Vet check assuages guilt
May 7, 2013 6 Comments
I admit it. I’m a procrastinator. But I also have issues with money and was burned by the Recession. There was a load of household expenses and car repairs, adding to recuperation from bouts of unemployment.
So when I kept reading about cat owners being less likely to take their cats for regular check-ups, I raised my hand in guilt. But, I reasoned, I keep a sharp eye on them, feed them a high quality diet, maul them regularly in search of lumps or bumps, and keep them securely inside.
However the time had come. I bit the bullet and made an appointment for all three, stuffed them into their carriers, and made the three trips down to the car.
One concern was that I’d get pressured into vaccinations, but the doctors at the practice had been pretty good in the past. At the front desk, they said that it was required by law, but didn’t go beyond that. Thankfully.
First up was Tekla. She’s now 10 years old and has never been sick – or to the vet’s beyond her initial kitten once-over. Yes, bad mommy. Teeth, eyes, ears, all good. Weight 7.22 pounds. One interesting discovery is that she has luxating patellas; her kneecaps are dislocated from the groove of the thighbone. Interesting because her gait is normal and she has no trouble jumping up and down the counters and even to the top of the fridge, as well as speeding up and down the stairs. The doctor was glad that it wasn’t giving her any problems, said it was probably genetic, and that it was good she was getting fish oil in her food. He added that I might want to start her on Kitty Cosequin or a similar supplement to ward off arthritis.
Next was Pulitzer, who is around 14. Like Tekla, he’s had no health problems. The doctor asked about water consumption and litter box use. All fine. I explained Pully’s longtime litter box issues and how I was handling them. He was pleased that it was under control. I talked about his behavior quirks – pacing, circling, yowling, odd gait, clumsiness. He confirmed what a previous vet had thought about a mild case of cerebellar hypoplasia, which occurs when the mom cat is infected with panleukopenia in the womb.
He put Pully down on the floor to watch how he moved, which confirmed the CH diagnosis. Cats with CH live normal lives and the disease does not progress.
In looking at his eyes, he also quickly confirmed what we had suspected: that Pully’s vision is limited. He doesn’t have cataracts, but the vet said his lenses are “very thick.” Pully’s pupils usually remain dilated, contracting only a little in bright light.
It’s well known that blind cats adapt well to their environment. Pully has been with us for more than 12 years and we’re not the types to rearrange the furniture every month, so he has absolutely no trouble moving around the house, jumping on the bed, the couch, or into the bay window. In fact one of his “things” is to pace in circles (always to the left), then intently stare at me. The circles get tighter as his anxiety increases, i.e. at mealtime.
He could use a dental – add that to the list.
Pully topped the scales at 11.2 pounds, which is good for his build. And like Tekla, he was taken to the “back room” for blood and urine samples. Both kitties were apparently quite cooperative since there were no comments or signs of bloodshed.
Finally, there was Mollie. At almost 4, she’s the baby of the bunch. And the chunkiest. She was a scrawny little thing when we adopted her and filled out practically over night on a raw diet. She is not food obsessed in the least but she’s cobby and solid. She even outweighs Pully, at 11.3 pounds; I figured she was around 10. The veterinarian agreed that while she’s not overweight, had she been fed dry food, she’d weigh 14 to 16 pounds.
The highlight of Mollie’s exam was the claw clipping. She’s on to me and it’s a major ordeal. She’s a strong little thing, never hesitating to use those sharp canines. I had visions of spilled blood and rabies quarantine. (Like Tekla, she’s just had her initial rabies vaccination.) Nope. She was sweet as can be. Even her back claws got clipped – something I would never have attempted.
Three things impressed me about the visit. The veterinarian asked if there were any behavior problems in the household and if everyone was getting along. I was up front about what I am feeding – a raw diet. There was no tsk-tsking – the proof was in the health of the cats. And, he said nothing about vaccinations. The practice, while rooted in traditional veterinary medicine, had always been respectful of my slant toward the holistic.
The lab work for Pully and Tekla came back a couple of days later. “Tekla’s is perfect,” he said. I can’t say that I was surprised, given her track record, but I was relieved.
He went on to say that Pully’s BUN (Bun Urea Nitrogen) is a tad elevated; the high end of normal is 30 and his is 38. He has no symptoms, no excessive drinking or peeing. I asked about supplements and he said they weren’t really necessary now; just get him to consume more water. Still and all, I don’t think it was hurt to sprinkle a Kidney Cap in his food a couple of times a week.
The T4 test (hyperthyroid) for both was well within normal range.
So my guilt over procrastinating so long was assuaged by the good reports. However, the $499 bill brought home why I had procrastinated. I could have scheduled them one at a time to spread out the cost, but with my workload getting it all over at once was more practical.
Bottom line is that they’re healthy and no one was traumatized. Except for my bank account to the tune of $499.