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Intimidation by authority - trust your gut!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Zoey was put to sleep last night. I will not post details here, as I know they belong at the Rainbow Bridge.

However, through my experiences in the last 4 weeks, I have learned one thing. Vets do not know everything. I am not saying not to go to a vet. I am not saying not to take their advice.

I am saying to do your research. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to get a second, third, or even fourth opinion if you don't think your vet is trying everything. And don't be intimidated by the authority of those in the white coats. Blaise suggested a thread on intimidation by authority when discussing metacam, and I thought I'd start that thread.

The first time I took Zoey to the vet, he said he thought maybe she was going into heat. I had never had a cat, but thought it was a little strange that she was hiding during heat. The next day, she woke up and was barely able to walk.

I had heard horrible things about Metacam was worried about the possible side effects for a kitten who was so sick and dehydrated, but the vet scoffed at my fears. I listened, because I trusted his professional judgement and he said it was either that, or nothing at all. I didn't want her to be in pain. Although she never showed any of the negative side effects, I would have felt much better if she weren't on Metacam. And, I KNEW there were alternatives. But, I didn't want to rock the boat and tick off my vet, so I gave it to her.

When the vet said he was going to stop her antibiotics, it made no sense to me. Call it mother's instinct or just plain common sense, but I KNEW that Zoey, who had an astronomically high white blood cell count in her last blood work, should have stayed on antibiotics, at least until we got new blood work done to see her white blood cell count was. I truly believe that taking her off the antibiotics is what killed her. She went downhill too quickly and by the time we could get her back on the antibiotics, she was too far gone. She had been fighting too long.

Finally, I KNEW my vet was writing Zoey off as an FIP kitty. I KNEW that he wasn't treating her the same as he would if she had a negative coronavirus test. And I KNEW her blood results didn't indicate FIP. I KNEW we were missing something. And I KNEW that the vet was annoyed with me after me questioning him on the use of metacam. However, we had been to 3 in town vets (the one who has been treating Zoey was the 3rd, I did not like #1 and I didn't like the clinic of #2) and 2 emergency vets, and I started to think it was just me. I now wish I had taken Zoey to another vet. One with fresh eyes to look at her most recent blood work.

Perhaps others have stories about how they didn't "trust their gut" and ended up with difficulties. Or maybe those who did and had success with new vets or standing up to their vet.

There are lots of great vets, and I'm not saying that my vet was a bad vet. But, they are people and they do not know everything. They see your cat for a few minutes and are expected to make a diagnosis. You see your cat 24 hours a day and KNOW them. If your cat is sick, that is likely the only sick animal you are taking care of and researching. Your vet sees many animals in a day, of various species. Take your knowledge with you to your vet and make them listen (they may not agree, but they should at least listen). If they will not listen, find another vet who will listen.

to all those who are helping sick kittens.
post #2 of 16
I am so sorry you had to put Zoey to sleep. I know from all your posts you did everything possible for her. Zoey had the very best Mom and she knew how much you loved her.

I have had second thoughts on a couple of my cats where I think I should have gone to another vet also.

My thoughts and prayers are with you

RIP Zoey
post #3 of 16
I am sorry about Zoey. If I had listened to the Er Vet in Sept 2001 I would not have Coco. She is now 16 and it was not Diabetis like they thought. They said to have her Pts and said she would not get better but we can get a 2nd opinion. My old Vet found the problem. It was Fia. Maybe Lucy would still be alive if she had been checked for that. she kept needing blood transfusions every 6 months. She died on the way to the Er Vet. Coco got sick 3 weeks later and the vet believes Lucy had Fia too. i had all my Cats tested and they were all Neg. I understand how you feel. I still wonder if I did the right thing when Yoshi was Pts in Jan.
post #4 of 16
zoeysmom, when we lose one of these little ones, it's always a tragedy; when the loss is attributable to the professional to whom we have entrusted their care, there are no words to describe our emotions. That's how I'm finding myself now.

May part of Zoey's legacy be that - even a few of us - learn from her experience, do our own homework in educating ourselves, and then proactively work in partnership with a competent Veterinary professional to ensure the best outcomes for these little ones who cannot advocate for themselves.

I, too, have a story. For now, though, I need to come to terms with those emotions.
post #5 of 16
omg, I am so sorry about thoughts and prayers are with you. I am going thru a terrible time with my Alex(several posts on here). He is on meds, not eating, drinking, or eliminating. I am syringe feeding him SD a/d, but he can't hold much. He is lethargic and seems to be getting weaker. I have an appointment with the vet again on Friday morning for more blood work, but my "gut" says that we are not on the right track. I thank you for your post because I am thinking about taking Alex to another vet tomorrow for a second opinion. I fear that I am losing him, and it's killing me.
You have given me just what I needed to look for another opinion with an open mind.
RIP Zoey
post #6 of 16
oh, sweetie i so know your pain - i took Mouse to 4 different vets before i found a good one... it was too late for her to recover from whatever was wrong with her. for months, i beat myself up - why didn't i notice she was poorly earlier - why didn't i find a better vet sooner - you name it, i said it to myself! i learned, with time, that i had done all that i could. i'm not a vet - i had to trust that trained professionals knew more than i. i was in pain, knowing she was just 'not right' but none of the treatments were helping her! when you're ready, i know you'll tell us exactly what went down. until then, know that we are all surrounding you with sympathy
post #7 of 16
Five years ago, we were traveling to visit family for Christmas. Ben, our Golden Retriever, threw up once on Saturday, which he had never done. We took him to the ER vet that next day when he threw up again (dog puke is among the most foul odor ever). It was Christmas Eve and he just wasn't himself, but the vet dignosed him as having a virus.
When he threw up again on Christmas Day, we all piled in the car and brought him to the ER vet in our town. They kept him overnight, hydrated him and couldn't find out what was wrong, but they did believe me that he was ill. Ben loves the vets and would perk up when he was taken in. They even called THE vet surgery group for a phone consult.
We had to take Ben to another vet during the day, as my vet was out of town and back to the ER vet at night. No one could decide what to do.
When my vet got back on the 28th, he had multiple faxes from the vets to greet. He saw Ben that morning and called the surgerical group for an appt. We saw one of the vets in the surgery group at 1 and Ben was in surgery at 2. The obstruction was causing part of intestine to open - there were only 2 layers left at the time of surgery. A miracle that he survived.
We think we spent well over 5,000 for all of the visits - worth every dime.

Fortunately the other fur children have been healthy. But I am always a go with your gut person. Ben has had one other surgery for an obstruction and throw up a washcloth another day.
post #8 of 16
I completely agree, always trust your gut... I was told that the spots in Ziggy's eye were nothing several times before I insisted on getting him to a specialist and it turns out if he hadn't had the eye removed he would have died, it was cancerous melanoma.
post #9 of 16
i'm so sorry about zoey. my thoughts and prayers are with you.
I'm going through it too. My husband says 'trust the vet she's knows what she's talking about'. And I'm stuck in this gray area of trusting the vet and living in denial that Pix really is an FIP kitty. It's very frustrating.

RIP Zoey.
post #10 of 16
Did you have a necropsy performed to find out for sure what was really wrong with Zoey? Sometimes having answers is the best thing you can do for yourself when there are so many unanswered questions and fears.
post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by Yuna View Post
I completely agree, always trust your gut... I was told that the spots in Ziggy's eye were nothing several times before I insisted on getting him to a specialist and it turns out if he hadn't had the eye removed he would have died, it was cancerous melanoma.
same thing happened with my rb lurcher leo. he had a small cresent shaped mark in his left eye. first vet said it was just discolouration.

one sunday afternoon we were walking leo when a horse rider came out of the trees. leo (who had been with horses many times before) for some reason jumped at the horses tail. the horse kicked out at him and for a moment i thought leo's back was broken. miraculously he was fine after some horrific screaming and snapping at his back. i rushed him to the vets (a different one) and they checked him out, saying he was fine. however he was concerned about the cresent shaped mark in his eye. we were back at the vets every four weeks for 5 months, as they measured and monitored it.

finally, 4 weeks before christmas i was told that leo had a melanoma. it was removed 2 weeks after that and he went on to live another 7 years.

without that terrible incident with the horse (who was fine and his rider was so understanding and concerned for leo) i would have lost my dog far too soon.

we do put our precious creatures lifes in these peoples hands and you are right. you know your pet better than anyone.

i'm so sorry for your loss.
post #12 of 16
I, also, want to add my condolences to you for your loss.

I believe that any vet that gets annoyed at being questioned is a vet that should be kicked to the curb. There are many good vets out there but it is very hard to find them. It takes much searching and still it is a crap shoot.

My brother and SIL have 8 rescue dogs and it seems like one vet will be very knowledgeable in one aspect but less so in another. I swear they have, about, four or five different vets they go to. Maybe vets need to specialize like doctors do.
post #13 of 16
I'm so sorry.... I am sending lots of hugs and prayers your way. I'm glad I stumbled across this post. My vet that I was going to for years left the practice where I go. Since she left I have not been able to find another vet that I would consider competent or really good. I am currently going thru many health issues right now with my male persian, and it has been a real eye opener for me as to how she has handled things. I just think she is inexperienced. I know I need to switch to another vet, but part of me feels bad doing it since we have built up a rapport. I feel like I am constantly telling her the next course of action to take and she just agrees. I think after I get thru this current hurdle with Simba, I am going to switch to someone else.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Furbabies, I hope you get through this hurdle and are able to find a new vet who you are comfortable with.

I'm still trying to decide what to do when we get new kittens. I really like the vet we took Zoey to, as well as the vet techs and receptionists. My mom has been going there for years and never had trouble. He treated me and Zoey well. However, I don't know if I will ever trust him again after he took her off the antibiotics, which I believe is what ultimately killed her. I think the whole problem was the FIP diagnosis, which I've learned is quite common among vets.

So, I'm faced with the decision of giving this vet, who I liked, a second chance (and knowing to do my research and stand my ground if problems ever arose)...or taking her to a new vet, out of town. I've heard very good things about a vet in a neighbouring community (about 15-20 minutes away), but I like the convenience of the vet being just 5 minutes down the road as well.

I'm still thinking...still looking for kittens, so it is not a problem quite yet!
post #15 of 16
Originally Posted by zoeysmom View Post
So, I'm faced with the decision of giving this vet, who I liked, a second chance (and knowing to do my research and stand my ground if problems ever arose)...or taking her to a new vet, out of town. I've heard very good things about a vet in a neighbouring community (about 15-20 minutes away), but I like the convenience of the vet being just 5 minutes down the road as well.

I'm still thinking...still looking for kittens, so it is not a problem quite yet!
I am so sorry to read this thread. It was well written, and obviously, painfully, from the heart. Fwiw, we drive almost an hour (due to traffic more than distance) to get to the practice I use and have used due to referral, since I moved here almost 13 years ago. I've been lucky in this now large practice to find 2 vets that I can always see consistently and who I trust implicitly - because they let me research, make suggestions/requests, ask many, many questions. I honestly do not think any of us should ever let a doctor or a vet make us feel we can't ask questions - it is part of their job - we are hiring them, and any other attitude, they'd better be the best in the world to make up for that bad bedside manner for me to continue to see them!
post #16 of 16
I am so sorry about Zoey. Please accept my deepest condolences.

Yes, I have a vet story....

When my cat was a kitten (she is 6 years now) we went back and forth to the vet every week or two for *months* due to chronic vomiting. Every week they said: "take these antibiotics and come back in a week if she is still throwing up." So we went back....every...week. Finally one of the vets breezily offered: "Well, it could be a tumor, it could be diabetes...[enter a few more scary speculations here]....or it could just be hairballs." My jaw dropped.

By the time they even bothered to take an x-ray, her small intestine was inflamed. As it turns out it was probably a mixture of food allergies and hairballs.

I was so used to their left-hand-doesn't-know-what-the-right-hand-is-doing approach, and didn't know any better since I had never had a pet before.
My present vet's office is what a vet's office *should* be. They are on top of things and absolutely awesome. They would never send me home with the same antibiotics in hand and the situation unresolved week after week.

Now I know that if we move, one of the things I am going to do is mucho research on local area vets. I will never let her be treated as she was in my original vet's office ever again.

It can be really frustrating, especially when the doctors act condescending.
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