Being unable to breathe through your nose all of a sudden or feeling like you are an asthmatic caught up in a hurricane could be considered one of the most unpleasant feelings in life. Individuals who have suffered from a clogged nose due to the flu or strep throat could probably relate to that. For one cat named Izzy that we accepted into our rescue – not being able to use her nose or breath through her nose lasted three long years before I stepped in and unraveled what was a long list of misdiagnoses and negligence.
This article is going to give you some insight into the reason I never assume anything when I am working with cats that are displaying signs of illness or any abnormal symptoms even if the cat has been looked at by a licensed veterinarian. I have learned this the hard way in life. It can be easy to look at a cat from the outside and deem the cat is suffering from one ailment when it could be something entirely different and simple to fix. It can be just as easy to accept a diagnosis just because it was from a veterinarian without questioning it. You can read another example of malpractice in veterinary medicine by clicking here.
Izzy, a three year Siamese mix came in on a Saturday evening from a house eviction with five other cats that were living with her. The owner was telling me about how she was diagnosed with allergies at two different veterinarians and asthma at a third veterinarian because she did not trust the initial diagnosis. Izzy was being treated for steroids and baby aspirin for years at this point. I knew the instant that I observed Izzy in her cage that the snorting and reverse sneezing that was being presented to me was not normal or indicative of an allergy.
I snapped a video of her eating and snorting then sent it immediately to my primary veterinarian who works at an AAHA accredited hospital. This group of hospitals has to adhere to a very long list of stringent guidelines in order to keep their accreditation. A radiograph ruled out asthma, and the upper respiratory panel ruled out any other causative agents such as calicivirus or feline herpes virus. What the radiograph did find was two large polyps in her nose that were blocking anything from going in or coming out.
It is never fair to put a cat on one or more years worth of medication without a definitive diagnosis that is backed by science and reasoning. A cat that is having trouble breathing throughout the entire year likely does not have allergies, for instance. It only took 5 minutes for me to realize that she had a clicking sound coming from her nose which would be unusual with allergies or with asthma, alongside the other symptoms she was displaying. It was obvious to me that no real diagnostics were performed to the extent that I felt was reasonable, or the polyps would have been identified. The owner was so upset when I contacted her, saying that her veterinarian ruled out the possibility of other issues, so she did not even explore the option of radiography.
I think this might have happened because of the veterinarians that she went to did not have the equipment to remove polyps and lacked the skillset to perform unusual surgeries. The veterinarians did not want to refer her, which is a common problem I see in practice, because they did not want to risk losing that client to a competing veterinarian in the longterm. So we have veterinarians who are being negligent to avoid losing a client and prescribing unnecessary medication to make money at the same exact time, which is ethically wrong.
Izzy returned to normal just one more month following the nasal polyp removal surgery, which entailed a tube being inserted to remove the polyps, antibiotics, and a short course of steroids. I am happy to watch her eat canned food without snorting or choking for the very first time in her life since the owner noticed her having problems right at eight weeks of life. I cannot even fathom what it feels like to have the ability to breathe again after years of not being able to breathe.
Never assume anything in veterinary medicine or in the rescue world before it has been proven to you in one way or more. Leave no stone unturned and question every detail to the point where you are one hundred percent certain that the situation is the way that it is presented to you as being. Secondly, I always recommend AAHA accredited veterinary hospitals because they have to adhere to hundreds of stringent guidelines that relate to properly caring for the animals they see each year.
My veterinarian has properly diagnosed hundreds of cats that have been misdiagnosed at other hospitals. There are many veterinarians that are not AAHA accredited and are equally as skilled as the AAHA accredited veterinarians, but not always. You will just need to ask many more questions as they do not have the yearly inspection to ensure proper adherence to guidelines that were made to prevent malpractice, poor standards or veterinary care, and so on.
My friend’s cat was misdiagnosed with a urinary tract infection when the cat actually had pancreatitis. The veterinarian admitted that they suspected it but did not make the recommendation for an ultrasound because they did not have that machine, although a veterinarian just twenty miles away did have one. The owner ended up incurring thousands in veterinary bills since the cat developed fatty liver disease as a direct result of a delayed diagnosis.