We are getting a quartz counter top for our kitchen. That’s what I decided after reading generic comparisons of counter top materials.
Where did the counter top go????
Our original counter top was white solid surface – a totally bland and underwhelming material that stained easily and something that was never going to step foot in my kitchen again. Haha.
Only foodcourt stalls use solid surface. Their contracts last for two years, and then they reno and change the counter tops again.
– so says the guy who came to measure our kitchen for the counter top
Note: Our solid surface counter top did last us for the last 7 years before we decide to change it.
KompacPlus vs Quartz
The first interior design sales person we met with showed us tiled samples of KompacPlus and Quartz which are apparently what is more popular for residential kitchen counter tops currently.
If you want a counter top that has a thin profile with a wood look and feel, go for KompacPlus; if you prefer the counter top to look like a thicker slab of stone – terrazzo or marble – go for Quartz.
It was an easy snap decision between the two for me. The KompacPlus sample felt textured, while the quartz felt smooth. When it comes to cleaning up, I prefer a smooth surface since I worry a textured surface will trap dirt and bacteria.
Note: To be frank, it was a snap decision and I didn’t research into KompacPlus. You can do so to make a more balanced decision. Here’s their website: http://www.kompacplus.com/
Otherwise come with me to shop for my quartz counter top and find out what’s available in the market!
iQuartz, Lian Hin or Caesarstone
When it comes to discussing what quartz to get, every interior sales person and contractor we spoke to straight away goes into the discussion of the available colours. The subject of brand did not come up at all.
However, blog and forum surfing threw up some fun pops of personal opinion from the forum collective such as,
Iquartz is at the bottom. Go for Lian hin Quartz at least for China Quartz.
It also turned out that our ID’s default quartz supplier was Lian Hin and that was what she based her quote on. So I googled further and found this little nugget,
I also have my quartz counter top from Lian Hin. I believe my contractor did mention it is the material is from China but it’s as durable as those that claimed to be be made from Europe.
Reason being that at the end of the day how durable a item/material is depends on the user.
I was told that the China and Israeli quartz differences is in the certifications. E.g. Caesarstone has sent their products for lab
test to show their chemical composition does no pose a threat to humans but the China ones being cheaper does not have.
Caesarstone quartz surfaces meet stringent product emissions standards and have very little impact on indoor air quality. All Caesarstone quartz products are independently certified by the GREENGUARD Certification, which is part of UL Environment, a business unit of UL (Underwriters Laboratories), as low-emitting surfaces…
Caesarstone quartz surfaces are compliant with the International Health and Safety Foundation sanitary standard NSF51, ensuring that our working surfaces are safe for use in all food environments. Our non-porous surfaces inhibit the growth of mildew and bacteria, thus creating a hygienic surface.
There are also other quartz brands like Silestone, Colourquartz in the market. Stone Amperor appears to sell a variety of brands that you can check out here. But we have a very short timeline for our kitchen reno, so we operated within our ID’s default supplier catalogs when choosing materials for the kitchen. That was how we chose the laminate for the kitchen cabinet.
Choosing a quartz pattern for my kitchen counter top
However, when it came to the kitchen counter top, the decision wasn’t so easy. The selection we were quoted for covered only terrazzo-looking quartz.
This is probably what most homeowners end up working with because it’s the affordable basic range of quartz that I assume IDs and contractors quote for to meet the customers’ own budget expectations.
And while I do like terrazzo floors in retro style homes, retro was never the vibe we were going for. Mr P detests anything that looks old, vintage, retro, etc. :P And if I have to be honest, food prep on a speckled worktop didn’t appeal to me on a visceral level.
Lian Hin quartz in various tones of white. We didn’t like Jade White and Winter because they were kind of yellow. Frozen had specks that had a brownish tinge. We could possibly make do with Snow White, White Pearl or White Star but the fact that I couldn’t make up our mind showed that I didn’t like them too much either. :P
Our ID promptly dropped by with her marble quartz catalog the next day. We were only looking at white quartz, a design decision aligned with our ID.
Lian Hin Quartz Tiles with Marble Look. The bigger square tiles are very useful for seeing more of the grain.
But you know what, it was really hard to visualise how the marble will actually look like in the context of our kitchen! So the next day we decided impromptu to make a trip down to the Lian Hin showroom.
Address: 204 Woodlands Industrial Park E9, Singapore 757879
It was definitely the right decision. Look at the whole wall of quartz tiles for you to view and compare!
Quartz tiles with marble effect at Lian Hin showroom
It definitely helps you to envision how the quartz may look like from afar.
Near and far comparison of White Quartz from Lian Hin. White Star is most obviously speckled even from far. White Pearl presents a more solid white top compared to the other tiles.
If there’s one thing the showroom does not do so well, it is the lighting which tends to highlight some tiles and cast others in shadow.
Tile colour may be misleading due to the indoor lighting
And we ended up more attracted to their brightly-lit new product, which is this striking Porcelain counter top. Haha!
Lian Hin porcelain counter top. I liked the sketch-like effect of the darker grain to one side of the counter balanced with the white space on the other side, while Mr P liked only the softer colours around the sink.
But to be honest, this striking porcelain counter top and backsplash with a dynamic feel will probably work best in an open kitchen that forms part of the bigger living space than in our tight little galley kitchen. :P
The whole time we were there, we felt that the Lian Hin staff were really friendly and helpful. They told us we could pick what patterns we were interested in, and then they can bring us to another location in the building where we can view the full size product and decide which marble pattern we liked better from there. Based on the staff recommendation, I decided on their new product Collina and their popular product Foresta. Are you ready to go take a look with me? ;)
“Wah! The quartz is hauled out with a crane system!!” I gawked. Suitably impressed. Suaku I am but I was having fun. :P
Lian Hin marble look large quartz sheet. Collina on the left and Foresta on the right.
Collina has gentle grey streaks on a white base that is also slightly more grey-ish. Foresta has more contrasting brown-ish streaks on a white base that is more milky. Personally I preferred the softer feel of Collina.
Before we left, the staff also very generously provided us with smaller tile samples of Collina, Foresta and Blanco Marfill that we could bring home to see how it will look against the wood laminate on our cabinets.
And because I wanted to have another brand for comparison on this blog post, we decided to visit the Caesarstone showroom (for fun :p) after our very good experience at Lian Hin.
The Caesarstone showroom cleverly presented their quartz sheets in a long format so it’s easy to see how they will look like as the counter top in your kitchen.
Quartz Display at Caesarstone showroom. There’s something about their panels, maybe it’s the small range and a specific colour palette. Maybe it’s the lighting. But I just felt very comfortable looking at them, especially at the wall of white panels slowly transitioning into beige on the other side. And I don’t even like beige and browns. Hah!
The selection of marble patterned quartz at Caesarstone is limited to just two, unlike the full wall of panels at Lian Hin. But Caesarstone also offers concrete patterned quartz which we did not see at Lian Hin. (Not sure if we were too focused on the marble slabs there and missed it, lol)
Caesarstone quartz – marble and concrete effect
In any case, what grabbed our attention at Caesarstone was the specific Quartz panel called Intense White.
Caesarstone Intense White Quartz
Both of us liked it straight away. And suddenly, it just displaced all the marble panels we saw before. Ooops!
It stood out amidst a wall of four white panels. Very quiet and calm in its simplicity.
And you know.
She’s the one.
Caesarstone also kindly provided us with sample tiles that we may take home to compare against the laminate on our kitchen cabinet. So let’s take a look and compare, shall we?
What the sample quartz tiles looked like on-site in our kitchen
So at the end of the day, we narrowed out selection down to thee. Collina marble effect quartz from Lian Hin and Intense White and Fresh Concrete from Caesarstone. I guess you could call Fresh Concrete a wild card. :P
Quartz tiles against sink and cabinet laminate in the shadow. Caesarstone Fresh Concrete, Lian Hin Collina and Caesarstone Intense White in that order.
Quartz tiles at night with single ceiling light source. Caesarstone Intense White, Caesarstone Fresh Concrete and Lian Hin Collina in that order. Collina looks kind of dull here.
Quartz sample tiles against backsplash at around 4pm in the afternoon. Caesarstone Fresh Concrete, Lian Hin Collina and Caesarstone Intense White in that order. Intense White is whitest against the white tile.
My kitchen is a small, not very well lit galley kitchen. It gets some indirect sunlight in the day and there is only one single ceiling light source in the night. Hence the preference for a light, bright counter top.
Given that’s the case, the marble tile we chose does tend to look dull in comparison since it’s base white colour is an off-white closer to the Caesarstone Fresh Concrete tile than the Caesarstone Intense White tile.
Caesarstone Intense White is something we are seriously considering still because it is going to cost more than the more affordable Lian Hin range that we were quoted for.
It seems we’ve come full circle, from not liking terrazzo-like quartz to considering marble-like quartz, back to terrazzo-like quartz with the Caesarstone Intense White.
I put the samples I have together to compare. If we were to keep to our original budget, than the White Pearl from Lian Hin may be the closest match to Intense White. Closest but not exactly the same.
White quartz – Caesarstone vs Lian Hin. Caesarstone Intense White on the left; Lian Hin on the right.
Which one will we choose in the end? Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Quartz counter top review! ;)
What are your experiences with your own counter top??
Share with me in the comments below!
Another kibble brand for our dog’s dry food rotation – Nutram!
Donna can spell! LOL!!
It’s boring eating the same food all the time. Here at weliveinaflat, we believe in switching things up by rotating brands and rotating proteins! We saw an increase in Canadian dog food brands in the market in 2017. So I’m happy to check out a new dry food brand that launched early 2018. Let’s take a look at Nutram’s Total Grain-free food! This food has a 5 star rating on Dog Food Advisor.
Disclosure: Nutram products shared in this post kindly provided by Polygen Asia for Donna to try. They’ve also recently brought in freeze-dried and dehydrated PURE Pet Food from the UK. You can find out more from their Facebook or Instagram.
Nutram’s total grain-free food is suitable for all stages, which means it can be eaten by dogs of any age. One thing that differentiates Nutram grain-free dry food from some other brands is, Nutram also has food specifically for small and toy dogs in the same grain-free food range. See the full range here.
Nutram Total Grain-Free Dry Food for Dogs – Above Average Protein BUT Without the Usual High Calorie Count!
For the purpose of this review, I received the Trout and Salmon Meal Recipe, Lamb and Lentils Recipe and also the Chicken and Turkey recipe.
When reviewing the foods’ caloric and nutritional content, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Nutram food offers a range of 33%-40% protein (dry matter basis) while still keeping the calories at below 400 kcal per cup!
I say surprised because other well-regarded dog dry food brands that offer the same 30%-40% protein range usually have corresponding higher calories count at above 400 calories per cup. To put things into context, *performance dry food at 400 kcal per cup or more is recommended for active working dogs!
Now do you see the problem? Donna is a pet dog and not an active working dog. This means, it’s a lot easier for her to put on weight when eating some of the well-regarded brands that I may have bought for her . I used to feed Donna a brand that went as high as above 500 kcal a cup!! (Not anymore :P)
Natural, Holistic recipes with Optimum Combinations of Ingredients
Each of the food I receive are suitable for dogs with specific protein allergies. The trout and salmon recipe is a fish-only recipe. The chicken and turkey recipe is a poultry-only recipe. And the lamb and lentils recipe also has no added poultry or fish protein. This makes it easy for pet parents to chose the protein your dog needs without worrying that the fish recipe contains poultry inside for example.
But at the same time, Nutram recipes can include a variety of ingredients with healthful benefits. According to Nutram, each recipe is enhanced with ‘a perfect pairing of ingredients that complement one another’s benefits… (and) work better together to support your pet’s total well-being.’
Personally, I do like the variety these 19 optimum combinations give to Nutram’s ingredient lists. Since I do believe variety is important in any a well-balanced diet. From what I observe, each of the Nutram food Donna receives has 2 such pairing in each recipe. For example, her trout and salmon food has Optimum Combinations for Natural Detox and Immunity Boost.
Of course, this does not stop me from adding my own additions to Donna’s breakfast and dinner! ;)
Concluding Thoughts on Nutram Total Grain-Free Dry Food for Dogs
In general, Nutram appears to be a good quality dog dry food with protein levels comparable to other quality brands, BUT with less kcal per cup. That is a plus and definitely makes the food a brand I would consider to include when planning to include fish, poultry and lamb in Donna’s food rotation.
The variety in the ingredients list will certainly help to make her overall food rotation more interesting and varied. I think it helps to give an added boost to the existing nutrient profiles she enjoys from other brands.
It would be interesting to see if Nutram will launch other proteins in future in addition to fish, poultry and lamb. But right now the quality of food is good enough to add to an existing food rotation for me.
In my few short years as a person with a dog, I’ve not come across a local collaboration between a pet retailer with the celebrity/fashion world yet. (Maybe I’m just ignorant :P) So the Good Dog People x Daniel Boey “Good Dogs & People” show was the first for me.
Even so, I didn’t volunteer Donna to be a runway model because I wasn’t going to be at the Pet Expo today (Saturday) since I already had a baby shower to go to.
However, when I got asked to let Donna help out as a dog model at the Pet Expo media preview there was really no reason for me to decline as well. I was going to attend the media preview anyway. And it was for a good cause since it supports adoption and “10% of the SingaPaw Showcase that was the feature of the show will go towards supporting the big move of animal shelters from Pasir Ris to Sungei Tengah”.
More about the upcoming relocation of dog shelters to Sungei Tengah
What I didn’t expect was that Donna would be paired with Sijun from Seedztudio. Sijun is a 14-year-old young artist born with Down Syndrome. (You can read more about him here.)
That was when I started thanking my lucky stars that Donna had her 1 to 2 years experience as a therapy dog playing and interacting with rowdy children and adults at Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled with Therapy Dogs Singapore (TDS).
And I have to say Sijun has an amazing guardian who gave him guidance on how to interact with Donna. And she really put me at ease. Because honestly, Donna can be the best-behaved and focused dog with me but that’s not necessarily the case with people she meets for the the first time. :P
Donna and Sijun before the show. Sijun worked hard practicing with Donna the dog model :P before the preview in order for them to put their best step forward for the actual show at the media preview.
Let the show begin!
And when the show began, it almost looked like Donna was going to do passably well. Hahahahahaha…
I think they look good together here. Donna modelling the Purple Fox bandana featuring the art drawn by Sijun. Sijun is wearing his Sijun & Friends x ATGAB backpack. Pre-order here.
The dog model giving me the whale-eye here. But I think she is still managing well with the stress.
Sijun gets Donna to focus back on him by giving her treats. Nice work!
The lineup of dog models and their people at the preview show!
The upcoming Singapore Pet Expo 2018 has some dog and art-related activities that can be enriching for you and your outgoing dog!
Our pet dogs are smart. There’s no denying it. That’s why staying at home all day, while the humans are at work can get boring for them. Enrichment activities are a great way to mentally challenge your dog and keep him busy and happy.
Enrichment is NOT about making it harder! Enrichment IS about enjoying your pet’s joy! Enrichment IS about making their life and yours more enjoyable!
– a thoughtful quote from Margaret Pender, Jan 18 post on Canine Enrichment facebook group admin
So let’s take a look at some of the activities that are in the Singapore Pet Expo program schedule!
Follow Singapore Pet Expo for the latest news and updates!
Instagram @petexposg | Facebook @petexposg
1. Design-a-tote workshop
How should I design this tote bag??
Design a tote bag together with your dog at this workshop by ClubPets. Each human and dog pair will get a DIY kit for this activity when you sign up.
Design-a-tote 7 April 2018, Saturday 12.15pm – 01.15pm
Workshop tickets priced at $20 per pax (human & dog)
Come with a friend and you’ll each only need to pay $18 per pax (human & dog)
Workshop size limited to 20 people.
Don’t wait. Sign up now at the PetExpo website!
2. Breed Races
Corgi breed race in 2017
The Singapore Specials are certainly looking forward to the Breed Race at the Singapore Pet Expo. Registration slots for this category of dogs is full, but registration is still open for Border Collies and Samoyeds.
This activity requires groups of 2 humans and 1 dog to participate. Participating dogs will be lined up on one end of the race area with one human. The second human will be at the finishing line encouraging the dog to run down the racetrack towards them. (Check out the video above to see how it works!)
Scottish terriers and Basset Hounds have one more level of difficult for their breed races. Their race path will be lined with treats and toys to distract them!
The top three fastest dogs for each race stand to win prizes worth more than $100.
Breed Race Days and Timing
Date: 6 April 2018, Friday Singapore Special – 6.00pm to 6.30pm (No more slots) Border Collie – 6.30pm to 7.00pm Samoyed – 7.00pm to 7.30pm
Race limited to 20 dogs per breed.
Don’t wait. Sign up now for the Breed Race!
Temptation Breed Race Days and Timing Date: 7 April 2018, Saturday Scottish Terrier – 6:30pm to 7:00pm Basset Hound – 7:00pm to 7:30pm
Race limited to 20 dogs per breed.
Don’t wait. Sign up now for the Temptation Breed race!
3. Dog Yoga
Donna is an expert at the downward dog. :P
Yoga enthusiasts! Here’s an event that lets you try out yoga with your dog!
Two Dog Yoga classes by Pawfully Fit will enable you to help your dog join in and do some simple poses. Your dog may also “assist” you in achieving the various yoga poses.
Pawfully Fit says their Dog Yoga class incorporates various elements of yoga, stretching, dog training, meditation and gentle massage for your dog.
Dog Yoga 6 April 2018, Friday 12.30pm – 1.20pm
7 April 2018, Saturday 11.15am – 12.00pm
Tickets priced at $15 per pax (human and dog)
Class size limited to 15-20 people (with dog).
Don’t wait. Sign up now at the Pet Expo website!
4. ‘Artsy Fartsy’ Pawgeant show
Please don’t mind the drool, says the canine model. :P
Put together the most creative and artistic outfit for your dog. Post a photo or video of your dog in the outfit on Instagram. And your dog can stand a chance to compete at the finals at Pet Expo’s Artsy Fartsy Pawgeant King and Queen contest! More details on how to join here.
‘Artsy Fartsy’ Pawgeant Show 6 April 2018, Friday 03:15pm – 04.00pm
Eight finalists will walk the runway in order to be crowned King and Queen.
Follow Pet Expo on Instagram and on Facebook here to join this activity and get the latest Pet Expo news!
More about Singapore Pet Expo 2018
There are more activities and numerous stalls at the 3-day Pet Expo to explore, after all it is billed as Singapore’s Largest Pet Fair. Just be sure to choose the activity that best fits you and your dog so both of you will have fun with it!
With so many dog bakery and treat shops around, how do you choose?
On these page I have listed those bakeries that have been in business for nearly 3 years or more. Followed by the new ones that I have more recently discovered. I guess the longest surviving ones may be more credible and with more reliable service if that’s what you are looking for. ;)
But if you are more adventurous, check out the new ones and you may just find a new favourite to order from ;)
Note: Inclusion in this post is in no way a guarantee of food or service quality from the featured businesses. So do make your choices with care. :)
Established bakeries that were opened before April 2015 (nearly 3 years or more in business)
Here’s a post I started writing in April 2015 and didn’t complete until now in 2018 LOLOL. So you know why I know which shops are around before and after April 2015 :P
1. The Barkery Singapore
AVA-licensed with a storefront at 326 Joo Chiat Road, S(427583). Convenient for people living in the East!
Sells a mix of dog treats including cakes, pies, dehydrated treats and also other dog accessories in their retail and online shop.
What I like: My personal favourites here are the affordable cookies and dehydrated treats with turmeric. I bought the frozen stuff before like the bone broth and their self-made bratwurst sausages (really cool, no one else has it I think) but they are still there in the freezer. – – So get those if you love them, but if you are a hoarder like me… don’t.
AVA-licensed with a storefront at 128 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 #01-1849 S560128. It will be safer to make an appointment before visiting. Convenient for people living in the central part of Singapore.
Sells a mix of cakes, pizzas, crunchy and soft treats. Also check out their bundle deals for birthdays. And also a small selection of toys and other accessories in their retail and online store.
What I like: My personal favourites here are the cheddar and apple cookies that you can customise with your dog’s name. Donna also LOVED all the soft treats, cheese tart and the very pretty blossom pupcakes!
Home-based Feed My Paws doesn’t appear to have an extensive menu on their site besides cookies and jerky. But that’s because her focus has shifted to launching cute seasonal treats in limited quantities around once a month. While it can get confusing for me at times, it’s also pretty novel because fans can look forward to something new every now and then.
What I like: Sadly they no longer offer cakes and cheese tarts on the regular menu, which Donna LOVED. I occasionally bought pupcakes and cheese tarts from them for outings. Her unicorn pupcakes were especially cute!
These are cakes with a 3D cake topper of your dog sitting on top of it.
The figurine if I am not wrong is usually made of fondant, although The Snoring Dog Gourmet makes them out of clay. Cobam Cakes offers an option of either an edible figurine made of potato or one made of human-grade fondant that can be kept frozen as a keepsake. Pawlicious Pet Bakery says their figurines can keep for a few years in a cool and dry environment.
Singapore Specials get 10% off cake orders at Pawlicious Bakery! » Order here!
Each of these shops also have their own distinctive style of figurine so I think it really boils down to personal preference which shop you would prefer to patronise! There are also more newer shops with figurine cake toppers further down this post so keep a look out for that as well if you want even more options!
Pawlicious Pet Bakery and Cobam Cakes’ figurines appear to be more cartoonish, with a distinct style of their own. The Snoring Dog Gourmet’s figurines look more realistic.
No personal review since I haven’t got a chance to shop with them yet! But they do offer more than cakes so check out their websites, instagram or facebook to see more!
Operating since 2013, Superdog Kitchen is probably most well-known for her tarts. Superdog Kitchen says all ingredients in their food come from sources that provide organic, free-range eggs, grass-fed meats, sustainably-farmed white fishes and wild caught salmon.
So if you are looking for a quality cake alternative, these tarts do look good. ;)
A quick browse through their website finds a variety of dehydrated treats, baked and cooked food. They do offer birthday meatcakes, but from the website they look like they may be less fancy than the other shops listed above. :P
Screenshot of product listing at Paws Fur Life online store
AVA-licensed with retail outlets at Nex, East Point and Harbourfront malls. Looking at their website, they sell a wide variety of bread and pastries, cookies, meals, muffins and cakes. Food snobs looking for minimal carbs will likely give this shop a miss :P
Newer bakery and treat shops that I discovered more recently (after April 2015)
10. Wholesome Paws
AVA-licensed with a retail and grooming shop at 12 Jalan Selaseh, Singapore 808438. Convenient for people living in the Northeast of Singapore.
Wholesome Paws sells dehydrated goods, meatzza (pizzas with a meat rather than a dough base), green slush, bone broth and of course these very elaborate cakes.
Yum Yum Bean strikes me as interesting because their founder is reported to be a professional nutritionist plus doglover. The store has operations in both Hong Kong and Singapore. But their colourful 3D figurine cakes are only sold in Singapore. If you are looking for more options for 3D figurine topper cakes besides the 3 more established stores listed above, Yum Yum Bean is a store you should check out!
The further we go the less I am able to articulate how these very many dog bakeries differentiate themselves from one another since I am not too familiar with their work. That said, I’m sure no.13 to no. 15 have their own fans who have ordered these creative customised cakes and pupcakes from them.
Bossipaws is an expansion of Ah B Cafe, so it’s very convenient if you’re intending to celebrate your dog’s birthday or gotcha day there. Photos from @bossipaws – salmon cake, burger cake, party packs for guests.
The following no.17 to no.19 appear to mostly specialise in dry and dehydrated treats. Generally they are happy to provide customised treat packs for parties upom request so check them out if you are keen ;)
What I like: This is a party gift pack received at a dog party. Loved the packaging and Donna enjoyed the variety of dehydrated treats inside. The pack comprised a mix of dehydrated liver, heart and duck neck. The duck neck made it one of the more interesting party packs Donna ever received when it comes to dehydrated goods. :P
Qtreats appear to offer a variety of customisable meat and plant-based dehydrated treats. Pictured below from left to right are Fish Nori (choice of tilapia, shovel nose ray or salmon), Duck feet and Jerky. You get a choice of pork, chicken, lamb beef or duck for the jerky. Customisable flavours include rosemary, turmeric or cinnamon.
Qtreats kitchen also offers fruit and vegetarian chips if your pup has a liking for these.
So you are wiping your dog after a walk or just petting your dog while watching TV, your hand brushes across your pup’s fur and then you feel it. A LUMP on the Dog.
A lump on the dog that wasn’t supposed to be there
Donna grew her first lump last year. The first time I felt it was on 10th Jan 2017. I remember the date exactly because I took pictures and sent it to friends.
“What is this?? Does it look like a tick to you?” I texted.
The photo shows a black lump on the inside of my dog’s hind leg. At first when I felt it, I thought it might be a tick. But seeing how there’s hair poking out at the side of the lump, I thought it might not be a tick.
There was a lot of to and fro on text but still, I couldn’t be certain.
So in the middle of the night, we hauled the dog to the vet. It was crowded at United Veterinary Clinic. So we got one of the assistants to take a look at the “tick” on her inner left thigh.
“That’s not a tick. It’s a lump,” she informed me.
I wasn’t sure why my dog was suddenly growing a lump. But given how crowded the vet was, and it wasn’t our usual vet, I heeded the assistant’s advice to take Donna home. She told me to monitor the lump to see if it grew bigger.
This picture of the lump on the dog was taken 5 days later. It looked around the same size but slightly more knobby.
Why a lump on the dog can be a concern
Sometimes a lump is not that great a concern. Old dogs, overweight dogs and even dogs of a certain breed, such as labradors, golden retrievers and corgis are quite prone to developing fatty lumps or ‘lipomas’, wrote Rayya the Vet in her blog post here.
Retriever dogs are more susceptible to lipomas or fatty lumps.
‘These lumps are usually soft and unattached to the underlying tissue and benign.’ However, she also wrote that ‘these lumps must be closely monitored as they can occasionally become cancerous’.
A lump can also turn out to be a cyst, wart, abscess or a mast cell tumour. The last is the most common skin cancer in dogs, according to pets.webmd.com. Depending on what the lump is, we will of course experience varying levels of worry for the dog.
But without a diagnosis from the vet, I only knew at that point that Donna had a lump. I did not know what type of lump it was.
A lump that was worrying the dog
Days passed and I checked the lump every now and then. I worried if it was getting bigger? Was it causing the dog any discomfort because I can see her licking it at times.
When the lump started looking a little rough and bumpy, I decided I needed to consult the vet again just to put my mind at ease.
We waited for quite a while at the vet and Donna had fun checking out the other dogs there.
This is the picture I took of her lump while we were waiting for our turn at the vet.
Scabby, rough looking lump with redness underneath on the inside of the dog’s hind leg taken on 30 Jan 2017.
Dr Gwenda Lowe at Brighton Vet examined Donna and advised that since the lump was on Donna’s skin, was movable and didn’t appear to be attached to anything inside, it was likely benign.
However, she also wrote on our invoice that this cannot be confirmed without a biopsy. She sent us off to think about whether we want to schedule a day surgery for removing the lump and sending it off for biopsy.
Notes from the vet’s diagnosis of Donna’s lump on her leg
So Donna came home with an antiseptic wash and cream. They helped to bring down the redness and inflammation around the lesion created when she licked or nibbled at the lump.
We also put Donna in a cone so she wouldn’t keep disturbing her lump or lick the wash and cream applied on it. This cone wasn’t really effective to keep her from biting her stitches after her surgery, so I recommend a cone that is closer to the Elizabethan Collar. We bought a plastic one, but may switched to this one that looks more comfy in future.
The lesion healed and the lump started looking less dark within the week.
Looks like a mole?? Except that I knew there wasn’t originally a mole at that spot!
But towards the end of the month, it appeared to be bigger and fatter than it used to be. Maybe it had grown bigger, or maybe the dog is licking and nibbling it again because I can see redness around it. Whatever it is, it is affecting Donna’s quality of life and by extension my quality of life, we decided it needed to come out.
A blurred image, but you can roughly see how much more darker and crusty and thicker it has become?? This was 26 February 2017, so slightly less than two months since we discovered the lump.
What was the lump on the dog?
The results from the biopsy showed that it is a viral papilloma caused by the canine papillomavirus.
The Veterinary Pathologist’s diagnosis of Donna’s lump is that it is a viral papilloma caused by the canine papillomavirus.
It is most often seen in dogs less than 2 years of age, since their immune system is still developing and weaker at that young age. And it’s most frequently detected on the lips and muzzle and within the mouth because there’s how and where it’s commonly spread. The viral papilloma is typically described as having a flesh-coloured cauliflower-like appearance.
The lump or wart or viral papilloma that was on Donna. On the left, it has an appearance that is closer to the flesh-coloured cauliflower appearence compared to the darker lump on the right.
Senior dogs can have lower immunity to the canine papillomavirus, but it is not so common as for puppies
Donna’s case is perhaps not so common since she is close to 8 years when she got the lump. The lump was on the inside of her hind leg and not around her muzzle or in her mouth where they are more commonly found. The lump looked like a black nob or mole, unlike a cauliflower. So because of these factors, our vet did not immediately identify the lump as likely to be a viral papilloma. Instead, she recommended a surgical biopsy to find out what it was.
But an older dog like Donna can get a viral papilloma if she doesn’t have immunity to this virus. The canine papilloma virus is contagious and spreads through contact with other dogs. So Donna likely got it when another dog came into contact within the inside of her hind leg. Maybe when he was sniffing her there. This canine virus cannot spread to humans and cats, so no worries there.
According to Roger Welton, DVM, “Incubation from the time of infection to the development of papilloma warts is 1-2 months.” Since I first found the lump on Donna on 10th Jan 2017, this could mean Donna already came into contact with the virus as early as in November 2016. During this timeframe, she visited the daycare, went on walks, met unfamiliar dogs at the beach and even went to the groomer. Any of these situations could have exposed her to this virus.
A dog with warts is contagious to dogs with weaker immunity
Since Donna with her solitary lump on the leg was contagious to other dogs, I think we should have kept Donna away from other dogs at the point where we discovered it. But since we didn’t know it was a viral papilloma until we had it surgically removed for biopsy, we didn’t do that. :(
In general, there seems to be little prevention measures we can take when it comes to viral papillomas. There is a 1-2 month incubation period where a contagious dog at a dog run or a daycare or even at dog grooming can show zero outward signs during that time. So it is hard to detect.
Basically they are just ugly, but not life threatening. :P
Warts caused by the Papilloma Virus can spontaneously regress in time
The likelihood of the lump turning into a type of skin cancer is very rare. In fact, the lump may spontaneously regress in time when the virus is cleared.
Once the infected puppy grows older and develops his immune system fully, he will fight off the disease. The puppy will have immunity against the virus thereafter. It’s a bit like chicken pox in humans in that sense.
So it is actually not necessary to have the lump surgically removed.
That is, unless it was bothering the dog (like in Donna’s case). Or if it doesn’t regress by the 4th month, says Dr Gwenda from Brighton Vetcare. That is the point where there may be a concern that the lump may mutate into a cancerous tumour.
Post-surgery aftercare for Donna’s wound to prevent infection
Even if the lump remained benign, leaving a contagious lump on Donna for months was not ideal for me. It would stop her from having a social life for an unhealthy and indefinite length of time.
Senior dogs with lower immunity to this virus need more care
“There are many strains of papillomaviruses,” says Dr Gwenda. “Dogs are immune to re-infection with the same strain of papillomavirus after the lesions regress.”
Dr Gwenda also said that since Donna was an older dog, she did not expect for her to be having a papillomatous wart at this age.
I asked the vet if this means Donna has low immunity in general. Dr Gwenda replied that that may not be the case. Donna may just have a lower immunity to this particular strain of virus she was infected with, if she had never been exposed to it before.
It is possible that Donna can grow new lumps if she did not develop immunity to the specific strain of virus she is weak towards. This can happen if she comes into contact with the virus again. This does make me think twice about letting Donna interact with unfamiliar puppies. Puppies have the highest incidence with this disease compared to dogs of other age groups.
Hopefully, Donna won’t come into contact with this virus too often because life can get inconvenient when she grows a contagious lump.
Is Donna no longer contagious once the wart is removed?
The skin had healed where the lump was surgically removed. The hair had yet to grow over the bald patch in this photo.
No one knows for sure how long dogs are contagious after the wart has been removed, said Dr Gwenda. A safe bet would be that she is likely to not be shedding if there are no new warts developing 3-4 weeks after the surgery.
And so that is why for a while even after the surgery, we kept Donna away from daycare and other dogs.
Many thanks to Dr Gwenda Lowe from Brighton Vet who took the time to answer my questions via email and reviewed my draft in case I made any factual mistakes or inaccuracies in the content. You can follow Brighton Vetcare on facebook for more health information and also meet more of their fluffy clients!
And many thanks to the clinic assistant at United Vet Clinic for taking a look at Donna’s lump despite how busy they were.
Little Skylar the Pug peeking from behind the wall is so cute. Inside the daycare, Skylar was a quiet little fellow, not at all like his howling self here. :P
And this gorgeous Singapore Special. Isn’t she just beautiful?
Meanwhile, my muscular clown of a dog is still pulling the same stunt on Kosmo. She really does have quite a strong grip.
Awfully pleased with herself…
Do I stop Donna from humping other dogs?
It depends. You see humping can be a common play behaviour.
…mounting is common play behavior in puppies, and is even normal in the play of older dogs if it’s not taken to extremes.
“You’ll often see one dog mount another, then a few minutes later they’ll switch off and the other dog will mount the first dog,” says Gary Landsberg, DVM, a veterinary behaviorist in Ontario, Canada,. “It’s a common play gesture.” – Why does my dog hump or mount other people and dogs
So if both dogs are enjoying themselves, why should I stop their fun?
But if the other dog is sending out stress signals and Donna still doesn’t give that dog space, that is bullying and I will call Donna off to give that poor dog the space he needs.
In the case of Kosmo, you can see they get into each other’s space a lot, they have a lot of body contact and they do a lot of play growling but that’s just that – Play.
I jump on you.
You jump on me. We are so happy.
Many thanks to Pawsible Playschool for helping to arrange for Kosmo and Donna to attend daycare on the same day so they get to play!