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Post op sick cat

(8 Posts)
1Catherine1 Sun 21-Nov-10 09:28:37

I don't really think I need advice now, I just need to talk.

My little girl had surgery to remove some lumps from her belly area a few weeks ago. They were investigating the possibility of cancer, it came back all clear and I was over the moon as you can imagine.

Since then I have been back to the vets twice, once for a post op antibiotic injection and once to get her stitches out. My vet told me that it was normal for the belly to swell up the way it had and if he emptied it it would just fill up again. I trusted him because he's always been trustworthy but now I'm pretty mad at him.

He saw her when her belly was swollen and told me it was normal. When I asked when I would need to bring her back he said only when her skin condition flaired up again. He never gave me any indication that the fluid could be dangerous in any way.

Yesterday she started acting strangely. She refused to move from one point on the sofa and wasn't even interested in moving to eat which is unusual since eating is one of her favourite pass times. This morning my OH woke me to tell me that not only was she refusing to move but she have urinated on the sofa and was still refusing to move. So she was lay in her own urine. Again, unusual behaviour, this is the same cat that will not step foot in a dirty litter tray and will simply poo outside it to make the point. I decided that I had to contact the emergency vets. They told me to try and feed her something she wouldn't usually refuse then call back with a decision on whether I --could afford-- wanted to bring her in. After she refused her favourite beef I phoned them back and took her in.

At 7:30am this morning I arrived at the surgery and the vet took a look at her. He told me the swelling was all puss and not only was it extremely uncomfortable for her but it was filled with bacteria and we were lucky she wasn't running a fever. He told me he had to keep her in and had to give her some antibiotics and some fluids to prevent any further complications. He implied (but didn't say) that my vet should have checked the fluid build up since when he did and looked at it under the microscope he was concerned. He told me the fluid needs removing and told me the two choices were that he could remove it or he could keep her in until my own vets could. Since they (and I quote) "were responsible" for this they may be able to sort it out for less money. He told me this would depend on the arrangements they had with our surgery and since he didn't know himself he would have to wait to find out off the head nurse when she came in at 9am, someone would then call me.

So that is where I stand now. It is 9:25am and I'm waiting anxiously for a call telling me what we should do now. I'm feeling rather stressed out and worried and sitting here waiting for this call isn't helping. I don't know if I'm being reasonable to be mad at my vet but I just feel that he should have taken 10 minutes at the last check up to see if there was any problems with the fluid build up or at very least told me to bring her in for another check-up when the post op antibiotic injection ran out. Instead my poor girl has had to suffer and I'm footing an emergency vet bill which in all honesty I can't afford. I've paid out over £500 in vet bills in the last 3 months, I have a baby on the way and its Christmas next month. Stressed isn't the word.

Goingspare Sun 21-Nov-10 09:57:16

Poor cat and poor you. I hope she makes a good recovery.

It seems to me that if the vet is responsible for the complications now, they should treat her without charge, but for now, I hope you get the call quickly and she get sorted out.

1Catherine1 Sun 21-Nov-10 10:49:51

Oh my god... the emergency vet just phoned me back. They've reduced the consultancy cost for me by over £20 but have had to treat her today because they can't get hold of my vet until tomorrow. It is going to cost approximately £350. I'm in shock and in tears, how are people supposed to pay this?! This is just the cost for the emergency vet for today. I then have to take her in tomorrow morning to my vets.

Goingspare Sun 21-Nov-10 15:52:11

I'm so sorry. I think you need to have a talk with your regular vet, as it sounds as if you shouldn't have needed the emergency vet's services. How is she?

1Catherine1 Sun 21-Nov-10 16:08:34

She's in less pain now. She still hasn't eaten but now they have her on the cat equivalent of morphine for the pain. The Vet said since it can make her drowsy there's a good chance that she might be more inclined to eat later on as now she is just sleepy. She is on a fluid drip though so I'm sure I shouldn't worry that she hasn't eaten since Friday.

They're drained all the puss out although they had to do it in two procedures since apparently to do it in one would have made her blood pressure drop too much. I do feel this could have all been avoided if my vet had just checked the contents of the fluid and not assumed that is was harmless. I do intend to tell him this.

I am really angry at the money this is costing me but I'm even more angry knowing how much pain she must have been in through the last few days. Pain that, in my opinion, could have been avoided.

Goingspare Sun 21-Nov-10 21:54:07

Fingers crossed for her.

frostyfingers Mon 22-Nov-10 12:08:19

Can you ask the Emergency vet to write to your vet - explaining the need for action etc.

1Catherine1 Fri 03-Dec-10 00:30:38

I was just browsing this forum as I always do and thought I should update this in-case anyone wondered...

On the Sunday night (of the 21st Nov) I got a call from my vets saying they'd got the message from the emergency vets telling them they had her and were treating her. They told me to collect her from the emergency vets immediately and bring her to their vets where there would be someone waiting for me to take over my cats care - they had opened up especially to meet me as they were concerned at how quickly the cost at an emergency vets could mount up.

She is still there now (nearly 2 weeks later) and they are looking after her. She has made a significant improvement but is still not ready to be released home. She has had to have a few minor procedures and has had to have a proper operation too to remove the cause of the problem. The actual cause of the infection is still a mystery although my vet thinks it could have been caused by my cats over-grooming habit although I haven't seen her do this in quite a while. I guess I will never know for sure.

I have been assured that they are aware of my financial situation and the practise has been instructed not to issue a bill to me for anything until the head vet has checked it and made any adjustments he can. I asked last week what the bill was up to and was told that standard cost was up to £300 already and that was before the second op she had this week, but also told there were going to be adjustments to that figure. I am still anticipating a bill I can't afford though. I will have to arrange to pay it over a period of a few months which is still going to be hard.

Despite the financial strain this has/will put on me though I am thankful to my vets for making me feel like my cats health and well-being is their priority over anything else. Sometimes it is easy to become cynical of vets since the cost if often very high. I have also had vets who have only been in it for the money and shown no genuine interest in the animal, these people made me lose a lot of respect for the profession. My vets though have shown in the past two weeks how much they genuinely care about her. I know this because I know my cat and when I have visited her she has been happy when I arrived and still contented when I was leaving - If she wasn't being looked after she would make a fuss as I left.

She is having a final (hopefully) operation on Monday just to sort out a little issue caused by the wound not healing properly due to my cat feeling better and being more active and not resting it like she should. I expect they will want to keep her in a few days more to check that it is healing properly and with any luck by this time next week I will be able to bring her home. Much to the dismay of my other cat who seems to have blossomed since she was hospitalised, I am sure she thinks she has moved out permanently and now the house and the servants are all hers.

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