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Date:   26 July, 2010  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs & rabbits
 
A PET SHOP GIRL'S BAD EXPERIENCES IN REFERRING DOG SPAYS
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
First Written: 30 September, 2007

26 July, 2010
 
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Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
"A bone has so many prominences and holes and I need to know and identify the various aspects," the first-year veterinary student was trying to tell Mum what he had been studying in Australia.  Mum had managed to get him away from his girlfriend to have dinner with the family. She simply said to the boy who wanted to stay trim and slim and was careful of his intake of calories, "A bone is just a bone. Eat the last pork rib." Obviously, the boy's mother was not a bit interested in veterinary anatomy.

Veterinary anatomy studies can be a very boring subject to the first-year veterinary undergraduate. But it is a matter of life, death and sound reputation to a practising veterinarian as you can see from an encounter below.

Last week (Oct 2007), I was vaccinating puppies at a Pet Shop in River Valley Road. For want of some common topics to converse with the young pet shop girl, I asked her whether she would refer her clients' dogs for spays to me. I seldom solicit from pet shop people as they have their own choice of vets to refer their clients to and they know I was doing discounted vaccination hoping to catch their new puppy owners' business.

The recent law that Singapore dogs caught with unlicensed dogs would be fined $5,000 had led to an increase in spay operations for vets. A sterilised dog's annual licence fee is $14.00 compared to $70.00.

Do I sound a bit desperate by soliciting from the pet shop? Or is it part of a good business practice?

The pet shop girl arched her eyebrows and frowned, "I never recommend any of my customers to a vet for spay. One of my customers was so angry recently. She kept complaining to me that the veterinarian had cut a very long wound on her female dog. She said that it was an MRT (subway) line! So, I don't refer any customers to any vet."

At least I know her position and policy. I must work harder to build my practice on my own merits.

"Sometimes, a very long incision into the skin may be necessary. There may be bleeding or some complications of surgery and a long skin incision is needed to locate the bleeder. If not, the dog bleeds to death after the spay." I replied. Every vet would encounter this situation once in his career.

The pet shop owner had her reputation to protect, "This customer was still angry yesterday, at the extremely long incision on her poor dog---an MRT line. Kept moaning about it.

"By the way, how long an incision you cut during spay?" she asked me.

I replied, "Usually 1.5 to 2 cm long if there are no complications like bleeding. I usually advise 3 months after the end of heat so that the ovaries and womb are not fragile and bleed easily. It is much safer."

The pet shop girl was not convinced about my experiences or lack of. I could not convince her. "Is there a portfolio of spay done?" Vets usually do provide portfolios of work done like models or plastic surgeons.

I said, "Maybe you can see some pictures at my website, www.toapayohvets.com." She was surprised I had one.

I was there for the vaccination and microchipping of puppies and some free consultations. Nowadays, I seldom provide such services as they are time-consuming. But it is good to get out of the surgery to feel the 'pulse' of the pet market place.

Veterinary anatomy is a very boring and difficult subject for the first-year student because they don't see the relevance and the lecturers don't know how to present this topic interactively due to the shortage of dogs and cats for real life demonstrations.

I remember vividly an ancient-looking thin lady lecturer during my 2nd year veterinary anatomy year in Glasgow University in 1970.

The lecture was so boring and there was no internet to refer to. I bought the anatomy of the dog book to see the illustrations. The lecturer showed a few frozen specimens where nerves and blood vessels and muscles were to be presented.

Most of my classmates and myself were falling asleep during the veterinary anatomy lectures. I did not attend any spay or neuter practices in Glasgow University during my 4th year as I was supposed to see practice with the private vets.

A sound knowledge of veterinary anatomy is essential as the veterinarian is also a surgeon. I hope this article will make veterinary anatomy alive to first-year vet students. I have included my pictures of the anatomical positions to spay a big Golden Retriever and the follow-up in 2007.
 
I spayed the above-mentioned dog in 2007.  Now that boy whose mum asked him to eat the last pork rib should be in the 4th year veterinary studies in Australia and would be doing spay and neuter surgeries around July. I have included a 2010 case for him and all students so that they can learn more about veterinary anatomy in spaying dogs by seeing real life cases and pictures. 

Anatomy is much more important in practice than you will ever imagine. If your knowledge is not up to par, you could injure or kill the dog or any animal by cutting into the wrong locations, injuring nerves and causing paralysis or severing arteries causing massive bleeding! 
chow chow dog singapore spayed toa payoh vets 10 months no bleeding chow chow dog singapore spayed toa payoh vets 10 months no bleeding chow chow dog singapore spayed toa payoh vets 10 months no bleeding
chow chow dog singapore spayed toa payoh vets 10 months no bleeding chow chow dog singapore spayed toa payoh vets 10 months no bleeding chow chow dog singapore spayed toa payoh vets 10 months no bleeding

The details are at:  How a Chow Chow is sterilised (spayed)
 

More info at: Dogs or Cats
To make an appointment:
e-mail judy@toapayohvets.com
tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326

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Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
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