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Kicking Myself for Taking Vets Advice

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I posted on another area here that my cat (who was just a little over 1) was put to sleep today.

I have been caring for a group of outside cats here for my mammy in law. My cat Star had been listless for 2 days, not eating, and had labored breathing....no vomiting though...no convulsing...

Well, every time you turn around on here someone says, take it to the vet, take it to the vet....I took her to the vet and he said her temp was very low and that she had so much fluid around her heart you could barely hear her heartbeat. He told me that she would most likely die in 2 days. He believed she got into something toxic.

I have seen a cat or two sick before but then recover, but because he was a licensed vet thought he knew what was best. However, when I came home and began thinking about things I have been feeling so guilty having her put down. Ive been reading on various websites about cats and certain toxins and she didnt have any of the symptoms vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions etc.

Did I jump too quick by taking the vets advice???
post #2 of 21
I woud nt say you did since you didnt know what was causeing the issues .. were xrays and blood work doen??
post #3 of 21
Even if she hadn't gotten into something toxic, the vet still said that she had a lot of fluid around her heart and that her temp was really low. When you take your animal to the vet, you put your trust in him. They are trained to look for key symptoms, and while he may have been wrong about her getting into something toxic, he was probably right that she would die in two days for the fluid around her heart and her temp being so low. I feel your loss, hun. My kitty was put down today also. You can only know that you did what you did out of love for your kit. She knows you loved her, and you saved her from more pain. Chester and Star are friends now at the Bridge...have peace in knowing that. Send me a PM if you want to talk more, okay?
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by sharky
I woud nt say you did since you didnt know what was causeing the issues .. were xrays and blood work doen??
No, he didnt do any blood work, simply took her temp, looked in her mouth, felt her tummy and tried to listen to her heart. i swear, Im NEVER taking my cats to the vet again unless they have some kind of physical injury.
post #5 of 21
no bloodwork? find a different vet. i think you should continue to take your pet to the vet, but he jumped the gun too quick on that one. i assumed he'd done more than a physical once over. a good vet is more thorough. that one was not.
post #6 of 21
If she had fluid around her heart, she was in congestive heart failure, that, coupled with a very low temp would have prompted me to do the same.
However, I would first have demanded he find the cause, as a young cat should not be in congestive heart failure without reason, which is usually advanced heart disease, but not always.
post #7 of 21
I'm sorry you had to put your kitty down, however swearing off vets is not the answer perhaps you need to find a new vet or if in doubt seek a second opinion.
post #8 of 21
Please find a new vet ...
post #9 of 21
Wondering if you did the right thing is just going to drive you crazy-- assume you did, but for the future find the right vet.

On a totally practical note-I doubt a vet would knowinlgy misdiagnose simply because if your cat had a serious health problem, there would probably be quite a bit of cash in for the vet in treatment, and I imagine more so than the price of putting the kitty to sleep. I'm sure you did the right thing, and am very sorry for your loss
post #10 of 21
All of us can only make the best decisions we can, with the information we have available. With hindsight we often wish we had done something differently - sometimes it is letting a cat suffer too long. You did what you were advised was best for your cat. But I agree that next time you should try a different vet, and with the experience you now have, you will know better what to ask and what to expect.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
I know I have discovered one thing about myself....when I get upset with life situations, its like I get in a stuper......I just go along with whatever any kind of authority tells me.....I would have liked to have taken her down to Huntingdon vet, but it is over 1/2 hour drive away and gas has been simply outrageous....in addition to the fact that I had had to put on my charge the $30 as it was..
post #12 of 21
DVMs are still the best people to take your cats to for health issues. There are good ones and bad ones, just like MDs. In the future, you can get a second opinion to feel more secure in your decision.

I'm sorry you had to go through this, and even more sorry you feel guilty about it. I hope with time, you'll start to trust DVMs again. The bottom line is, your cat is no longer in any pain, and no longer has heart problems. You did what was best for him/her. If you had kept her alive and found out 2 days later that he was right, you'd be beating yourself up for not taking his advice. It's a no-win situation for sure.
post #13 of 21
I agree that you were caught between a rock and a hard place with this situation. Trusting a vet is the only option we have when it comes to the medical care of our pets. Your trust in this vet has obviously been damaged, so I would find a new vet. Again, I am sorry for your loss and the aftermath that you are now experiencing. Please don't be too hard on yourself, as it will only make you feel worse during this difficult time. Take care.
post #14 of 21
My experience is that cats who are hypothermic for any reasons other than environmental (simply being in a cold place for too long) very rarely survive. I think it is highly unlikely that anything that could have been done would have changed the ultimate outcome of this situation.

However, my personal belief is that it is never a good idea to make an irreversible decision (e.g. euthanizing) before gathering as much information as possible and making all the reversible decisions.

I don't think the vet's advice was bad. I think s/he was probably right. But it's not advice I would have been comfortable taking at face value. For me - and this is just me - I would have had to run tests to come closer to a diagnosis, and attempt treatment to see if she responded. If tests showed a gross and probably irreversible abnormality, or if she failed to respond to standard treatment, then I would have been comfortable making the decision to euthanize.

In the end, medical professionals - even the best - are only providing you with their opinions. It's an opinion based on a lot of training and experience (or so one hopes, at least), but it is not fact and it's best not to take it as such. You always need to ask whatever questions you need to ask in order to feel comfortable with progressing in a certain direction. In the end, you have to feel like you did what you personally feel was best in the situation - not just what someone else felt was best. No matter what, you are calling the shots. If you have a question, ask it. If you want a test run, or if you want to know why a test was or wasn't run, ask. If you want to know what the random numbers or "alphabet soup" on the chart mean, ask. Never be ashamed or afraid to do these things.

Unfortunately, these lessons are too often learned through experience. My condolences to you on the loss of your Star.
post #15 of 21
Your poor love - losing your kitty like that and now feeling guilty for it!

In my experience working with doctors, quite often they know beyond doubt what the problem is and right treatment is, but don't take the time to explain to the patient. I guess, if it's obvious to the doctor they sometimes forget it's anything but obvious for the patient as well.

Vets, I would imagine, are quite the same in a lot of ways. It sounds as though your vet was sure, and didn't feel the need to take tests and charge you more money for something (although I do think this is a little odd) and yet neglected to take the time to explain that decision to you. From what people have said here, it sounds like the right decision was made, but because you were somewhat left in the dark, no wonder you are questioning whether what you did was right.

It might help just to think that your kitty was probably suffering, and now is not. In any case, the decision has been made, and can't be changed. I would think, though, that if you phoned the vet and explained how you are feeling, they may be able to explain in more detail why they decision was made and put your mind at ease.

And please do not swear off vets in the future - cats have an incredibly high pain tolerance and you may not know until it is too late if there is anything wrong again. I would hate for you to have to put another kitty down because things went too far.

I hope you feel better soon.
post #16 of 21
Originally Posted by Arlyn
If she had fluid around her heart, she was in congestive heart failure, that, coupled with a very low temp would have prompted me to do the same.
However, I would first have demanded he find the cause, as a young cat should not be in congestive heart failure without reason, which is usually advanced heart disease, but not always.
Sorry for your loss. I believe you did the right thing! The vet may have just known, and did want to "take" your money for other testing.
post #17 of 21
I've had situations where after its all said and done, and THEN I do the research and find out the vet was wrong and he should have done 'this'. I feel like kicking myself, and 'if I only would have known' keeps going through my mind. I think of those as the learning experiences of life, and I never forget it. Although, I really havent had the same situation twice with another animal, I have that knowledge just in case. Start researching everything you can find on what you know of your cat's symtoms. You'll be amazed at what you can learn, and then you can second guess and question your vet with confidence. In doing this, it shows the vet you DO know more than he assumes, and he'll stop and think beyond a rushed schedule, or a late lunchen date....as I have experienced with one of my previous vets(I no longer visit!) I'm sorry about your cat, and how your feeling about it now. Dont be hard on yourself about it now, it's over, but be prepared for anything simular in the future.
post #18 of 21
Putting a furry loved one down is a hard decision to accept. There is a lot of guilt and sadness involved. Especially with such a young'un too.
I didn't see the note left in here, so I could have missed it, but there was a note left somewhere in thecatsite about something similar that the person said that cats will rarely show us signs that they are suffering, so who knows, if the vet said that she had water around her heart then she probably was in some pain.
If you feel that way toward this vet, then yes I would look for a new one.
post #19 of 21
Not sure bloodwork would have been more revealing, just more expensive. Fluid AROUND the heart (pericardial effusion) is different from CHF (congestive heart failure) and if your kitty's heart sounds were that muffled it was probably a pretty easy diagnosis to make, and also a very, very serious condition. I am so sorry for your loss, but please don't blame yourself for taking your vet's advice.
post #20 of 21
I'm so sorry you had to put her to sleep. As others have said feeling guilty is common and difficult to deal with.

I believe your vet gave you the best advice he had, every vet will do that. If there was to much fluid in the heart your kitty may have not survived.

From personal experience I have learned I get the opinion of a vet and then I double check with another one just in case. Try not to make yourself crazy thinking "what if, what if, what if". Instead take this advice for next time and know if your kitty was in pain she is now in peace.

Its never easy to put a loved one to sleep, it takes courage and a big heart.
post #21 of 21
I think you should comfort yourself that you saved your cat from more pain. Maybe you could talk some with this vet when you feel better. Have you a list of questions that you want answers to. My cat recently died from renal failure, which is what would have happened to your cat if he had gotten into something toxic. Since he had none of the symptoms, I think that is very unlikely he ingested anything toxic. But clearly he had a bad problem of some kind. Hugs to you in your loss and rest in peace to your sweet little cat friend.
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