Where was the cat during those “lost” hours? (a sharing)

Ref: http://myanimalcare.org/2012/04/24/this-is-almost-unbelievable/

In response to my post above on the case where a trainee vet opened up a male cat to be SPAYED without first checking if he was male or female just because the rescuer mistakenly thought and said the cat was female, and how the vet said, “Why did you tell me it was a female?” in defence, a reader shared her story below.

By the way the poor male cat is fine now. But we think this unfortunate mistake could have been avoided if only vets practise a standard protocol of running a physical check on all animals before doing any procedure on them.

Here is the story:

Dear Dr Chan,

It has been quite a while. I am been keeping myself updated with your all your blog postings. Your posting on ‘This is almost unbelievable’ got my attention more than others.

First of all, I am really thankful and grateful that our paths had crossed. By reading your blog I came to know about Dr. Susanna Brida-Hofherr. Dr Susanna is a gem and because of her we are able to help our cat who was in dire situation to almost back to good old self. Last weekend was his ninth acupuncture session with Dr. Susanna.

What caught my attention re the your today posting on a ‘mistake’ made that cause an innocent creature undue suffering is the ‘lack of care’ and ‘don’t care’ attitude that some vets have.

Almost 2 months ago our cat who had been suffering from severe gingivitis one morning during a long holidays break had an emergency; was gagging as if something got stuck in his throat. Our vet was closed and we called around for vet that is open. A senior vet we consulted suggested that we bring our cat to another vet in since it is nearby and it is fully and well equipped to handle all kinds of cases. Got to this vet’s clinic,  and got his pain-killer jab and the attending vet suggested that he be referred to a visiting consultant who is visiting at the time. We agreed since we are looking for a specialise hospital with advance surgical procedure i.e. cyrosurgery to treat the sores in his throat and mouth.

What happened next was unbelievable. The consultant surgeon examine him and suggested that he undergo teeth and root extraction since he was diagnosed with stomatitis. During the examination everything was well since the specialist did all the examination himself. Then, came in the vet assistant and technician who suppose to draw blood from him. Our cat was handled very roughly and he was screaming in pain; could not do it as I intervened and since he was scheduled for surgery the next day the attending vet (local) said they will do it later. I was feeling very uneasy but since my cat is already always in great pain we thought it is best we address the cause of his pain and be done with it so he will be eventually stop being in pain. He was hospitalised as the surgery will be done as soon as possible the next day. Biggest mistake; by not taking him home. We are not able to sleep that night as we sensed that something is not right.

Early the next morning; since it was a working day, my hubby called the hospital to enquire about our cat’s status. It was shocking as no one knew where our cat was or anything about our cat (as if he was not even there) hubby did not tell me as do not want to alarm me as he knew about my reservations about the hospital. He was having meetings all morning but kept on calling the hospital every half an hour as each time no one knew anything, Our cat was lost in transaction somewhere. When hubby got a chance to get out of the meeting and ready to go hospital at around 2.00 pm someone mentioned that our cat is in surgery at the moment. Then only hubby told me what happened,  After the surgery when the consultant called me to inform how the surgery not cyro-surgery went I insisted that we are taking our cat home right away although the local attending vet was unhappy about it. I told him; for almost a day we do not know what happened and how our cat was; we do not want to lose him forever. Hubby rushed to the hospital and collected him.

That is not the end of it. Our cat is a total changed cat, traumatised and very fearful.  What unbelievable is that; our cat had surgery in the mouth and throat and the medications are pills – we supposed to dry-pill him after that; even though the consultant assured me that he will be prescribing liquid meds which we will put in his food. Lost communication again between the consultant and local vet. Until today we still do not know happened to our cat during his ‘lost’ hours.

After discussions with our regular vet, I decided I am opting for alternative treatments for him that is when we took him to Dr. Susanna. It was a challenging journey to recovery for our cat. His behaviour changes was so drastic. He was fearful (shows in his eyes and demeanours) and even scratched his vet whom he likes and very lovey-dovey to in the face when she touch him. He was very traumatised in a veterinary clinic settings.

Acupuncture balances his ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ as well as his emotional trauma. He has been suffering from incontinence for almost 5 years and it is now in control. We went through the Bach flower remedy (rescue remedy), herb medicine (can’t take it as it very bitter – stop eating after that) and stemtech of which he still on. Dr Susanna so kindly loaned me her book on massages and cat behavioral issues for me to help our cat. The T-Touch messages was wonderful and worked well when seeing his vet (they are friends again). The Bach flowers remedy help him a lot with his emotional issues. Tried the food that Dr. Susanna recommended; some he likes and some he ran away from. He is on the mend; we are taking it a day at a time. We will continue with his acupuncture session with Dr Susanna. Although he not friendly with Dr Susanna like he is with his vet; he is getting there. He strives on his endorphins surges after his acupuncture; he is happy cat after his acupuncture sessions.

We focused all our energies and change our scheduled plans to help our cat heal. It is still an on-going process.

It is a hard lesson for us. We fail to listen to our gut feelings and our cat pay a heavy price for that. All the time at the waiting room we have this sense that the hospital environment is unfriendly; the vets assistants and technicians behave like ‘orderlies in mental institution’. They grudgingly did their tasks when asked by the vet and some do not seemed to speak at all. The song ‘Hotel California’ kept playing in our head.

We thought we have enough experiences in assessing good hospital to bad; looks like we do not know any better. The most frustrating of all, we put our faith and trust that professionals know what they are doing and well trained to handle patients especially ‘patients who has no voice and speak for themselves’ and at the mercy of humans all the time. Looks like it isn’t so.

What more we are not beggars asking for free services when taking our beloved pets we are willing to do and pay whatever it takes so our pets do not suffer needlessly. I shivered to think about pets owners or rescuers who have limited budget and their pets and animal under their care under the mercy of ‘professionals’.

When I took my cat to the nursery ward; all the animals there look so terrified in their cages. You look just behind there is just the back lane to the main road. I shuddered to think any animals in fear would try to escape and got to the back lane. They are known to be a very reputable clinic; it is mind boggling how they operate the way they do.

I pray that no animals will suffer needlessly like our cat do. What mind boggling is how some of these professional pretend so arrogantly to know what they are doing and carrying on doing which they know that is not right.

As pet owners we understand if a professional admit they they have to refer to a more senior professional or need to do more research on a particular illness or condition. We would not  think that they are stupid or incompetent but in fact we will  respect  the honesty as it shows that the professional care and strive to do the best he/she can do for a sick animal not just ‘shooting in the dark’; so arrogant to admit they actually ‘do not know everything’. as they projected themselves to be.

That is all to share with you Dr. Chan. Thank you for your blog and bringing Dr. Susanna to our life. Take care.

Kind regards.

P.S. I have also come to know of rescuers who sent they rescued animal for spaying to a seemingly well-trained young professional who do not want to admit his shortcoming; sadly it was fatal for the female dog who bleed excessively after surgery.; died shortly. The rescuer is afraid from thereon to send her rescued animals for spaying and neutering. Most senior vets who very competent had mostly retired. Can you blame the rescuer?


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3 responses to “Where was the cat during those “lost” hours? (a sharing)”

  1. Wong Yoke Mei

    Though i know it is not a good place for the writer to point out the consultant surgeon, but i can stop wandering who that is and which vet clinic is he/she attached to……I my pets won’t go through experiences like these…..sigh

  2. Maneki Neko

    I agree, Yoke Mei! This is a terrifying story. And if there are many more stories like this, I can better understand people’s reluctance to spay/neuter their pets. I thought I’d heard all the excuses, but it honestly never crossed my mind that people might be *afraid* to send their animals to a clinic. 🙁

  3. Joey

    I always look at my pet’s expression whenever I go to a vet. If they look terrified, i say “Sorry, something’s come up”, pick up my little darling and run out FAST! Most animals have the instinct to tell if they are facing a “good” or “bad” situation.

    Through the years, I have learnt to watch the vet. See how he/she handles the animal. If they are rough – chances are, they aren’t “good” for the animal.