Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tough couple of days and tough choices

I found these two songs on my computer a few years ago when I was going through some tough times.  I don't remember how they got there, but I was really happy to find them as I found them of some comfort.

Now I'm faced with something I don't want to face, I find myself singing these songs like some earworm that just showed up, so I thought it appropriate to share them.

For those of you on Facebook with me, you know that I had an incident this weekend.  My Kit started acting a little off, being a little guarded.  DH told me that she meowed a bit as if uncomfortable the morning before the incident - and didn't he get a talking to about mentioning those types of things to me! :)

Anyway.. Sunday night Kit came up and sat on my husband and then she growled.  She doesn't growl.  I tried to get a feel as to what was going on and she was most guarded over her hind end and a look at her anus showed a bright red spot on it.  By the time I had found that she was shivering miserable looking and DH and I were looking at each other trying to figure out if we should take her to the emergency clinic or wait till the morning.  Neither one of us is good at making these kinds of decisions due to the emotions involved, so I tried to step back and treat him as a friend who might ask me for advice.  She was up and mobile.  She was reactive and alert.  She wasn't eating but she did eat a little deli meat (her favorite) and she did use the litter box for us.  We locked her up in the bedroom with us for the night and she spent the night in her favorite place in the entire world - on her daddy.

Next morning DH had to go out of town.  We gave her a preliminary exam before he left and she seemed better.  Mewing not growling, the red spot was now pinkish. and she was more willing to eat different foods besides deli meat.  So off he went.  I gave a call to the vet leaving a message about what was going on and didn't hear back from them (Tuesday I checked the caller ID and saw they did call - some how I didn't hear the phone ring)  So I figured I would let the fates play their hand and went off to work with the intention of returning at lunch time to check on her.

At lunch she was the same as she was in the AM.  Still very nervous to the point of shivering when I tried to look at her.  She has a ton of fur for such a little kitty so getting a good look at anything is awful hard.  I couldn't stand not knowing, so I called my vet.  Well the vet I normally see was booked up, but he has since taken on a second vet and he was available, so I made the appointment and went down.

The vet was nice enough, very personable.  I'm never a fan of having to reintroduce myself.  I know I come off as one of "those cat people".. but I have a great deal of experience a lot of your average cat owners don't have - even if they have been cat owners for a long time.  I've had a diabetic cat.  I've fostered other diabetic cats.  I've had a cat with VAS.  I've dealt with lumps and bumps and URI and UC (urinary crystals) and more cases of diarrhea than I care to mention as well as a few cases of constipation. I've volunteered to help at a few spay/neuter clinics,  I've given enemas, fluids, shots, injections, vaccines.. I've shaved kitties, I've trimmed more nails, bottle fed more babies, etc.. but not knowing all of this I'm sure that I'm just clumped into one of those cat owners who "think" they know a lot.

So anyway.. he gave her the once over (after wiping her down a few times because she drools something awful now when riding in the car) and then got to the area in question.  At first he thought it might be an anal gland issue (which is what I was kind of hoping for) but then thought it might be an abscess. He wanted to take her outback and 'get it cleaned up' so he could get a better look at it.

Now, I fully admit that I was emotional and not processing everything perfectly - cause frankly I forgot his name - but I am reasonably sure he just mentioned cleaning it up to look at it. I was pretty sure he was just going to shave it up to see.  I asked him if he could shave her belly because she has very long belly hair (like Ollie did) but won't let me give her a shave/trim (like he would).  He mentioned he didn't have guards so it wouldn't look pretty, I said I totally didn't care.  He asked if she was indoor only - because he was worried about frost bite - to which I laughed and said yes, she is indoor only - very much so.

Well he took her outback.  I sat in the room and waited.  I then heard the tech mention convenia.  I ran to the door and asked if he had already given it to her, which he had.  I was LIVID.

When he finally came back, she had a half dollar sized patch saved around the top of her leg, just to the side of her anus.  Apparently he had lanced the abscess and given her pain meds and convenia - all of which was done with out my consent.  He apologized but said he had never heard of an adverse reaction with it (and went on with his justifications as to why he gave it), and I told him I had first hand knowledge of people who had cats that had.  I have second hand knowledge of cats who have died from it.  the problem with an extended use medication is that once it is in the system there is no getting it out. (not to mention I have no problem pilling any of my cats - catching Eli is an issue, but once I've got him I can pill him easily)

I tried to get a look at the area that he lanced so I would know what I was looking at and for in the future, but Kit wasn't cooperating and the area he shaved was so small that it was near impossible to find.  Had I not been so angry and so afraid of doing or saying something I would regret I would have insisted that he take her outback and shave more of her fur off that area, but all I wanted to do was get out of there.  When I did look at what he did shave (since I asked her belly be shaved) he took a patch off her chest, but left most all of the floof down her belly intact.

I got her home and she wanted nothing to do with me.  She ran and hid.  I went back to work and tried to release some of the nervous/anger/upset energy going on with in me.  When I got home she still wanted me to stay far far away from her, but I couldn't.  She looked uncomfortable, preferring to stand against the wall, and walking with an odd gait when I would get closer,   With all that fur and with that area so close to her anus - meaning it would be put very close to the litter box, I felt it would be irresponsible of me to not get a look at it.  So I half tricked half cornered her and got a look.  Well the drainage was horrific.  The blood, and I'm sure the puss, had formed what looked like a great big fecal clump on her back side.  I tried to clean it, no go. I put a hot compress on it, which was sort of OK with her, but according her I was so very much not allowed to look.  I got out my heavy duty shaver (that I used to shave Ollie with) and she would not sit still and I ended up fearing I would do more harm than good.  Finally I settled on a sitz bath which she would only sit still for for so long.  Finally I had to give up because really the stress of trying to fix something can often do more harm than the good you can do 'fixing' it.

In the morning she still wanted nothing to do with me.  When I finally got my hands on her things looked much cleaner.  She still walked funny, but the feeling I got was she was a bit more at ease.

That night "Daddy" came home, and there was much rejoicing   She was still wary of us trying to do things, but at least she got comfort from him.  Me?  Yes I was still very much the 'bad guy'.  This morning?  This morning was a riot.  I could pat her, she rubbed against my ankles and then dropped to the ground and showed me her belly, but I still had to be hands off.

It was a little ironic that the vet discussed vaccines with me, as well as the fact that a bite of unknown origin required six months of indoor quarantine for unvaccinated animals.  ha ha ha.. that cat is "quarantined" for the rest of her life.  They don't even really want to go outside.  He cautioned that a bat could have gotten in and bit her.. which again I can only laugh at.  If I had an older house or if I had anything larger than a fly enter my house I might not laugh now.. but the idea that a bat got into our house, bit Kit and hung out in the house with out the cats alerting us.. *rolls eyes* not to mention the stats I just posted on Saturday. (btw, I know who did bite her.  It had to be Jack, as he is the only one who occasionally gets in a snit over her and will chase her around for a few days)

So the vet knows I'm not happy with what happened.  The tech whom I have known for many years is pretty darn sure I'm not happy.  Yet the owner of the clinic has not called.  In fact no one has called to follow up on the visit in general - which is usually standard practice for the clinic.  So I have decided to change vets.  I trust the owner of the clinic with my pets, but I've been less then enthusiastic about how I have been treated over the past year or so as his clinic becomes more and more prosperous.  I know I'm a sort of high maintenance client.  When something goes wrong I forget everything I know and I need/want someone to 'hold my hand' if you will and just remind me of things - sometimes several times.  I also know I'm one of 'those' clients that questions everything and wants answers.  My husband said he appreciated that I knew the risks with convenia and that what the vet did was not right, because he is one of those pet owners that puts 100% trust in the vet and would say OK to whatever happened.  He might not have even considered the fact that the vet 'operated' and medicated with out consent.

Having worked within the vet community (I was a receptionist at a vet clinic) I know too many stories about my local vets. I have first hand experience at three of them, and I don't really want to go to any of them.  There is another about 20 minutes away that a co-worker uses, but I know nothing about them.  There is a cats only clinic about 25 minutes away but I went there once with Em for a second opinion on her cancer and while it was OK, I saw a falsehood on their website.  Something tiny, but it bugs me.  I got a recommendation for a clinic that is 35 minutes away from me.  There is another cat only clinic a few minutes closer but pretty much right next door..  So what do I do.  Go in the door and say "Hi, my name is Connie, I'm pretty sure you'll consider me a PITA, but I have seven cats that I'd do pretty much anything for.  I feed raw, I don't vaccinate, and I know enough to ask that you not do anything (except life saving measures) with out my consent. Do you want me as a client??" :)

What do you look for when you are looking for a new vet?

(and to top it off Evelyn and MLFF won't even look at me now that Jackson and Elsa and Ella aren't in the room.. *sigh* back to square one)


  1. Nicki and Derry and Annie had convenia shots (Annie twice) before I knew what the dangers were, before I knew anything about it. I have it on record NO CONVENIA, but that means diddly squat. I would have been livid too.

    I hope Kit is healed and back to her normal self soon, that's the most important thing.

    But as for finding another vet....We don't even have cat-only vets in our area. Maybe Toronto, about 3 hours away.

    I don't know one-fiftieth of what you know about cats, and in truth I hope I never have to learn about Diabetes and a lot of other things, but I question every. single. thing. and absolutely do not agree with my vet re: vaccines, re: food (and you know I don't even feed raw), re: medication for something like Derry's idiopathic cystitis. And so on.

    I'm a difficult client, without meaning to be. But when one does one's own research and doesn't accept the word of the vet as gospel truth....So I don't know, Connie. You won't ever find a "you," if you understand what I mean. At least I don't think you will. I absolutely would go in and say just what you wrote at the end, laying it out and asking if they felt they could deal with that. (Maybe not in those words. LOL.)

    Fingers crossed for you all.

    1. I so hope I didn't come off as arrogant in my post..

      And I do know what you mean about finding a 'me'. Although I do find that having a counterbalance to me is a good thing, so I'm not sure I really want that, but someone accepting of the fact that I want / need more..

  2. What an awful ordeal. After two incorrect diagnosis on two of ours we switchted to a cat only vet 30 minutes away and we couldn't be happier.

  3. I am so sorry you had to go through this. I know I posted on Facebook already, but things that are important to me are: feeding a grain-free diet, respecting my wishes/choices on vaccinations, be open to other treatments such as supplements, spirit essences, and being honest with me when faced with a problem.

    I did an "interview" with the clinic I'm currently at and brought in a list of questions. I can't remember if I was charged a fee (I don't think so, but that would have been fine, it is their time). Since you said you are "high maintenance," certainly mention that upfront. You might give some examples from the past, and ask how they would handle if.

    There are seven vets at my current clinic, and I have a pecking order. The card is on the fridge. There is only one vet I will NOT see again, and that is noted on the card. If a problem comes up and I need to be seen, I ask first for vet x, then y, etc. I've never had a problem with that.

    I appreciate, at my current clinic, that my vet knows I do my homework. If I ask for bloodwork or an x-ray, she has no problem with it and she knows there's a reason why I ask for it.

    Hugs to you, and I hope Kit feels better soon. At least her Daddy is home so he can comfort her now.

  4. First of all, I am very relieved that Kit is doing much better today. What your vet did would have upset me tremendously as well.

    When I first went to my vet in 1999, it was to spay my rabbit. I had a list of questions for him and after a couple, he said he knows what he is doing. To that I replied, yes, I'm sure you know what you're doing which is why I'm here but I need to know what you are doing to my rabbit. My questions are not because I doubt you but it's to reassure me. And the fact that I'm still going to him today, 13 years later, is because we have built a very solid professional relationship. I trust him with my pets but he knows that doesn't mean I accept everything he says without question.

    I have gone to other vets as well, but they failed miserably at the "accepting that I would have questions" I never went back.

    Good luck with your vet hunt, Connie. It'll take time, but hopefully you'll find a vet who is willing to work together with you.

  5. So sorry for you and for Kit. It can be so frustrating. Our previous vet was sold to a consolidation of vets.....we found out when mom had to take Tigger in to help him over the Bridge. Yeah - that is when you want to find out the there is NO vet in the building you recognize.

    I don't think having additional knowledge/background/experience should make us be considered "high maintenance" one is infallible and I don't think asking questions should be wrong.

    I have said it before - we are VERY lucky that the vet we use is mobile and recognizes my experience with animals. She doesn't mind the occasional chaos around here when she comes and she tolerates Ivy and Mo's bad behavior. :) (of course, I am not above bribing her on occasion)

  6. Poor Connie! Sometimes it's hardest to do the right thing. And when you do the vets don't appreciate and your cat doesn't appreciate it. Yes, you are the bad guy (er girl)!

    I understand about not trusting your vet because I have already changed once when it became clear that their primary cause was to order as many unnecessary tests as possible.

    Even the new vet (well, it's been a couple of years now), I am questioning because last time I took in Domino she prescribed all kinds of drugs -- like steroids -- that I actually never used. I just went with my own instinct and it turned out it was right. She had wanted to order tests, too, but agreed that we could just wait and see if they were necessary.

    A friend of mine was told recently that the local government has mandated yearly shots for animals, and you can't get veterinary assistance if you don't get them. I haven't encountered this myself yet, but I'm really wary too about getting yearly vaccinations.

    I was told by one vet that some of the vaccines are good for three years anyway, but they always still push for the yearly thing. I'm pretty sure my Tommy developed lymphoma from being over-vaccinated.

    Anyway, I'm glad your Kip is OK, even though you were shunned in the process. I think I'm just going to use vets as a last resort now, because my home remedies and common sense seem to work best when it's a problem that doesn't require surgery.

    I think the whole veterinary industry needs an overhaul. Their standard practices are NOT always in the animal's best interests. They should follow the same oath as medical doctors -- first, do no harm.

  7. Oh poor Kit! How stressful for all of you! Purrs!!

  8. :( Poor Kit and poor Connie!

    I think I would write a letter to the owner of the clinic AND whomever oversees Vets in your province/state.

    You could try :

  9. Your experience with the vet sure is upsetting. So sorry you and Kit had to go through this.. Glad she is feeling better now.

  10. Anonymous12:01 PM

    When I'm loking for a vet, I'm looking for someone who treats cats nicely, and doesn't mind if I would ask another vet for a second opinion.

    I think it was a bad decision from your vet do something without communicating with you about it.


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