It was Mother's Day on this Sunday, May 11, 2011. I open on Sundays but this Sunday, the Landlord of the industrial estate had switched off the electricity from 8 am to 3 pm. It was quite stuffy as the air conditioning was not functioning. "There will be no electricity," my 75-year-old receptionist informed me so that I could close the Surgery. However, I had prior appointments with Mrs Clow and her rabbit with diarrhoea. In any case, no surgery could be done, but consultation would be OK as I have bright glass windows and clear glass doors in the front desk.
After church at 11.30 am, Mrs Clow and her pre-teen daughter brought in 6 rabbits with crusty ear edges, nose and paws in one carrier with the mother rabbit and one wire cage with the father rabbit and 4 small dwarf rabbits of around 2 months old.
"My husband said that I should not be paying for the treatment as the rabbits are not mine. How much does it cost me to treat 6 rabbits for scabies?"
"Men are money-minded and practical unlike women when it comes to animals not belonging to them" I said.
"Does this include you?" she asked me. "No, no," I said. "I am generalising." I should have kept my mouth shut about the male homo sapiens.
"Should I send them to the SPCA?" Mrs Clow asked while her 11-year-old daughter was all ears.
I said: "If they are sent to the SPCA, they will be put to sleep after 3 days, as in most animal shelters in the U.S. Nobody would adopt these diseased rabbits. Their crusty infestation will take at least one week to drop off after my anti-scabies injection."
"Sometimes the scabies will recur as the surroundings still have the mites to attack the rabbits. In my experience one injection will do, but sometimes there is a need for two injections two weeks later. What will you be doing if the scabies come back?
"I can refer you to a pet shop that specialises in selling rabbits. The 4 young ones may find a home rather than be put to sleep at the SPCA." I phoned Agnes the pet shop operator. She was interested.
"In any case, you are not the owner," I cautioned. "You may get sued by the girl's parents. Why don't you talk to the owner? You are teaching your little girl the wrong values."
Mrs Clow said of her tall and slim daughter: "She is a big girl."
"How old are you," I asked the quiet girl.
"She is 11 years old," Mrs Clow replied.
Then she took out her iPhone from her handbag and thumb a message to the owner of the rabbit. Within a few seconds, Mrs Clow read the reply and said: "She wants all the 6 rabbits back."
"Why don't you talk to the girl's mother?" I advised. "You may get sued for doing what is right in your opinion." What is the right thing to do would be to sterilise the adult rabbits and to get them treated for scabies.
Bad blood between neighbours can flow fast if all these rabbits don't go home. Mrs
Clow said: "Treat the rabbits and keep them overnight. I will pay you tomorrow when I bring them home."
The four baby dwarf rabbits had thick crusts of 1cm x 0.8 cm on their noses and various big crusts on their paws and edges of the ears. They were thin. Normally I would not give them the anti-mite injection but this was now or never. So my intern Theresa restrained each rabbit while I injected the medicine under the skin at the back of the neck. One young rabbit squeaked. Another squealed and lay flat as it felt the pain. Theresa massaged the area and it recovered.
Mrs Clow went home and text-messaged me that the owner's mother would contact me. The mother paid for the treatment of the 6 rabbits the next day and brought them home. I hope the young ones would be OK and be able to eat a lot to put on weight and build up their resistance.
This was an usual Mother's Day as it involved two mothers and two daughters.
I remembered this day as a young couple came in with a cat with an injured right hind limb and the man said: "I googled 'vet open Sunday' and your practice appears on the top."
I was surprised. This cat had strayed out of the apartment and came back very lame. "She could not walk at first," the man said. "Now she could walk but her right hind leg was dragging."
I put the cat on the examination table and asked Theresa to hold it down on its left side. I flexed and extended the toes, stifle and the hip joints. There was no pain in the toes and stifle. But I heard a distinct click as the right hip ball and socket went back into the hip joint. "Did you hear the click?" I asked the man who was standing nearby. "Your cat was dragging its right hind because it had a loose hip, a subluxation of the hip joint." His wife was further back in this 80 sq. ft consultation room. "No," the man said. "I must be hard of hearing."
"No," his wife shook her head.
"Did you hear the click?" I asked my intern Theresa.
"Yes," Theresa said.
"In any case, did you see that the cat was angry when I put fix the hip as I rotated the ball into its socket?" I asked.
"Yes," the man confirmed. Then I pressed the backbone of the cat. It reacted in pain at the lower back. "Most likely, this cat had been attacked by another cat on its back and got his right hind limb skin scrapped off. Or a naughty boy had bashed him with a stick."
I was generalising on the male behaviour again. The cat was treated and warded for 3 days as the owner had no crate for him. He was as good as gold.