Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,722 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one struggling with this, just wondering how to deal with it.

We recently lost our 13 year old cat very suddenly. He had been losing weight so we took him to the vet, where they checked his thyroid. It came back normal, so the vet said to "leave it for 2 weeks and see how he goes". So we did. 2 weeks later there was no change, so we took him back, where he was examined again, and the vet treated him for tapeworms, because our regular wormer doesn't treat it. She said to leave it for another 2-3 weeks and see how it goes. He then stopped losing weight, but didn't gain any back, and he seemed ok so we left it for about a month or so. Then one morning we found him dead on the floor with no warning (he was fine the night before).

The vet's attitude was that there was no reason for concern yet, "we'll see how it goes" sort of attitude. I can't help but think that if maybe the vet had been more concerned and decided to do more tests our cat would still be alive. Why would he send us home for 2 weeks instead of doing more tests?

In addition to that, we have another cat with mystery urinary issues. We've spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on vets and tests. And all they could come up with was "we don't really know what's wrong, try giving him more wet food". Which we do, and he's alright, but it still hasn't fixed him. There's no diagnosis. They have no idea what's wrong with him. I know these things happen, but out of our 2 cats who had issues, the vet hasn't manage to diagnose or fix anything.

Yet we've given them thousands of dollars and they're driving around in European cars with the most expensive type of personalise rego plates. It just seems wrong.

I need to take Pixie to the vet for ear drops, it's a recurring issue with her, but just the thought of going to the vet has really upset me. I don't want to give them any more money, I don't want to stand there and have to make small talk and be friendly while the vet examines her. I don't ever want to see another vet.

For the ear drops it's alright, I can get the prescription from the vet's and order them online instead. But what about long term? We have 2 dogs and 5 cats, we need to see the vet again at some point.

Anyone else have issues with vets?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,075 Posts
I am also sincerely very sorry for your loss.

I am also sorry that you are feeling this way ... it is all too familiar.

The "Leeo" saga is fairly well known ...I am sure. But his misdiagnosis right at the very beginning may have saved him a ton of suffering before his fatal disease actually took hold of him ... if the real cause had been found and not all the "see what happens" attitudes. Over four thousand dollars later ... because of this type of attitude ... Leeo is gone ... and I feel he suffered needlessly.

I do not care about the money ... but every time I have to make that payment ... bad feelings come rushing forth ... all over again! I hate this ... re-living of this horrible experience ... over and over ............ it makes it hard to move forward.

I found that the best thing I ever did was trust an Animal hospital and it's staff ............ if only I had done it sooner. :(

Change vets and get second opinions ...... This is what I have done since. If need be ... go to an E-Vet IMHO. I found that their expertise is a wonderful tool in finding answers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
583 Posts
I am so sorry for your loss. I understand completely how you feel as I have felt the same way myself. Sometimes it is just better to make a fresh start with different Vet if you have access to one close by , however , remember that a Vet Can become complacent for many reasons. Vets , doctors and folks in general are only as good as they are demanded to be. You are the one with eyes on and best qualified to make decisions that will most benefit you and yours. This is not unlike a family doctor , sometimes you just need to make a change , and , when you get a good Vet you know it in you gut that this is a good one.

Try not to let any Vet/Doctor get away with saying come back in 2 weeks as the reason you are there today is the same reason you will be there in 2 weeks if your Vet is just guessing , and , folks have been letting them get away with it....

>Yet we've given them thousands of dollars and they're driving around in European cars with the most expensive type of personalise rego plates. It just seems wrong.<
This is wrong and they are not doing you a favor to treat your pet, you are paying with hard earned money... Vote with your feet , be informed , show your concerns and let your Vet know what you expect.

Be prepared with information/history/meds and concerns about your pet on your next visit and let your Vet know you want to understand the diagnosis and treatment plan especially with recurring health issues. Remember that you are paying for quality Vet services , so let them know that is what you want.

I wish you well as I have a deep understanding for what you are dealing with.


Good Luck , oldhounddog
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
We lost our 10 year old cat last year and were treated the same way. Steppenwolf (our cat) lost a bunch of weight, got scabs on his body, had horrible diarrhea, and was very lethargic. We kept taking him to the vet who never even spent more than 2 minutes in the room examining him. The first time we took him all the vet did was give him a steriod shot and some antibiotics and told us to come back in two weeks. Steppenwolf just got worse. We came back in two weeks and the vet gave him some sort of shot (I wish I could remember what is was) that cost us $100 and said "see if that helps". He seemed to get a little better for a couple of weeks and then went straight downhill again... Vet gave him another shot.... Better for a couple of weeks and then crashed again. The vet told us that we might just have to give him a shot every month for the rest of his life.
Finally we made an apointment at another vet but by that time Steppy's kidneys were failing and it was too late.

CHANGE VETS! We did and we are a lot happier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
801 Posts
Have you tried any home remedies for Pixie's ear problems? When Cassy was a puppy she had chronic ear infections which the vet prescribed expensive meds for that didn't work and said that she might need costly ear surgery. In the end I found a recipe using boric acid powder, glycerin and alcohol which cleared up her ear infection twice as fast and at a fraction of the cost of the prescription meds. Now I just clean her ears out once a month with the solution and she has not had an ear infection since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,145 Posts
I'm sorry for your loss, and hopefully I can give you some perspective as a vet.

A very, very significant portion of the time it is like pulling teeth to get people to be more aggressive with diagnostics. I cannot tell you how many people, when offered the choice to be more aggressive or "watch it for two weeks" will choose the latter. So it is easy for a vet to get into the mindset that no one wants to work up their pets. I mean that as an explanation, not an excuse, because all of the options should always be offered to every client IMO. The most important thing is to really communicate with your vet what your philosophy is - whether you're a "wait and see" kind of person or a "want to be aggressive sooner" kind of person. If a vet takes the "wait and see" approach and that's not what you want to do, TELL them that you don't want to approach the problem that way. It's very frustrating as a vet to explain my exam findings and my thoughts and propose a plan to a client, have them say they understand and agree with it and don't have any questions, and then find out later that wasn't actually how they wanted to proceed at all. I am very pointed about asking people whether we are on the same page or not or if they want to do things differently, and it STILL happens to me, I don't really understand why. I'm honestly not trying to place any blame on your shoulders, I'm just trying to explain the vet's behavior. My guess is they thought you were fine with the plan as proposed - although ultimately they share the responsibility to make sure you and they are on the same page.

As for your cat with the urinary issues... there is a syndrome called idiopathic cystitis (aka feline lower urinary tract disease or FLUTD aka feline urologic syndrome or FUS) that IS a mystery illness. The easiest way to think about it is a sterile inflammation of the bladder. Nobody really knows what causes it, there's no specific diagnostic test for it, and there isn't really a specific treatment for it beyond controlling pain during episodes and the most current theory is that more water (thus the canned food) in the diet might help prevent episodes. There is no way to "fix" it. If they think that's what's going on with your cat, your vet should have explained it better. Your vet has an obligation to explain this stuff so you know what to expect IMO.

It sounds like maybe your vet just isn't a very good communicator but maybe an "I'll tell you what's what because I'm the doctor" type. That's great for the type of person who just wants to be told what to do and doesn't want to think about it or make a lot of decisions (and there are plenty of people like that out there). But if it doesn't mesh with your approach to care for your pets, you need to either have a talk with them about it or look for someone who DOES mesh better with you.

As far as the money... maybe things are different in the UK, but in the US at least I assure you that the vast majority of vets aren't sleeping on piles of money at night. I'll probably die with my student loans and things are only getting worse and worse financially for graduating vets these days. You don't know where they're getting their money, maybe they have a rich spouse or an inheritance or something. The money thing is a pet peeve of mine, no one bashes MDs for making money and not always having a diagnosis - and they generally get to do all the diagnostics they want rather than having to pick and choose based on what a client can afford. /rant
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
If one honestly can't trust a vet, I'd say find another vet (and find out if they are willing to be aggressive in diagnostics/treatment if you want it). I have a great vet (who, yes, makes a good living, but nowhere near what human doctors charge for the same thing, and much of the money that comes in is put back into the business and state of the art equipment, which I appreciate) but she (and the vets at her clinic ) can't always provide a quick diagnosis in specialized areas. If they can't, I get a referral to a specialist. It's been my experience that in the longrun, that referral can actually be a money-saver. And lead to a treatment program much quicker. Because they have the specialized knowledge and equipment to get to the bottom of the problem more quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,310 Posts
Before he retired, I used to go to a vet that was about 1/2 hours driving time from my home without traffic. With traffic, all bets were off. There were plenty of vets closer, but it was worth it for me to see this vet because he was so good. After he retired, I saw several different vets but didn't like them. I am now with a vet who I have seen for maybe 10-15 years. However, if there are any problems, I am comfortable asking for a referral to a specialist. My vet stays in contact with the dogs' cardiologist especially when they need to go under sedation. If you are not comfortable with your vet, interview others. Ask people you know about the vets they use and how they feel about them. Be prepared to travel a little out of your way if you need to. Ask questions! No professional should balk if you ask appropriate questions. If they do, look elsewhere. Second opinions are a good option. You might want to look for a vet that specializes in cats. I take my birds to an avian vet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,277 Posts
I'm very sorry to hear about your cat and can understand why you would be upset about it.

I think the assessment by sassafras is correct, based on conversations with my vet. They have a hard time getting clients to agree to tests or further investigation because of the cost. Sadly, a lot of people also have the mindset that "it's just a dog" and decide to forgo even going to the vet let alone considering treatment options.

We had a lump on our dog biopsied a couple of months ago and when I told people about it, some gave me strange looks, as if it was some kind of luxury to have it done. Wut?! My vet said it was common for people to let lumps on dogs go unchecked. She once had a dog that came in with 30+ lumps. She checked them all, but it took a long time (imagine multiple slides created for each lump x 30) and was not cheap. The results were a little mixed; most were benign but a couple were concerning and were removed. But I can in no way imagine waiting that long to have something like that checked out. But people do it all the time.

My vet is good and always lays out the options so we can decide together the best course. But I can see how vets would fall into a pattern of "wait and see" when they get a lot of resistance from clients.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
878 Posts
Hamish has moved around a bit and we've had good vets and bad vets - sometimes within the same practice, so as people have said 'shop around', and ask for recommendations, however do remember that someone's idea of a great vet may not be your idea of a great vet!
One vet tried to cut Hamish's nails and made a total mess of it (traumatising him forever when it comes to nail clipping) so next time we took him there he dug his claws into the flooring and refused to go into the surgery.
In another practice we saw a different vet (an Aussie, Italian, South African,......) every time we visited - fortunately they were all good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,722 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone. I just want to clarify that I have no issue with vets making money. They can live in a palace and own 30 luxury cars for all I care, as long as they actually diagnose my animals properly.

I realise I am partly responsible for what happened, I should have pushed more and made sure tests were done. It's just that we'd never lost a cat like this before, in fact I've never lost a cat before, other than childhood cats that lived outside and just didn't come back one day. I've never had one been sick like this, and I guess I just thought it would all be ok in the end. I wish I had done more and made the vet do more tests. Not making this mistake again, I have definitely learnt my lesson.

I spent all day yesterday thinking about this, and not once has a vet been able to diagnose anything. They're fine for treating injuries and giving injections, but any time there's something out of the ordinary, they're clueless. Back in 2004 both my cats had massive hair loss. 3 visits to the vet, no diagnosis, no treatment, he had no idea. Eventually the hair grew back on its own.

In 2008 one of my cats lost heaps of weight, the vet did blood tests, they all came back normal, so the vet said "she's probably unhappy, try giving her more attention". In the end it turned out to be worms (I guess our regular wormer didn't treat the type she had).

In 2009 one of our cats was hit by a car, we took him to the vet, she failed to notice the tear in the muscle lining on his abdomen, 3 weeks later he needed $1500 surgery to remove a tennis ball sized lump. This is the same cat that now has urinary issues. Earlier this year he was unable to pee, he kept trying and nothing came out, we took him to the vet, they did $500 worth of tests which showed nothing, so they sent us home and said there was nothing to do except keep an eye on it.

In 2010 Pixie had her first ear infection, she was prescribed antibiotics but it came back. We went to the vet 3 times, each time she cleaned the ear out and told me to just keep cleaning it out. Then we finally went to a different vet who actually looked at the gunk under the microscope and discovered it was yeast, not a bacterial infection.

There is just so much dodgy stuff and failure to treat things that I have completely lost faith in vets. These incidents happened over several years and with several different vets. It seems to be a pretty common thing.

There is a small local vet nearby that I don't mind, she actually does follow ups for free and sometimes only charges for the medication, not the consult, because she knows us. We like her, but she has made mistakes too, and I wouldn't trust her to diagnose anything correctly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,851 Posts
I am so sorry for your loss. Change vets if you aren't comfortable. Just know that vets and doctors do make mistakes. Things are missed, overlooked, and often are common issues that simple treatments take care of, so often they are tried first. I tend to over think issues, since I worked as a tech for many years. I have a great clinic I trust, but they get new grads in every couple of years. I had an issue with o.e, as I explained on the phone the problem I thought. When we arrived she was so adamant that she knew more, she completely missed the problem. I called the vet who owns the clinic, and it was an ordeal with the new vet, but my dogs life was worth it!

However, I have an old dog, who had to have a large tumor removed. I refused the pre anesthetic blood work, and the biopsy. It had to come off, so the tests wouldn't matter, and he is too old to treat aggressively. I knew the risks. He is doing great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,240 Posts
I'm sorry about your loss. I work at a clinic and each time someone loses a pet, I am saddened even more. contrary to what people have told me it doesn't get easier.

I used to work at another clinic where the doctors are quite thorough and prefer to diagnose and treat aggressively. They do all the diagnostic testing possible and refer to specialists when necessary. However, I have worked with some do for a who are quite conservative and never want to make a diagnosis. I don't know if they weren't confident about making a diagnosis or what but it seems you have this kind of vet. You also sound like the type of person who would do anything for your pets. Sadly, a lot of people cannot afford all the testing or they are not willing to spend that money on an animal. Maybe this vet is suffering from compassion-fatigue, a 'condition' that affects many health care givers. He may be tired of trying to convince.people that their pet should be doing this and that test but then hears how they can't afford it or don't want to do it. It sounds cruel but it's like burnout.
On
I'm just guessing of course but maybe you need to find another vet. Something like what your cat went through should have been tested thoroughly. Better too much than not enough than not enough.

yh. I hope you find a solution to your cats' problems. Or you could take it upon yourself Nd ask why should we wait? Ask questions about why are they doing the tests, what are they thinking the problem is, etc. Ask ask ask. Even though you pay exorbitant prices for a service, some vets have become complacent. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,186 Posts
I'm sorry for your loss.

I have this problem when it comes to doctors. I have a rare disorder and my husband has MS. The both of us had to go to doctor after doctor after doctor, begging for help, only to be dismissed and treated like trash when one test result came back normal. I've gotten to the point where I hate doctors. Heck, I hate anything in a white coat, money-grubbing, know-it-all, sadistic jerks!

Then again, the doctor my husband had in the hospital, who first suggested MS, was great. He was caring and thoughtful, had lots of time for us, and really listened to us.

I think is the 90/10 rule. It applies to everything, vets and doctors, car mechanics and hair stylists. 90% of people are a**holes. Doesn't matter what profession they choose.

So go find the 10%. Ask around among pet owners in your area. See whose name keeps coming up. Then, give them a chance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,931 Posts
Two years ago, I noticed that the dog in my signature had something wrong with his eye. My vet thought it was pollen. Two days later, it was worse and the other eye was affected. We went to the er vets and had to see an internist, neurologist and ophthalmologist. I'm glad that I am the kind of owner I am and i don't wait to go elsewhere if i feel the need. I'm not upset with my vet, me going elsewhere didn't extend his life but it reinforces the fact I have to be the advocate for my dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,658 Posts
Sympathies for your loss. :( I hope your other cat is doing well though.

Pretty much everyone here has said find another vet. And I am going to say it too. Get a recommendation, find a vet that you like, that will answer all of your questions and will give you options. I ALSO wanted to say that vets (and doctors) are people too - they're not perfect and they WILL make mistakes. IMO, its better to have one central vet who knows your pets, like a GP, that you see regularly, and seek out second opinions as you feel they are needed.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top