Monday, February 4, 2008

131. Hamster with rotting skin

This case illustrates how the internet enables hamster owners to share information
from my hamster cellulitis case photographed 5 years ago.

I have not encountered any more such cases because hamsters in Singapore are low value pets and they seldom receive veterinary treatment.

Yet the owner based in Taiwan managed to ferret out my photograph of 5 years ago and contacted me.

This is the first e-mail from the hamster owner in Taiwan.

>> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: A hamster owner in Taiwan
>> To:
>> Sent: Tuesday, 29 January 2008 1:40:49
>> Subject: Hamster Cellulitis
>> Hello,
>> I found your site by searching for hamster symptoms online. One of your sites features a picture of a hamster with yellow/greenish rotting skin on the bottom right of the webpage:

Picture of a hamster cellulitis case taken by Dr Sing in 2002, 5 years ago!
>> This is the exact same thing that is going on with my hamster right now. Fortunately even though the skin on my hamster looks as awful as that little fella my hamster still looks quite healthy.

>> I live in taiwan and unfortunately do not speak Chinese. The vets we have been going through have not been able to help a lot so far and the condition just seems to be getting worse and worse.
>> They had us soaking the area with saline 3 times a day followed by covering it with iodine. It only seems to be spreading. I'm not sure about what kind of medicine the vet has given us but the hamster will no longer take it even if we try to trick him with treats or the sugar solution they gave us.
>> The doctor just keeps guessing and admitting he doesn't really know what is going on and keeps shrugging it off as cancer but it looks like what your site says is Cellulitis. Is there anyway you could recommend the medicine the hamster should be taking so we can ask the doctor to subscribe it??
>> I am also concerned about the saline since I've read getting hamsters wet can cause wet tail and I've read on another place in your website that iodine can poison the hamster.
>> If you can help out you will be my hero!
>> Your advice would greatly be appreciated! Please help!
>> Catherine

> On Jan 29, 2008, at 7:13 AM, Dr Sing KY wrote:
>> I am Dr Sing from IF possible, email me the pictures of the actual infected area.


> ----- Original Message ----
> From: A hamster owner in Taiwan>
> To: Dr Sing KY
> Sent: Wednesday, 30 January 2008 12:42:48
> Subject: Re: Hamster Cellulitis

> Dr Sing,
> Thank you so much for taking the time to write me. I've attached pictures of the hamster's condition.

> It started as a spot as big as a (human) pimple on his left side in a day or two it was as big as a nickel (we took him to the vet that day) and since that time it has grown to what you can see in the pictures. We've been to the vet 3 times so far but no clues and it doesn't seem to be healing well. Some of the skin has broken away but it's hard to say it's getting better.
> The area has a really bad odor. The hamster is still eating and drinking and looks fairly healthy even though we're having a hard time giving him his medication. His eyes are a bit sleeping and if he's outside he'll tend to lift up his left front paw.
> I really really appreciate you taking the time to write me! You are extremely kind! I had a wonderful vacation in Singapore last year and was amazed at how friendly and kind people are in Singapore. I thought it was just because I was a tourist but I guess I was wrong. Thanks so much!
> Happy New Year!
> Sincerely,
> Catherine

On Jan 30, 2008, at 7:35 AM, Dr Sing KY wrote:

> 1. Thanks for your compliments.
> 2. The hamster has a severe bacterial infection that had not been responding to antibiotics (I assume the vet had given antibiotics). Or you may have not given the dosage required.
> 3. The infection spreads due to your continual swabbing and the hamster continual licking and biting the sore due to intense itchiness.
> 4. Can you locate another veterinarian who has experience with hamsters? Ask your expatriate community or Embassy.
> 5. On your side, are you prepared to sleep much less? Intensive nursing is required. Some tips are:
> 5.1 Remove dead smelly skin with clean scissors.
> 5.2 Put an Elizabeth Collar on the hamster (like in a dog, but you use a thick cardboard to fashion the Collar) at all times.
> 5.3 Cleanse skin with disinfectant and rinse off disinfectant as often at 10X/day. The disinfectant must be rinsed off thoroughly as it irritates the hamster.
> 5.4 Dry skin with tissue paper after cleaning.
> 5.5 Keep skin very dry and exposed to clean air and oxygen.
> 5.6 Hand feed the hamster by hand as many times as possible.
> 5.7. Ensure hamster drinks and measure amount.
> 5.8 Note stool amount and consistency of hamster. If loose stools, there is a problem.
> 5.9 Give oral appropriate antibiotics and low dose of anti-inflammatory (from the vet).
> 6. Can you tel me at +65 9668 6468 to discuss further ?
> 7. Pl let me know how you manage to fish out my website on the same hamster condition? What search engine you use and how you do it? I will appreciate this info. Many thanks.

----- Original Message ----
To: Dr Sing KY

Sent: Monday, 4 February 2008 11:55:58
Subject: Re: Hamster Cellulitis

Dr Sing,

I apologize for the big gap in my correspondence. I ended up getting a really bad case of food poisoning and ended up in the hospital for a couple of days, and have spent a couple of days recovering.

Thank you SO SO SO SO SO much for your advice. We are FINALLY seeing some improvement in my hamster's condition. We found a vet who specializes in hamsters and she put him on better course anti-biotics and thankfully recognized and gave him the same diagnosis you did. She also told us he's a little under weight right now. She didn't want to cut off any of the rotting skin just yet because she said the area was too wide and it may be more difficult for him to heal.

After we rinse off the disinfectant we've been able to very gently rub some of the top loose stuff away (to his comfort level). We can now see an area in the middle underneath that has healed.

It's been a rough couple of weeks and I was sure it was a death sentence for him but it looks like he will pull through.

The only couple of questions I have for you if it's ok. You mentioned to check his stool. His stool color and consistency doesn't look very healthy but is it possible that this is the anti-biotics? I know in my own experience if I take anti-biotics it can mess up my digestive system a bit.

Also I'm still worried, when you say disinfectant is it still ok to use the iodine if we're thoroughly rinsing it? I forget if it was on your site or another I checked that it can potentially poison them if they ingest it.

As far as your website I found it via google and yahoo. On all of the hamster sites I found it impossible to find a picture of what he has and I really had no clue what it could be. I found different pages of your site on many of my searches like "hamster absess" "hamster cancer" "hamster skin cancer". The key that finally gave me your site was "hamster rotting skin". I figured because of the smell this must be what it was. I believe your site was at the top of the search engine for these key words too. If you would like to use my photos to help your article please feel free.

I also have a recommendation for your site. When I was doing my searches like I mentioned your website kept popping up for variety of keywords and I had a feeling eventually I would find my answer on your site because you had more medical photos and better information than most of the other sites but it was very difficult to navigate to find what I was looking for. I didn't want to have to click through all the vet entries to try to find my specific case because it would be time consuming and because as a non-doctor the photos are very disturbing to look at! :) So I would highly recommend you add a search engine onto your site. I've recently done this on my own website and it works beautifully. Through google you can add a free search engine and specify it to only search your domain or even specify a few domains for it to return search results for. The only branding google puts on it is to put inside the search field "google custom search" but this disappears as soon as you start typing in the field. The code is extremely easy to integrate and it can take as little as two minutes to add it in. Here's the website:

Could you please send me your office mailing address so that I can send you a thank you?

Thanks again and have a wonderful new year!

1. Thanks for your detailed reply, permission to use your hamster pictures and suggestions of a search engine. My site is disorganised as I need to use my spare time to edit and write to educate pet owners.

2. It is incredible that you can even locate my hamster picture of cellulitis. That was so long ago. In Singapore, more hamster owners in 2008 are getting the vets to treat their sick hamsters compared to 5 years ago. A kinder younger generation has grown up.

3. To answer your 2 questions (reproduced as follows):

The only couple of questions I have for you if it's ok. You mentioned to check his stool. His stool color and consistency doesn't look very healthy but is it possible that this is the anti-biotics? I know in my own experience if I take anti-biotics it can mess up my digestive system a bit.

ANSWER. Pl give me the name of the antibiotics being used. If the stools are loose, stop the antibiotics for the time being. Otherwise the hamster will get severe diarrhoea and die.

Also I'm still worried, when you say disinfectant is it still ok to use the iodine if we're thoroughly rinsing it? I forget if it was on your site or another I checked that it can potentially poison them if they ingest it.

ANSWER. I did suggest the use of any disinfectant but did not name the type to be used. A very mild disinfectant is to be used and this must be thoroughly rinsed off with clean warm water. The bedding must be clean tissue paper rather than wood shavings for the time being.

I disagree with the vet about cutting off the rotting skin. They contain bacteria and other micro-organisms and being around just simply affect the healing of the wound. That is why I ask you to snip them off.

Let me know the name of the antibiotics used. Thanks for taking so much time to reply to me. Hamsters are low value pets and most Singapore owners seldom bring them to see the vets. I am glad you bother with your hamster and will appreciate some pictures of progress in treatment. I like your blog. Keep up your good work.

130. Follow Up: Successful paper-training a Golden Retriever living in a Singapore apartment


July 7, 2006. Golden Retriever, Male, 7 months. Pees and poos everywhere inside the apartment. What to do? Dr Sing advised confinement and paper-training using positive reinforcement training.

Feb 5, 2008. Dr Sing followed up. Owner replied indicated that the dog is 100% successfully paper-trained. I hope this write up will benefit busy urban dwellers and owners trying to toilet train large breeds living in apartments.

----- Original Message ----
From: <>
To: Dr Sing KY
Sent: Monday, 4 February 2008 11:30:25
Subject: RE: Rocky's Toilet Training

Hi Dr Sing,

Happy New Year.
Please see my reply below.

(Name of owner)

-----Original Message-----
From: Dr Sing KY []
Sent: Sunday, February 03, 2008 6:59 AM
Subject: Rocky's Toilet Training

1. Happy New Year.

2. I am Dr Sing from Toa Payoh Vets. You brought Rocky to Toa Payoh Vets around July 7, 2006. I am still doing research on toilet training of puppies in Singapore and need some updates on your success with Rocky to help other dog owners.

3. I hope you have some time to update me on whether Rocky is now paper-trained?
3.1 Does he goes to eliminate on newspapers 100% in the kitchen area ? Or is his toilet area another place?
> Yes he now eliminates 100% on newspapers in the kitchen area only.

3.2 How many times is he fed?
> Twice daily.

3.3 Does he get canned food as well as dry food?
> Mainly dry food. Occassionally (probably once fortnightly) a mixture of dry + canned food.

3.4 What time is he fed?
> Around 7am and 7pm.

3.5 Is the feed given the whole day or for a short time of 20 minutes?
> He finishes up his food within a short time, so we have no problem with this.

3.6 Does he pee and poo within 30 minutes of being fed?
> Yes he does most of the time.

3.7 Does he eliminate outdoors?
> Yes sometimes he does when we bring him out for walks. But we did not intentionally bring him out to train him to eliminate outdoors.

3.8 How many times does he pee and poop for one day (24 hours)?
> Pee 5-6 times. Poop 2-3 times.

3.9 Any accidents - eliminate on non-approved toilet areas?
> No. Only eliminate on newspapers in kitchen. He will not do it without newspapers either. He will wait till the newspapers are laid.

3.10 Does Rocky urine-mark -- pee a bit here and there on vertical surfaces?
> At home, never. I used to see him marking at the beach or park, but I noticed he hardly do it after neutering.

3.11 Is Rocky neutered?
Yes. In Oct 2007.

Your feedback will be most appreciated. Best wishes for the new year!


A busy working young couple. They take time to train the Golden Retriever.
I advised confinement to a small space (in the kitchen) and praise and give food treats on success. It takes some time (probably 4 weeks) to paper train him but once it is done, he is a great pet to be with.

Fortunately he was not easily bribed by food treats for successfully eliminating on newspapers, according to the owners.

In this case, it will be preferred that the big dog go to the guest bathroom to eliminate. Or a pee tray is used to hold the newspapers in the kitchen. To transfer toilet area to bathroom, slowly shift the papers to the bathroom from the kitchen.

I did not ask the owner why the kitchen was used. Sometimes owners are not aware of the preferred toilet location to be the guest bathroom. Or the bathroom is not available for the dog as there may be guests.

Replace soiled newspapers frequently --- an important factor in successful toilet training as most dogs and puppies dislike dirtying their paws and will avoid soiled papers. Some dogs bark to tell the owners to change. Others bark and get scolded for being a noise nuisance. So they give up communicating with the owner and eliminates outside the papers in the nearby areas.

Toilet Training Your First Puppy in Singapore

The following report from the owner of Rocky confirmed that the "older" puppy (e.g. 7 months old) can be paper-trained if the owner knows how to do it. The puppy is into adolescence and is known to be "rebellious" and has a mind of his own at 7 months of age.

However, with time spent on training him, knowledge that he wants a fresh and clean toilet area, praise and treats, the following case was successfully paper-trained in around 2 weeks.

Basically, the puppy just wants a CLEAN toilet area to pee and poop.

Otherwise, he will avoid the soiled newspapers and poop elsewhere. In the first year of my research, owners complain that the puppy will usually "miss" its target (newspapers) and pee "outside" the newspapers.

The reason is that the papers have been soiled and the puppy is loathe to step onto them unless they are quickly replaced. Some puppies will "bark" to let the owner know that the papers must be changed after elimination, according to owners who tell me.

Some puppies do not provide feedback or the owners are not at home the whole day. Possibly, the owner is inside the crate and has stepped on soiled newspapers (in the petshop -- not sold early or the owner's crate). So, the puppy is used to soiled newspapers after some time.

I have no time to edit, but will do it in the new book.
The e-mail is as follows:

Monday, July 31, 2006

DRAFT - Why the puppy does not poop on newspapers



> Dog owner wrote:
> Dear Dr Sing,
> We went to your clinic last Friday (7 Jul) with our
> 7-mth old Golden Retriever, Rocky for his 3rd vaccination and sought
> your advice on how to toilet-train him.
> After some thoughts on your suggestions, we decided
> to start off with neutralising his urine and poo smells in the house
> with white vinegar and water.
> On that same evening, we neutralised the entire living room and part of
> the kitchen area, leaving the unneutralised part of the kitchen as his
> intended toilet area (the spot that he frequents most). Then covered
> that area with fresh newspapers and some soiled ones. That weekend, we tried confining him to that specific kitchen area after his meals and monitored him, also tried bringing him
Out for walks and kept asking him to pee/poo, but were not successful.

> He did not pee/poo (on the toilet area)
> as we wanted him to. We gave up, but continued neutralising the floors
> every night as he still eliminates randomly at those 2 areas.
> On Tuesday (11 Jul) evening, > that the methods weren't working, we saw him pee-ing right in the
> centre of the newspapers. We quickly praised him and offered him a
> treat. This time, he took the treat happily and ran off chewing it.
> Initially we thought he had learnt to eliminate there, but later at
> night, we found his poo on the kitchen floor. The following days, as we
> continued with neutralising, we saw some improvement. We observed
> he has stopped eliminating in the living room, and does it only in
> the kitchen area, however, he only pees on newspapers, still poo
> everywhere in the kitchen.
> Last night we've decided not to neutralise the floors. This morning, to
> our surprise, we saw both his pee and poo on the papers. We're very
> happy to see that, and we'll continue to monitor him closely until he's
> really stable and makes no mistakes. Will update you again on his progress.
> Really appreciate your help and professional advice.
> Thanks,
Dog Owner.


> Sunday July 16, 2006. E-mail reply from Dr Sing
NLB Toa Payoh Library 10.30am.

> My computer is infested with viruses. It shut down and re-started
> several times earlier. After that it shut down completely. So, I am
> using the NLB library to reply to you. It is hard to
> find real computer experts in Singapore who can resolve this problem
> without having to re-format the whole hard disk.
> I am very grateful for your contribution to my research and a book on
> Singapore puppy toilet training.
> In reply:
> 1. My research and reading of other reports. It appears that white
> vinegar is effective only to neutralise the ammonia smell of puppy
> urine. Acid plus alkaline = water (NO MORE URINE SMELL), to put it simply.
> So, the puppy can't find the elimination area with his nose (to detect urine smell).
> I presume you used the same mop or had not rinsed off the urine smell
> thoroughly, so the puppy could detect the "accident" areas for the first
> few days. Corners or edges of doors may still have traces of urine. The
> sense of smell is very acute in the canine. However, after a few days of
> your hard work, you probably wiped out all urine
> smell. So, the puppy goes to the newspapers. I presume you did not use
> the soiled newspapers (2nd layer) but the floor is OK too.
> 2. White vinegar is said to have no effect on the poop as it does not smell of ammonia.
> 3. So your success later may be due to your monitoring and praises. Your
> puppy probably now expecting treat. Some will sit and wait for it after
> peeing. A few owners tell me that some even pee less but more often to
> get treats. I hope your puppy does not think this way.
> 4. Poop after feeding times. If you can have a regular schedule of feeding and exercise, without distraction of playing
> immediately after eating, you may be successful. Signs of elimination
> like sniffing, squatting and circling - bring puppy to newspapers.
> Praise and reward.
> 5. Will be most grateful if you let me know your progress in the pooping
> training aspect. It is from such case studies that I am able to advise
> as each situation and each puppy behaves differently.


July 30, 2006 e-mail to Dr Sing>

> Dr Sing,
> We're still working on Rocky's poop training. Did not really have enough time to monitor him for the past 2 weeks due to our work schedules.
> We will continue with your suggestion in Point 4 below.
> Thankfully Rocky does not seem to expect treats after peeing. He just
> walks away. He has no problem with peeing on newspapers, i don't
> understand why he could not poo on the papers as well. So far only once or twice he pooped on papers, the
> rest of the times are done on the kitchen floor.
> We still do use vinegar to mop the kitchen floor on
> alternate nights. You mentioned in Point 2 that white vinegar has no
> effect on poop. Do you mean that white vinegar can only nuetralise
> urine smell, but not poop smell?
> Is there anything we can do to remove the poop smell?
> Hope your computer is fine now.
> Thanks,


Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 e-mail reply.
04:32:18 +0800 (CST)

From: "Dr Sing KY" Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book
Subject: RE: Rocky's Toilet Training - Pooping on floor.

Thanks for feedback.

1. Most likely reason Rocky does not want to poop on the newspapers more often may be due to at least 2 reasons:

1.1 The papers had not been changed. Most dogs do not like to step on soiled newspapers as they are clean creatures. So, he chose the floor.

1.2 The papered area is too small. I remember he is a Golden Retriever. Correct me if I am mistaken. You may need to have double or triple the areas covered by the
newspapers or buy a big pee pan (to put newspapers on).

2. In many cases, vinegar:water mixture does not eliminate the smell of poop because the poop is not ammonical.

3. In your case, you said you had not much time. I
presume you had no time to change the newspapers more
often and no time to bring him downstairs. There is no
fixed schedule for exercise after eating. If that is
true, then he has no opportunity to poop 15-30 minutes
after eating (as most dogs do) on newspapers under
your training and supervision. You probably had gone
to work or are too tired to bring him downstairs. I do
not know the real situation.

4. If you want your puppy to poop on newspapers, you
need to SPEND TIME to train him to do so. WATCH for
signs of wanting to poop and bringing him to the CLEAN
newspapers for the first 2 weeks. Praise, pat and
reward with treats on success.

Otherwise, it is very difficult for him to know what
you want.

5. Let me know once your pooping training is


Post a Comment




-----Original Message-----
From: Dr Sing KY [mailto:]
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 7:03 AM
Subject: 2007 Update:: Rocky's Toilet Training - Pooping on floor.


I hope all are well at home. It is nearly a year since
we corresponded. I have finalising my research on
puppy toilet training in Singapore.

Is it possible for you to update me on how you have
toilet trained Rocky?

1. How long it takes to paper-train him successfully
(i.e. use newspapers all the time to pee and poop).

2. How you stop him from pooping on the floor? This
seems to be a common complaint amongst singapore's dog

3. How many times he pees and poops/day now?

4. How often you feed him and has he got water
available 24 hrs a day?

3. A picture of Rocky?


E-MAIL ON JUN 6, 2007
Subject: RE: 2007 Update:: Rocky's Toilet Training - Pooping on floor.
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 00:48:17 +0800

Hi Dr Sing,

Thanks for following up with us.
Here's my reply and some updates.

1. Rocky (golden retriever) took about a week's time to understand and
getting use to doing his business on the newspapers. He was about 7 mth
old then. We used his soiled newspapers to indicate the toilet area,
monitoring and confining him to the toilet area after his meals until
reliefs himself, when done correctly give praise and occasional treats.

2. We observed that he usually pees first then poop, and after peeing
the newspapers, he would not step on them anymore, so he ended up
pooping on the floor near the newspapers. From then on, we took effort
to clear the soiled newspapers after he pee and replace with fresh
and so this problem was solved.

3. He poops twice a day within an hour after meals. As for pee, several
times a day.

4. We feed him twice daily, morning and evening. Fresh water is
available 24hrs.

5. Attached is a picture of Rocky.

All the best to your research and new book.

(Name of Rocky's owner).

Thursday, January 31, 2008

129. New pup avoids peeing on newspapers of older dog


On 1/23/08,> wrote:


I read your notes on paper training more than one dog at a time.
I have a 6 month old American Eskimo who is paper trained in my daughter's room, she also has access to kitchen and my work area in the basement I noticed when she needs to use the bathroom she goes back to my daughters room upstairs and use the paper. She also shows signs of going to the door to go out.

Last week we purchased a Pek-a-poo, 3 months old male, however, he does not want to use the same paper even when cleaned and dry, he wants to do his business around the paper, on the floor under my daughter desk. He is confined to her room. I work from home part-time or 3 days a week. Any suggestions?



Re: Paper training more than one puppy

Thank you for your e-mail. I just read it today Jan 29, 2008 and hope it is not too late to reply to you with some tips.
Pl e-mail to as I seldom access the

Pek-a-poo 3 months, male puppy.
1. Do you know where he eliminates in the previous residence? Was his toilet area the tiled floor? If that is the case, he is conditioned to the feel of the tiled floor and
so he avoids the newspaper no matter how clean. Newspaper may feel not right to his paws as a toilet area. He has had never eliminated on newspapers before.

If you want to paper-train him, you will need to confine him in an exercise pen/small area in the daughter's room. Cover the tiled floor with 100% newspapers for around 2-4 weeks. If he does not shred the newspapers,
observe which corner he eliminates. You may also place the 2nd piece of a soiled newspaper with the Pek-a-poo urine to attract him to go to the newspapers in a particular corner.
Reduce the newspapered area to that corner where he eliminates. His clean area will be his sleeping and eating/drinking area which may occupy
50% of the tiled floor exercise pen.

Use white vinegar:water 1 part to 3 to neutralise all urine smell on the tiles of the floor of the exercise pen except for the area he is supposed to eliminate.
Feed him regularly and let him eliminate or poop before you allow him out. No distraction. Success in paper training varies from 2 - 8 weeks in Singapore. Much
depends on the owner being there to change soiled newspapers often and to praise and reward with treats when he eliminates.

Do let me know if you receive this e-mail and also your success result.
Best wishes.


Sent: Monday, 28 January 2008 11:54:24
Subject: Re: Paper training more than one puppy

Hi Dr Sing, I really appreciate you getting back with me.

After reading several of your articles and suggestions, I realized that my daughter and I needed to replace the soiled newspaper more often. Ginger our White Eskimo has been with us for over 3 months, she is 6 mos old and my daughter was a bit lazy cleaning behind her so the Pek-a-poo decided to go elsewhere on my wood floors. So now that we replace the paper as soon as soiled, the paper is now on a first come first served basis.

My daughter has a extra desk in her room, the Pek-a-poo prefers to go under the unused desk and we don't have a problem. Thank you for your suggestions. Pek-a-poo has only been with us a week this past Saturday.


I hope this case write up will be of use to other owners with 2nd puppy.

All puppies by instinct want a clean toilet area to pee and poop.

In some single-puppy house-holds, the puppy may be extremely clean (cleanliness freak?) and will bark till the owner changes the soiled newspapers. Or the owner is aware of the need to change the soiled newspapers after elimination.

In the case when a new puppy is introduced and need to share the same toilet location, the puppy dislikes going to the soiled toilet area no matter "how clean the newspapers look after the urine has evaporated" as the puppy can smell the other dog's urine. Some owners just remove the poo from the newspapers but the puppy does not want to use the same newspapers again.

The puppy just eliminates "outside the edges of the newspapers". He is frightened by the possibility of spanking by the owner if he eliminates elsewhere and so, does it outside the paper edges. If the owner is not around, he may do it behind the sofa or some corners.

Monday, January 28, 2008

127. Animal shelter medicine - NANAS

On Saturday Jan 26, 2008, I brought two 2nd-year vet students from Murdoch University to visit NANAS during my off-day. I hope that they would learn more about shelter animal medicine and I hope to see Bobby who was relocated from Yishun Fishing Pond to NANAS some months ago by Mr Raymund Wee and Ms Lynda Goh.

Much practical knowledge is transmitted from the older folks to young ones. But they need to record the knowledge rather than be an observer. I seldom see the young ones doing any writing. It is a pity that the two vet students did not bother to write how other vets or senior staff do the work at NANAS.

What drug they use? What is the dosage? How long will the drug take effect? Any side effects?

If they record such "meaningless" data during their visit to NANAS, they record Animal Shelter Medicine and Surgery for their storage of knowledge. When they study veterinary pharmacology in the 3rd year or so, the records will make their lectures alive. Much practical knowledge and short cuts get forgotten in the sands of time. It is quite sad to see young ones not knowing the value of practical knowledge which would help them later in life or in examinations.

I record the following to share with young vets doing animal shelter medicine.



1. Zoletil 100
2. Xylazine 100 mg/ml 2 ml
3. Ketamine 100 mg/ml 8 ml
Total 10 ml in Zoletil bottle.
Can be used for 50 cat spays and neuter?
0.01 ml /kg recommended? Did I hear this figure incorrectly from Raymond Wee?

In practice, 0.15 ml IM for 1 kg kitten was effective!
5-6 hours after being fed a bland diet.

Compare to my Toa Payoh Vets practice:
Adult cats are starved 12 hours before surgery in my practice. I don't spay cats less than 6 months old. I use xylazine:ketamine IM (0.5 ml IM combination/2 kg kitten). The NANAS combination method uses very little volume (0.15 ml IM/1 kg kitten). It appears economical for mass sterilisation? It seems effective after observing around 8 surgeries.

Milk bladder to empty bladder.
Tongue pulled out. I see that the tongue is bright red in colour with this combination.
Eye ointment applied to eyes.

Onset: If given IM correctly, less than 2 minutes.
Duration of anaesthesia: Said to be 35 minutes.
Spay surgery: Should be done in 15 minutes.

Incision: Anterior and around 1 cm from the last pair of mammary glands. Sort of divide umbilical area to last pair by three 1/3. Use the posterior most 1/3 area to incise the linea alba. This incision is just above the bladder. Therefore and in any case, all muscle layer must be pulled up before stitching. Otherwise, the bladder is punctured by the stitching needle.

In adult cats, the incision is also around that area. It can be quite difficult to ligate the ovarian ligament as the incision is too posterior, in my opinion.
As for me, I incise about 1 cm from the umbilical area and find this spot the best.


1. Zoletil 50
2. Xylazine 100 mg/ml 1 ml
3. Ketamine 100 mg/ml 4 ml
I presume this will be sufficient for 25 cat spays and neuter?


Tolfedine ? I need to check on this drug.

0.3 ml SC given at the end of surgery. Apparently, the kitten or cat eats the next day. No pain. This is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

Amoxycillin suspension 0.5 ml SC.
I don't give antibiotics to cats after spay generally and seldom have complaints of fever. Cats eat after 1-2 days usually. But if pain management is used, they may eat a few hours after surgery based on feedback from NANAS?

Uterine horns will be 1/4 size of kitten of same age.
So, it will be very thin.

Incision should be one finger's width from umbilicus, not so posterior as in the kitten.

Bladder is expressed in a different way, said Mr Wee.

Will need to learn more about the NANAS method which has been shared by various vets from animal shelters in other parts of the world.

E-mail to if you have any feedback to give to me.

127. The Golden Retriever puppy vomited and purged over 10X

"For the past 2 weeks, she was all right. Then on Sunday, she vomited all her food and passed blood in her stools. Later there was no blood but she kept purging more than 10 times. Now she would not eat."

The puppy's stomach and intestine were full of gas.

"No new food or treat were given" the owner was insistent when I asked him many times over the half an hour. "The puppy goes to my office and there is nothing in the room. All my employees know that they don't feed him any chicken rice or any chicken. During exercise in the field, I observe her and she did not eat grass or soil."

Yet the puppy had this serious vomiting and diarrhoea. She was wagging her tail while standing on the examination table. Temperature was 38.8 deg C which was not very high fever.

I asked the owner again, "Any new product you purchased on Saturday or Friday?"

He shook his head. He was so sure that the puppy had gone to the Pasir Ris to play and swim. She had her 3 vaccinations done. Parvoviral infection was unlikely but could not be ruled out.

"Did you introduce new food or something to her?"

Finally, after more than 30 minutes, the owner recalled that the pet people had recommended the rawhide doggy bone. This was because the puppy ate all the previous dog treats.

"The raw hide doggy bone is more lasting and not chewed to pieces," the owner said. "That was on Saturday. The puppy chewed it in the afternoon on Sunday. It was durable, as the seller recommended.

The Golden Retriever had vomiting and diarrhoea a few hours later and on Sunday. He brought her to the vet on Monday morning.

So, the most likely cause of this acute gastroenteritis was the rawhide bone. It took so long to get this info!

126. Toilet training a pup who wants to be clean. Advice from the vet was good.

The Spitz X does not want to eliminate inside the $400 stainless steel crate with a grating and pee pan. The puppy tries to hold his bladder as he considered the crate as his den (clean area to sleep and eat).

So, after meals, a family member will tether him in the kitchen and wait for him to eliminate. When he shows signs, the newspapers are put under him. However, he will frequently eliminate on the kitchen floor.

"He takes a long time to eliminate," the owner said.

"This is due to distraction," I explained. "Somebody is holding a newspaper and watching him. He can't perform under scrutiny and pressure."

I had an idea, "Why not put newspapers to cover the floor of the common bathroom, tether him inside after meals. At least the kitchen floor will not be soiled and smelly and it is easier to clean the common bathroom floor!"

I did not expect the owner to follow up on this advice. When I met her today as the puppy was having pimples in his thights, I asked about the toilet training. She said that the Spitz was successfully paper-trained inside the bathroom. He is nearly 6 months old and he will be passing a larger amount of poop and pee. So, it is good news that he is paper-trained. A lot of stress for the family if he is not paper-trained as he is much loved.

125. Toilet-training - 2nd pup avoids newspapers


American Eskimo - 6 months. Paper-trained in daughter's room. Will go to her room whenever necessary.

New Pek-a-poo pup - 3 months, male. Avoids newspapers as a toilet area. Elminates outside the papers or on the tiled floor under the daughter's study desk.

How to solve the problem?

1. Check history of Pek-a-poo. Previous owner must have had trained him on tiled floor and other surfaces. Definitely no newspapers. So the new owner is unsuccessful in paper-training him. Furthermore, there is no urine smell to attract the pup to use the new newspapers.

2. To paper-train this pup, need to confine him to a small area or exercise pen in the daughter's room as follow: