On Easter Saturday evening, my 11 month old kitten Lola, came indoors howling with pain, covered in diarrhoea and her legs were twitching.
CLICK THIS LINK TO GO TO A CROWDFUNDING PAGE FOR LOLA TO HELP WITH VETERINARY FEES. – and to see new videos and regular updates on her progress
I immediately took her to the PDSA emergency private vet in Canterbury at 10pm. They checked that I was a concessionary and not a private patient. They scanned her and found that there was no internal damage, but that her tail was broken at the base and would probably need amputation. She had trauma to the middle of her spine and was very swollen there and her back legs were paralysed, although he found sensation in her right leg. She was also running a high temperature. He was worried that her pelvis was fractured and said they’d x-ray her that night. Before I left, the vet asked me to confirm that Lola was a concessionary patient. I called them throughout the weekend wanting to know the results of her x-rays, but they didn’t do them until 4am Monday morning, by which time, she’d had no food for two days.
Before leaving there on Monday morning, the vet still found some sensation in Lola’s right back leg, none in her left. He said that she needed an MRI and the PDSA would do that.
Monday morning, I took her straight to the PDSA. They don’t have an MRI and even if they did and Lola needed surgery, they wouldn’t do it. They immediately asked me for payment for the emergency vet’s bill of £212 before she could see a vet. I then saw a very young vet, who didn’t speak much English. He asked me for payment for the consultation and any meds that she needed that day. I asked if they could please wait 2 days until I received my pension, as I’d just spent all that I had for the emergency vet bill. He refused, saying that if I didn’t pay immediately, they would not treat or medicate her, but only put her on a drip. I had to ask a friend to lend me £35 to pay them.
He examined Lola but didn’t seem to know much as he kept disappearing to ask the other vets’ advice. He told me that he found no pain sensation at all and that she needed euthanising. Another vet looked at her and said the same. I replied that it was early days, she’d had spinal trauma and was severely inflamed. She needed time to heal. They reluctantly took her into the back to check her over.
When they brought her out, she had a thick pink bandage the whole length of her tail. It looked far too tight especially at the base and I asked the nurses about this, but they just laughed and said not to worry, it was to keep faeces off her tail and I should leave it on and that it didn’t need changing, which surprised me. They prescribed Lola a few days of penicillin for a urinary infection and strong painkillers, but no anti-inflammatories as she had diarrhoea.
At each of many visits they would pressurise me to have Lola pts. When I refused, they insisted that I give them a date, by which time if no sensation had returned, Lola would be euthanised. I kept refusing to do this as they were talking in days, not weeks or months. They know full well that nerve damage can’t heal in a few days. I asked them to please stop the constant pressure on me to end Lola’s life, as I am autistic and it was making me quite ill. But they did not respect my wishes or disability and were merciless in their intent to have Lola destroyed.
When the penicillin was finished, they put her on a much milder antibiotic for the urinary infection, which was completely ineffective. They didn’t seem to care that in over 3 weeks, they hadn’t managed to treat the infection adequately. I’ve since discovered that she should have been kept on penicillin for at least a fortnight, not the few days’ worth that they gave her.
I started seeing the head vet, as the other vets didn’t seem to know very much. On one visit, I told her that an animal chiropractor had seen Lola. She was contemptuous, said she only believed in science, not any alternative therapies.
She was dismissive of the many videos I showed her to prove that Lola has quality of life. She saw Lola playing with her mum and brother, grooming, purring and eating as normal. I said that she wouldn’t be doing these things if she were suffering and in distress. She replied that cats are good at hiding pain and that the PDSA does not support paralysed animals but euthanises them. She had the temerity to tell me that euthanising Lola would be for my sake.
During this period, Lola’s tail bandage finally came off after 2.5 weeks. At first I thought that Lola had pulled it off, but then I saw that her tail had shrunk so much that the bandage had fallen off by itself. I was very concerned to see that where the base of the bandage had been, there was a large, very deep weal encircling her tail. It was very dark in the centre and pale around the edges. When the vet saw this she said little other than to insinuate it was somehow my fault. I didn’t realise the significance of the wound at the time.
Three days later, she was due for another appointment. That morning, whilst washing her, instead of seeing the very sore weal, to my horror, I was looking at 2 inches of exposed tailbone. Necrosis had set in because of the tight bandage. Having been left there for 2.5 weeks, it had cut off circulation to her tail and her skin and flesh had rotted away. In that time, they had not checked the bandage once.
When the head vet saw the exposed bone that morning, she insinuated that I was to blame, that I’d been careless with Lola’s cleansing regime. She told me that Lola had abscesses in her anus and when the weather gets warmer, maggots would lay their eggs there. (I later found out from my new vet that Lola did not have any abscesses in her anus.) I just told her to remove Lola’s tail immediately. Her reply was “Of course, I can’t leave her in this condition,” referring to the fact that it would be emergency surgery as Lola would otherwise have developed sepsis and died. Then she told me that because of the necrosis she would have to remove the tail higher up which would cause Lola further nerve damage.
She left the room and a nurse I hadn’t seen before came in. She started exclaiming how she’d never seen anything that looked as bad as Lola’s necrotised tail. She said that the stench of sepsis was filling the room and that it smelt as if Lola was rotting from the inside out. I told her that Lola did not have sepsis and I knew exactly what she was trying to do and to just leave the room. The vet then returned and I told her that her tactics were not impressive and to just remove Lola’s tail without any more mishaps.
I now realise that even if Lola hadn’t broken her tail, necessitating amputation, it would have needed amputating because of their appalling negligence. (New vet agrees). They deprived me of the opportunity to get a second opinion on whether her broken tail could be saved. Just near the end of the video of Lola playing with her mum Cyd, you can see the wound on her tail.
When I collected Lola after surgery, I asked about antibiotics and was told that she still had a day or two left of the mild ones prescribed for her urine infection and that those would be sufficient.
3 days later, on Monday, 13th May, I took her for a check-up following the amputation. This time, the head vet was unnervingly pleasant to me. It felt odd and couldn’t I understand the sudden change in her attitude. Unprompted, she even offered to send Lola’s x-rays to the chiropractor and gave me her email address to pass onto him. I have this handwritten note as proof of what she’d said as well as the text I sent to the chiropractor after leaving the surgery.
Again, I asked if Lola shouldn’t be on antibiotics after such major surgery, given that she still has a urine infection, but was told that there was no need. She told me bring her back in 5 days and then a week after that to have her stitches removed. I left there feeling more positive, as for the first time, the head vet had appeared supportive.
At 6.30pm that evening, there was loud hammering on my front door. I opened it to find an RSPCA inspector outside. She was very aggressive and wouldn’t allow me to speak. She told me that they’d had an emergency call from the PDSA, saying that my kitten was in distress and suffering and must be removed for immediate euthanising. She asked me to hand Lola over and said that she’d already called the police, who were on their way to assist her in forcibly removing my kitten if necessary. She told me that I’d already committed a criminal offence by causing suffering to an animal. I shut the door in her face and called a friend to come and support me.
When my friend arrived, I allowed the inspector indoors to see Lola for herself. She immediately changed her attitude when she saw how well-cared for Lola is and she could see that Lola was acting normally and not in any distress or suffering. She apologised for her earlier hostility, but said that that she was obliged to obey an instruction from a vet to euthanise an animal. She gave me the following day in which to find another vet for Lola, otherwise she’d be back with the police the following afternoon. She said that if I found a vet to take Lola on, that the RSPCA would then liaise with the vet and I wouldn’t be bothered by them again. I asked her why the RSPCA don’t remove all paraplegic cats from licensed cat sanctuaries in the UK if, in their eyes, their very existence was an abomination. She looked embarrassed, said she didn’t know.
Happily, the following day I found a great Vet who wants to give Lola more time to heal. She confirmed that there is indeed sensation in Lola’s right back leg.
I was present when she phoned the RSPCA to tell them that Lola is not in distress, suffering or pain, her behaviour is normal and that she would be caring for Lola from then on.
However, when she examined Lola, just one day after the PDSA head vet, she found such massive swelling around her rear, legs and tail that she couldn’t tell where the infection was coming from. Lola was also running a very high temperature. The new vet was horrified that the PDSA hadn’t put Lola on a course of penicillin, she said it’s a matter of course after surgery. She immediately gave her a 2 week course of penicillin and Lola has now finally recovered from the further unnecessary suffering caused by the PDSA.
I watched Lola being born and, at just 3 weeks old, she started calling for me every morning, demanding kisses and cuddles. This became our glorious morning ritual, especially important now. She is such a happy and mischievous soul, who loves to follow me around, wanting to know what I’m doing, voicing her approval with little chirrups.
I want Lola to have a chance, time for her nerves to heal and hopefully she will walk again, even if it’s only on 3 legs. But if she doesn’t, I know that there are many cats, with rear end paralysis who have good quality of life and are happy, loving cats.
Lola desperately needs funding to help pay for vet, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments, all of which can help improve her chances of nerve regeneration.
I am a disabled pensioner on a low income. Lola was not insured, hence her registration at the PDSA. I’ve already paid over £700 to the PDSA for their lamentable ‘care’ and am now having difficulty finding the money for vet fees and treatments that Lola needs to help stimulate nerve regeneration, such as physio, laser therapy, acupuncture.
I’m hoping that the kindness of strangers will give Lola the chance at life that she so desperately deserves.
If you are able to donate a little something, however small, it will be greatly appreciated.
Lola and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts XX