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Second Opinions ... Get Them!!!!!!!!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I just had my 16 year old friend Frisky (domestic long hair) 'put to sleep' needlessly a week ago due to some very poor & out dated advice from the attending vet.
I am posting this to urge any of you blessed with a feline friend TO GET A SECOND OPINION if your cat becomes sick. Frisky started showing signs of sickness almost two weeks ago. We took her to our usual vet clinic (where he had always gotten good treatment before) and got a vet we hadn't seen before. By then Frisky seemed so sick that our first thoughts were to get help - any help. When the vet saw Frisky's age he immediately started talking about how he was too old to last much longer anyway.
Frisky was diagnosed with kidney failure. We were told that we would only have a couple more days with him and that intravenous fluid flushing probably wouldn't extend the time. We were told to feed him potato to get rid of the ammonia and water through an eyedropper to flush him. At this point Frisky already wasn't eating or any barely drinking. He went down hill very quickly because he wasn't getting the nutrients needed. Three days after seeing the first vet the poison from the kidney failure was doing too much damage to other organs and Frisky was in pain. Another vet at another clinic assured us that the only merciful thing to do at that point was to let him die in dignity. We buried him this week.
I apologize for being long-winded and so somber but it was heart breaking to find out a couple days after he died that Frisky could still be with me if our vet had informed us of a couple simple techniques such as using powdered arginine for the ammonia and subcutaneous injections of fluid that we could have performed at home for the creatine - instead of automatically assuming that Frisky was too old.
PLEASE don't let a precious friends life lie in the balance based on one's person's opinion of when a cat is too old to bother with.
post #2 of 9

I am sorry to hear what happened! I can't believe a vet would automatically assume the worst! Have you since contacted the vet?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I haven't been in touch with the original vet yet. It was enough this past week just trying to get used to Frisky being gone. We had him with us nearly 16 and a half years (since he was 2 months old).
I have been telling myself that I should have picked up on the vet's attitude and done something quicker instead of simply trusting him. But Frisky had never had any major health problems before and everything happened so quickly. I just hope someone else can learn from my mistakes - even though it is too late for Frisky who might have had another 2 - 3 good years.
Since my husband and I have no children it is as if a third of our family has been taken from us.
I'll probably be in touch with the vet this week. I hope he learns something from this as well.
post #4 of 9

I am so sorry to hear about Frisky. You are absolutely right. You'd get a second opinion if it was YOU they were going to put down. I experienced the same thing about 3 years ago. A SECOND OPINION IS SO IMPORTANT!!!

I work with animal rescue and had nurtured this precious turkish angora wannabe I named Marina Mar. Marina and her two siblings were born to a feral mother on a boat in a Marina (Hence the name. Mar is Spanish for ocean). Anyway, I bottled fed her from the time she was 2 weeks old and bonded with her. That's when I decided to adopt her. She was a very sick little baby and almost didn't make it. Force feeding her did the trick. She spent the next three months in my back bedroom suffering from ringworm and worms. I slept with her at night so she wouldn't get lonely. At 9 weeks old I took her to my vet for vaccinations and a check up before introducing her to the rest of the kitty family. The vet tested her for Feline Leukemia and Feline Aids. She called me that day and said that Marina tested positive for FIV. The next words out of her mouth were, "When do you want to euthanize her?" I was horrified!! I drove over there and held my precious baby in my arms, sobbing. I knew I couldn't bring her home because of my other cats. So I left her there for the weekend while I agonized over the decision. I didn't sleep or eat. I called my friend, also in animal rescue. She couldn't believe the vet's response. She called another vet she knew and he told her to bring Marina to him and he would do an IFA (Immuno Flourescent Antibody) test, which involves taking a blood sample and sending it to a lab. The vet also told me that most times kittens that young will test a FALSE positive. Sure enough, the test came back NEGATIVE! 3 years later, my precious Marina Mar is a beautiful long haired black beauty with green eyes who has a NEW veterinarian.

My daughter was misdiagnosed with sinusitis when she in fact had brain cancer. So you can understand why I don't trust the medical field anymore. People do make mistakes. I do my homework before any doctor or vet touches me or my cats.

Please, DO NOT beat yourself up over this. I would definitely speak to your regular vet and voice (loudly!) your concerns and displeasure over what happened. Since I have changed vets, I only let him care fo my cats.

You and Frisky are in my prayers. Stay in touch, please!
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your kind words. It is disheartening to realize how many vets (& doctors) are so willing to quickly jump to the wrong conclusions.
There is quite a ministry and need in taking on a sick cat as you did. There are so many alternatives to euthanasia (sp?) today. I have even heard of some stuff that had a 70% success rate in arresting feline leukemia when it was originally tested on animals. Its intended use is for humans but considering that it is natural and has no known side effects I would try it before I would have a cat 'put to sleep' again.
I'm glad to hear that your kitty was one of the lucky ones. I've certainly had my eyes opened this past week. I used to think that all vets were smarter than 'human' doctors (I nearly lost my husband a couple times in the past couple years to meds prescribed by his doctor).
I'm sure that there are some great vets out there but it is so important that we find one open to all alternatives - not just the quick and easy ones.
Again thanks.
post #6 of 9

I am so terribly sorry to hear about your loss. Our kitties are absolutely a part of our families, and as you have just lost a family member, you will be in my prayers.

Please do not beat yourself up for this. You did what you really believed was best for Frisky. You loved him for his whole life, and you made him happy. That is the most important thing.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. You may have lengthened the lives of several cats.
post #7 of 9
I'm so sorry for Frisky, but like everyone else has said, this was not your fault - you did what you thought was best for him. Maybe someday you will find another cat to share your life with.

I just wanted to add that I think that with the three F Diseases, FIP, FeLV and FIV, you should never take one vet's opinion and put a cat to sleep. False test results can happen all the time, and with FIP there is no valid test result at all (although some vets will tell you with great confidence that a cat has FIP, when it's something completely different). With FIV and FeLV, even if the cat tests postitive and is a carrier, he can still live for many years, with the right care.

That info you provided will last here. I do hope that someday in the future as people will run searches in this forum when they gets such an opinion from their vet, more cats can be saved thanks to your post.

My heart goes out to you Sue. If you need to share your thoughts and feelings with us, we're here for you!
post #8 of 9
Sue-My heart is breaking after reading your story. I cannot tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your wonderful companion, Friskey.
I had a similiar situation last year-I totally believed my vet of 10 years and thought she knew better than anyone else. She never diagnosed Rini's fatty liver disease and by the time I wised up and changed vets and had a feeding tube put in, it was too late.
The only thing that has helped us is time-for months I did the "if only I had changed vets" "if only I had known" etc.I think about her every single day; some days are harder than others, but somehow you just get through them.
I wish there was something we could do to take away some of your pain; but please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the encouragement. I hope Frisky's story will help someone. I appreciate your good wishes and prayers. They all help.
It will probably be a little while before we adopt another kitty ... but if we don't one WILL probably adopt us. We have taken in a few abandoned strays that have wandered to our door over the years and found homes for them. At some point down the road the next one will likely stay.
Frisky had been around nearly seventeen years and I raised his mother and grandmother before that. It will seem strange to go without a furry addition to the family for long although I can't imagine it right now.
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