Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Can Smell My Visa Burning

I took Yoshi back to the vet for a follow up appointment after her course of antibiotics for her heinous breath. While she was on the drugs her breath was absolutely odorless yet I can detect a faint stink creeping back since she’s been off. Not nearly as bad as it was but no longer like angel farts. The vet thinks she has chronically inflamed gums and might need to be periodically put on antibiotics. The tartar on her teeth is so minimal for a cat her age that they do not think a cleaning would help at all. Ok. I can deal with that.

I have found through my various visits for Yoshi’s dramatics that many vets I have encountered are a very negative bunch. They “Tsk Tsk” a lot and suggest all sorts of expensive tests that don’t always have an appreciable benefit. I don’t know if they are covering their asses liability-wise or if it is common business practice to try to inflate a bill but it is not uncommon for me to wonder why they are being so pessimistic. **TWISTED UTERUS-Maybe you can tell me what you know about this. Is it taught in school?”** I understand that our precious boogies cannot tell us what is wrong but is there really a need to make me freak out that if I don’t get Yoshi’s aura cleansed she might die? Ok-I am kidding here but I am sure you know what I mean. Now I will say that not all vets are like this and I have encountered lovely vets who offer a ‘conservative-wait-and-see’ course of treatment along with a ‘no-expense-is-too-much’ approach and explain the benefits and risks of everything. I appreciate that as I think there is nothing quite as terrible as watching your beloved pet suffer through a treatment that does not offer significant gains AND then face financial ruin at the end of it all because you didn’t know any better.

Let me tell you what happened to me at the SPCA vet office the other day when I questioned the vet about a couple tests she suggested for Yoshi.

They did a blood test on Yoshi and a couple levels were slightly elevated. And when I mean slightly I mean only one point above normal range. The vet said that these elevations could indicate early disease or a stressed cat. Well, after Yoshi attached her body to my neck and left nail furrows in the back of my leather jacket I decided to go with the “stressed” diagnosis. However, I was willing to listen to her logic and go from there. She wanted to do a Feline Leukemia test as well as a Cat HIV test. I didn’t think it was necessary as Yoshi is an exclusively indoor cat with absolutely no exposure to any other fur beast that could transmit such things. But she said in light of possible chronic/long term infection in her mouth and the fact that kittens can get infected from their mother it might be a good idea. I agreed and they did the test and I did not begrudge the cost at all as I could see her point. Yoshi is negative for both. I credit the condoms I give her.

The other thing she wanted to do was a urine test for kidney function. The whole rigmarole to get a clean pee sample leaves a lot to be desired (you know how cats are) so I got the supplies and if I can get the pee I will take it in. If not then no biggie. I am not going to fret about it too much. Stress is Yoshi’s middle name; not mine.

As I was getting Yoshi all tucked away into her carrier the vet flung one last idea out there for me to consider. “How about a rabies vaccination?” Yoshi is terribly allergic to vaccines and it is on her chart that she should never get them. She is at an increased risk of cancer at the needle site and as a single indoor cat at very low risk for contagious diseases. Also she had been fully vaccinated (including rabies) three times in kittenhood. I think those immunities still stand and recent research agrees with me. So why she would suggest a vaccine was puzzling. Especially rabies for an inside cat. I asked her why. This is the answer I got.

“Well, what if a bat flies into your house and bites the cat.”

Honestly, I looked around expecting to see a camera crew and a jokey video show host jump out at me with a big cheque. No such luck. She was shit serious. Yeah, and I guess monkeys could fly out of my butt and bite her too. I have never seen a bat in my area nor have I EVER heard of a bat flying into anybody’s house. I have screens in my windows too. God.

I said that I thought I would take my chances and deal with a bat bite as it happens. She nodded and said that was certainly an option as well. Of course with a foreboding tone of voice implying that I am a really shortsighted and neglectful owner.

Ok. I can live with that. In fact I’ll go one step farther. If Yoshi gets rabies from being bitten by a bat that has flown in through my apartment window (or out of my ass) I will jump out at the vet with a big cheque and a camera crew.


kalki said...

"Yeah, and I guess monkeys could fly out of my butt and bite her too."

LOL, I freaking love you! You rock.

Twisteduterus said...

From a vet..albeit a cow vet..perspective.

Rabies here in the US for dogs is manditory as rabies is a human health concern. Cats, well mine, who are inside are not vaccinated for anything, for the tumor reason you mentioned.

As far as running tests...I can say for me, it is nice to have the ancillary data to help rule out or in different diseases, though there is certainly a place for the wait and see option also. Bill "padding" is not ethical. Period.

As a case gets more complex or drawn out, the more tests are typically done, looking for something to serve as an explination.

There is also a certain amount of covering of the tushy. There are many more lawyers than vets....

Dima said...

I thought it was mandatory for cats to be vaccinated too. All I know is that Suki got her rabies shot right before I got her!

I think they're most likely just trying to cover their asses from liability.

Traci said...

I have no idea about anything related to cats...I'm a doggie person and have ummm, a few of them. I'm also clueless about vets padding bills or anything else for that matter. What has me totally cracking up is the idea that bats would fly in through your screened windows (or out of your ass) and the visual of Mr. Fundt and his t.v. crew being there when it occurred! Now THAT would be great television! Heeheeheee...

Leigh-Ann said...

I think most vets are an ethical bunch and don't purposely pad bills with unnecessary tests, but I do think they want to cover all the angles because they can't speak to their patients. I also think there's just so much more for vets to know than human doctors (dog anatomy, cat anatomy, bird anatomy, etc.), so perhaps they rely heavily on testing to define problems. That's just a guess on my part, though.

As for rabies, if the vet insists, you could always have a rabies titre done to see if Yoshi still has the proper amounts of rabies antibodies. I wouldn't worry about a bat, but I might worry about Yoshi biting someone (under what circumstances, I don't know), and then animal control freaking out about her vaccination status. I think the vaccine would protect Yoshi against idiots, as opposed to protecting her against bats.

One last thing... I think you wrote previously about extracting urine samples from cats using a syringe. This is the technique our vet uses for all our pets, and it doesn't seem to bother the pets in the least. One of our dogs and cats has to have it done a few times a year and they don't seem at all traumatized. I don't know if that makes you feel better, but thought I'd put it out there anyway.

mrtl said...

Love you

mrtl said...

p.s. Your loud neighbor may be of benefit in avoiding a possible bat invasion. See

alan said...

I hope it all turns out OK, I love that little kitty! (and her Mom!)


whfropera said...

well, you better send me a check!! I lived in an apt that had a fireplace, and a bat did live in there, and decided to fly all around the apartment one night, and the cat I had at the time, Alex (RIP)went crazy chasing that thing all over. Luckily, he didn't get it, but the animal control people insisted he be tested for rabies anyway.

so um, yeah, it does happen.

hemlock said...

I would have thought the exact same thing "ARE YOU INSANE???". Good luck with the bats.

We brought our one cat in for a check up on his teeth and the vet started the whole "you are clearly negelecting this animal because his teeth look like this" routine. We didn't have the cash to deal with it at that time, so we let it go and added a bit of kibble to his soft food diet. Then a few months later when we had moved and a teeth cleaning was an option we took him to another vet. They said "you can clean them if you want to, but no big deal". Fine. I'm not cleaning them.

Anyhow, I think some vets are just far more anal about stuff like that, but they certainly shouldn't make you feel like shit. That's lame.

I adored your condom comment. What a good mommy.

Squirl said...

Monkeys flying out of your butt. Bucky would be so proud.

Lazy Lightning said...

I too thought Rabies vaccines were manditory. Before we moved, i had to get a national travel permit for my cat (in case we got pulled over by the cops or something - it was b.s. because they'd NEVER check such a thing I'm sure), but one thing was that you had to have your rabies vaccines up to date for travel.

Anyway, yeah... been there. The vets here are terrible - so.. many.. experiences.

--4 different occasions of asking whether I wanted the male cat de-clawed when they neutered him, assuming I did, or trying to pressure me in to it.

--Three different expensive meds for an eye infection, including a steriod, none of which helped (he still has the infection and I'm gonna take him to another vet.)

--Utter disgust from the vet when we asked her over the phone for an estimate between how much the hospital stay and treatments and tests for our sick kitty would run. (We are young and on a budget, and were trying to decide between bringing credit and check for payment.) Apparently we're not supposed to batt an eyelash about a $400 vet bill - just ask nothing and pay whatever.

I have a friend who once told me that many vets become vets because they are better with animals than with people, so they didn't want to be doctors. Interesting thought.

Twisteduterus said...

It really gets me when people complain about vet bills. Pets are a luxury. You can chose to have them or not. You can chose to take them to the vet or not.

I will just leave it at that for now.

No-offense to anyone-just my opionion.


Twisteduterus said...

yes i cannot spell

fueltank said...

Ohh oooh ohhh... I was sure I told you about the time I woke up to see Bedlam and Atticus running in circles around the living room. Didn't I?

No? Okay, so I was sleeping on the couch (that's where I slept in those days) and I was woken by the sounds of...something. I looked around and there were the Beasts of My Life circling the room, looking up. I did what anyone would do. I looked at them and said What the FUCK are you two up to?

Ignoring me, they continued to circle and look up. I gave in and looked up; if you can't get beat them into submission by swearing at them, join then. It's always easier.

I look up. And see The Bat© flying in cirlces at the end of thier intent stares. Like a remote control plaything, they were willing it every which way but down.

Now remember, these are the cats that cornered a small sparrow-type bird and were terrified, absolutely terrified when it turned and peeped at them. Short-term memory, they got. Anything before their last meal, however, lost in the mists of time. They had less idea what to do with it should their evil scheme come to fruition than I did, if I were successful.

I did what any good cat dad would do. I called my wife (who slept in the bedroom, in those days). She was even less impressed, but I was able to get her to take the cats and lock them in the bedroom. As soon as the door was closed they got big and brave, daring The Bat© to take the first swing, just one swing, that's all I need.... through the firmly closed door. Great sports, those two.

Once the cats relinquished control The Bat© was flying lower and therefore closer to me. This would never do, so I did what had to be done. I took up the chase exactly where the Beasts had left off, continuing to fly The Bat© in circles around the room.

Turns out no-one who answers a telephone really cares WHAT you do with a bat in your apartment, so long as you hang up and don't call again. No help from the authorities. Eventually The Bat© tired and I was able to throw a towel over it. I gently picked it up and manouvered it out the window, where it flew off into the night. Released, the Beasts returned to their search for their prey, howling and pacing for what semed like hours. Howvere, they ARE cats and it was certainly no more than 3 minutes before they wanted to go ride bikes, or something equally unrelated to their mission of the moment.

Bettie Serveert

JessicaRabbit said...

When the bat invasion comes you let me know and I will send my boys up to squash them for you. But im thinking you two will be ok.

Just dont turn on any bat shaped signal lights, that always brings them right to you.

Closet Metro said...

Next Friday dress Yoshi up as Vicki Vale and see what happens.

Karen said...

Bats. Who knew?

Anonymous said...

fuel forgot to mention that after we had ridded our home of the critter, we looked it up in "the book" (what book?), and discovered what to do to trap a sneak up beside it with a paper towel roll and it will happily climb inside, to get away from the howling cats/cat parents, and then you can safely move it over to the window where it will fly off into the night.
we tried covering it with a t-shirt (the way you are supposed to catch birds that fly into your house) and it SCREAMED, I kid you not.

eclectic said...

You seriously made me laugh out loud with this! Bats?? That's the best she had? Bwahahahaha!! Good for you for calling bullshit. Or batshit...whatever.

Adrienne said...

Replying to Dagny...

I agree that pets are a luxury/priviledge, and that people shouldn't have pets unless they have some plan for how to care for them properly (and yes, caring for them properly usually means a minimum of about $200 a year in vet bills for one cat).

I think we all complain about ANY bills we have to pay... but also, a lot of people don't know about vet insurance, which is a good idea especially if you have an animal who tends to get sick a lot.

I guess in my experience in northern, middle american farmtown, it seems like the vets here are expecting you to either not take good care of your pets, or to tell them you dont want to pay. My previous comment here, I was griping not about the fact that I had to pay, but that they didn't want to tell me over the phone how much I'd have to pay when I arrived to pick my girl up. I honestly think they've had people tell them they can just keep the animal if it's gonna cost that much. I can't imagine! I just wanted to know how deep it was going to cut me! (Check book? Charge Card? PLATINUM card??)

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