So I went to pick up Jack last night. $1500 He apparently got two whole liters of fluids which seems like a lot to me. They also gave him some antispasmodic pills to take home and some Orbax. (antibiotic) and annoyingly they did not wipe him down and sent him home COVERED in blood.. His belly (seen below) his tail, his legs, his front leg and his chest and mane.. I was NOT pleased..
This is the first time he has been given these meds, and I know it is a very new drug and know nothing about it so I read over the packaging to see a) if it needed to be refrigerated and b) to learn about it.
I called the clinic and asked the receptionist if it needed to be refrigerated. She said no. I said the packaging said it was for abscesses and skin issues, and so why was it prescribed for Jack? and that she could not answer so she transferred me to the vet on duty (who has been 'doing this for 30 years' - can you tell this conversation didn't go well?)
I started out by telling him that Jack came home covered in blood.. which he half apologized for and said that shouldn't have happened.. and then I started asking him about Orbax.
As I said, I know nothing about it. I wanted to know what he knew about it.
He said they prescribe it because they have better luck with it. I asked what this better luck means. I asked if he knew of any information I could read about it and he referred me to the web and told me to go to the manufacturer website. I asked him why he prescribed this over clavamox, and he said it was more broad spectrum and clavamox was "basically useless" these days, "or so some say" meaning he immediately started back peddling right after the words were out of his mouth. I tried to explain that I strongly preferred to give medications that had been around a while due to the known side effects and the Orbax insert says it can have adverse reactions with the retina. This means this drug can cause blindness. Clavamox does not cause blindness. Clavamox might cause diarrhea or an 'allergic reaction'.. and Jack is not allergic. I talked to him about risk vs benefit, and he believes the benefit of Orbax are worth it, and every drug comes with side effects but he could not point me to anyone, but the company making money off it, as to why.
And they are using it off label. It is not approved for this.
Veterinarians routinely use drugs “off label.” When a company wants Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a new medication, it has to prove that the product is both safe and efficacious. The approval process is long, complicated, and expensive. To simplify matters the company typically picks the most prevalent (lucrative) condition that the drug could be used to treat and runs with it.
Once the medication is on the market, veterinarians start thinking outside the box. With knowledge of the drug’s mechanism of action, the physiology of veterinary patients, and how related compounds are used, doctors will try it for other conditions. source (but it has pop ups)
So instead of testing something to make sure it works for what they are using it for, they test just one thing (in this case skin issues/abscesses) and let the vets make your pet their guinea pig while they try it out and see if it works. I told him I do not trust the manufactures, due to what is going on with Metacam and Covenia to which he interrupted me and basically said wait what? and he 'hadn't heard of side effects with Covenia' I said that it kills cats by killing all of the bacteria in the gut and since it has such a long half life that fighting it is near impossible, to which he immediately got defensive and said you can't believe what you read on the internet.
That got me. That set me right off. There are many vets.. VETS.. who believe Convenia is dangerous. There are pet owners who have watched their pets die from it, or nearly die from it that I know of. If he hasn't heard of any negative side effects with the drug than he isn't paying attention.. and I told him as such. I harped on it, and he admitted that he had heard of it but it was all 'anecdotal' - like his anecdotal evidence that clavamox was useless (which I did not say) not to mention that the chance of dying from clavamox is well.. no one is making websites to warn people about that risk..
You do NOT get dismissive of "the internet" with me and get to get away with it. Yes, there is a lot of information out there that is junk and if not insane, but to dismiss ANYTHING read off the internet simply because it came off the internet - especially in this day and age.
So I continued to explain why. I gave examples after examples until I actually heard his eyes roll, and then looped back around to the Orbax and said look, I'm sure you are feeling attacked right now, and that was not my intention. I want to know why YOU think this is better.. and he said he has been using it for a few years and it was broad spectrum and it works 'better' but could not really give me a reason why it was 'better' - which sounded so much like a sales person pitch that it took everything for me to not bang the phone against the wall. But really what it came down to was compliance. He wanted to make sure the cat was getting the medicine (because that is SUPER important. If you are EVER prescribed antibiotics, you have to give ALL of them) and a once a day med that apparently tastes OK has better compliance. I nearly hit my head against the wall, and said I can pill a cat and I was NEVER ASKED if I might have an issue pilling a cat. Seriously it takes half a second to ASK THE CLIENT if they have any issue pilling a cat... Guess vets are sick of having that conversation - or maybe the sales people who pitch these 'convenient' drugs tell the vet that they can avoid having that conversation (and sell a MUCH more expensive drug and thus make bigger profit) all together..
wait for it..
he tells me to stop feeding raw food..
(moment of silence while you picture me banging the phone upside his virtual head)
and yes. I went off on him. I told him EXACTLY why C/D 'works' and how filling a food full of plant based ingredients that cause the urine to become alkaline and then sticking a low quality acidifier (DL-Methionine) in to balance it out was pretty much equivalent to giving a diabetic human a cookie and then giving insulin, and how I was NOT going to do that..
I have so much evidence and research and scores of vets on my side on this - including my own holistic vet that is also recommending raw and staying away from plant based ingredients for an obligate carnivore.. (and I'm not linking them here.. I'm tired and I want to get this post scheduled, but if you are new to this blog and haven't seen me linking them before, start off at catinfo.org and feline-nutrition.org )
So this vet who has been "doing this for 30 years" (which means practicing medicine, not researching urinary issues in cats - which I have been doing for 5-8 years) ... well lets just say I didn't hang up on him but darn I was close..
I doubt I made any impact on him, but wouldn't it be nice if I did.. if maybe he read the ingredient label of the food he was shelling out.. or looked for the research on this med on his own so he can share that with that 1% of people who might ask..
Update: Yes, I did decide to give the meds mostly because I knew they would not be refunding me for it if I refused it. I did reading on it from several trusted sources and the consensus seems to be at this point it is safe enough.. on par with Baytril if I needed to get a comparison for you (which also has the warning about retina). I got the meds out and wasn't I ticked off even more since I have to give the other pill TWICE a day, so telling me that I only need to give the antibiotic once a day argument goes right out the window. I have to pill already, I have to do it twice a day already.. so (insert frustrated reaction here) Seriously, what is the rational logic on this one?
When I did give him the pill I noticed that he has a fat lip. I AM PISSED! (oh and it gets better) and so I gingerly gave the pill and then I gave the antibiotic and he immediately started foaming at the mouth and running from me!! Yup, I am beyond frustrated and angry and plain ol mad. This med is supposed to mask the antibiotic taste and make compliance easy.. *headdesk*
Any wonder why I am having a hard time finding a vet..