Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another Saturday Night Cat Crisis

Today, after we got the ringworm diagnosis, we waited at home all day for the vet to call and tell us about the treatment. I had a list of questions. We checked in with her office twice, and both times she was busy. We were told that a medication, Sporanox, had been phoned in for us at the CVS at Children's Hospital, so we waited until we absolutely had to leave to go get it. At the CVS, I found that the label on the bottle said that dosage instructions for the different cats had been faxed to us. We've never had a fax machine. And, of course, the vet called our home while we were at CVS and never tried our cell number, which we carefully provided.

So it's Saturday night, and we've got four cats who really need ringworm treatment, a bottle of cherry-flavored Sporanox, and no dosage info. And no clue about what else we're supposed to do. Our beautiful little kitten, Possum, is developing a large lesion right on his nose, his first lesion, and we are desperate to treat it. Now it looks like we'll miss at least two full days.

I had also mentioned to the vet's assistant that we were running out of topical ointment for the lesions, and that it's not working one bit anyway, but of course we'd heard no response about that, either.

We drove to Kenmore Square, and I slid a big, desperate note under the vet's door. I figured: if they are boarding cats and they use that door, they'll see it tomorrow, maybe.

If I had been able to speak to the vet, I could have ordered or purchased everything we'll need for treatment, and scheduled the first medicinal bath/dip appt., which might have even been tomorrow, Sunday, because we're doing them on the groomer's days off.

My husband had the idea to take the medicine to Angell and ask them for dosages. We spent a miserable hour and a half in the ER, listening to some miserable child screaming in hysterics the whole time because she wasn't ready to put the family dog to sleep. Painful to hear. A nice but harried vet finally gave us dosage info, but when I compared it with what the vet tech had rattled off on the phone, the doses seemed way too high. And since Snalbert may already have liver disease from not eating, I'm doubly afraid of this dosage info, so I'm not going to use it tonight.

I began Googling our vets when we got home. Left a message on the office answering machine. Hunted down the home number of the head of the practice and left a pleading message. I think she's away. 

I think I found a few of their relatives, but I'm not a stalker. Just a desperate, exhausted but still decent citizen trying to help four sick cats.

Most vets in Boston don't have an emergency or after-hours on-call service, and that means their patients are left high and dry in serious situations. We are all supposed to go to Angell, but if they haven't seen your cats before for the problem, they charge very high fees. And their vets run the gamut in quality and personality, too. And for me, being there is always depressing and sometimes traumatic.

We experienced an even worse Saturday night ER drama over Labor Day weekend, when Bunnelina started having seizures (we didn't know what they were at the time and thought it was heart problems or trouble breathing) after we gave her chemo. We wound up in the ER, and a kind young vet guided us to decide to put her to sleep. (Last night's visit, and that hysterical young girl, brought it all back. Painfully.)

We weren't able to talk to our vet for days after Bunny died, because of her holiday schedule.We were devastated and guilt-ridden, uncertain whether we'd acted too soon. By the time our vet told us that we'd done the right thing, we were wrecks.

I can't take another Saturday night crisis. I don't want to become a regular client at Angell, with its traumatic associations and luck of the draw. But I'm not sure I have a choice if I want what's best for my cats.

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