Thursday, March 04, 2010

Trying Out a New Vet Tomorrow

Here's the latest update. My friend and world-class cat sitter Leslie Kaufman recommended that I speak with her vet. She told her vet I would call him and I did and I was very impressed with his knowledge and straightforward answers to my questions. Based on our conversation, I've decided to take Arthur to see him tomorrow and, unless the visit goes poorly (in terms of our interactions with him and his staff), he will be our new vet from now on. I was very impressed with him over the phone, where talked to me free of charge for 35 minutes! That's more advice and info than we got out of the hospital doctors after spending thousands with them.

Leslie's vet actually did not say anything that would directly contradict or criticize the work of my current doctor or the hospital doctor. He said he didn't think I needed a second opinion or to come see him. However, the conversation we had revealed a few things to me:

  • Our current vet outsources services Leslie's vet can provide in-office: Every single one of the expensive tests and procedures we just put Arthur through at the hospital could have been done at significantly lower cost in the vet's office. However, our current vet apparently isn't capable for whatever reason of doing much in her office so her reaction to any kind of illness is to refer people over to NYVS, which is New York's most expensive hospital.

    Imagine if your human doctor had to refer you to the hospital emergency room any time you came in with something more severe than a head cold. It would be very expensive, because the hospital emergency room is much pricier than the doctor's office.

    We can't put an exact number on how much the tests, IV, feeding tubes, etc, would have cost us at a vet's office, but it sounds like the whole thing would have cost less than half of what we paid so far, conceivably far less than half. If for no other reason than to save money on any future procedures or tests, we have to switch vets to someone who is capable of doing more in their own office.

    In addition, I now understand (though I don't think it's cool) why the hospital doctor keeps trying to punt me back to the vet for answers and the vet keeps trying to punt me back to the hospital for treatments and answers. The hospital relies on the vets for referrals; they are an emergency and special care facility and they do not want to be someone's primary point of contact. They want to supplement what the vet is doing. Unfortunately, if the vet is like ours and keeps punting us back, it seems like nobody is taking charge of the care.

  • Don't panic about the feeding tube! The vet hospital told Liz that, if Arthur throws up, we need to rush him over to the hospital for emergency care, because he may dislodge his feeding tube. Leslie's vet told me that is not the case and we don't need to panic. Liz and I were freaking out thinking that if we even found a tiny puddle of vomit on the floor and thought it might be from Arthur that we would have to rush him for emergency surgery (at huge cost and trauma). We hear that's not the case.

  • Don't expect overnight results: The hospital told us to take Arthur in for another liver enzyme test tomorrow and expect to see improvement less than 48 hours after he started on his feeding tube. Leslie's vet said we shouldn't expect to see any significant change in Liver enzyme results for a week or more.
So I feel a bit better and I look forward to meeting the new vet in person.

Liz successfully tube-fed Arthur twice so far today. He is supposed to get 4 feedings today. We were able to skip the morning feeding b/c he ate half a 3 oz can of Merrick Cowboy Cookout food. The evening feeding is coming soon. Hopefully, he will once again eat of his own accord.


Happy Cat Family said...

Oh my God, what trying times you guys are on!
Thank Goodness for several things though: One: The feeding tube - The best medicine for Hepatic Lipidosis is eating, and the best thing you could possibly do for Arthur, you guys did... The feeding tube will allow you to give him the nutrition and most importantly the calories he needs to Recover. That IMO was a very important move.
The second thing is changing vets... I totally agree that it is time... And that also you should not be expected to see dramatic results so soon. No - Hepatic Lipidosis is a serious disease that takes time to recover. It is IMO strange, to say the least, that they wanted to do a biopsy based on a test done tomorrow. Not enough time.
Now, to feed by mouth, since you are going to the vet's office tomorrow Try getting on hold of some cans of Hills A/D - it is a very Calorie packed food, but also very palatable, and made specially to be used during recovery times, and kitties going through anorexia... If he takes to it, it can be very good for him.
I am part of a forum where quite a few members have had experiences with Hepatic Lipidosis...
We would be happy to have you on board and help anyway we can!
Good Luck tomorrow!
all the purrs in the World to Arthur!

Happy Cat Family said...

ops, I forgot to tell you the forum's address! Sorry... I hope to see you there!

Karen Jo said...

I think that changing vets is a very wise decision on your part. Your new vet sounds a lot more competent and will certainly be better at answering your questions.

Everycat said...

We're really glad you are going to try out the new vet, who sounds much more like a professional. You must feel much better having got some straight answers and reassurance.

Definately get some AD tinned food. It can be watered down to a smooth paste and makes tube feeding or syringe feeding much easier.

Get well soon Arthur!

Rumbly purrs from

Whicky Wuudler

Eric and Flynn said...

We are very glad you are going to a different vet where you are getting the answers to your questions. We will continue purring for Arthur.

SuziQCat said...

That is good news about Arthur eating some on his own today...keep going Arthur...we're pulling for you!

ABBY said...

I hear a big sigh of relief in your words and I am so glad that you have found a Vet who will explain things in detail (if necessary). I think you have found the person you can count on and have faith in. I just couldn't understand what was happening, but now that you have put it into perspective it all makes sense. Let's just summarize to say I have been through that situation with the medical field with a relative, so I completely understand now you total bewilderment! I will be interested in hearing what you feel about this new Vet in person, but he sounds wonderful!

TrinsMom said...

Sounds like you found a terrific new vet who gave you great advice. You are great parents and Aurthur will be fine in time. Keep up the great work and email if you need anything or have questions.

Charlemagne and Tamar said...

Yay for the new vet - he sounds like a good doctor who understands how important it is for kitty parents to understand what's going on with their furbabies!

Come on, Arthur, you can do it! Keep up with the eating!

Charlemagne and Tamar

Tiki & Kirby (& sometimes Kesey) said...

We like the new vet better already. Sending more purrs for Arthur. Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Anonymous said...

(((Arthur Avram Liz Beowulf)))
So very very glad you made the big step to change vets!!! I know from experience that having a full-service vet who can do most tests/surgeries in their own office saves me (and my kitties of course) loads of stress, time and money. Good move!! And my two kitties and I continue to purr for you all and send good vibes your way. (from socidoc)