Thursday, May 9, 2013

1409. Animal activism - the young Singaporean lady


Date:   10 May, 2013  

Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs & rabbits
A stray dog got pregnant young  
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   10 May, 2013 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

1406. Animal activism. A pregnant stray dog has a black tongue

May 7, 2013.

I reached Changi Airport from Amsterdam at 5.30 am Singapore time and arrived at the Surgery at 9.10 am to check on the administrative processes and cases done while I was on leave for 12 days. It is part of the responsibility and good management. If the leader (vet) is lazy and come late to work, don't expect the staff to be hardworking -that applies to all businesses. As expected, my assistant turned up at 9.14 am thinking I was still overseas. I had spoken to him about work attitude but some young people lack self discipline.

It should be 3.15 am now in Amsterdam and I ought to be sleeping. The first phone call I answered was from a young lady asking whether the vet does house-call and how much. I said we do house-call and the fees start from $250 but not every dog can be treated on the premises.

"A pregnant black cross female dog at the Ang Mo Kio factory is walking here and there," she said. "Can a vet do the check up? The side of her tongue is black."

I wanted to give her the dog transport man's phone number. She was hesitant as this might upset the dam. "You can accompany her," I said. "Some dogs do have black tongues from birth. Some black pigments on the tongue," I said.   

"Is the dog eating and drinking normally?" I asked.
"Is she peeing and pooping normally?" I would say that the black tongue was natural since the dog did not show any signs of salivation, bleeding ulcerations and was eating.

"Is she active?"
"Yes," the young lady said.
"How long has the dog been pregnant?"
"2 months ago," she replied.
"Did you see the mating?"
"No, I know it is 2 months. Everybody loves her. She is a friendly dog."
"She may be giving birth soon" I did not explain that the pregnancy is 60 days as nowadays, the young lady Singaporeans are well informed by researching the internet on canine gestation.  I just read the Sunday Times dated yesterday on the Singapore Airlines flight back that there are 30 animal welfare groups as compared to many years ago. Some female Singaporeans go on animal care tourism e.g. panda parks.

"Find a big box, towels and newspapers. Put the box in a quiet place e.g. the landing between floors to provide privacy for giving birth."

It was not practical advice as this was an industrial park and no privacy in between floors would be available to give birth. The lady said so accordingly.
"How about near the Security Guard house?" I asked

"No, the guard will not permit it esp. during daytime."
Where to place her for birth?
The young lady came to the conclusion that the dog was wandering around to seek a private space.

So this young lady is an animal welfare activist. Her action reminded me when I was in the Bukit Merah Primary School. I used to bring bread and food to a nursing female dog on the first floor of the landing of the Redhll flat. That was 50 years ago. Now, there will be a few hundred young female Singaporeans taking care of the disadvantaged dogs. Men are fewer.

As for this pregnant dog, I told the young lady that a house-call was not needed. She thanked me. P.S. The lady send an image of the dog to my iPhone the next day. The dog is a cross-bred and looks like a one-year old based on her snow-white teeth.  I asked the young lady to contact the dog transport man who will bring a microchip scanner to find out if the dog has a microchip. She suspected that the dog could be lost or abandoned.

I would hazard a guess that this is a stray dog that survived being captured by the authorities and pest control contractors hired by town councils to get rid of stray dogs and cats, through the kindness of the young Singaporean workers in the industrial park and non-protests from the older ones. She got pregnant young and is looking for a den to give birth.

Recently, I read 3 newspaper reports of two stray dogs being captured and put to sleep by the authorities causing distress and protests from the animal lovers in the neighbourhood. A member of parliament who adopted one black stray dog also lost it as she wandered out of the house and disappeared.  In 2013, stray dogs are quite rare unlike 20-30 years ago when one could see them around coffee-shops. As a country advances, the strays get easily trapped and eliminated by the authorities or are protected in safe havens. 
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