Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tread Softly

About two weeks ago, I finally researched and chose a new vet.  This has been on my list of things to do for longer than a good pet-owner would like to admit.  If my little kitty had been in serious pain, as she was when she had a urinary tract infection, I would have been all over it, called the vet, and had pills to shove down kitty's throat in no time flat.  But the issue is chronic -she has been diagnosed with kitty asthma.

For two years, we have been giving her medicine without seeing improvement.  She still had uncontrollable wheezing attacks and was shedding like crazy all over the place, though she did gain weight and had stopped puking everywhere.  I asked my old vet about this, and his only advice was to tell me to go on the internet and find an alternate solution.  Umm...silly me, I thought that was his job.  Good thing he gave my beast her three year rabies shot or I would have thought the $115 bill was for nothing.

As usual, internet research was scary.  I found out that each attack - she was having them two or three times a day - should be treated as a life-threatening emergency.  I found out that the pills she had been on for two years have long term side effects including diabetes.  I found out that shoving pills down her throat without water could eventually cause her esophagus to collapse and no responsible pet owner should subject her cat to such abuse.  I found out that little "kitty inhalers" exist in which you place a mask over the cat's face and "allow her to breathe naturally".  With a mask.  On her face.  I also found out that there are about 12 drugs with varying degrees of effectiveness and side effects I could choose from.

I decided the internet was not for me.  What I needed was a new vet.

OK, so fast forward to the point where kitty needs a drug refill and I am finally forced to get her fix from a new professional.  That would be two weeks ago.

New Vet is very nice, so far.  (Old Vet was nice in the beginning too, so I need to give this a few visits.)  I was impressed that I waited exactly zero minutes and talked to the doctor for nearly the entire hour and forty-five minutes I was there.  I was also a tad staggered by the $350 bill, but, I reasoned, he had done new x-rays, blood work, and vitals check, plus gave me a new medicine that would not cause diabetes.  Surely, the routine visits I normally require will not be too costly.  (ha, ha.  I know, I know.)

"Look Puss!" I said when she finally forgave me for (or forgot about) the car ride and subsequent poking, "new pills!"  My kitty has learned to love her fix, as we always supplement pill time with a few treats.  Pill number one, down the hatch, and treats administered.  I awaited the eureka moment when the Puss would realize she felt all better.

"Blech!" said the Puss.

And it has been that way ever since.  My apartment is like a field of puke-pile land mines.  In the morning, we awaken and groggily head to the bathroom, stepping in a neatly provided puke pile by the bed.  We walk down the hall and find puke right in the center, in plain view.  Many times, the pill would go down ok after a careful balance of pre-pill water and wet cat food.  And we would rejoice.

And two minutes later, spray bottle in hand, we would be cleaning still warm bits of wet cat food from the carpet.  (Or worse, from the underside of our sock.)  On Sunday night, I awoke at 2am to the sounds of regurgitation in my bed.  She had tossed her cookies right there on the blanket (and Adam's robe).

The worst part is that the pills are working when she does manage to metabolize them.  I have not seen a wheezing episode for three days, and the previous viewing was nearly five days before that.  I called New Vet and explained the situation.  "Perhaps I can get the medicine in liquid form, flavored with chicken or fish?" he replied.  I told him that sounded wonderful and requested chicken because my retarded cat does not know that she is supposed to love fish.

He neglected to mention that said liquid medication is $45.  But, if I can walk confidently in my home without fear of slime on my stockings, I figure it is worth it.  I confidently donated the old pills to his "disadvantaged cat" box, and hurried home with a cute little medicine dropper for kitty-sized mouths.

With a sigh of relief, I filled it up at the appointed hour and opened the cat's mouth.  She struggled, and I struggled, and I clumsily managed to squirt the stuff down her throat.

Two minutes later, she threw up.

I cannot wait for the month to be over, when I take her for the follow up visit.  I am sure it will be cheap, since I have already paid $395, right???

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