Should I switch vets?

MoonSunParents

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Hi everyone,

New poster, but I’ve been reading for a while! I’m looking for input on whether it makes sense for me to look for a new vet or if I’m potentially overreacting to normal veterinary practice things. Sorry this is so long!

On Nov 15, I had my two 4 month old kittens spayed and neutered (one boy, one girl). The boy is doing great. The girl has had some complications with her spay.

7 days post op, I called my vet begging to have the girl (Selene) evaluated because she had developed a lump the size of a walnut under her incision, seemed to be in pain (wouldn’t squat to pee when that’s her preferred stance), and kept getting poops - solid poops! - stuck in her long butt hair that we were struggling to clean fully because we can’t bathe her until 14+ days after the surgery.

in essence, I called asking for (1) a sanitary shave as no groomer would touch her with the incision, and I was worried about injecting the wound and (2) someone to check this post-op swelling because I know that’s not normal. This was the Tuesday before US thanksgiving (11/22).

They had no openings days off, were closed wed-sun, and told me to “use wet wipes or an old towel you don’t care about” to clean up her bottom. I told them we’d been doing that 2-3x per day for three days and were worried about infection for the second time. I accepted an appointment for this coming Monday (11/28) because it was all they had, and went back to trying to clean Selene’s bottom (no diarrhea, just litter dust + very long hair = stuck turds).

Ten minutes later they called me back, emphasizing that I’d have to pay for the exam and shave separately but they had a cancellation and the “relief vet” could see us. Great! We went. They xrayed to check for a hernia, didn’t see one, and told us she was probably reacting to the sutures. Shaved her. Told me to see the regular vet again this Monday for a recheck, also at my expense. Please note Selene has been either in an xl dog crate or an empty bedroom with only essentials when unsupervised, away from her brother! Even the relief vet said there’s nothing else we could have done. Scheduling has zero openings for Monday or Tuesday despite the relief vet’s recommendation, so we had to opt for Wednesday instead…

Friday (11/25), I become concerned that the lump seems to be unchanged + I’m concerned about redness around the incision, and I opt to have another local vet who IS open re-examine Selene. They asked me to send photos first so they could see if another exam was needed or if it was okay to wait til Wednesday. They saw the photos and said it likely wasn’t an emergency, but to come in if I wanted peace of mind. So off we went! They did a very thorough exam, in front of us. The first vet examines in the back where no one can see, then tells you their findings. During this visit, they indicate that they would’ve taken an X-ray if one weren’t already done and that it’s okay to wait and watch but it could be weeks to months before the lump resolves. They examined her in front of me and agreed it was weird, but most likely a seroma and the wound was healthy/not infected.

They also found that Selene has a retained deciduous tooth that will require more anesthesia for an extraction. I’m unsure how the previous vet didn’t catch this and correct it during the spay - it was SUPER obvious to me when it was pointed out. Now I have to put her under again….

I’m considering switching to the second practice we visited for two reasons. One is the missed deciduous tooth, that should’ve been extracted during her spay (most vets do this here). I guess during the pre-surgery “wellness exam” no one checked her teeth and gums? The other reason is the difficulty with appointment availability and the fact that zero of the practice vets were at the facility for the full week, with relief staff in for only two days… and no way to get in for 8 days even when the relief vet said Selene should be seen within 5-6 days tops.

So… I guess I’m wondering if I’m being unreasonable with my expectations and reasons for wanting to switch? I’m just finding myself frustrated with paying for multiple follow-ups and X-rays while begging to even be seen, even when they’re the ones suggesting the follow up timing. And the missed deciduous tooth! I know anesthesia issues are rare, but putting your babies under is always scary and I hate having to do this twice so close together. Am I being overly demanding or does it make sense to switch? Both vets come with good reputations.

Thanks for any feedback fellow cat parents!
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
If this were me, I'd definitely switch :).

I had to a couple times during my angel Poppy's lifetime. One clinic's vet retired and the incoming vet and other personnel didn't listen well, the second one seemed ok for a bit but then didn't provide good care during a dental or after while Poppy was waiting for us to come pick him up. We finally found a good cat friendly vet. It was worth the hunt 😊
 

louisstools

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Vet staffing has been short since covid and this was around and holiday. You can't always get in and it really sucks.

As far as missing something, it can happen. Cats don't often cooperate for oral exams and it's possible it was just missed for that reason.

However I don't like the idea of the exam being done without me present. I know my cat. I want to be able to ask questions. Especially with oral exams and for chronic conditions (constipation, kidney, thyroid, etc) as the doctor is poking and prodding.
 
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MoonSunParents

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Thank you both for your replies, I really appreciate it!

I know covid has been so hard on veterinary practices and that they’re doing their best. I definitely don’t think anyone acted in bad faith at all!

To your point L louisstools , the lack of visibility into the exams has me struggling. Selene is a very laidback cat, but maybe she did struggle with the first vet when they tried to check her teeth and gums… but I guess I don’t know if that’s what happened because I wasn’t there. I’m now realizing how problematic that is, and kicking myself for not noticing sooner.

I think I will try switching practices and try out the second office for a bit!
 

louisstools

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I think I will try switching practices and try out the second office for a bit!
Half or more of cat doctoring is making the cat parent or hooman feel calmer and better.

When you switch be sure to ask them for their recommended emergency clinic. It's probably the same as what the other group recommenses but ya never know.
 

verna davies

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I would definitely change vets. Checking the teeth and gums is standard practice and very important. You can always ask the vet to check your cat in front of you, say she is nervous and its easier for her if she can see you. Its so important to build up trust with your vet for both you and your cat.
 
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