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I'm afraid my cat might have been seriously misdiagnosed - please chime in!

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by ownedbykarma, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. ownedbykarma

    ownedbykarma Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Mar 26, 2014
    with my kitty cats
    Good news! Karma's radiology report came back normal. They saw nothing unusual around his heart.  His blood chemistry is good- which is either a miracle or means he is one tough cookie. He is willing to eat a little, but only a bit of diluted meats.  And, he's getting radiographs done at the kitty dentist Friday morning. I really hope she finds out what's wrong with him.

    I want you to know what a big help you all are. I have been at the end of my rope. I don't personally know people who have any expertise with cats. My aunt ran a cat rescue, but she passed away long ago. And this vet we've been taking Karma to was recommended to us by a friend who is a retired professor at the vet school. Oh well.    
     

  2. goholistic

    goholistic TCS Member Top Cat

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    Feb 27, 2013
    Northeast USA
    I'm glad you were able to get Karma into a kitty-only clinic. I hope they figure things out!
     

  3. mycatwasthebest

    mycatwasthebest TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    mykindatown
    looking forward to some good news here...
     

  4. ownedbykarma

    ownedbykarma Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    25
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    Mar 26, 2014
    with my kitty cats
    [​IMG]  I don't expect many people to read a post this long. But Karma couldn't speak up for himself. So, for anybody who is interested...

    I was hoping to be able to report that Karma's case was happily resolved- but there is still no resolution in sight. The good news is I've lost several pounds over the stress, so my Summer clothes should fit better (OK, that wasn't funny).

    I always keep a copy of lab tests done on my pets. This time, the receptionist at Karma's vet's office wasn't sure what the specialist might want, so she made copies of his whole file and gave it to us. Imagine our surprise to learn that Karma ( the blue male pictured on my page), was not only a red female; but that he had gone from being 3 years old, to 9, to 11, to 13 years old in a year! It gets worse. Within the several pages of handwritten notes, we proceeded to read a few lines that brought us to tears:

         3-1-2013  "left upper canine- large resorptive lesion - tooth snapped off @ gumline during cleaning. Used drill to excavate remaining portion of root until no chatter response heard"

    So, poor Karma had been suffering from FORLs all along. We were only told that he  had broken his tooth. I remember so clearly how I wracked my brain trying to figure out how in the world he could have broken his canine tooth- especially without me even noticing anything. I'm at home with him all the time. He's usually in the same room with me. The only thing I could think of was that I must have been playing with him too roughly with the feather wand or fishing reel, and he banged his face into the wall, or slipped on the hardwood floor while he was jumping around. I went through a lot of guilt over it, plus I haven't given Anushka the exercise she needs because I was afraid of her getting hurt.

    I can't begin to fathom how or why we were never told our cat has a serious and painful condition that would require a lot of ongoing treatment. Not only were we not informed, every single time we brought up Karma's mouth pain, this guy would look at his mouth and imply we were imagining things. [​IMG]He was supposed to be the best vet in town. Does he not know what FORL is? or does he have some kind of cruel streak in him? I'm not in the habit of denigrating people, but this is just too weird. On 3-27-14, right after I started this thread, he wrote "oral exam normal- minor gingivitis and calculi- no oral lesions.  That was the same day that, as I might have put in a previous post, my husband showed him a raw sore in Karma's mouth.

    Then we get to our appointment for dental radiographs at XYZ Animal Hospital and Cat Clinic. We brought Karma fasted and ready for anesthesia, with all the forms filled out. But they won't do the X-rays. They give us this song and dance about how he was never scheduled for radiographs. It was a "get to know you" visit (which came with complimentary gourmet coffee and a tour of the spa). Thanks, but I already had gourmet coffee at home. I came to get my cat medical treatment. My voice might have gotten a little loud; loud enough to be heard across most of the Northern hemisphere. My hubby explained that we discussed the appointment with them at least 3 times over the phone. Since I was able to quote the prices and names of the people we spoke to, they couldn't easily deny it. We also had the reason for his appointment in writing, via an online form and 2 emails. Why would you have someone prep a cat for surgery for a "get to know you" appointment? Talk about a bait and switch! We should have just walked out. But we needed some pain meds for Karma (if nothing else), so we went ahead to the exam room after they promised the manager would see us and straighten it out. Then this teenage girl of a vet comes in. She doesn't even want to take Karma out of the crate. She turns out to be a card carrying member of the Dr ________ fan club. Her mission, as she sees it, is to help us understand that Karma's illness is a disease called hyperthyroidism, which is not an oral disease. Since we weren't receptive to Dr _________ many attempts to communicate that to us, she wanted to make a fresh start. She truly wanted the best for Karma, yadayadada. I told her to do a complete thyroid panel and take his blood pressure. She then made the incredulous assertion that there was no other thyroid test for cats, only T4. First I started laughing. Then I got really angry that this girl was granted a licence. She did not even understand the terminology I used. That's scary. 

    So, we get home. Karma was exhausted from the fasting and the long trip. I was obsessing over the fact that if I had just been told from the beginning that he had a severe resorptive lesion, I would have called my son,  put  him straight into my son's Trans Am, had him zoom on down the highway, and a few hours later he would have been taken care of by the vets that I trusted with my dogs for so many years. I really did not want to bring him to another vet here. I've had enough of being treated like a drooling imbecile. I wanted to either bring him back home, or use orthomolecular medicine. But my hubby thought if he had FORLs, then he probably needed surgery right away since it had gone untreated for so long. So, we decided to try one more vet. He called around again. 

    This time he actually spoke to a vet who seemed to still have some functioning brain cells. Then dear hubby put me on the phone so I could give him more details about Karma's medical history, behavior, etc. I asked him if Karma was too young to have full blown FORLs (only a few months shy of 4 when his symptoms began). He said absolutely not. There were different types, even within the subsets of autoimmune forms (we're getting a biopsy done). One usually did begin suddenly at a young age, and it could be very hard to treat.  He told me he had just sent a 1 1/2 year old Siamese female to the vet school because she had to be put on major immuno-suppressants, and he seldom used those in his practice because "sometimes the cure is worse than the disease".  That sounded like my kind of doctor. He even said we could bring Karma right in- he'd make time for us. 

    He did a complete physical of course. But it took him all of 3 minutes to show us, without x-rays, that Karma had 2 severe resorptive lesions on the 2 lower right premolars and more on the upper left. There was no question about it. I don't need to describe the gruesome details. Y'all can google a picture of the probe test if you want.  Plus, now get this, he's already lost 2 teeth on the lower left side. The lesions got so bad that the crown fell off. Now the jagged edges are being grown over by  inflamed tissue. Unbelievable. Since we know the teeth were there the last time he had a dental, all of this has happened over the past year. Unbelievable,  all the while we had kept saying "I really think there's something wrong with his mouth..." I didn't know it was his teeth. But I could easily see he was in pain around his muzzle/jaw/throat. That's why I expected the $%^@$&% vet to find out what was causing it.

    Anyway, the new vet is managing Karma's pain with a lot of TLC. You can imagine what a relief it has been to see him pick up a toy, eat, and run to greet Daddy at the door.  Unfortunately, no one can do surgery on Karma's mouth right now. His platelets are too low. I started this tread because he had just vomited blood. It turns out Karma suffered bone marrow suppression from the drug he was on. That's why he was hemorrhaging. We can't know if it's permanent yet. We'll have to wait, and hope.  [​IMG]
     

  5. stephenq

    stephenq TCS Member Veteran

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    Jun 19, 2003
    East Coast, USA
    Thank you for the informative and detailed post.  I'm glad you have a new vet!
     

  6. cocheezie

    cocheezie TCS Member Super Cat

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    Jan 6, 2014
    Great White North
    Sounds like you have found your vet. That's great. Sending Karma some karmic platelets.
     

  7. denice

    denice Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    Columbus OH
    I am happy you found a good vet.  Hopefully the side effects of the medication is temporary.
     

  8. furmonster mom

    furmonster mom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Mohave Desert
    Looks like we were both right... he was misdiagnosed, put on bad meds, and had FORLs.

    Ugh!  This is the kind of story that makes me wish there was some sort of real governing body that covered veterinarians.  'Course it would also help if there were any kind of real legal repercussions too. 

    Seems like the most we can do as consumers is resort to "bad press". 

    I'm glad you did finally find a vet who had a clue.  I hope the bone marrow issue can be reversed, and you can get those FORLs taken care of.  [​IMG]
     

  9. red top rescue

    red top rescue TCS Member Veteran

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    Dec 27, 2012
    Acworth GA, USA
    Such a sad story!  I've only run into a vet like that once, and it's important to share those stories so people realize you can't trust a vet just because he's a vet, and if you are not getting good results, find another.  Sorry the Cat Clinic you found was a fan of Dr. X, that's extra bad luck.  Are either or both hospitals approved by the AAHA?  Just curious, that's always a reference point used when people are looking for a new or better vet, is find an AAHA approved animal hospital and then see what vets there you have good chemistry with.  If these two are both AAHA approved, then I will stop saying that!
     

  10. ownedbykarma

    ownedbykarma Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    25
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    Mar 26, 2014
    with my kitty cats
    "~~ Many medical problems can be treated more easily and with less $$ if dealt with sooner rather than later.~~"

    Thanks StephenQ

    What a remarkably appropriate signature you have there [​IMG]
     

  11. mycatwasthebest

    mycatwasthebest TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Jan 26, 2014
    mykindatown
    this situation INCENSES ME!!!

    IF IT WERE MY CAT I WOULD POST SUCH A POST ON YELP THE COPS WOULD COME AND CART ME AWAY!

    so then I would delete that and post a negative review sticking to the facts including everything from the chart.

    then I would call the humane society, the newspaper and a lawyer.

    this vet should be sued for malpractice.

    I hope you do it.
     

  12. ownedbykarma

    ownedbykarma Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    25
    11
    Mar 26, 2014
    with my kitty cats
    [​IMG]  Big hugs back Furmonster Mom. 

    You know, I have dealt with countless veterinary errors over the years. People make mistakes. But it has always been my experience that when something went wrong, even terribly wrong, the vet would sit me down and tell me the truth as soon as they found out. They genuinely cared about the well-being of the animal and tried to correct the problem. That's what makes this whole situation seem so surreal to me. He had no concern for the cat at all- only for his reputation. 

    I haven't let myself off the hook either. I have a big whopping case of the bad-mama-blues that I think is going to take a very long time to get over. Karma suffered through what should have been the prime time of his life. I'm just sick about it. I should have known better. 
     

  13. smouse

    smouse TCS Member Young Cat

    I just read this entire thread and think it should be published, everywhere.

    Not only is it a testimony to what so many of us have gone through with misdiagnoses (and the vets who have made us all feel idiotic and malingering at one time or another) it's worth reading for the dry wit alone (loved the gourmet coffee comment). It touches on my biggest pet peeve (really, no pun intended) of negligence supporting negligence ... that sinister 'of course, we totally believe that you believe there is something wrong with your cat ... 'Nightmare on Vet Street' anyone? And, of course, once you've offered any amount of money for the tiniest bit of support and maybe even an answer (how presumptuous), while watching you're beloved pet's health rapidly decline ... you're, actually, feeling the need for crazy pills and wondering  ... 'am I mad as a hatter because I'm seeing something that's not there or because they're inferring that I am?' And, yet it always comes out in the wash doesn't it.

    Unfortunately, for many, it's too late. In our case, it  was. Followed up with a timid scribble on a sympathy card 'so sorry for your loss' (along with a bouquet from a trendy florist). This was their 'offering'  after my rushing a young cat - in crisis - from their practice to critical care; never to return home. Sorry for our loss? Not that your clinic (feline specific mind you ... and sky high prices for the privilege) had anything to do with it. No, it's probably our fault because, even though he presented the classic signs of what killed him, and even though you tested for everything, over and over again (except for what killed him), I guess it was just all in our head. And, cheers for not waiving the $700 bill for his last visit EVER, it rounded up the $5,300 emergency and cremation bill nicely. But, I shouldn't complain too much, they did send that nice memorial bouquet. The cases of uber expensive food and supplements, that he enjoyed, while dying of FeLV, made a perfect stand for them. Do I sound angry?

    I have told this story on a few threads, but when comes the day that some sort of accountability, lessens the need for these rants? When comes the day that those of us who shell out and agonize over our sick animals; ferry that poor soul back and forth to the clinic time after time; stay up with them; sleep with one eye on them -those of us who do what we're supposed to do - aren't treated as though we may be suffering from a slight case of Munchausen by Proxy.

    ( I just want to extend a high five to those that stated many vets don't know enough ... or, more likely, care enough about cats ...to make it their business, to know).

    That said, I still thought it was important for to find a better 'feline exclusive' clinic, after losing Murray, and moved our remaining cats over to another 'feline exclusive' practice with a very good reputation. After clearing the others for the disease (they had all been immunized but, unfortunately, it's not always a guarantee ... and, from what I understand, critical care felt Murray had contracted in utero), the owner, and main doctor, worked with our sickly little Bengal/Occi; rescued in Murrays honor. I didn't expect delicate or overly kind treatment because I was a grieving for one baby and fretting over another (and, don't worry, none was offered [​IMG]).  I, merely, hoped, for a decent vet that would be good to my guys. And, so I proceeded to suck up the decidedly 'prickly' vibe, that they might benefit from the honor of this cat-Yoda's expertise.

    I'm not one to natter at vets, I listen; I ask when relevant. However, Rory (the rescue baby), was there so often, the delicate dance of acquiescence was exhausting (not to mention a sort of 'wait and see' approach that, ultimately, had him in emergency late one night  - not that it was ever mentioned) So, can I just say, the decision to outsource his neuter and throat scope to one of an AAHA clinic was a gift from the Karma Gods? Warm welcome ... Polite, professional, thorough Doctors, what? Highly qualified specialists on staff, board certified in both Canada and the U.S. ...  a reassuring, half hour, post op phone call AND, do I have any questions? I'm confused. Why isn't anyone glaring at me and peddling supplements? What's meaning of all this compassion and skill? Where's the passive aggression? Can someone at least smirk when I ask a pertinent question ...  isn't that what we pay the big bucks for? [​IMG]  Suffice it to say, I've never looked back.

    I am in total agreement with 'Red Top Rescue' on that criteria. Not many clinics make the grade or even bother applying for the accreditation because it's that hard to earn. So, after three years of shocking vet experiences (ranging from underwhelming to tragic), I'm always going to start with that, no matter where I live ... even if it's a drive or an overnight. It's worth it. That isn't to say I haven't had great vets in the past who we're not AAHA certified but, given what we've just gone through, I'm feeling rather protective of all of us.

    *I'd be shocked to learn that either of the two (initial) vets have this accreditation; you're never going to hear one of these doctor's wonder if your cat just ate some trash. Or snap your baby's tooth off during surgery and brush it under the carpet. Such bad form. You shake your head, you wonder why anyone would become a vet if they're that intolerant of animals ... and their people.

    [​IMG]

    I am so sorry to hear all of this. I knew you were having problems with this poor little guy (and he's so beautiful) but did not realize the, HARSH, extent and how much you and your husband are going through. I'm outraged. I am so relieved that this new vet is a good one (believe me, if I hadn't lost Murray to such disgraceful circumstances ... only to be followed by a five star rated GONG SHOW, I wouldn't be so adamant about AAHA). But, this new doctor sounds like he's really on the ball. It was pretty hard not to shed a tear, though, when he could finally pick up a toy ... and greet his dad at the door. He sounds absolutely precious. Please keep everyone posted on his recovery. We're all pulling for him. And, Rory and Tinky send extra big hugs.

    ps, you're a great writer, sad facts aside, your recounts are brilliant [​IMG]    
     
    ownedbykarma purraised this.

  14. stephenq

    stephenq TCS Member Veteran

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    East Coast, USA
    @OwnedByKarma by quote is born of years of experience..... [​IMG]
     

  15. denice

    denice Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    Feb 7, 2006
    Columbus OH
    There is also a certification for a feline specialist. It's given by the American Board of veterinary Practice  http://www.abvp.com/.  There are very few of them fewer than a hundred in the U.S. so don't be surprised if there are none in your area.

    There is also a certification given for a feline only practice.  They give a certification by different badge colors, the highest being gold.  The feline practice I take my kitties to has the gold badge and their senior vet is a certified feline specialist.  They are very good, they got things right for my chronically ill cat after 6 years of vet hopping.  
     

  16. red top rescue

    red top rescue TCS Member Veteran

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    Dec 27, 2012
    Acworth GA, USA
    I'm not sure, but it might be appropriate to share your story with the American Board of Veterinary Practice, or some subsidiary of them, because it does constitute malpractice and had you stayed with that vet, your cat would have stayed unmedicated for pain and ON the methimazole and probably would have died from bone marrow suppression.  The next person may not be as persistent or educated as you, so for the sake of their cat, see if you can at least get it reported so perhaps he will get some kind of reprimand.  The vet I had the problem with was young and I ended up choosing another vet in a sister hospital who turned out to be one of the owners, and he did say that vet X was freshly out of school and did not know certain things yet and he would speak to him and educate him.  Had I not been persistent, that cat would have died also.  The last words I got from the young vet were "He's too sick to give him cortisone now.  If he's still alive on Monday, I'll do it then."  Excuse me???????
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014

  17. stephenq

    stephenq TCS Member Veteran

    5,670
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    Jun 19, 2003
    East Coast, USA

  18. denice

    denice Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    Feb 7, 2006
    Columbus OH
    It probably depends on the state but I don't think Ohio does much about incompetent vets.  In the last year there have been 33 disciplinary actions.  All but two were fines that were relatively small.  One vet lost her license, another vet is limited to a 40 hour week under the supervision of another vet.

    I would think that this would be worthy of some kind of disciplinary action.
     

  19. stephenq

    stephenq TCS Member Veteran

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    Jun 19, 2003
    East Coast, USA

  20. goholistic

    goholistic TCS Member Top Cat

    3,306
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    Feb 27, 2013
    Northeast USA
    I just finished reading the updates. @OwnedByKarma, I'm so, so sorry how badly you were misled and misinformed. I'm sad. I'm infuriated. I feel a fear for all the other animals who are seeing this same vet. But please don't blame yourself. We all know that you were/are doing what you think is best for Karma, and it only human nature for us to trust our vets. I hope this new vet leads you in the right direction and Karma recovers quickly.  [​IMG]

    I'm not one to make a big "fuss" over things, but I don't think I could let this go if this happened to one of my babies. I know you're not in the right stand-of-mind right now and all your energy is focused on Karma getting well. But if you do decide to press charges or report it or whatever, the only advice I can give is: do not wait. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they wait too long to take action and it backfires.
     
    mycatwasthebest purraised this.

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