Making Decisions At The Veterinary Clinic

By Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Further to a few articles on Vets recently we found ourselves rushing off to ours on Monday with Jozef.

He suddenly started coughing so we made an appointment for the afternoon with the vet of our choice but ended up having to dash in as an emergency instead when he got a lot worse and so saw a vet we didn’t know.

She checked his heart and chest and lungs and said all was clear, of course he wouldn’t cough for her! Well we all know how cats hide any illness!

There was nothing in his mouth or throat as far as she could see but it was possible he had a blade of grass stuck further down in which case he would have to have an anaesthetic so she could have a proper look.

She decided to give him an antibiotic/steroid injection as he wasn’t in distress then and if he was still coughing the next morning we’d have to take him in and he would have to have blood tests before any anaesthetic, although she suggested if he had them there and then she’d have the results that day and less trauma for him, so we agreed….

Josef and cat scratcher

Josef and cat scratcher. Collage by Ruth aka Kattaddorra.

…Later she phoned and said all clear, everything normal and that was really good news at 11 years old.

Next morning he was still coughing, so off we went and left him for anaesthetic, throat exam and X Rays. Babz had to go to work, I was at home awaiting the vets phone call then I could phone her, the morning was endless for us both.

Eventually the receptionist phoned to say we could collect Jo at 2.30, he was awake and fine and had been a very good patient and the vet would explain what was wrong.

We went to collect him, poor little chap with his shaved leg and neck, we heard him shouting I WANT TO GO HOME even before we went in the consulting room. He nuzzled into my coat and purred and gave us both head butts, he was so happy to see us.

The vet had found nothing wrong but a bit of a red patch on his throat, a little infection.

But she was a bit of a prophet of doom saying if he wasn’t better with the antibiotics he’d need more tests, a endoscopy, maybe a bronchoscopy, which is quite dangerous for cats, she put the fear of God into us! So he’s on a course of antibiotics and thankfully he hasn’t coughed at all today.

The question is, the antibiotics are working, so did he go through all that yesterday needlessly? Could the tests have waited until we saw if he was better with more antibiotics? When I worked for vets, before all the tests they seem to immediately offer now, they would have tried a full course of antibiotics first.

Did we do right to agree to the tests so quickly? I think so as there may have been something stuck in Jo’s throat and also we now know he has nothing nasty lurking as all his tests were clear.

What would everyone else have done?

Anyway he was quite hyper yesterday but he’s calmed down today and just a bit quieter than his normal self.

The new scratch sofas arrived just right to cheer him up and Walt too, who was a bit down that his companion was away and had come back smelling strange.

Almost £300 vets fees, worth every penny to us of course as our cats health and welfare are very important to us but the cost of vets treatment now is frightening and may put people off going when they push expensive tests so quickly, which is a shame.

It’s hard loving cats as much as we do isn’t it and feeling for them, I’d rather be ill myself than one of our cats.

Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Facebook Discussion

Comments

Making Decisions At The Veterinary Clinic — 31 Comments

  1. Good article Ruth. It raises important issues about our relationship with our cats and about veterinary practice. I’ll write a fuller comment soon but basically I feel that (a) vets have tended to become a bit more greedy which ends up with more tests being done and (b) if a cat owner is very caring they will tend to agree to tests as a precaution and spend more money.

    The attitude of the cat owner dictates her decision making. Also some people will accept what a vet says without question and can’t make a decision. This can lead to more expense.

    I think you did fine. I would have probably waited to see if the antibiotics worked before doing tests but that does not mean I am correct.

    By the way, I think Joseph is a very handsome cat.

  2. Thanks Michael, sorry the photos aren’t wonderful quality but you can see his poor little shaved leg.
    Yes with hindsight we feel we were rushed into those tests, we asked lots of questions and the vet patiently explained everything but looking back she obviously wanted us to agree.
    If it hadn’t been for her saying there may be something stuck in his throat I think we’d have put off, but how guilty we’d have felt if Jo had got worse and after the course of antibiotics ended we’d be worried it would come back, whatever it was.
    Having worked for vets in the past I know there are good and bad but we’ve no choice but to trust them now as the ones I knew have all retired or died.
    Jo is fine today, he’s just been on his scratching couch and played ‘GOAL’ with me, cats are marvellous, a person would be still recovering from all Jo went through! It’s not much fun getting 1 and 1/2 pills into him twice daily, even though they are small…..
    Babz and I feel like we’ve been under a double decker bus!!!

    • Babz and I feel like we’ve been under a double decker bus!!!

      It is exhausting going to the vet 😉 For me it is agony almost. You made a good decision. There is no right or wrong. The important thing is that Josef is feeling better. Let’s home he continues to feel good and gets back to normal.

      • Yes Michael it IS agony for us, I showed myself up good and proper crying when we had to leave Jo.
        I said to Babz ‘And I used to take peoples pets in for ops as part of my job’ she said ‘Yes Ruth but you were always kind’
        Maybe it doesn’t bother everyone as much as it does us here at PoC? We feel for cats so much!

          • I feel for anything a cat has to go through and it wrings me out, our own much loved cats especially of course!
            Losing cats is unbearable even to think about.
            I don’t know how many tears I shed over pictures and stories of declawed cats, I think if I saw one in real life I’d just go insane.

            • I also empathize too much I am told. I can’t stand to see my cats scared and confused by where I am taking them. I feel like a terrible person for betraying their trust. I hate to see them frightened and I literally can’t sleep the night before a vet appointment.

              • Oh Marc I do sympathise, that’s exactly it! We have to do it for their own good but it makes us feel terrible.

              • I know exactly how you feel. I am protective towards animals and if they are scared and I am causing it because I have to for their own good, it hurts me.

  3. I’m so glad Jozef is better Ruth,both your cats are handsome boys and I love the scratch sofas, I must get some of them for my gang.
    That’s a scary vets bill,are you insured?
    I’d have done exactly the same,you can’t take chances when it could be something serious,imagine if he had got worse you’d have felt so guilty.
    Vets do charge too much though catching people at their most vulnerable we just want to do the best we can for our pets.

  4. Oh you must all be exhausted from the experience and so very happy to have Jozef home safe and sound. I’d be a total wreck in all of that! Here in Switzerland it would have cost alot more. I am going to find a good insurance soon. They are very young still but I want to get insurance so I feel safe about it. I guess I would take any precaustions possible. Obviously aenesthatec has risks with it so I would certainly hesitate to allow that. I may have considered waiting a bit if he looked ok and didn’t immediatley look like there was a problem but what do I know really – if I was there at the vets and frightened for the life of my cat I cannot safely say I know what I would do in all honesty. Aenesthesia scares me a lot – thats my only real sticking point in this instance.

    I’m so happy he is doing better and enjoying his scratcher. Where on earth did you manage to find a decent size scratcher in Europe?? I want one!

  5. Thanks Rose, no our boyz are not insured, we put money aside regularly in case they need it.The vet asked us if we had insurance, she may have wanted to push even more tests if we had!!! It was unfortunate we’d never seen her before so had no idea what she was like, but in an emergency you are just glad to get seen to. We didn’t know then that Jo’s heart and lungs were fine so didn’t want to delay, he was so distressed.
    Thanks Marc, yes anaesthesia scares me too, but when the vet checked Jozef’s heart and said it was fine and he’d only need light anaesthetic it was a bit of a relief, we were so worried about his sudden cough, it was sort of like a sneeze but came out as a cough and it was just like he was trying to eject something from his throat. We still wonder if there had been a blade of grass or something that caused the red patch but he’d swallowed down when they put the tube down his throat.
    All that matters really is that he’s OK.
    We got the scratch sofas from Amazon, we have a fat boy scratching post Jo loves, it’s huge. Walter prefers the flat scratchers.

    • Damn – I have a real problem in Switz which is that Amazon won’t ship things here from the .co.uk amazon. Oh well, as Michael calls it “deepest darkest Switzerland” – the ends of the world.

      Anyway all that matters is little Jozef is feeling better and having a good scratch on those lovely scratchers 🙂

  6. That’s a shame Marc 🙁 I’m sure a lot of cat lovers in your country would like to buy their scratchers from Amazon

  7. Was the doctor able to explain what could have caused the red patch and infection in Jozef’s throat? Seems unusual.

    You have the good fortune of having worked with vets, yet when it is your own you become as vulnerable as the rest of us. We so depend on a knowledgable vet to have the answers yet it is often a mystery to them too. I hope along with you and your fans that the round of antibiotics is all it will take.

    I found a long skinny pill popper to give Bigfoot pills. Made specifically for cats. I became quite skilled at it after a while, though he still acted like I was a she-devil every time.

  8. No she didn’t seem to know what caused it, that’s why we think maybe he did have a blade of grass or something there a while before it started bothering him.
    Yes we are hoping and praying when the antibiotics end he stays well, the trauma is too much to take for all of us.

  9. Hi Ruth (Kattaddorra),

    I feel for both you and your cat.

    I’m like you: I am emotionally vulnerable to each and every cat issue. I stress quite a bit over even on the smallest of cat issues. When my cats have died, I’ve never been able to process it and it seems to get worse every time.

    Sorry Jozef is having trouble but glad you got him to the vet and he is doing better.

    I would likely have done what you did. It sounds like you did the right thing for vet tests because you were concerned about a partial air obstruction. You didn’t want to ignore that bit in case that was going on. You were in the heat of the moment at the time and wanted to make sure you did everything reasonable rather than taking a chance and regretting it.

    You might keep an eye on that red patch on his throat. Not to stress you out but if the antibiotics don’t get rid of it, you might bring him in for a follow-up exam that focuses on that red patch.

    I won’t play doctor here, but from the sound of it, that red patch was a little raw and was making him cough. To him, it probably felt like there was something caught on the side of his throat.

    At least I hope that’s all that is going on. If that’s the only thing going on then the red patch should disappear by the time he finishes the antibiotics.

    If you were able to actually see the patch and know where it is, you might check it once a day.

    Hey, super cool scratching sofas. I like ’em.

    I just got a new horizontal one recently as well. You can never have enough of them.

    Best wishes to you and Jozef and Hi to Babz and Walter,

    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

    • Everyone sends best wishes back Hairless Cat Girl. The red patch was further down than we can see so the only way to know if it’s gone would be to leave him at the vets for anaesthetic again and we don’t want to do that if we can avoid it. We will be keeping a very close eye on him though and any sign of a cough again we will go back.
      I can’t seem to pull myself together after all this and poor Barbara has been ill all week too with the cough and cold virus going around, we haven’t had much sleep with all the worry and noisy neighbours don’t help!
      But Babz says she feels much better today and Jo is fine so I’m trying to calm myself down and count my blessings, live for the moment when all is well.
      Walter loves the scratch couches, we have one upstairs and one down now, Jo prefers the upright Fat Boy post.

  10. You really didn’t have much choice. What if he’d swallowed something that could be toxic. In the U.S. our children used to be bad about swallowing a penny. They were made of copper and didn’t cause a problem. Now they’re made of zinc and can kill. I’d rather be safe than sorry any time with a cat. You’d worry yourself to death otherwise.

    Furby always loved to ride and go to the vet. We took him to the expensive vet last time. as usual he slept the whole way there. But that vet “violated” him more than the cheap vet. Furby was sitting on the table shaking from head to toe. I felt so sorry for him but he was really sick and he has cat insurance.

    Give Jozef a hug from Furbys house. 🙂

    • Thanks Elisa, it’s good to know you would have done the same, yes we’d have been worrying something nasty was down there and it’s reassuring to know all the tests were normal, thyroid included, blood cell count etc …..phew ….
      Poor Furby, Jo says he knows how he feels being violated. Is he OK now?
      Love to everyone in your house xx

      • Furbys doing great. His time is spent between bumming for treats and knocking things off the counter just to watch them fall. He’s also slept with me a few nights lately. He gets URI’s easily but he’s FIV and FeLV negative. He just finished a round of antibiotics for his latest.

        Furby has been plans for the year. Check out his page at http://www.facebook.com/furbyshouse. He’s going around announcing he’s the greatest cat writer in the world. I’m beginning to believe he may be right 🙂

  11. Pingback: Your Cat Hospice | Pictures of Cats

  12. Your cats are your family as ours are and you do everything in your power to make sure they are well. We also trust our vets decisions after all do we really have a choice?
    You did exactly the right thing for Jozef and really he is probably thanking you for it because he feels much better!!

    • Thanks Leah, Jo’s antibiotics finish tomorrow, hoping and praying he stays well now, it’s the hardest thing walking away leaving your cat at the vets, wondering what they are feeling and going through and worrying what the vet will find, isn’t it!

  13. After a bit of a scare yesterday morning when Jo wouldn’t eat he is fine today. We think it was a hairball causing the trouble as he’s always been prone to them despite being groomed every day, he went off out and came back looking for his breakfast. PHEW. Thank goodness the antibiotics are finished, twice daily torture for him and for us, he started to avoid us at pill time!
    Today he had us up at 5am wanting to play catnip mice, he had a good breakfast and has been on his morning rounds.
    It’s such a different atmosphere in the house when a cat is better isn’t it!
    I’d honestly rather be ill myself than one of our cats be ill.

    • Here, here. It is stressful caring for an ill cat. You don’t know what will happen. And giving a cat medicine is hard because we know the cat will be upset and struggle and we don’t want to put our cats through that. We want to do the opposite. I am pleased he is feeling better. Cardi has found a food she likes and is scoffing it (expensive Hills)! She has put on a bit of weight which is strange and beautiful.

      • Great news about Cardi! It’s wonderful what a bit of tlc can do for a cat, well done you!
        I think you and we will have to go busking on the streets to pay our vet bills Michael lol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please only upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks.