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.