Sunday, September 25, 2011

638. Sunday Sep 25, 2011 - A kitten's generalised ringworm infected the owner

The kitten has generalised ringworm
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
The pet transport man came to get the address to pick up two kittens from The Sails condo at Marina Bay. "Today is F1 day. The road to this condo will be closed," I said. Dr Vanessa will phone the owner to inform her.

The owner who had connections with my old school known to produce "nerds" according to her, had e-mailed to me for a house-call which was done by Dr Vanessa. She brought back a kitten full of ringworm on the skin. As I was around when the owner came, I had a word with her on ringworm. Sometimes it is fun to help the owner know more about their pet's treatment, reinforcing Dr Vanessa's advices and this communication from two vets instead of one makes the owner's visit much more interesting. Most times, I don't introduce myself and am mistaken for the receptionist or vet assistant. This owner had a lot of tattoos which surprised me as she was a young fair lady. She had ringworm lesions on her throat, her thighs and her belly and showed the anatomy to Dr Vanessa and I. Well, this is a modern world and I lifting the blouse to show ringworm lesions in the belly is not immodest.

She showed me a tube of cream to apply to her various ringworm lesions. "I feel so itchy," she said or that was what I heard. Well, she had so many infected skin spots shaped like a ring and ringworm is a very itchy disease. I am surprised that her finger nails have not been infected.

"Normally, the doctor will prescribe a tube of cream. You should ask your doctor to prescribe oral medication if it is widespread," I advised and told her that ringworm is common in Singapore's dogs and cats when she asked. "We are treating your kitten with medication and ringworm washes, but no cream as kittens lick away the cream and poison themselves in the long run."

"Long ago, I had ringworm in my hair when I was an undergraduate in Glasgow University. It was very itchy and took several weeks to be cured. I had to take tablets and de-contaminate my clothing as well. You need to de-contaminate your apartment, brushes and sleeping areas!"

"Can I have some of the tablets you prescribe for the kitten?" she asked.
"No, no," I said. "We are licensed to treat animals, not people. You can speak nicely to your general practitioner and ask for the oral tablets. I am sure he will give them to you." I don't know whether I had heard clearly whether she said she had ringworm in her back. It would be difficult to apply cream there herself. Fortunately, her hair was clear of ringworm.

"I have engaged a pest controller for my apartment," she said.
"They are a waste of money," I said. "You need to personally clean up the apartment daily while the controller comes once. You need to vacuum the corners, wash the brushes and clothing and bed sheets and other. You need to get your other two kittens clipped bald as well as ringworm is contagious. Put your kittens in a carrier and bring them down to the Surgery quickly."

Dr Vanessa said: "I am getting Martin to transport the two kittens to be clipped." But the day chosen was F1 Sunday and so Martin came for nothing. Martin is our pet taxi man.

This reinforcement of Dr Vanessa's advices about ringworm is good for the lady as ringworm is a zoonosis. It may help to retain clientele and that is how a vet practice sustains its profitability. It is not about the individual veterinary ego although most owners prefer the vet that treats their dogs and in this department, Dr Vanessa is dealing with most of them and is the hot favourite.

From the receptionist's counter, I learnt much more about the owner's needs than as a vet. There was one interesting owner, a business man who kept asking me for the bill as he came to get his daughter's dog home from an overnight stay for treatment.

However, Dr Vanessa was in her consultation room discussing another dog treatment with some owners. This took more than 15 minutes and he was getting restless. So I talked to him as I did my work.

"How did you locate Dr Vanessa?" I asked.
"The counter girl at her old practice told me," he said.
"I thought the practice would never reveal as this means a loss of customers." Nowadays, don't expect your staff to be loyal to the employer anymore. It is now more like biting the hand that feeds you as times have changed. It is up to the employer to create loyalty amongst the staff but that is not easy as the younger generation goes to another place for a few dollars more.

"Well," he said. "Dr Vanessa must have been nice to the counter girls."
I agreed with him and asked what occupation he was in as a part of conversation.

"I am retired," he said. "What were you doing before you retired?" I asked. He was a food and beverage man.

"Did you read about the case of the supplier bribing the Chinese restaurant chefs with millions of dollars?" I asked.

"It is still a common practice," he said. "Only that this supplier was caught by the anti-corruption agents. Unlike big hotels that have a purchasing department, Chinese restaurant chefs are in charge of purchasing. So, they ask for money. Otherwise they will reject the seafood as not fresh. If they are bribed, they don't bother with the freshness or the correct weight of the food received. The supplier just increase the price or decrease the weight of the seafood to pay for the bribes!"

It is hard to eradicate corruption even in Singapore with the anti-corruption agency. We talked more about his excellent achievements of his two daughters and property investments during our era of the 1980s when bank loan qualifications were not so stringently controlled by the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore), the bureaucrats, the academics and the politicians.

I got a first-hand view of how he did his overseas development business which books will never be able to explain. He was around my generation. Then he asked what I did before becoming a receptionist since I was at the reception counter. "Well," I said. "You can say that I am the original vet as I started this practice."

Finally Dr Vanessa was free for him. "You have kept our friend waiting for a long time," I said to Dr Vanessa. "No, no problem at all," he said and gave Dr Vanessa the name of his business that is very good for her. A Victoria Secrets type of business. Women's business are the best in this world of business, besides property development.

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