Anyone that has a beloved pet knows that they are a member of the family and loved as a biological child is loved, that fact in itself is used against us by the majority of veterinarians across the country. When our pets have health issues there isn’t much we wouldn’t do to take care of them and get them healthy again and as I’m sure you know, getting them healthy can break the bank and leave us in a financial mess, what’s more tragic than that is when our pets are written off by their vet because of their advanced age or because of the extent of treatment the animal might need.
Seuss is my 14 year old orange and white tabby cat, every vet that he has ever been to has remarked that he should teach other cats how to behave because he’s always been such a gentle, well mannered, handsome little man. One day when he went to eat he ran yowling from his dish in agony, he was moving his tongue around his mouth frantically, as if he was trying to get a scrap of food out of his mouth or as if there was a shard of glass in there, he ran and hid. Our vet wasn’t able to get him in until day two of this behavior, incidentally I was worried about dehydration but his bladder had been blocked from not being able to eat or drink, thank God she was able to catheterize him successfully. She said that she didn’t see any problems in the mouth or throat and sent him home. That was back in June of this year and the problem just continued, only his pain grew so bad that he would scream whenever he tried to lap up the puree food I made him and would even yowl in his sleep during the night. I kept returning to the vet telling her that there is something very wrong with Seuss, she kept telling me that she had no idea what was going on, that he wasn’t “textbook” for anything, in spite of that she felt the answer was to extract his entire mouthful of teeth, I didn’t have it done because of the fact that she was only suggesting it because she didn’t know what the problem was! Months of force feeding him with a syringe and when August rolled around, one day he fell over and was critically weak, it was the vets day off and I rushed him back to the office where he was seen by a different vet in the practice, that vet said that he didn’t feel it was the cats mouth at all, but rather his ear ( the same ear that I had been taking him to the vet for, for two years off and on prior ). The next morning they sedated Seuss and took an x-ray of his skull, drew blood and scoped his mouth, throat and ear. There was nothing wrong in the mouth or throat and after the ear was viewed and cultured they found a staph infection and a ruptured eardrum, the ear began to RUN with blood. After all of that and all of those months lost guessing, it was thought that he needed ear surgery because, they said he had to have a mass or polyp in the inner ear canal, of course the surgery he needed wasn’t performed in many places.
Thousands of dollars later and after many different vets seeing him we decided to take him on the long trip to Plains, PA to a hospital there where the ear surgery was performed TECA (total ear canal ablation). Seuss had the T.E.C.A. surgery and there was a mass that the doctor said had spread aggressively, he said there was no way to get it all at this point. When I saw my poor little old guy after the surgery I burst into tears, half of his face is cut up, the incision around the ear is massive, his leg where a line was run is just one giant bruise, under his tail where another line was run is a mess and his neck is a horrific mess. Half of his face is paralyzed because the surgery wasn’t done sooner because it took far too long to diagnose him, he can no longer blink the left eye on the paralyzed side. They left him lay in his bed that we sent with him, in a cage for soo long without checking on him he was completely covered with urine, he hadn’t had any food or drink during his hospital stay!
In September I took Seuss to an emergency room at an animal hospital in Clarks Summit, PA and let me tell you, being brutally honest here, the doctor that saw him was the single most arrogant, obnoxious, insensitive, unfeeling, rough brute that I have ever had the displeasure of taking any animal to! When he asked how old Seuss in and I replied fourteen he immediately responded with, “Well he’s an old guy anyway so what is it you think can be done”. The visit conclude with him telling me that he would GLADLY euthanize Seuss, just say the word, because, he went on to say, if no one can diagnose his problem anyway it’s going to cost you thousands of dollars for an MRI and surgery on a cat that has lived his life and is elderly and that even if someone could find the problem and correct it, you’ll be lucky to get another year out of him! I was disgusted and sick to my stomach, talk about writing an animal off just because of his older age and the fact that a vet has to actually work to find the diagnosis.
Dr. Hassinger in Plains was like no other vet that I had ever seen, he handled Seuss with care and allowed him his dignity, he didn’t write him off and did his best to diagnose him and treat him, even though I’m told that will take a miracle. He was honest but sensitive and understood what Seuss means to us, while I didn’t like the lack of care that Seuss got from the staff that was to take care of him during the hospital stay, I really can’t gripe about the doctor.
Seuss is home now and it will be a long week until we hear the results of the biopsy to determine what comes next, I will never give up hope, I am living proof that miracles do happen and I am expecting a miracle for Seuss too. He’s possibly the strongest cat that has ever lived and if anyone can get through this it will be him, but feel free to say a prayer for him too. If you feel in your gut that something is wrong with your pet don’t wait, get him to a real vet and if your usual vet doesn’t help your fur baby get that animal to a different one but don’t wait because waiting might mean the difference between life and death for your beloved pet.