My cat had crystals in his urine for 6 years. He was often in pain but other than that, he was fine, and alive. He was just grouchy sometimes. I took him to the pet hospital and one of the Vets there told me and my husband that he could fix the cat’s crystal problems with surgery. He gave us some fuzzy details but said he’d done this surgery on his cat and his cat was fine. We felt like we needed to do this surgery to cure the cat. He said it would be about $1,500. My husband and I agreed to the surgery. We did not check the Vet out but relied on the fact that we’d had adequate service from the hospital in the past.
When we picked up the cat after his surgery, the Vet gave us instructions to keep him separated from the other pets and give him his own litter box. We put him in the spare bathroom. I tried to take care of him but it was impossible. There was a big hole in his stomach about the size of a nickel that he was supposed to pee out of. It kept getting filled with cat litter and I couldn’t keep it clean. I called the Vet, almost in hysterics, after days of trying to take care of the cat. The Vet said they would take care of him at the hospital until he was well enough to return home. I asked the Vet how that hole was going to heal without closing up completely. He said: “It just will.”
Well, it didn’t. One night I came home and the cat was nowhere to be found. I called to him and he didn’t come. Finally, when he did come crawling out from under the chair very slowly, I knew something was wrong. We drove him, in the middle of the night, to a different Vet at the Emergency Clinic. The technician took my cat from me, took him to the back room and I heard my cat scream loudly as they put the IV in his leg. The Vet came rushing into our room and told us that she needed to amputate one of his legs but she didn’t know if she could fix the hole in his stomach. We needed to decide if we were going to have more surgery or put him to sleep. She was frantic and asked us to quickly make a decision as the cat was “in terrible pain.” My stomach was sick. Thoughts of the first surgery came to my mind. I sat there dumbfounded At the Vet’s insistent urging we quickly decided to take Baby’s life. After it was over, I felt like a murderer. I’m sure my cat would still be alive today if it weren’t for the first Vet’s guilt inducing bad advice.
There are a lot of people out there who are guilted into doing unnecessary procedures on their animals because (1) that’s how the Vets make money and (2) there quite often is some remedial surgery that can be done or some medication that may or may not prolong the pet’s life. There is always the $200 or $300 panel of blood work regardless of the problem. Then there is the office visit fee and the fee for surgery, or medication if you’re lucky. These surgeries often cost over a thousand dollars.
I would just caution you to remind yourself that when a pet is old, it’s going to die. Maybe something can be done about it for a brief period of time, but don’t let the Vet guilt you into doing anything. Most Vets play on your emotions. I had 6 pets at one time and we’ve been to many Vets. There were only two Vets out of the 25 I’ve probably met that did not guilt us. These pets are our family for the short time they are here and I do believe in Veterinary services. You’ve got to check your Vet out though. Get reviews for the Doctor or Clinic. The internet has made this possible. Your pet deserves at least that much.