Chats with Pet Lovers: Dr David Quach
By Fluffy Pets 28 Jan 202019:03
Dr David Quach was born in Paris, grew up in Australia and completed his veterinary degree at the University of Melbourne in 2006. Following graduation Dr Quach moved to Hong Kong and practiced with Dr Eric's Veterinary Practice and the Animal Medical Centre. He has also worked closely with welfare organisations such as Hong Kong Dog Rescue and Lamma Animal Protection.
Please tell us a little bit about your role at Creature Comforts Groups.
I am one of the partners at Creature Comforts Group, working along side Trilby and Dr. Gething. My main duties are to manage the Creature Comforts Veterinary Housecall Practice, as well as having an active veterinary role in seeing consults through our housecall service. I spend every day visiting pets at their home and taking care of anything that might be making them unwell.
What is something unique that you've noticed about the HK pet scene, that is different from your experience in other countries, such as Paris and Australia?
The unique thing about Hong Kong is how big a part of the family the pets are. They are not pets, they are fur babies, and definitely treated and taken care in this way. Also, because in Hong Kong often there isn't much space, and fur babies sleep with or live very closely with the family, this allows parents to pick up something wrong very quickly, which is great because its often easiest and most successful to treat problems when they just begin, instead of waiting for too long.
What is a typical day like for you?
I get to the clinic at 8am in the morning, prepare any medicine that I may need for that day, go through my schedule, and then take off to my first appointment, which is usually around 8:30am. From then on its normally consults back-to-back, one hour apart (unless they're in Kowloon or the New Territories, then it takes a bit more travelling time) until 6:30pm.
For most of my visits, I enter the house, greet the parents and the pet, usually with some treats and some play, and discuss what has been concerning the parents before examining the pet. Then, I give some advice and treatment before leaving. Hopefully somewhere in the schedule, there is a small window to allow me to grab a coffee and a bite at a cafe near by one of my appointments. At the end of the day, if there is blood that I have taken, then I bring it back to the clinic and have my team run it in our lab. Then I head home.
What is the most memorable case you have seen in orthopaedic surgery and ophthalmology?
For me, the most memorable surgery was saving a dog's eye and vision. Dogs can get eye injuries that penetrate the cornea, and this leaves them with quite a large hole in the surface of the eye. With the right technique and if we can do this in time, then we can save the eye. I always find it very sad when dogs lose their vision when they are young, either through disease, injury.
What is your favorite and the most challenging part of the job?
Being a housecall vet, one of my favourite things is to meet dogs, or cats, in their own environment, where they are not nervous or scared like when they are at the clinic. It is always lovely to enter a client's home and then be greeted like a family member with an overly happy dog. Cats, not so much; they normally run and hide.
The most challenging part of being a housecall vet is that I do a lot of last moment visits, and being in the client's home, with their friends and family, it is always heart-breaking to be the one who is here to give the last injection. That will always be challenging and hard, especially hard if it is a patient that I have been seeing for so many years.
Can you talk about one or two animal charities that you are passionate about?
I think, right now, any charity that helps with the bush fires in Australia, as what is happening over there is heartbreaking. In Hong Kong, Paw United is doing wonderful things for the homeless cats and dogs in town. Jen and her team are doing a wonderful job.
What are the most common cases you see in your current role?
With housecalls, the most common cases I see has to be skin problems. Unfortunately, Hong Kong's climate and pollution are terrible for dogs' skin and they very often develop skin problems. Skin problems can be very tricky to treat and often owners will become very frustrated as sometimes the treatment might work and sometimes it is not so effective.
Just as common are vomiting and diarrhoea cases, sometimes because the dog stole some food from the table, or the owners are having a gathering and the dogs get fed lots of table scraps, or simply because the dogs have gone out for a walkand have eaten something off the ground. Diarrhoea and vomiting are very common as a result, and I see a lot of cases of gastroenteritis.
Injuries to dogs and cats are quite common too, where the pets hurt their leg or have a cut on their skin. I often do housecalls for cats' minor injuries as it can be very stressful for the owners to take the cat to a clinic, and for dogs, if they are too heavy or the dog is having difficulty walking, the owners may prefer a housecall.
What do you wish most pet parents would know?
I want them to know that they are doing an excellent job at looking after their fur baby. The majority of pet parents are very good at keeping up to date with all the vaccinations and preventions such as tick/flea treatment, deworming, etc. I think they understand that prevention is the best treatment and I have definitely noticed that the majority of pet parents are doing a fantastic job.
Also, other preventions like brushing the dogs' teeth and having their teeth cleaned regularly is important as well, and I can see that parents are really good at maintaining this. Brushing their teeth once a day, just like our own, is so much more important than having a proper clean once every few years.
Exercise and keeping a good healthy weight is important and I think a lot of pet parents are doing a fantastic job here too, I don't see too many overweight dogs most of my days so this is very pleasing. So many conditions can happen because of overweight pets.
I think there is not much I wish for, I just hope pet parents will continue to maintain the fantastic standard they have set. I think Hong Kong pet parents should be very proud.
One thing before I go, it is Chinese New Year, remember to be very careful when you have gatherings, and not let the fur babies eat too much human food, as they can have upset tummies, I don't want to see too many vomiting or diarrhoea patients over this period!