Monday, June 10, 2013

1453. Sunday's interesting case. Veterinary Anaesthesia - A father becomes responsibile for Golden Retriever

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Date:   11 June, 2013  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles & rabbits
Vet anaesthesia - A rattled Golden Retriever snaps at the vet
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   11 June, 2013 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

Monday, June 10, 2013

1453. Sunday's interesting case. Veterinary Anaesthesia - A father becomes responsible for a Golden Retriever

"I could have spent my time making more money," the man in his late 50s had spent his free time washing the Golden Retriever daily for the last 4 weeks. The dog had generalised ringworm. Reddish skin in the face and body and a black lower body. A very itchy dog. 

I shaved it and instructed that its infected skin be washed daily with two types of washes I prescribed and give the anti-ringworm, antibiotic and a multivitamin + zinc medication. Owners who complied with my instructions generally find good outcomes but many don't come back for a skin review after a month. In this case, the owner came because the 5-year-old Golden Retriever had a very itchy right ear - all inflamed and red.

The son had bought the dog but is too busy to care for him when the dog had generalised ringworm. I said to the father, "Your situation is common in Singapore. Children buy the dog but have no time to care for them such as daily walks. The parents take over the responsibility and some love the dog to bits.

"Why don't you give this dog away? After all, you did not buy this dog. Golden Retrievers with their long coat are high maintenance." The older generation of Singaporeans are generally not dog lovers owing to the harsh economic times they were brought up and so this generation tends to be frugal and dog ownership is a luxury.

"A relationship is established," the father said.
"Do you go for walks with this dog?" I asked.
"Yes," he said.
"Dogs are better than human beings," I replied. "Dogs have time for you but people have their own agendas. Dogs don't get upset or angry with you for various reasons, unlike people."

He seem to appreciate his dog more after my talk . because he asked me whether his dog would be all right. I had the sedated the dog to irrigate his right ear thoroughly and did dental scaling to scale off the hard tartar in his back teeth and helped to carry his dog to the back seat of his car. The dog was still drowsy as it was just 30 minutes after sedation on this bright sunny Sunday afternoon near closing time of 4.30 pm.  Dental scaling under sedation at the same time as ear irrigation would save some money for the owner.

In any case, the hard tartar in the back teeth ought to be removed to prevent periodontitis and gum diseases. The owner came in just for ear problem but the vet ought to advise what other health care is needed. It is up to the owner to accept the advices such as dental scaling for the first time for this 5-year-old dog. It will be for the dog's good as his back teeth would last longer. It is not practical for the busy owner to brush the dog's teeth daily when he has no time for himself. So I was glad that this owner accepted the advice and did not say much about the need for tooth brushing. The dog is fed chicken and dog food and is quite trim owing to walks. Not one of those fat Golden Retrievers that have no outdoor exercises. 

As the dog was still drowsy and the owner worried, I rushed into the surgery to get the antidote of 0.8 ml Antisedan and injected it IM on the backside muscle of the dog in the back seat. "Your dog will wake up before you reach home," I said. The owner was quite happy as he worried about anaesthetic deaths.

In this case, I gave 0.8 ml domitor and 1.0 ml ketamine IV for a 33-kg Golden Retriever. This IV anaesthesia was sufficient for 15 minutes to do dental scaling of the back teeth and ear irrigation. The operating table was tilted downwards so that the water from the mouth during dental scaling flowed out.

P.S. 1.
Sharing my experience with this IV anaesthesia regime for other vets: The formula is 0.4 ml domitor + 0.5 ml ketamine IV for a 10-kg young healthy dog. This provides around 20-30 minutes of general anaesthesia. With this formula, I reduced the dosage for this 33-kg Golden Retriever as he does not need >15 minutes. Antisedan IM wakes up the dog and this puts the owner's mind at ease. 

P.S. 2.
The dog's ringworm was not fully cured. "It is around 80% cured," I said to the owner who had taped up a wet wound below the right hock. I took off the tape which revealed a weepy wound due to licking and cover up. There were black skin spots with scales but in general the new hairs had grown and the dog was no longer itchy. I showed the owner that the lower body was no longer black as before. I prescribed another course of ringworm medication. Maybe a reminder card or SMS ought to be sent a month after skin disease treatment?

P.S. 3
This dog snapped at me suddenly at the waiting room when I tried to touch his head to show the owner that the ringworm lesions had gone. He was sitting with the owner at the consultation room after I had examined him on the consultation room table. He did not object to my manipulations and ear checking then. This was unusual behaviour for a Golden Retriever but he must be angry with me for examining his ears and for previous injections. This time I did not give any injections and so I was surprised he snapped.

It seems that gentle dogs do get rattled too, like people, for various reasons! But this dog was angry at me for the ear checking and previous treatments and injections, not with his beloved owner.   

P.S. 4
I phoned the owner on Monday afternoon to follow up, but his mobile phone call terminated abruptly twice. Should have sms him.
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