Friday, October 7, 2011
This is probably more than anyone needs to know, but it helps me to write it down. The cat will soon be back.
I took Estorbo in his unattractive grey box for a second opinion to the emergency referral vet clinic on Warren Street (VERG - Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group), thankfully four blocks away - he's heavy. I did not mistrust the diagnosis from the Cobble Hill Animal Clinic, delivered by phone last night, but wanted another opinion.
We had a long wait, but it was worth it. I was deeply impressed by the manner of Dr. Inbal Lavotshkin, the emergency vet on duty who examined him first before a specialist talked to us. She had a very gentle bedside manner, performed a methodical exam and asked a lot of questions. And she shook me by the hand. Unusual in these parts. Then Dr Slade, the internal medicine specialist arrived and promptly sat down on the floor to ask the same questions, before examining the cat again. Then back to the floor for his rundown of the hyperthyroidism, which he felt confident in confirming, based on the physical exam, Estorbo's behaviour over the last weeks (years???) and the previous bloodwork results. He said it was not necessary in his opinion to draw blood again. The cat was very relieved, and so was I. $100 less on the bill. He explained all the treatment options, in detail. Pills, surgery, radiation, gel on ear.
By now, with the helpful feedback of so many of you, as well as my own reading, I know a lot more than I did yesterday, and was able to ask some informed questioned.
I realize that getting this news on the phone last night was not a good way to hear it - as I had no grasp of the condition itself and went into panic mode.
For now the kitty will be on daily medication for about a month to see how he responds. He gets half a pill each time, and they even cut up all the pills before bottling them. Wow. Then we will see about radiation. If it is not radiation it will be pills for the rest of his life. They can be custom-packed in edible gels to encourage him to eat them if we are not around to feed him (if we travel). There are rare side effects, and I will be watching for them.
A heart murmur was detected and they recommended that we return in about 3 weeks to see their cardiac specialist. Hyperthyroidism produces too much thyroid hormone, so everything - all organs - tend to work overtime. (It's not called "hyper" for nothing). It can affect the heart, or this may be an unrelated condition.
It may explain the panting we saw in the summer, when something frightened him and he ran, and arrived home panting like a dog.
What endeared me to these vets was their patient and gentle attitude, towards both human and animal. I find that rare. It was not patronizing, there was no overkill. Technicians in gloves did not materialize to pin the cat down (and scare the wits out of him). They took a lot of time. I was in there for well over an hour. And Estorbo was even given a kiss on his head! That is either brilliant PR on Dr Slade's part, or he just likes cats. I suspect the former, but he's forgiven.
The bill, for interest's sake? $202.00. They did not do bloodwork or urinalysis but they took his blood pressure (normal, surprisingly) and conducted a most thorough exam, talked to me forever and gave us one month's worth of medication. The Cobble Hill exam was very brief, but they did the blood test ($100) and tested the sample I brought ($40). Their bill was $218.
I am a fan. And the cat is asleep.
Thank you to each of you for the good wishes, and for your advice. I never realized how much the support might mean, but it has. I am not a team player. I tend to want to do things and manage things all on my own. But in this case it made a difference to know that others were rooting for us. Thank you very, very much, I have calmed down.The Frenchman never loses his calm. He is wiser, by far.
And Estorbo? He says the eep is mightier than the sword.