tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   18 August, 2010  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs & rabbits
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
First written: 1997. Updated in 2001 and 2010.
18 August, 2010 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
There can never be enough information on how to take care of your pets and be kind to pets and wild animals so that they can live longer. The internet introduces a convenient way of getting some information on pet healthcare to a younger, pet-caring generations that will replace the pragmatic baby-boomer generation. I  find the two pictures representative of the care-free and late-night personalities of the young Singaporeans (18 - 28 years old). This webpage is dedicated to them.
Marina Barrage Afternoon Nap, Singapore, toa payoh vets Marina Barrage Afternoon Nap, Singapore, toa payoh vets
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)3469 - 3470. Closing The Eyes Of Love at Marina Barrage. The younger generation of Singaporeans in 2010 is fortunate to live in a Golden Age of the World Wide Web

Since 1997, Asia USA Realty has supported the Community Education:  Be Kind To Pets which use narrative stories and pictures to educate the Singaporean community in how to care for their pets. It is hoped that more pet owners will realise the importance of good health for their companions as Singapore rolls into a fast-paced society in 2010. Some updates in 2010 are inserted below:

Eyelid swollen due to vaccination reaction

Vaccination reaction. Swollen eyes after vaccination. This puppy would not be vaccinated anymore as it may be fatal the next time.  The dog was sensitized to something inside the vaccine.  The Owner would just have to be careful that it would not be in contact with other unvaccinated dogs.  (2010 update: An anti-histamine injection may be given to prevent vaccine reaction during the annual vaccination.)

Some boarding kennels insist that dogs be vaccinated one week before boarding so as to prevent your dogs from becoming infected with viral diseases. Therefore, check out the policies and board your dog there. It is advised that you vaccinate your dog and cat yearly to protect them against deadly diseases affecting the brain, lungs, kidneys, intestines, amongst other diseases.

Testicular tumour in a 10-year old dog

Testicular Tumour in a 10-year old Spitz. It is best to remove the testicle which has not dropped into the scrotum, a condition called retained testicle. This testicle will be present under the skin or inside the abdomen.  In many cases, it develops into a testicular tumour bigger than a golf ball as shown in the picture on the left.

If the dog is
sent for annual veterinary examination, the retained testicular tumour may be discovered by the veterinarian.  Examine your dog regularly especially when it is over 5 years old.  2010 Case: See:
Tumours in 3 male dogs - Sertoli cell tumour, circum-anal tumour and oral tumour

Itchy lower body area

Ventral dermatitis: Itchy skin at the lower "stomach" area or groin area. Causes varies and may be due to contact with chemicals from strong floor detergent, rough flooring or dampness in the bathrooms. Or even skin mite infestations. The dog keeps licking area till hair thins and skin changes to black colour over several years of irritation. Do check with your vet. 

(2010 update: Skin diseases in dogs and dwarf hamsters are common.)

Widespread skin infections

Generalised dermatitis. Causes vary. Many Singapore owners hop from one vet to another in search of a cure. Some cases are incurable. Shaving off the long coat, keeping ear canals clean (see neck redness due to scratching), checking on impacted and infected anal glands, excellent food and plenty of water, find out what stresses the dog and regular veterinary follow up with your veterinarian may help alleviate the intense itch and suffering and resolve the problem.

Unstoppable itchy backside

Cellulitis: A large patch of hairless and red skin wound in the left hip area of dog. It is usually due to a small wound which becomes infected and the dog in this case keeps licking and causing more infection. Prompt veterinary treatment of small wounds is essential especially in cases which do not heal within 7 days.

Ticks biting eyelids

Dermatitis due to tick infestations are common in Singapore stray or wandering dogs. Cross-breds usually neglected till ears, eyes (see arrow in photo) and body are infested by thousands of ticks. Consult your veterinary surgeon early to prevent suffering.

A rare breed: Kerry Blue, short coat, makes a good pet in hot Singapore Best type of dog for a child in Singapore's hot and humid climate? Short hair (no grooming needed), erect ears which are not covered and therefore ventilated unlike smelly floppy ears and a dark coat (easier to maintain than white). The picture on the right  is a Kerry Blue puppy, a rare breed in this world and may be mistaken for a "mongrel" by anyone not familiar with Kerry Blues.


Housing Development Board (HDB) apartment owners need to be aware of Big cross breds are not permitted in HDB flatsregulations that prohibit medium and large sized dogs over 20-kg adult weight and 14 inches in height. This adorable puppy will grow to exceed HDB height and weight restrictions. By then, it will be heart-breaking to part with the dog and the Owner has to hide it from the HDB officials or shift to private housing. As almost 90% of the population live in HDB apartments, many big dog lovers are forced to keep only small breeds.
Singapore cholcolate labrador retriever with upper respiratory infection

Get prompt veterinary treatment after you if your new puppy becomes lethargic, coughs and has a runny nose.  

See: The chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy with a hacking cough.

Purulent sinusitis. The facial sinus has been infected and swells.  The infection is usually from the decayed roots of the upper molar tooth on the left upper jaw. A long delay in dental treatment of decayed tooth led Cat with infected sinusto infections of the nasal sinuses and eyes. This cat died despite treatment as the infection had spread to frontal sinus (above and between eye swelling) and into the brain tissues. Singapore cat owners seldom send their cats for dental check-up or scaling yearly and only do so when the cat can't eat, not eating much for several weeks or has extremely foul smelling breadth. It is hoped that the younger generation will be more careful as many problems can be prevented through personal attention.
Cat with an intense itchy back on both sidesEndocrine alopecia: Hair thinning in sterilised female cat. There are many other causes such as flea bite dermatitis.  Such cases require veterinary attention. The cat feels itchy and keep licking the lower half of body, thinning the hair on both sides of the back half of the body. One effective medication given twice/week till hair grows and maintained may resolve the problem of hair loss.   Many Singaporean cat owners are ignorant of the need for prompt veterinary examination and the cat becomes bald.
Cat flu and bite wounds commonly seen in stray catsSeptic bite wound and cat flu: Wounds caused by cat bites usually as some male Singapore stray cats fight to establish their territory. The cat tends to lick the sore frequently but the wound gets itchy and infected. This cat (right) was treated call at the Grand Hyatt Singapore. A cat swallows a needle and thread, toa payoh vets singapore

2010 Case: A needle inside a cat's mouth. Going inside a lion's den

Cat sneezing and coughingIn 2001, many Singaporeans and expatriates are more concerned about the pet care of stray cats. Some stray cats are saved by kind hearted people who will seek veterinary advices early.  Note the eye and nose discharge indicating  a cat flu infection, a hazard of being a free roaming life style not being protected by cat vaccination.  It is best to vaccinate your cats yearly but many cat owners somehow don't have time to do so. The Cat Care Clinic in the USA specialising only in cats may one day be set up in Singapore, I hope.
Hamster with wart on back

Dwarf hamsters are popular pets amongst Singaporeans in 2001. Do not forget to give them proper feeding and plenty of water. Chemical-free wood shavings and regular attention to cleanliness of the cdwarf hamster, blood in front of the eyes - hyphema. toapayohvets, singaporeage will prevent many skin itchiness disease and diarrhoea. Picture (left) shows a hamster with skin warts and back hair loss. Picture (right) shows a rare case of hyphema (blood in the front area of the eyes) in a dwarf hamster I saw in 2010.

Do not keep endangered species. as this will encourage illegal trapping and extinction of such species. 
Common name
: Serrated Star Tortoise, Toothed Cape Tortoise
Scientific name: Psammobates oculiferus
Distribution: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa
CITES listing: Appendix II (01/07/1975)

7-year-old star tortoise has lost appetitePet dealers may be interested to know that star tortoises are now not permitted to be sold in pet shops in Singapore for the reason that there are no proper export permits according to CITES Appendix II (see below) and not because they are getting extinct.

Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled. It also includes so-called "look-alike species", i.e. species of which the specimens in trade look like those of species listed for conservation reasons (see Article II, paragraph 2 of the Convention). International trade in specimens of Appendix-II species may be authorized by the granting an export permit or re-export certificate; no import permit is necessary. Permits or certificates should only be granted if the relevant authorities are satisfied that certain conditions are met, above all that trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild. (See Article IV of the Convention).

Singapore is a member of CITES and more information on endangered floral or fauna can be found at its website Many tortoises and turtles are abandoned at temples and reservoirs in Singapore but some are well looked after at home.  For your knowledge, a male star tortoise is distinguished from the female by a slight concave shape at the bottom of the body (finger points to it in the picture above). A website devoted to star tortoises is at:

Discus fishes as pets are still a favourite hobby. In 2001, there are so many multi-coloured ones and healthy ones are always a pleasure to keep as pets or as a small hobby to earn some money for the family. See
Breeding beautiful discus in an HDB 2-bedroom apartment. Update in 2010:  Around 2008, the owner had given up breeding discus due to poor market selling prices.

White tiger at Singapore Zoological Gardens goes fishing Many Singaporean teenagers are idealistic and may be anti-zoo, wanting wild animals to be "born free" and live naturally after seeing caged animals poorly kept in traditional zoos. However, poachers and destruction of their natural habitat by people have led to extinction of many species of animals, birds and plants. Is it better to let such wild animals be born free and eliminated owing to the lack of natural habitat or be bred in zoos for the benefit science and of future generations?

It is up to the leadership of top zoos like the
Singapore Zoological Gardens to educate the students about wildlife conservation and to let them know why zoos are important to future generations.
I hope that this webpage with tips on pet care will help to educate pet and animal owners to take good care of their pets and prevent suffering of all animals. If one pet in this world or in Singapore can be saved by the surfer being educated on this webpage, we at Asia USA Realty feel that this project is worth the time and expenses setting it up. More educational stories are compiled at Be Kind To Pets.

In 2010, the younger generation of pet owners is much more caring towards their pets. Pets are family members and the older baby-boomer generation (born in 1946 - 1964) have to adapt and change their mindset when their children expect them to love their pets. Nowadays, there are many more animal welfare activists among the young Singaporeans. They take care of the stray cats and dogs and abandoned pets and speak up against puppy mills and animal abuse.  

I do get fathers who take time off to get their daughter's dwarf hamster treated in 2010 unlike some 10 years ago. Many parents would just say it is cheaper to buy a replacement dwarf hamster and get rid of the incumbent.  Hence I am able to document more fascinating cases of
Hamsters in Singapore. Some of my recent cases are shown below:

The pictures around 1997 - 2001 were poorly composed and taken. They are terrible to view. I had to start somewhere and with the cheapest digital camera. I knew nothing about digital photography or graphics design (if there was such a word). I use FrontPage software to write my cases. FrontPage is now extinct and there are free websites to post your writings e.g. Be hands on. You'll learn from failures and succeed after some time if you persevere and focus.

Light & Beauty. Singapore flower. Toa Payoh Vets The world is full of exciting changes and I hope the younger generation of vets and animal activists will continue to document cases to share their experiences and knowledge with others all over the world via the world wide web. I am from the baby-boomer generation and will fade in a few years. There is no money in documenting cases and sharing case treatment knowledge with competitors. It takes at least one hour to edit 10 pictures for presentation in my webages. One hour is a lot of time for the young generation who will rather slay dragons on-line or do messaging. 

If visual stories in
Be Kind To Pets can help a first-time pet owner take better care of his or her pet, this will be my objective - to help the pets as they can't speak for themselves or defend themselves.  


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Tel: +65 9668 6468, Email:
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More info at: Dogs or Cats
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Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
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