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Many of the residents of Koh Samui have pets and we rely on the islands vets to help us take care of them, immunize them and treat illness, disease and care for them when they are injured. The Samui Times caught up with Kannika Thiabthim, owner of the M.A Vet Clinic, opposite Big C, to find out about her, her veterinary practice and how we can help our pets.
Thank you for meeting with us today, to start off, where do you come from in Thailand?
I come from the Roi Et province in the North East of Thailand.
How long have you lived in Koh Samui?
I have worked here for nearly 6 years. At first I worked at Samui Animal Clinic with Dr. Somsak for one and half year then I moved to Chiang Rai and worked there for 6 months before returning to Koh Samui.
Why did you want to become a vet?
I had a bad experience with my little dog when I was young. She was hit by car and her leg was broken. There was no vet service where we lived and I could not help her. It was at that point I decided to be a vet. I thought it would be nice if I could help dogs and cats from suffering.
Where did you train to become a vet?
I graduated from faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Khon Kaen University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Second Class Honors Degree in March 2007.
Why did you choose Samui to open your clinic?
I didn’t choose Samui to open my own clinic initially I wanted to have a clinic in Chiang Doa. It was almost accidental that I returned to Samui and ended up staying here.
I treat dogs and cats
What is the most common problem with pets in Samui?
The most common problem in dogs is blood parasite disease, in cats is cat flu. Other contagious diseases such as canine viral enteritis, canine distemper etc. are also common here. Other common problems include skin conditions like scabies, demodex mange and malassezia yeast.
How important is immunization for pets?
Immunization is the most important thing if you have pets. It is cheaper and easier to prevent diseases than treat them.
How important is pet sterilization?
Sterilization is important as a birth control method. Furthermore sterilization has other health benefits such as stopping mounting, urine spraying and male aggression may be reduced after neutering. Risk of mammary tumor or pyometra are prevented by spaying female dogs even more so if done before the first estrous cycle (the first period)
What are your opening hours?
We are opened from 9.00 am -8.00 pm. Closed on Thursdays.
Why do vets not operate after hours?
There is no emergency vet clinic yet on the island. The difficulty with having an afterhours service is to do with the vet law that if you are opened for 24 hours or have an emergency care unit, all equipments such as x-ray, gas anesthesia machine, ventilator etc. should be available and at least two vets should be there. So this is the reason that I could not perform an emergency unit.
What should you do with a sick or injured pet after hours?
I have emergency number for my regular clients. I do hope another vets provide this to their clients as well or if not you should ask your vet as soon possible.
Can you get health insurance for your pet in Samui?
Pet health insurance is a good idea for vet business. Furthermore it is good for pets and pet owners. I used to offer this service but I finally found that many risk factors affected the program. Such as too many ticks on the island, some contagious diseases like canine viral enteritis, canine distemper etc., it seems they become endemic disease. Also some zoonosis like Lyme disease (never found in Thailand) was found in an imported dog, so there are no guarantees even in imported dogs.
How can you prevent your pet from being poisoned ?
Prevention is very difficult but it is possible. I think training our pets to eat just from our hand is the easiest thing we can do. Sterilization is also helpful. Because of hormone decreasing, most pets are calm or less aggressive after sterilization. Many pets prefer to stay at home more than to go out.
What is the most common mistake pet owners make?
The most common mistake pet owner make is treating their pet with their pills. Some human medications are more toxic in dogs and cats. Paracetamol is very high toxic to dogs liver, and totally toxic to cats. Many cats die because their own gave them just a quarter of a tablet.
Does rabies exist on the island?
I never seen a case of rabies reported on the island in the five years that I have been here. However having no reports does not guarantee there are no rabid animas on the island. It is still better to prevent the disease by vaccination.
How can you prevent and treat tics and fleas?
Spot on, sprays, shampoos, injection, tick and flea powder, tick and flea collar.
Cats in the UK enjoy playing with toys stuffed with cat nip, can you get it on the island?
No, we cannot.
Is there anything people feed their pets that is bad for them?
You should not share your snacks with your dog, neither should you feed the dog from table. There are some foods that you should not give to the dog and they include chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, macadamia nut, bones, broccoli, coffee or tea, avocado and mushrooms
Do you offer a pet grooming service?
Yes we do, we also have a large range of pet supplies including food for animals with special dietary needs
Dr Aun’s shop is located opposite Big C’s Starbucks in Bophut.