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Question about Vet records

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I have a not so fun question. First let me say that I may very well be missing pieces of information as this happened as I was growing up till 2001 when my Glory passed away. Mom and I got to talking about it today so I've been thinking about it ever since.

My question is, do vet's make death records, like listing cause of death and that sort of thing?

The Background:
In Jan of 2001 (can't believe it's been 5 years now) Glory sprinted across the house to my room from the garage. That was her normal routine. (she was always a skittish cat) She always went straight to her hiding spot which was a chair at my desk. I was standing at the mirror getting ready to leave for an appt. Well I heard a thump and a cry I will never forget. I looked over and she's laying on the ground. I screamed for my mother and we rushed her to the vet.

At the vet they tried to resuscitate her but it didn't work. She was only 9. Here is where my question starts to come into play. I don't remember this because I was just too upset to function. But the Vet told my Mom and step-dad that she had a heart attack and that she'd had a heart condition. We never knew a thing about a heart condition. I believe the vet said it was in her records.

We had Glory about 4-5 years in NY before moving here when my Mom and step-dad married, so I don't know who made the 'diagnosis.' Back then we didn't have a lot of money period, so the cats (2) didn't see the vet too often. I KNOW my mother didn't know about her heart or she'd have found a way to make sure she was treated.

I just don't understand how they could have not told us that she had a heart condition. I assume the vet here assumed we already knew. If they did, they didn't question us regarding it though.

I guess part of me is still angry that we weren't informed. I'm also angry with myself for not taking a more pro-active role in her health. I guess I'm thinking that I'd like to see her records and just know the facts once and for all. Glory was my best friend and I feel like I let her down. I won't do that to Mooch and Noodles. Maybe if I know the truth I'll get what closure I'm missing.

post #2 of 3
Firstly, if the cats didn't see a vet regularly, it's likely no one knew she had a heart condition. To properly diagnose a heart problem you would need to listen for a murr-murr [extra sound] in which the doctor might then order an ultrasound to get a good look at the heart.

If the doctors did a Necropsy after she died [which I am assuming is how they determined how she died] then it should be written down on what they found. If they didn't do a necropsy they can say she had a heart attack as cause of death, but that doesn't mean she had a heart problem, I mean in essence it does but it wouldn't have to be a diagnosed one. Clearly a cat who has a heart attack was having previous problems.

Given the fact they didn't see the vet often, it's likely no one picked up on the condition.
post #3 of 3
Heart murmurs can be serious, or they can cause no problems at all. It's possible that the murmur was detected on a previous visit. The vet may not have recommended any treatment at that time. We had a kitty who had a heart murmur his entire life. Like your Glory, he was fine until he dropped dead of an apparent heart attack (no warning and he had been fine minutes before). It's possible a previous vet mentioned a murmur, and this vet saw it in the records.

If a murmur is detected, the vet may recommend an echocardiogram to see what is causing the murmur (and to show how serious it is). It is a procedure that may need to be done by a specialist who can interpret the results, which can make it rather expensive (over $300).

You can contact your vet to see if they still have the records. Often, they file them away and keep them for a few years. It sounds like your family did the best they could for Glory, and she was very loved by you.
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