The mascot at our rescue currently is Sir Hershey. Sir Hershey is a huge Ragdoll that we rescued from Saint Louis a few months ago. I was asked by a friend to pull him because we both believed that he was not being taken care of properly which is not hard to tell from the photograph. All I knew about Hershey is that he was about 5 years old and was FIV positive. I do now think that his age was exaggerated to make him look more adoptable. I would guess his age to be eight years old. I hate to say it but shelters often do not find medical issues or under age animals to get them adopted quicker. I will not say that this is the case here but it certainly is very common that we get animals that are diagnosed very quickly at our veterinarian. His nickname is also Gummy Bear to us of that really love him here at the rescue.
It looks like from the photograph I received that he has literally been neglected and ran through the wringer for an extended period of of time by his previous owner who surrendered him back to the shelter. I would have thought the shelter would have taken care of these issues. A cat does not get this matted overnight or even in a month. You can tell the third eye lid is up on the left eye which indicates pain and is briefly there on the right eye. I reviewed his records when we got him to our rescue and was shocked to notice that their medical evaluations were not very clear. I noticed immediately when I looked at him that there was much more at play than I realized when I first pulled him from the shelter.
The veterinary examination at our primary veterinarian reveled a plethora of issues including but not limited to severe matting, entropion of both eyes, crumpled left ear plus severe ear mites, stomatitis and severely decayed teeth. This basically means that his ears were in pain, his whole body was so matted that they had no option but to shave him down to nothing, his eye lashes were scratching his cornea 24/7 and his mouth was extremely inflamed. It angered me because the veterinarian at the shelter wrote down continually that he had an eye infection which was not the problem at all because this supposed eye infection had been going on for months. At what point in time do you question your initial diagnosis?
So we went through the surgeries he would have to receive so he could be pain free and live a normal life. We started with the most important surgery first. Sir Hershey had all of his teeth removed at another vet because they offered to do a full mouth dental for $200 which we did because it would have cost $1000 at our primary veterinarian. They are the best but we often are in the hole or are operating in the black so we take these offers now and again. Sir Hershey was shaved down completely first then both of his eyes were fixed one week later at our primary veterinarian because I did not trust this surgery to anyone else but our primary vet. This surgery would prevent the eye lashes from scratching his cornea. Both operations together cost right around $1000.
This might have been the reason that they had trouble adopting out Hershey and the underlying reason that he was having watery eyes and upper respiratory infection. But judging from the records – they either did not know or pretend not to know so they would not have to address it. I know what tooth pain feels like because I had a genetic tooth issue which required quite a few of my teeth to be removed. I knew I could not function some days. I also had hair in my eyes and know how painful that is. The stress and pain he was under is likely unimaginable and cannot be rationalized away by not being able to pay for his treatment at the shelter.
Sir Hershey is a pig now that he has no teeth which came as a surprise to me since I have never had a cat with no teeth at our rescue. He will eat 3 whole cans of canned food per day if you let him and he will still beg for food. He still eats dry food now and again. It is suffice to say that he is loving life now that he has a big building to roam and a warm bed to sleep in.
The only bad news is that a follow up dental x-ray at our primary veterinarian identified that the veterinarian who did the cheap dental left some tooth roots that will require a university doctor to remove. The tooth roots are not causing pain now but potentially could at a later point if it causes the mouth inflammation to come back. It could be months or years but I want to nip it in the bud now. It will not be that painful or hard to do but it does require a specialist which will be about $1500. What ticks me off is that the veterinarian promised the roots were gone but did not do a dental x-ray which is often considered malpractice not to do in this day and age.
Our primary veterinarian said it also looked intentional so unfortunately Hershey got the shaft again. We will fix it but it will be a financial blow since I will likely have to personally pay out of pocket from some of that since it was my fault for accepting the offer. I did learn that you should always just go with your primary veterinarian and always confirm that they do dental x-rays before consenting to a dental. I will make a post on dental x-rays and malpractice soon. This is an important lesson to anyone wanting to get a cat dental – you could pay out the wazoo if you do not take it seriously.
Sir Hershey is so imperfectly perfect that you just have to adore him. His eyes are funny looking, he has a permanently crumpled ear and no teeth left in his mouth. He will sometimes gum you with his mouth which is funny. He has been nothing short of a love bug since he arrived and I am happy that we were in the position to help him out and get his problems under control. No cat deserves to have all of this happen to them and have no game plan to get it fixed.
On another note I will be doing an article on FIV and FELV soon. One veterinarian took the time of day to call me up and tell me that I should have put Hershey down because he was FIV. That kind of comment and backwards thinking is the reason that some cats do not get the treatment they deserve and why owners often make the wrong decision for their cat when it comes to their care. We at value every single cat including cats with FIV and FELV.