I had to put my kittie to sleep today
- Hi, I wanted to thank you for your kind words. Just the fact that you were here was comforting last night. I had to put my beautiful Yoyo to sleep though.
I wanted to ask your opinions on how this happened - I know you deal with vets and the symptoms and you might have some educated advice. I'm sorry, it's really long and you guys don't know me, like I'm dumping this on you. But this vet really worries me. He should not be practicing medicine!
Well, Yoyo hadn't been herself for maybe a week and half. I just couldn't put my finger on it, but something was off. Then this last Wed, I picked her up and she coughed a little and I realized it was her breathing that was weird. She wasn't in pain or panting or but she was breathing fast. I counted 44 breaths per minutes.
The next day I took her to the vet (my cats luckily don't get sick, so I just go to whoever is convenient for shots and exams). This guy was near my apt so I was trying him for the first time.
He examined her and took xrays, said there was a little clouding and he heard a gallop so it might be her heart. It could be that that clouding was the beginning of liquid in her lungs. He said it was barely noticeable and I was very astute, other patients wouldn't have noticed anything. I said that I had looked it up on the internet and 40 breathes per minute was highest normal, but she was 44. He told me to stay off the internet, it wasn't that bad, she could live for a year or two with medication (she was 16).
I was thinking she was looking more and more distressed (as in breathing faster), I was surprised he said it wasn't noticeable. She still didn't seem to be in pain though. I also told him that she had tried to crawl into a box of bottles and only gotten half way then froze out of weakness or I don't know what (just before I brought her in). I told him I didn't want to prolong anything, if she was going to suffer or have a debilitation, I wanted to put her to sleep.
He said, You can put her to sleep if you want, but this cat doesn't look like she's in much distress to me. He gave me lasix and I took her home.
The next day she tried to crawl under the bed and got herself wrapped in a lamp cord, again too weak or disoriented to move. Her breathing was the same, I timed it, but she was so disoriented. I took her back. He examined her again and said she was the same as before, kind of like he was talking to a kid who was asking him every five minutes if we were there yet. He wasn't worried about her getting stuck like that (I was thinking she was going to hurt herself if I had to leave her alone). He wasn't mean, just didn't think this was a big deal yet.
I took her home again. She started breathing really heavy, making loud wheezing noises with every breathe. She still didn't look like she was in pain, her tail was wagging, she was relaxed, but she clearly was not breathing easy. I took her back again (this is the third time in 2 days). I had a feeling that even though she didn't look like she was in pain, that wheezing breath had to hurt.
She was wheezing in the office, but not as much as she had been at home and she had been stumbling around at home too, but when he put her on the floor she walked around the table ok. But I'm not a vet and I could see, her flanks were moving and she wheezed now and again. She was in distress, it was obvious.
I asked him, "Can you hear that noise?" He said, "I'm not worried about that noise."
"Even if it's with every breathe?"
He said if she wheezes "like that again" I should take a video of it and bring it to him. He said, "It's very clear that you (he emphasized the you) are very distressed." Like I was just imagining it all.
By that time it was the third time I was there and he convinced me the breathing would be treatable, just keep giving her the lasix and call him in the morning. She seemed like she perked up a bit, a little more like herself, but the breathing was still making me cringe. I actually threw up from the stress.
This morning she nudged me awake, purring very loudly. Her purr was so messed up, her ears and head were hot to touch and her mouth was open. I took her to another vet.
That vet immediately put her in a tent, then took an x ray which she showed me. She showed me how the liquid was in the lungs and around the heart and how her heart was so enlarged it literally took up her whole rib cage. I hadn't realized you could see that much since the other doc just said it looked cloudy and that he couldn't give me a diagnosis from that.
She said she could try different meds, but I was terrified of leaving Yoyo alone while I was at work. I told her I wanted to put her to sleep and she agreed it was the best thing to do. She said she feared Yoyo would go soon anyway and it might be 3 in the morning and difficult to get help for her.
That's the story. Am I wrong to think this doc was totally incompetent? Have any of you had any similar experiences?
I'm really sorry it was so long!
- Hi Linda -- I am so sorry to hear about Yoyo. Yes, there are certainly some incompetent vets out there, I'm glad you took Yoyo for a second opinion.
She definitely had heart disease, and started to go into heart failure. Her lungs were filling with fluid, and that is why she was breathing so hard. Once they start devloping the fluid, it's a constant battle to keep their lungs clear. You might have been able to stabilize her and kept her going for a few more months or even a couple years, but it would have involved a lot of medications and treatments and constant running to the ER, etc... and constant watching and worrying.
Each of us has to make this decision for our kitties. It is very difficult, but we owe them a good life and a peaceful death. We have to draw a line in the sand, as to how far we will go to keep our heart-kitties going, or if we let them go before they really start to suffer.
The second vet you saw understood this. She did the right thing. She helped you give Yoyo the final gift of love, to thank her for giving you all her love all her life. She is now happy and healthy again and waiting for you at the Bridge.
Each of us will have to face this decison, but all that matters is the quality of life for our kitties. You did the right thing, so do not regret. Open your heart to a new kitty who is looking for someone just like you to give all her love to. She will fill the hole in your heart and help heal you.
we are here for you ---
take care -- Michelle, Susie Q & Tigger Too in Toronto
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- So sorry to hear of your Yoyo. :(
I would see if there is an owner of the practice and file a complaint
with them. It's not like you'd ever be going back there again anyway.
I had a vet in my practice draw blood (and xrays!) for my youngest
when I feared she was having a constipation issue. She came up with a
condition and was complete doom and gloom. When I brought her back in
for the recheck, I saw the owner, and he looked at all the bloodwork
and had a fit over what this woman did, there was really nothing
wrong with my cat. Now, the owner is pretty laid back and I know this
but she was way too far in the other direction.
Know you did everything you could and you did it with love. That's
all anyone can ever ask for.
All my best
Feline Heart List Mom