Around 7:30 this evening, we fed Arthur and Beowulf as usual, but when Arthur emerged from the kitchen, we noticed that his right eye was half open and was red and swollen. When we picked him up and looked at it, we realized that he was having trouble opening it and that it was red and bloodshot.
We immediately called our vet, but his office was closed for the evening. On the answering machine, the vet recommended two 24-hour emergency clinics, one which is about 20 blocks away and one which is about 40 blocks away. We called both clinics on the phone and were able to reach a person at the clinic which was 20 blocks away. The receptionist said "yeah, come on down."
Wanting to get him care ASAP, we hopped in a cab and went to the "Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists," the clinic which is closer to our apartment and the one which answered the phone. We arrived there at 8:30 pm. About 20 minutes after we arrived and filled out our paperwork, one of the doctors came out and asked us what was wrong with our cat. We explained his eye condition and she said "there are some serious emergencies here so you'll be waiting more than an hour."
Ok, it's an emergency room. We expected that we'd have to wait for care, but we didn't want Arthur's eye to have to wait until the next day. What if it gets worse and he goes blind or his eyeball pops out? I've seen some horrifying pictures (which I won't link to) of cats with missing eyeballs. I don't want that for my boys.
That said, we were there for 5 hours, the last 2 or 3 of which there was no one in front of us on line. At around 11:30 pm, I went home to look after Beowulf, who had been left alone for the first time in his life. Finally, at 12:45 am, Liz called me to say that the doctors had disappeared into the backroom and advised her to go home and take Arthur to another vet because they were "too busy" to treat him for a long time. For the last hour, she had been sitting alone in the waiting room, because even the receptionist had gone home.
So what were the doctors doing while we sat fruitlessly in the waiting room and Arthur's eye continued to get redder and started oozing puss? They were spending hours talking to other people whose pets were either there on long-term care (not emergencies) or whose animals were obviously sick enough that they would make a huge profit by treating them. One family came into the practice carrying the remains of a dead dog in a sack. One of the two doctors on duty spent close to an hour alone in a room with them. No offense, but this couple's dog was dead. What was she doing with them? Was she selling cremation and burial services in there?
They charge $120 just for looking at your pet, but apparently that's not profitable enough for them to take 5 minutes out of the 5 hours we sat there to check our cat and make sure that he's not about to go blind. Since we didn't even get seen by them, we left without spending the $120.
But hey, we did get some free medical advice from them. When they told Liz she'd be better off going home than waiting (this, after 5 hours of waiting), they said "you know it sounds like conjunctivitis. He had a cold before, right?"
So Arthur is home now and he's not acting ill, but his eye is very swollen and, if you want my two cents, I don't think it's a cold. He walked into the kitchen looking fine and walked out with a swollen eye. I think something is stuck in his eye and that he needs it flushed out. I hope whatever it is won't cause permanent damage because we have to wait until tomorrow to take him to the vet.