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Veterinary Care Question

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by beckbjj, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. beckbjj

    beckbjj Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

    Aug 25, 2013
    SE Wisconsin
    I've been going to my "new" vet since my vet of many, many years retired about three years ago. New vet was highly recommended by two different friends who use him. People LOVE him. He's super nice and I like him as a person just fine. But I have concerns and I'm wondering what you folks think. If you think I'm nuts to be concerned, do please tell me.

    Do your vets take your cat's temperature when they go for a visit, either a well exam or for a problem? New vet has never taken the temp of any of my cats, even when an infection is suspected. Even a recently trapped feral kitten with severe diarrhea who wouldn't eat. Old vet did every single visit.

    Do your vets still give vaccines between the shoulder blades? New vet does. (I *think* but don't remember for certain that old vet did too, but that was before I found out they shouldn't.)

    When I took one cat in for a possible bladder infection, new vet expressed urine for her culture onto the exam table instead of onto a sanitary surface or using a syringe.

    So these things bother me somewhat, and there are other little things that would be hard to explain here.

    But a BIG terrifying thing: a year ago new vet gave my new (at the time) kittens ear mite meds that were for dogs ONLY and VERY dangerous for cats. I only found out because I happened to Google the med and then called the manufacturer. New vet apologized and said the formulation had changed and he hadn't realized. They had changed it, but it appeared to have happened long before this incident, and shouldn't he have known? He did not charge me for the correct med, but did not refund me for the wrong one.

    On the other hand, he spayed my girl kitten and neutered my boy kitten, and removed infected tonsils from the girl, and has done two or three dentals on my big boy cat, treated the above-mentioned bladder infection, performed exams, etc. etc. etc., all with fine results.

    And yet still I worry. Am I crazy? Would the concerns I mention above concern you as well? I'm thinking about starting my research all over again and trying another vet. Ugh.
    raysmyheart and 1CatOverTheLine purraised this.

  2. Kieka

    Kieka Snowshoe Servant Staff Member Forum Helper

    Sep 6, 2016
    Southern California
    I don't think you are wrong to be concerned.

    On all your points: Its hard to tell at a touch that a cat has a fever. Temperature is a fairly common touch point measurement in human and animal medical treatment. Vaccines on the core body is a scary practice now that we know they can cause growths. Limb vaccines allow for amputation should a growth occur and not respond to other treatment options. Expressing the urine on the table leads to possibility of cross contamination and could affect diagnosis/treatment. Using the wrong medication is scary and life threatening. Even though he's done successful surgeries I am a little concerned about what you didn't see; did he use instruments without getting a clean set between surgeries, as an example.

    Your cats are your furry children, IMO. I don't care how much other people might like the vet, if you are getting the wrong vibe off him then he might not be right for you. Or, look at it this way, if we were talking a pediatrician and your children (or niece/nephew/friend kid/etc) would you keep seeing the same pediatrician if they made did the human equivalent of each of these on a human? What if your doctor did the human equivalent to you? I wouldn't go back to the human doctor and I wouldn't go back to the vet.

    But that's me. I went to five different vets when my old vet retired before settling on a new vet. None of them even did anything to the degree of things you've mentioned; I just didn't feel a connection or the level of care I wanted from them.

    If you want to find a new vet, check out this website for cat friendly practices Find a Veterinarian and Practice | The Cat Community. This I look for include:
    • vet who keeps current on medical developments (attend seminars, read articles, etc)
    • vet with separate entrance/hours/waiting lobby for cat patients (huge plus but not requirement)
    • ask about surgical procedures (cleaning, instrument sterilization, area, how many staff, etc)
    • open to discussing nutrition (not blindly recommending science diet or whatever brand they have for prescription foods)
    • actually likes cats (yes, there are vets who treat cats and dislike them).

  3. mingking

    mingking TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Feb 8, 2015
    The vet clinic I work at: we do rabies vaccines in the right hind sub q and distemper in the left. I remember it's in case the vaccine causes a sarcoma so that the leg can be amputated. There's one vaccine that can be done subq but I forgot what it was. (I just started as a vet assistant three months ago so forgive me!)

    I'm not sure if my vets do temperature every visit in the room but usually when we admit a patient, temp is taken in the back with the techs and assistants (me). But I would definitely assume if the cat has diarrhea, TPR would be performed at one point (temp, heart rate, respiratory rate, hydration).

    If you're not comfortable with your vet's treatment style, even though you have a great relationship with him, it doesn't hurt to broaden your reach/get a second opinion. At this point, my kitty can go to two different vet clinics and I would feel comfortable with both. But I know one vet clinic uses more advance techniques than the other so say, for convenience sake and I just wanted vaccines, I'd probably be okay with going to the "less advanced" clinic. It's also helpful in case your normal vet can't take you in because of their schedule so it would nice to be able to call another vet that knows you and your pet.
    PushPurrCatPaws, beckbjj and 1CatOverTheLine purraised this.

  4. 1CatOverTheLine

    1CatOverTheLine TCS Member Top Cat

    Feb 6, 2017
    @beckbjj - Best advice: make New Vet Old Vet with all haste. Tonsillitis in cats is almost invariably caused by a secondary infection. You haven't noted whether your kitty's Tonsillitis was acute or chronic, but tonsillectomies are pretty rare veterinary events with cats.

    I'm in complete agreement with @Kieka (as I generally am, since her advice here on TCS is about the best around), especially on this very important observation:

    I detest offering the advice, "find a different veterinarian," so I won't say that; instead I'll suggest: find a different veterinarian - quickly!
    artiemom, raysmyheart, beckbjj and 1 other person purraised this.

  5. JamesCalifornia

    JamesCalifornia TCS Member Top Cat

    Apr 1, 2016
    Los Angeles
    ~ I am likely the last person to answer this question as I personally am not fond of veterinarians in general - having much more negative experience than positive. But I'm here and care about kitty cats and their owners so I will reply.
    Your "new" veterinarian sounds careless and negligent. I would start looking for a replacement - yesterday !
    Animals are considered property and there is little liability for sloppy veterinarians. It will be difficult but hopefully you will find someone you can trust .
    Best wishes to you & kitty ...:hellocomputer:
    artiemom, Antonio65, raysmyheart and 2 others purraised this.

  6. beckbjj

    beckbjj Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

    Aug 25, 2013
    SE Wisconsin
    Thank you so much everyone! I am beginning my research anew. A cat loving and knowledgeable but totally objective (because she doesn't live in this area) friend researched as if she was moving to this area and needed a vet, listened to my thoughts on the ones in town that I do know, and pointed out one I had previously forgotten about that looks pretty promising. In addition there is another newer clinic that would be great...but they are building a $1.5 million facility and I'm worried what that means about pricing (I have 8 cats:eek2:). And I can also expand my search to the next city north of me if need be, since I live on the far north side of my town. I have a recent TNR feral ("R" does stand for "retain", right? Or is that just me?:flail:) who has only received TNR medical services (spay, vaccines, anti-parasitic, etc.) and not a proper vet appointment, so she's not anybody's patient yet, so I can take her to see what one or two places are like.

    Thanks again!
    artiemom, PushPurrCatPaws and Kieka purraised this.

  7. beckbjj

    beckbjj Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

    Aug 25, 2013
    SE Wisconsin
    Agreed, it was a very strange situation but this particular time was warranted, I think. She had a non-asthmatic, random, intermittent cough with no trigger. He suspected nasopharyngeal polyps so she had to be anesthetized to check. There were no polyps but very inflamed tonsils. He removed them and sent them for analysis (with my OK). The inflammation turned out to be none of the dire things (cancer etc.) it could have been, and not even a bacterial infection. He could find no other potential cause for the cough aside from the inflamed tonsils. FWIW, the cough went away for a long time, but came back and she occasionally still coughs. And it may not even be a cough per se but whatever it is, it breaks my heart and doesn't seem to bother her one bit. It is very different from an asthmatic cough (I have an asthma cat) and does not resolve with albuterol, so asthma is ruled out. It does go away immediately once she's done whatever she's doing (in about a minute or less), with zero after effects. But anyway, all that oddball peripheral info aside, I don't think it was a wrong decision in this case to give it a try and see if hit helped, since she was already under anesthesia. Would still like to figure out this cough one of these days though!
    PushPurrCatPaws purraised this.

  8. 1CatOverTheLine

    1CatOverTheLine TCS Member Top Cat

    Feb 6, 2017
    Well, he certainly gets high marks for trying. Typically tussis linked to feline viral rhinopneumonitis or Feline viral rhinotracheitis caused by Felid herpesvirus 1 (FeHV-1) would have been the initial consideration upon observing the inflamation of the tonsils, given that the mucosæ of the nasal septum, turbinate, nasopharynx, conjunctivæ, upper trachea, mandibular lymph nodes and the tonsils are where these viruses replicate. Despite high marks for trying, I'd be wary, personally - but again, that's solely opinion, and of no real value.
    beckbjj and raysmyheart purraised this.

  9. HeatherG86

    HeatherG86 TCS Member Young Cat

    Sep 26, 2018
    These all sound alarming. I took my cat to a older vet who gave her the rabbies vaccine between the shoulder blades. She then formed a Large sarcoma. Needless to say I found out from the vet who removed it that this a practice that shouldnt be done. If your gut is screaming red light then goto another vet. Everything I read just sounds oh so wrong. Please find another vet
    beckbjj purraised this.

  10. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 12, 2012
    Nebraska, USA
    An occasional cough could be the heart too, skipping a beat. My Burt survived for many years with an enlarged heart and that cough, only on Lasix. An inexpensive x-ray can diagnose an enlarged heart. He would cough and pass out for a few seconds too as the vagus nerves were stimulated. But as I said he lived a full, long life with that diagnosis, so don't automatically think it is a death sentence. All the luck!
    beckbjj purraised this.

  11. beckbjj

    beckbjj Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

    Aug 25, 2013
    SE Wisconsin
    On MJ's cough (MJ is short for Mary Harris "Mother" Jones), all the usual suspects such as heart issues, asthma, FIV, FELV, herpes, etc. were ruled out. That said, it will be interesting to see (next spring, as that's when she's next due) if a different vet has a different take on it. She won't do it on command of course, but I have video. At this point the only suspect is throat irritation. It looks a little bit like a "reverse sneeze" but I know that's less common in cats than in dogs. My (dearly departed) dog did it a lot.

    I read a bunch of reviews of the vet I'm now considering and they are good, and the ones that aren't are things like "she took a phone call while I was waiting to be seen". Oh no, not that! :rolleyes3: I mean, it happens, good grief.
    artiemom and 1CatOverTheLine purraised this.

  12. kmoulus

    kmoulus TCS Member Young Cat

    Jan 15, 2016
    I don't think you are wrong to be concerned and if I were you, I would start shopping for a new vet. With that said, my Speedy is 17 years old and I don't recall ever seeing a vet take her temperature. She has always been a hellion at the vet, she also has advanced cardiac disease and we feel it is not necessary for her well visits. Have you asked the vet why he does these things?
    beckbjj purraised this.

  13. beckbjj

    beckbjj Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

    Aug 25, 2013
    SE Wisconsin
    None of mine are bad at the vet, not even the one who is so terrifying at home that we have her on Prozac, so he can't blame his ways on their behavior. :-)

    I'm not sure why I haven't asked him about the routine things, other than just being slightly uncomfortable as a lay person second-guessing someone with a medical degree. That and I guess the idea that he's gonna do what he's gonna do. I know he keeps up with the latest stuff because when I was there in September he told me at length about a syndrome he was just reading about. So my assumption is that he knows about, for example, not giving vaccines between the shoulder blades, and is choosing not to change.

    I DID talk to him pretty harshly (or as harshly as I dared, considering I needed him to take care of my babies) about the ear mite med thing, although I stopped short of asking for money back. The med was an essential oil mixture (can't remember the name) and a very common Rx med...for dogs. It could have caused permanent, severe liver damage in my kittens. I fretted for weeks watching for symptoms. Fortunately they were only on the drops for like 5 or 7 days and it's a year later now and they're fine.

    I plan to take recent addition Gregg (she's a she, despite the traditionally male name), who hasn't seen a vet since her TN-not-so-much-R appointment, and maybe also her sister Gina (who did see current vet) just for well kitten exams soon, to give my chosen potential new vet a test spin.

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