. Unfortunately, a small number do die from lung infections of pneumonia.   This might be a distemper viral infection or a severe bacterial infection which the young puppy had no resistance.  The best advice is to consult your vet early.

Extracts from the
Asiahomes.com Book:
Apartment Puppies in Singapore:  How Singaporeans care for their puppies.
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS.

Buyers interested in this book to be published in 2004, email to judy@asiahomes.com or tel 9668-6468.

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