Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Straits Times : Finding purrfect cause in a stray

The Straits Times
By Fiona Low
5th March 2011

Tiong Bahru residents rally round to pay their favourite feline's vet bills

Books Actually has set up a donation box for Bob's veterinary bills and the vet has waived $8,000 of his fees. -- PHOTO: TERENCE YEUNG

A STRAY tabby, a familiar sight on the streets of Tiong Bahru in the last two years, has become a rallying point for the community there.

Bob, as the grey feline is known in Eng Hoon Street, has seen three vets and undergone four operations, running up $20,000 in veterinary bills. Residents and shop owners in the area are passing the hat around to pay these bills. Already, Dr Jean-Paul Ly, who performed the last two operations, has waived $8,000 of his surgical fees on hearing the cat is a stray.

With the rest of the medical bill still outstanding, Books Actually, the neighbourhood bookstore in Yong Siak Street, has set up a donation box. The kitty - no pun intended - now has $1,800.

Bob came to the area two years ago and started charming everyone. It began following design-school lecturer Terence Yeung, 40, and his wife home, and spending some nights with them.

Residents say the cat recognises people, and runs up excitedly to those it knows.

Human resources director Jean Fung, who is in her 40s, said: 'He's comfortable around people and friendly - not at all like your typical aloof stray cat. It's hard to explain, but he's very charismatic.'

Bob also likes following other residents around and right into their cars, just for a ride in the neighbourhood.

The feline went missing for a few days earlier this year, and when it showed up again, it had a gaping abdominal wound.

This was what started its medical problems. The vets Mr Yeung took it to at first treated it as a skin wound from a cat fight. But it did not heal. Subsequent visits to vets brought diagnoses ranging from bladder cancer to kidney failure, until Dr Ly found its bladder torn from its urethra.

Emergency surgery has since fixed that, but Bob is still in hospital, recovering.

Even Dr Ly sees the X-factor in the cat. He said: 'Every now and then, you find an animal so incredible. The whole hospital fell in love with him, we could not turn him away.'

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1 comment:

SGalf said...

The Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre has written in to give their version of the sequence of event and to clarify how much their charges are in relation to the seemingly exorbitant charges that was incurred while treating Bob.

This is their email :

Bob presented to Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre (MPVC) on 26/1/2011 for a wound on the right inguinal region (lower abdomen).

He seemed otherwise well and there was no other medical complaint brought up by the care takers.

The care takers couldn’t give us accurate history regarding possible trauma.

The wound was clipped and cleaned. Carers were counselled on possible seriousness of the wound and treatment discussed.

Bob was discharged after administration of long acting antibiotics.

Topical wound care medication and painkiller medication was given to be taken after discharge from the clinic.

The carers were given instructions on wound management.

Bob presented again on 4/2/2011 at After hours Emergency Centre (AEC) for passing bloody urine, not eating well and straining to urinate.

Bobs bladder was very large and he could not urinate.

X-ray and ultrasound were performed and treatment was commenced to relieve the blockage.

Bob was transferred to MPVC from AEC on 5/2/2011 for further treatment.

The carer felt Bob could not urinate properly due to stress of the hospitalisation and requested for discharge on 7/2/2011.

The carer wanted to try outpatient treatment to give him more freedom.

We agreed to the carer's request and the Bob was discharged with instruction of very close monitoring and warning of possibly severe consequences if he could not urinate well.

Bob was presented again on 9/2/2011 for being unable to urinate.

The carer reported that Bob was eating ok until the day of presentation.

The carer also noted Bob was straining hard but was unable to produce any urine.

Further examinations lead us to the diagnosis of ruptured urethra in the region of the neck of the bladder.

The severity of the condition and treatment options was discussed in depth with the carer twice and the senior surgeon also spoke to the carer regarding the various treatment options.

The carer declined all the treatment options and requested discharge to seek second opinion at Namly Animal Clinic where surgery was performed.

Bob was discharged on 11/02/2011.

As the original article was not clear on where the exorbitant charges were incurred, the cost of treatment is summarised below:

26/01/2011 MPVC $152 for skin wound.

4/02/2011 (during the CNY holiday period) AEC $1327.40 for urinating blood.

5/02/2011-7/02/2011 MPVC $ 584.80 for subsequent management.

9/02/2011-11/02/2011 MPVC $284.65 for revisit when the diagnosis of ruptured urethra was made.

Total amount $2348.85

Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre