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Old 12-29-2012, 03:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I have a request - Please

Warning, this is a long read.

Recently, I took my cat Little Jaws to the vet. She was diagnosed with feline leukemia and died within hours of her vet visit, I suspect from stress as well as her illness.

Jaws came in as a stray kitten, so I wasn't too surprised to find out she had FelV, even though the vets never caught it previously.

When I called the vet, they refused to see her until the next day, saying they now took only appointments in advance. Rather than expose her to the 75 mile trip to the emergency vet, I took her for the appointment at our regular vet.

Jaws was always high-strung, and she screamed and cried hysterically the whole time she was in the carrier. Even though we had an appointment, someone called the vet with an injured horse, and our appointment was pushed back three hours. I tried to sit with her in my lap, but the vet insisted that all cats must be caged in the waiting room.

Rather than take a very ill cat home, I decided to wait. By now, Jaws had screamed herself hoarse an collapsed on her side in the carrier. I asked repeatedly to have her seen because she was very ill, and it was well past her appointment time, and was told that the vet was busy. Either wait, or take her home.

To make a long story short, she was given blood tests and diagnosed with FelV. She died that night. A few days earlier she had been playing happily.

This vet visit opened my eyes to some things. I have been doing pet rescue for almost twenty-five years, and I thought I was very good at choosing a vet.

When I first chose this vet, the people were caring, and they seemed competent. This was our 7th trip there this year, but our first since the end of August.

Well, things changed in a hurry. The place got a complete remodel and expansion. It went from a small town vet, to an animal hospital. One of the vets we really liked (a lady) was gone. While I waited, I noticed there were a lot of flies in the waiting room - in December. I tracked them to a bunch of dog feces stains on the new tile floor.

While we waited, I saw two people who came in to pick up small cremation boxes with their pet's remains. Three more people came to check on their hospitalized animals. All of them were told their pets were doing very poorly. One was told - "It won't be long now".

While I was waiting, I asked to examine my pets records. This is something I do every year. First I was told, they did not have any for me. When I pointed out I been there several times just this year, the receptionist told me they no longer allowed people access to the records - I would need another vet to request them.

After making a fuss, I got to see them. The records were another surprise. My three year old cat was listed as being six. My other cat was listed as missing several teeth - she has all of hers. One of my cats showed no vaccination record even though this office did the feline distemper, FelV and rabies shots. When I pointed this out, the lady just stared at me. Then she blamed the !veterinary assistant!

When we were in the examination room, I had to ask the vet assistant to wipe the table - there was urine on it. I noticed there were dead flies all over the floor. I noticed the window sill was full of pet hair. When I mentioned it, I was told, "we are busy".

The vet and vet tech both tried several times to draw blood. The vet said it was difficult because she was dehydrated. I suggested giving her fluids first, and putting off the bloodwork until it was less of a problem, but the vet insisted it needed to be done asap. I still feel terrible for not telling him to forget it. It was a horrendous ordeal for a dying cat.

When I took Jaws from the room in her carrier, another vet tech rushed in and began to unload a cat from its carrier before I was even out of the room. I had to tell the young man to disinfect the table first - my cat was just diagnosed with FelV...

When Little Jaws got home she refused to come out of the carrier.
She tried several times to get up, and just collapsed. I am convinced that my decision to take her to the vets cost her weeks of her life. Of course, I was trying to help save her, but that is small consolation. The trip, the extended time in the carrier, the rough handling by the vet, and the stress were just too much on top of the FelV.

So, we come to my request -

Please, if you read this, the next time you go to the family vet, take a good look around. Check to see if standards are being maintained. Check your pets records. Check to see if the vets seem to be different from the ones you've seen before. Ask in advance if your pet will be seen within a reasonable amount of time from its appointment time. Check to see if the place is actually clean...

This was our regular vet, and I trusted them. But in a few short months, their standards completely tanked - although the records indicate they were getting careless even earlier. I don't know if I will ever completely trust a vet myself again.

I'm not asking you not to trust your vet. But Please - TRUST BUT VERIFY.
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is tragic - I feel so sorry for you and your poor Little Jaws.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you, Arianwen. I just wanted to let people know to keep their eyes open. It's sort of a memoriam for Little Jaws.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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First of all I am very very sorry for your loss... Your vet experience was unbelievable and needless to say I'd never go back there again if it were me. This is why I never ever take my animals to the vet. All get the occasional problem that most people would take them to the vet for but it would be more damaging than good like in your case. I had to take my one cat to the vet last year frequently for health problems... They gave me all sort of drugs and a crappy prescription food that didn't work. I took the food back and they called me s liar saying I must be sneaking her treats because it always works. I never went back again and solved the problem on my own. I took my dog to a new vet when we moved(her old one screwed up her spay which left her with a massive lump on her side) and the new vet insisted all these extra poisoning vaccines and almost gave her the wrong rabies **** because he couldn't read the label (he wasn't English and he needed s tech to pick the correct one for him). I have 0 trust in vets and won't take them there until they are dying and that will be an emergency vet.


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Old 12-29-2012, 02:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am so sorry about your kitty. I have not had much luck with vets in the past: I've been treated badly, overcharged, and prescribed unnecessary medications (verified by the adoption center my kitty came from). Now I have been going to a vet for months and have not had a diagnosis. It is hard to know for sure whether a vet truly cares about your pet or not.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Barring one utterly incompetent new vet who was terrified of my horse, I have been very lucky with vets over the years.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3furbabies View Post
First of all I am very very sorry for your loss... Your vet experience was unbelievable and needless to say I'd never go back there again if it were me. This is why I never ever take my animals to the vet. All get the occasional problem that most people would take them to the vet for but it would be more damaging than good like in your case. I had to take my one cat to the vet last year frequently for health problems... They gave me all sort of drugs and a crappy prescription food that didn't work. I took the food back and they called me s liar saying I must be sneaking her treats because it always works. I never went back again and solved the problem on my own. I took my dog to a new vet when we moved(her old one screwed up her spay which left her with a massive lump on her side) and the new vet insisted all these extra poisoning vaccines and almost gave her the wrong rabies **** because he couldn't read the label (he wasn't English and he needed s tech to pick the correct one for him). I have 0 trust in vets and won't take them there until they are dying and that will be an emergency vet.


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Thank you. It's sad to read about your cats an realize this sort of thing is not that rare.

I have been re-evaluating my use of vets lately. While I am not at the point (yet) where I would never use a vet again, I think you pretty much made the argument perfectly. Too many errors, too little integrity in too many cases.

I guess I am still old fashioned. When I started taking in animals the standard advice for a sick pet was - "take him/her to the vet". I think by and large that was good advice then. Now, perhaps not so much anymore.

In the past, my experience has been mixed, although it has been much worse the past few years. I had five female kittens who were spayed by one vet at a cost of $900 - four became pregnant the following year.

That vet refused any responsibility, although he did offer a discounted rate if we wanted to euthanize the cats and kittens - his suggestion!

I also had a 22 year old fellow who developed a sarcoma at the site of an injection two years previously. 3 operations later to remove it he died after surgery.

I also had a 9 year old CRF kitty who was hospitalized for fluids and observation. She died the day she was discharged. The only "observation" there for two days had been a teenage vet tech. The young man did not know it was vital for cats to keep eating, and she had not eaten at all during her "hospitalization".

I've tried to write these experiences off as simply due to the law of averages. We deal with so many abandoned pets in my family that we have come to expect problems. But, honestly, it is far worse now than a decade ago, when we took in even more pets.

To be fair, we also had a great vet when we were in Arizona. He made house calls, left his Thanksgiving dinner to treat people's sick pets, never recommended unnecessary meds, and honestly cared about the animals. Sadly, I think his kind is a dying breed.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks, Ms N.

Don't get me started on overcharging. I forgot to mention that this vet charged us for a bag of sub-q fluids, and then charged us again for taking the remainder of that bag home in case we had administer more fluids on our own - even though we had already paid for that bag.

Unless you get the right vet to begin with, you can be in for a real bad time, sadly.

Last edited by Tomcats; 12-29-2012 at 07:15 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arianwen View Post
Barring one utterly incompetent new vet who was terrified of my horse, I have been very lucky with vets over the years.
Hi Arianwen,

We had pretty good luck, too, until about 2006. Since then, it has been very spotty. We've had one very good, one good, two fair, and about a dozen poor to very poor vets since then.

I've always attributed it to the number of pets we deal with, but I wonder if your vets are better, on average, in the UK. There is virtually no meaningful oversight of the vet business here in the US.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I am very sorry for your loss. What a terrible thing to do to a poor sick kitty. You may want to file a complain with your states veterinary board against that vet. You may be saving other pets lives. That is no way to run a vet's office.
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