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I am not a vet. However I did go to school as a vet tech and work as a vet tech some years ago, I never completed the degree program, but it was in an actual brick and mortar college and I was paid a living wage by the vet I worked for... Thats a disclaimer to what I'm about to say...

We got two kittens about a month ago. They have overall been a joy, but about a week ago, we noticed that one was squinting her left eye occasionally. It wasn't goopy, she wasn't snotty, it almost looked like she was sleepy and only sometimes, but more often than would be normal. Over the course of the week it got a little worse, looked like some minor conjunctival swelling causing a little bit of discharge occasionally so I started wiping it with warm water and it seemed to be going away. Since it was holding steady I wasn't alarmed enough to get an emergency appointment or anything, and by the time I decided I had to get her in and it wasn't getting better she was getting a bit more discharge and a sneeze or two a day, but her eye was still open about halfway most of the time, and no nasal discharge. When I called the vet did not have any available hours for an actual appointment anytime when I could get her in, they offered me a drop off appointment that is done at the vets convenience (and did not bother to mention that there would be a "daycare" fee) since it was all they had I agreed. We dropped her off, and I had to go to work so my husband was the one dealing with the calls and irritating techs at our vet hospital. Basically, they gave my husband the runaround, they decided to do a full stain and swab and then finally after over 7 hours a tech came out and said "its probably an RI so here's some $40 ointment (in a tube the size of barbie's toothpaste), put it in her eye every 8 hours and it should take care of the whole thing, and we didn't do the first dose, thats up to you"
WHAT? Is this normal? How is eye ointment that is basically neosporin thats approved for use in the eye going to cure an RI? And why wouldn't they have taken it as an RI or conjunctivitis in the first place instead of charging us for a stain? and on top of that, this minor conjunctival swelling that has until now, for about a week, stayed relatively stable, suddenly tonight after seeing the vet has blown up to a full out eye shut and when I went to try to get the ointment in it the surface of her eye was COVERED in green discharge which it has not been until today.
I need some advice from folks who have had cats with RI's that cause eye problems, did we get totally shafted? because that's how it feels to me.
I had been thinking we needed a new vet, but this is absolute proof to me, that the vet couldn't even be the one to come out and answer his very minimal questions and explain the ointment is atrocious, and neither of us believes that ointment will fix an internal infection, no matter how expensive it was, and then her eye looks so much worse after they looked at it, all around, any help would be very very appreciated.
thanks kitty folks!
 

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I can't speak to the rest of your post since (thankfully) my girls haven't had any real eye issues, but I find it disgusting that they didn't apply the first dose. Jerks. Not only should they have applied the initial treatment, someone should have come out and explained about the medication, application and any possible side effects.
 

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That's terrible. We recently took Jemima to the vet with a runny eye. There were several possibilities so he started us on drops and we had to go back in a few days when he switched to an ointment. We didn't have to pay for Jem's repeat visit and the drops and ointment between them didn't cost a much as that. Plus, if you are a regular, you can ring and ask a veterinary nurse for advice at any time.
 

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Most URIs are caused by the herpes virus...no medication is going to clear out a virus. Since the eye is cruddy, they prescribed the ointment to ensure that there is no secondary bacterial infection. $40 seems excessive, but then it's been over 10 years since I had a cat with a URI that needed eye ointment.

Not telling you about the boarding fee for the day is wrong. And they really should have applied the first dose, but maybe your cat was acting out? Although they are trained to deal with that sort of thing...

Symptoms may have worsened due to the stress of being at the vet all day. An outbreak of the herpes virus can be brought on by stress.
 

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When I first got my kitten he was sneezy and runny (nose and eyes). I started putting L-lysine powder in his food. I have no idea if it helped him get over it more quickly or not, but he was totally fine within a few weeks.

If the vet thought it was a virus, that explains why you weren't sent home with antibiotics or anything. The ointment is just to manage the eye symptom and make sure your kitty is comfortable and protected from a secondary bacterial infection.

I didn't need any ointment at the time, but I've overheard my vet recommending people pick up X type of human medication as a generic at Walmart and explain to people how to dose properly. She is a saint when it comes to saving money and as a result I usually stuff $10 in the donation cup or bring food or litter whenever I'm in for an appointment. She has rescues that live at the office and she charges next to nothing for her services. My kitten was already neutered an has his first fvrcp. I took him for his last 2 fvrcp and a rabies shot over the course of 3 appts. 3 appts and 3 shots plus a fecal cost me $110.

Anyway, long story short, while you should never try to sub human medicine on your own, maybe with a little prodding, your vet can recommend an equivalent for less money.
 
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