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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
Tom Cat
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sedated for vet visits

Does anyone have any experience or advice regarding sedating a cat for vet visits? My poor girl Quinn turns from a laid back kitty into exorcist kitty at the vet. She will bite and fights to the point that it's almost impossible to get a temperature or weight, let alone be able to listen to her heart beat. It's to the point that I don't feel she's getting a decent exam when I have her in. Despite this my vet hasn't made any suggestions such as sedation, muzzles or other restraints to deal with the problem.

This whole issue really dawned on me over the weekend. I had to take Quinn in for an urgent visit for a swollen paw that I thought might be infected. I didn't get my normal vet who seems to deal with the tantrums a bit better, instead I got the only vet available for an unplanned visit. She hardly looked at Quinn's paw at all, one loud scream from the cat and she pretty much gave up. She offered antibiotics and told me to bring her back if things didn't clear up in a few days. After the fact, the more I thought about it the more I felt the need to find a way to deal with Quinn's hostility. I plan to discuss this with my normal vet after the holiday and wanted some opinions from people that have to deal with this sort of behavior too.

I'm inclined to look into mild sedation for Quinn. I could try a muzzle but that will only protect the vet, not really make it any easier to examine the cat. Has anyone tried this method? I can see it being an issue if it numbs any pain the cat might feel since pain can indicate a problem. Are there risks involved with the drug used to make the cat groggy? Does anyone have an idea aside from muzzles or sedation?

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 01:27 AM
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Have you looked into vets that make home visits? We have several members here who choose that option because the travel, cat carrier and the visit itself are too much.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 03:15 AM
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Way last century I had a former-feral kitty spayed, and I knew she'd be hard to deal with at the vet. When I told the vet about her purrsonality he offered a sedative for her. The vet's office was fairly close so took a ride and picked up the sedative pill. Next day I stuffed the pill into a bit of braunschweiger, her favorite treat, which she wolfed down.
About an hour later she fell asleep in my lap, purring. I took her to the vet, she had her surgery, and I picked her up later in the day. She was very groggy when I picked her up, and I held and petted her as she slowly woke up. I gave her a little water with an eyedropper as she was regaining consciousness because I knew her mouth was dry. She awoke in my arms, a happy kitty. I think she slept through what would otherwise have been a very traumatic experience.

And instead of breaking the trust I had worked so hard to build, Snow was more trusting and affectionate than ever.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 08:54 AM
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This situation should be addressed by your vet, using his experience and knowledge (if any) and not left to the owner - as some vets tend to do.
Then after discussing the options available, you and your vet can arrive at a satisfactory answer, taking into account your cats needs and tolerances - as every owner and cat are different.
I've had to go through many vets to find one who I felt was willing to put the 'effort' into caring for my kids. I don't know your particular situation, but I would question why my vet was not addressing this problem - obviously it is stressful to your cat.


IMHO - it amazes me how many pet parents visit their vet... then come to boards like this looking for advise. The people in these groups are all outstanding in their concern and knowledge - but it does leave me wondering what am I paying these vets for ???

During the food fiasco, I can't say enough about how outstanding, accurate and helpful this board was in
posting the latest info (Guidewife) for pet parents like myself... as my vet was woefully behind the curve....... I was telling him the latest !!!
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 08:13 PM
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My current vet gives a pre-euthanasia shot [just under the skin], waits several minutes for the drug to take effect and only then inserts the final needle into the leg vein. My last euthanised kitty was my Kelly girl. She had congestive heart failure and her heart was pumping so slow it took many minutes before the drug took hold. I was thankful she didn't have to feel that dang needle in her leg all that time. My vet also "hoods" my cats when I take them in for examinations. It calms them down a lot.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 08:21 PM
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My vet is great with Chloƫ. They prefer not to sedate her, but they have recommended some sedative just to help them do the exam. I hope you're able to work it out with your vet, I'd be unhappy as well if they didn't do a thorough exam to figure out what's going on.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 09:11 PM
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we have a few that can take a mild sedative at home (like valium or ace) and it mellows them enough for most exams... but if you have to deal with an emergency or sick kitty that may not be the best option.

You could always ask them about the possibility of gassing her down if she is too much to handle. Most places have a chamber (or bad kitty box like us) and they basically just sit in the box until the gas puts them under enough to be handled. They can be maintained on a very low gas setting with a mask until they are done.

This is literally a life saver in some cases, especially blood draws or dealing with injuries.

I really think you're settling for less than your money's worth and your cat's health is far too important. There are so many things that can be missed... even something small like weight loss or gain ir she won't get on scale, heart murmers or abnormalities, tooth and gum problems, etc.

Its definately something to look into.


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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 11:29 PM
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I don't have any experience sedating cats for vet visits, but my experience with different vets tells me that if you have a cats-only clinic you can take your cats to, Kel, sedation might be unnecessary. My cats hate going to mixed small-animal practices, but they're quite calm and happy and cooperative when I take them to the cats-only clinic. I'm sure it's the threatening sounds and smells at the mixed practices that get them all wound up.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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The reason I haven't spoken with my vet about this in the past is because my normal vet seems to handle the cats behavior pretty well. As I mentioned I had a vet other than my regular one due to the fact that I wanted to get in asap. When I saw how poorly she dealt with Quinn's behavior I started thinking about how her exams are effected by it irregardless of which vet I have and how very stressful it is for her. So having decided that something needs to be done, I came here looking for information and advice so I can have a better conversation with my vet. People on this board frequently come up with things I haven't thought of when responding to other's posts and I wanted to see what options in addition to sedation had worked for some.

Thanks to all for the input. I'll definitely look into hooding, home visits and all cat clinics. After thinking about it more I would rather not sedate Quinn unnecessarily. We'll see what my regular vet has to say on the topic in a few days.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 11:46 PM
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Inhaled anesthetic gas is safe, fast in and fast out. It will knock your cat out quickly and he will wake up quickly. And it isn't metabolized through the liver or kidneys like some oral or injectable anesthetics are, so it is safe for a sick, stressed, injured, or elderly cat.

As was mentioned previously, the cat is placed in a chamber where they sit quietly and inhale the gas until they go to sleep. They are then maintained on a mask while a thorough exam is conducted and treatments are performed.
This is how we deal with fractious kitties in my clinic. Muzzles as a rule, may keep the docs safe, but make the whole process no easier on the cat. If the cat is overly stressed, it can and does lead to incomplete exams and important changes can be missed. The downside to having the cat examined under gas anesthesia, is the cat still has to take the ride to the vet and be handled far enough to get into the tank, then will wake up still at the vet and have to take the ride home.

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