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Posts: 657
So many people came to my aid when I first came here two months ago.  Your words meant more than I could ever tell you.  Your patience and kindness will never be forgotten.

It will always matter to me how she died.  I will always carry the guilt.  But now that I can see more clearly, I know that her vet is responsible also.  When I took her in with all kinds of symptoms--bleeding, breathing, not eating well--he gave her valium. I hate it that he didn't take her temperature.  I hate myself for standing there and listening to him as if he were God.  I hate it that he casually prescribed something telling me how safe it was--I hate it that only the other night--he again told me how safe it was in MOST dogs. I hate it that I took her to him when I had conflicting feelings.  I hate the mistakes I made.

I thank you so much for all the help you gave.  So many of you time after time hung in there and continued to talk to me while your own hearts were breaking.  The pain is simply like no other on this earth.  Again I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Posts: 686
Dear Becky

I'm so sorry that you are still dealing with so much guilt.  I know that words cannot convince you otherwise, but you were a wonderful furmom and did what you thought was best for your baby.  I pray that God brings you peace.

Kate (Gus' mom)


Posts: 774
I think you are starting to realize some things now. I hope you will realize it is not your fault. You only did what a trained experienced Veterinarian told you to do. You did as most people do you listened to the Doctor.

Sometimes and it is not rite, Doctors will do what is called xraying peoples purses, or wallets. They just assume that the person wants to go the cheapest route the most conservitive and they don't offer them everything. I don't know if this is what your Veterinarian did or not. But, if everyting you have remembered and stated is what  you have said, then I would have to agree with you for being angry with him.

Any time there is breathing issues there should be at the very least radiographs, and an ultrasound if nothing shows on the rads. I think he let you and Libby down with his prescriptions and you should be mad. Unfortunatly there are Vets out there that aren't as good as they should be. It is that Veterinarians for the most part, the GP's have to do so much. Think about it would you see the same person to treat your heart, that you would to have a toothe extracted? I think not. There is just to much that they have to learn.

I hope you can begin to forgive yourself, you did only what you were told to do and what you thought would help your Baby.

I wish you well

Posts: 82
Dear Becky, I know the pain and the guilt you are going through after losing your baby, and you are right, we do believe everything the vets tell us, because we believe they know what they are doing 100%, but in my experience, most of the time they haven't a clue. I'm not saying all vets are like that, but just some. I think that they take too many animals on as patients in their surgeries that they just don't have the time to spend making proper diagnoses. In the 9 weeks it took my Alfie to die of cancer, my vet did not ask to see him once. I thought that he had done all he could for Alfie, but after reading so many posts and talking to others in the chat room I realised that he couldn't have cared less about Alfie, and my baby didn't deserve to be thrown to one side just because the vet wasn't going to make any more money from him. I am sorry to be so bitter but this is how I feel, I tried my best for Alfie and I know he was grateful and loved me all the more for it, but I am not a qualified vet and I am sure that I got some things wrong. Its been nearly 11 weeks now since I lost him and its been really hard going but it is getting better as I am sure it will for you. I will miss Alfie forever, he died so young, well beforehis time, but I have four years of good memories of him and I am so glad that he came into my life.

My darling boy Alfie 6th july 2003 - 3rd March 2008


Posts: 657
Kate, Heidi, and Kath. - Thank you so much.
     I know without a doubt my vet failed me in many ways.  But I still failed my baby by letting him near her and missing those stools--I didn't miss them I didn't react on them quickly enough. I shouldn't have tried to figure them out and reach an incorrect decision  I  should have gone straight to internet. 
    Heidi, a vet from Sarasota said exactly what you did.  I am in a rural area where it is assumed that if people call in they don't want to have to bring their animal in for an office call.  I am not sure why my vet thought I was one of those because he even made a joke about my file one time and he knew what I did for a living.  But old habits die hard.
    I hope this is ok, but I would like to tell you both what happened in the past week with my cat.  I had not paid enough attention to her but noticed she was losing clumps of hair and matting badly.  I took her in to the vet who had doctored my dog--probably just to have another chance to ask questions.  He looked at her fur and that was it --he told me I need to have her groomed so she wouldn't pull the hair out with her teeth. 

 I then took her in to another vet who looked at her and said the fur looked awful which showed that something was going on, he took temp. said she had a degree temp. .  He said she had a respiratory infection but even that was just a symptom of her run down condition. He wormed her --my original vet said once a year was enough--put her on antibiotics--said she was underweight by 2 pounds.  Wants to see her in two week to determine what we will do from there. He did agree with other vet that she needed to have her hair cut off. I m glad for my cat.  But sad that I didn't take my dog to this vet.

 After this happened with the cat, I am stunned.  It is even worse than I thought.  He is not even practicing medicine.  I mean it is like you have to tell him what to do.  When I took my dog in and told him about the breathing problem, he looked at nothing else.  Since she had had them in the past, he put her on valium.  I told him they were worse than anything i had ever dealt with. I told him she wasn't eating good.  There was blood running down her leg.  He didn't use a scope on her ear. And if he would have taken her temp, he would have found the internal bleeding. And now to take in a cat with a coat that is horrible and he just said to shave it--something is seriously wrong with him.  I personally think this is shocking behavior from a doctor.

Kath. Your Alphie is beautiful. Is Alphie the kind of dog that was in the story "The Incredible JOurney"?  I read the book so many times. I just can't remember what kind of dog it was.

Heidi, You are lucky you work in a good place.  After my dog died, one of the girls that work in his office whispered to me that in the clinic where she used to work which was in a city, they would never give aspirin.

Anyway, I thank you for your replies


Posts: 774
Hi Becky,

I wish you were in my area. One of the things I do is go to peoples houses and groom, shave their matted cats. Usually cats with either heart disease or renal disease, sometimes both. I do a no stress grooming service to dogs and cats with medical problems or just geriatric issues, or behaivor issues. I do the pets that the groomers won't or shouldn't do. It can take me days even a week to finish them, working in 15 minute sessions or less depending on what they will tollerate.

I agree if your kitty is matted she needs to be shaved. But be careful who yo get to groom her. Make sure it is sombody that has experience with cats, as they can be accidently cut very easily and they also can get very stressed out. I am not trying to scare you at all, I just want you to research who you use. I know when I do cats I will have the owner remain with me and pet and talk to the cat the whole time. This makes kitty feel more at ease. See if you can find a groomer who will let you do that. If your kitty gets to stressed out or if the knots are really tight to the skin you may want to have this new vet that seems to know what is going on, sedate her and do it at his clinic. of course it would depend on if his techs could actually shave a cat. Many say they can but don't know how. And it would depend on how your kitty is feeling. She might be to run down to handle the stress of grooming. In fact if she is run down and sounds like she is, don't do the sedate idea. To much stress. You can try to tackle a little of it at atime depending on how matted she is. Never never never use scizzors on a matted animal or any cat it is so easy to cu them. Their skin is so thin and stretchy like elastic tissue paper, it can be cut a tiny bit and you wont even know it and all of a sudden you have an emergency. But, mabye you can brush her out a little at a time. Don't get her wet it makes things much worse and you could hurt her in the process. When I was 20 or so, I had only been teching a few years, I lived with a guy who had a beautifull persian named Snickers. Snickers had a 4 out of 6 heart murmer, and I did not fully understand what that meant in a cat. Well, I was home alone and Sneckers got out and was white and had got into mud or something and I gave him a bath. He was scared and fought me. I immediately stopped and he was open mouth breathing(always an emergency in a cat) and his gums went grey......long story even longer. Poor Snickers went into congestive heart failure and wound up having to be put to sleep. I still remember all the graphic terrible details like it was yesterday...Wow it was so horrible. Poor little beautiful cat. Ever since then I have had a very real fear of stressing cats out.

Sorry Becky I am not trying to give you more grief or fear about anything, I just want to make sure nothing goes wrong with your kitty. so, just be careful. And another thing if kitty goes outside and is shaved close she can and will get sunburned. Not a good thing. So if she is indoor outdoor, make sure she is kept inside until the hair grows back at least enough that you don't see any skin showing through the hair. Remember cats are extreemly sensitive to the effects of the sun. Dogs too, but I have not seen the problems with dogs as much as I have with kittys. Dogs can and will get sunburned so anyone with a shaved dog needs to be careful as well. You have to figure dogs and cats have skin that is n ever exposed to the sun, like some parts of us. So the sun will really burn them.

Okay I think I have gone off enough about grooming and such. Just wondering is kitty drinking alot of water? Acting differently? Eating? Hyperactive ? Could be alot of things Hyperthyroid, diabetes, renal, or just plain old parasites and run down. I am curious to know what the diagnostics show. You might want to keep her in for a while so as to monitor her litterbox activity and her eating. just a thought. i hope she is doing better by the time you see this. Keep me posted.

As for the firs vet, I am so sorry. You know it took me years and years and many vet hospitals before I found the hospital where I now work. And yes I am so very lucky to work where I work now. We are so patient care oriented and I staffed to give excelent patient care. Most of the days there will be one tech assigned to one patient. i mean we all help eachother, but there is one tech that will know everything about anything and do all the procedures on their one patient. Sometimes two but that is rare. And our Doctors give physical exams several times a day to that patient. We also take the temp, heart rate, pulse, respiration, over all it is a check off type form where all the vitals are checked at least every 4 hours, if they are doing well to as much as every 15 minutes or constant if there are problems. We let owners visit. I encourage it. We take the dogs that feel up to it outside as many times a day as they want, and update ownes several times a day when their pets are in the hospital. I am not bragging here, I just want you to be aware that if we do it other hospitals must do it and that is what you want to look for in a hospital. You need and deserve, the pets need and deserve excellent patient care with comassion as well as knowledge and don't ever settle for anything less. You and your pet should never have to.

Becky, you would never have known that what your vet said might not have been what you wanted for your pet. You could not have known. By the time you had researched everything you did online, your libby would have still been gone. and there is no way to know what sites you were on and there is so much bad information out there. By doctors as well as other people. So, please do not torture yourself with this ( easy for me to say I know how hard it is to live with this type of guilt)self doubt and guil and all of the bad things. Please try to remember Libby in a good way. I am so sorry

Posts: 1,198

I've been following your thread but didn't post because I never knew quite what to say.  But now that you've said you've changed vets, I wanted to let you know I'm glad you've done that.  I have also changed vets since my Blackie died.  I don't believe Blackie died because of the kind of misdiagnosis that occurred in your case.  In my situation, I think perhaps my vet was not as proactive as I think she probably should have been.  Hindsight is 20-20, and I am not a vet.  But lately I have been reading a lot more about CFR and how people have been treating their cats, especially when it comes to getting them to gain more weight.  One of the things I did when Blackie died was to get his vet records and read through them.  Blackie was always underweight, at least during the time I had him.  And I knew he had lost weight during his last year with me, especially once he was diagonsed with kidney disease.  But as I read through his vet records after he died, I was stunned by how much weight he'd lost and how quickly he lost the weight.  He went from slightly over 8 pounds 2 Decembers ago to just under 7 pounds the last time I brought him in, which was about a month before he died.  That might not seem like a lot of weight to lose, but to me it was a lot especially since Blackie was a tiny cat and any weight loss was too much for me.  Anyhow, I called the vet's office a couple of times about what I could do to help him gain weight and the only thing they suggested was to put him on Nutrical.  They didn't suggest any of the other appetite stimulants that so many people give their cats and the vet didn't really seem to think the weight loss was that big a deal, at least she didn't make a big deal about it.  The Nutrical helped, but once he started losing weight he kept losing it, and about the only thing the Nutrical did was to slow down the weight loss a bit.  But he kept losing weight and nobody in the vet's office seemed to think twice about his weight loss.  Or if they did, nobody said anything to me about it other than to suggest I try to get him to eat more food by feeding him smaller meals perhaps 4 times a day instead of the 3 meals a day he was getting.

There were some other things I won't go into now that in retrospect made me wonder about the quality of care Blackie received from his vet.  I always considered myself a proactive pet parent but I now know I missed the boat on what I think were a few key indicators with Blackie's health during the last year of his life.  I've since changed vets but sadly I did not make the change before Blackie died.  I am pleased with my new vet and I guess the lesson I've taken from my experience with Blackie's vet is to trust my instincts and be more proactive when it comes to taking care of my two other cats, even if it means going to another vet for a second opinion.  Thank goodness Rufus and Squeeker are young and healthy (knock on wood), so with a little good fortune hopefully I won't have to go through with them what I went through with Blackie or what you went through with your baby for a long time to come, if ever.

I hope all of the knowledge and understanding you've found these past few weeks is helping you to start finding some peace. 

Take care,


Posts: 5,100
Hi Becky,

Sounds like you need a new vet.  Thank goodness there is another one in that area who can assume care of your furbabies.

Before we moved to our current home, we lived in a very rural part of Texas.   Quite frankly, both vets up there scared the heck of of me.  One of them had let our friend's kitten die, so our friends reported him to the veterinary board.  The board did nothing because they claimed the standard of care in a general/large animal/rural practice is different than in a more specialized "companion animal" practice.  This sounded like a lot of bullcorn to me.  So, we got the heck out of Dodge, and found a "companion animal" vet one hour away in a larger town.  

We live in a town of 20,000 but the area is inhabited by very cosmpolitan-type individuals who adore their companion animals.  So, we have some pretty competent vets who refer to a veterinary speciality hospital just one hour away when they can't figure out what is going on.   I love our vet.   When our black lab, Gracie, took ill very suddenly, our vet spent so much time with her.   He did x-rays, blood tests, observed could just almost hear the wheels in his head turning as he tried to figure out what was wrong.   He referred her to the speciality hospital and we now know she has very serious food allergies.

But, I have to ask you this.   When your vet saw the blood running down Lib's leg, what did he do?   Where was this blood coming from?   Was this after she had already received the aspirin?

I hope you keep going to the second vet you took your kitty to see.   He sounds like he is more attentive.

Sending a BIG hug to you,


Posts: 657
Heidi,  Melissa, and Kelly.  Thanks you againand again for all your input.  Heidi, I wish I were near you, also.  I would never take my dog to be groomed at  the vet's because you have to put them in a cage and they stay there all morning until they are ready for them.  Same with my cat--I will not leave her because she is extremely nervous and afraid. 

They shaved just the mats off and so far she doesn't have anymore.  I was thinking about just having them trim her long hair when she feels better.  Some of the groomers I have called don't do cats so it isn't easy.  But would it be helpful to just have the length cut off or would that be too dangerous?

Yesterday after the vets she has been very hostile to the other cat and to me after I tried to comb her so I don't want any more trauma to her. I am thinking now that just giving her the antibiotics twice a day is more than enough trauma for her so I will wait until her next appointment to decide on that.  I will take her back in a few days for him to check to make sure she isn't dehydrated or losing any more ground. Thank you so much for the information. 

The first signs of anything wrong was the matted hair at the time of my dog's death.  But the eating in just the last few days.  The new vet said that even if she is eating some, she should be eating with enthusiasm which she is not.  She did eat this morning.  At this point he things it is worms which ran her down and caused the infection, but I will know more in the next week.

It occurred to me only when it was too late that I needed to get out of there. But I guess what always kept me from going to a better place was the mileage.  Not because I didn't want to drive it but because of emergency care. I wanted to have a vet that would take me in a late night emergency.  Now I see the stupidity in that.  The nearest vet to me is 20 miles--the nearest animal emergency hospital that would stay open all night would be over 100 miles away. However, I would have ddriven anywhere at anytime, but I just didn't know.  I don't believe the vet knew how sick she was either. Of course, I also ran into this problem and people here still do with their human loved ones.  The hospitals here within a 50 miles radius all liveflight their patients to St. Louis.  Some make it and some don't.  I guess it is the price people pay to live in such isolated areas.  I know Texas would be even worse because I think their distances are so much greater?

Melissa about the blood.  It will be hard for anyone to understand how I coudl not connect all this with the aspirin, but I guess after asking him about the safety of it and him saying it was well-tolerated--Ijust didn't connect.
She had had two aspirin when i took her in on Friday--Thursday afte her half in the am I took her out to my brother's and she had severe breathing attack--she also had one that night.  She had had these since she wa a baby but these were more severe.  I took her in at 7:30 the next morning and told him they were severe and worse than any she had had.  He told me her lungs were clear and this was somewhere in the airways.  I am convinced now it was allergic reaction to aspirin.  He did check her gums.  While checking her, we noticed a thin stream of bright red blood running down her leg.  He asked me about that and unfortunately, I said I had cleaned her ear last night because it looked like she had a bad ear infection with dark gunk and some blood.  He looked in her ear and I asked him and he said it didn't look too bad.  But now I wonder what we both were thinking because if he looked in ear and didn't see anything--where did the new blood come from? One vet I talked to believed it was the aspirin another believed she had gone into DIC from the aspirin-ulcerated gi tract.

My vet acted surprised that I gave her three aspirin.  It was on her chart that he prescribed  one half 2X a day.  On this day he changed it to as needed but he never said a word to me about aspirin that day--he wrote it on chart but not one word to me.  All he said was to drop her antihystamine and use valium for breathing attacks.  For God's sake, why would you change something on the chart if you don't tell the owner?

Bottom line--I gave her a total of 3 and a half aspirn in four days --the worst part was the bleeding had started and the gi tract was a mess and I continued to dose her anothe aspirin.

Kelly, You are right about following instincts. my whole tragedy could have been averted had I not ignored them--and there were many gut feelings throughout the whole nightmare.

Thank you so much for all the information--I want to do the right thing for the cat and she has always been very fragile since she was weaned at 2 weeks because she was an orphan.


Posts: 1,328
 When my diabetic cat was first dx., the first vet I saw sent him home on a Saturday with a 500 + Blood sugar--telling me to take the oral hypoglycemic only. Never explained anything. I was familiar with human diabetes, but not feline.
  Never told me this only works for maybe 10-15% of cats. He could have easily gone into diabetic coma/DKA. It was only luck that got him through this part.
  Got another vet--Number 2 vet--started him on NPH(intermediate acting). His sugars would drop to 30 in 2-3 hours. Found him in the closet, nearly comatose once.
  Decided to get a glucometer--he was at 50-70 consistently. Told the vet--said "just drop it to 2 and 2." Never told me that cats can go into "remission" with diabetes and that his sugars could start to be normal.
  Decided to drop the doses myself--he was still testing normal blood sugars. If I had continued w/the 2 and 2, he would have been dead. If it weren't for my people medical background and a strong distrust of this guy, it would have happened.
Starts in (2 yrs. later) with diabetes symtoms again.  
  Take him to Vet #3--showed him all of my numbers and the NPH I was giving him. Stay the course, he said. Cat getting sicker. Knew something wasn't right, but didn't know what to do. Diabetes tricky w/cats.
  Took him back and said take him off of insulin if his sugar drops below 300. IT was in 240 range (still I never believe to take a cat off of insulin in even this range). Took him off. Went into DKA  twice (on weekend #1 when my vet not there--to pet ER, you have to almost mortgage your house to pay the bill). W/end #2, same thing happenend (this can't be happening). To the pet ER again.
  Vet #4--internist-put him on Ultra Lente. No change with my meter for 1 week. Panicked, back to original vet.
  Neurological event for 1 week-couldn't walk. hospitalized, got better.
  Vet #3--Started on PZI-continually better.
 If not for my med. background (former RN), think he'd be gone by now. I feel bad for anyone who goes through the trauma of pet illness and finding the right person/vet to help. It's very, very difficult when you just don't know what to look for or do. I wasn't an expert on feline diabetes and expected the right help. I was wrong--I felt I was in a giant maze and only a miracle that he got out of it. I've had alot of difficult medical past issues and of many others (saw many things as an RN)--knew to be rightfully distrustful and wary of anything anyone says, but if I hadn't had these experiences, I wouldn't have known.

Becky--I've read your posts about your Libbie. I'm sorry. I hope it gets better for you.



Posts: 774
Hi Becky;
Of course I can only give you my opinion because I am not a vet and I have never seen your cat etc. etc.
If your cat is comfortable, by that I mean the hair is not matted up to the point that it hurts her, if you can see her skin, then I would wait on any grooming until she is feeling better.
The thing with cats is that they don't appreciate change in any way. They don't like to be messed with if it is not on thir terms, unless your terms are involving what  they want to do. I agree with you to not want to leave her in a cage. I think your thinking along the rite lines with holding off until she feels beter. How old is she? Did they do blood work? Are her kidney values ok? Is she drinking alot of water? just curious.

Posts: 774
Sorry, I accidently posted my message before I was done.
So, she is not eating well?
You know what Becky, if you want when you have time, why don't you e-mail me at ,so i don't bore everyone with all my questions. I noticed the other day they didn't get posted.
Hope to hear from you

Posts: 774
After reading your post Becky, and Nancee's, I  feel alot better about the eye rolling I get at work when I take 20 minutes or more to type up all of my ptients discharge instructions. I think it is so impportant for owners to have everything in writing so there is some sort of reference for people. And,Nancee, Wow, cat diabetes is so complicated, I can not believe they would send you out the door with out a ton of handouts and making sure you had complete, or fairly good understanding of what to look out for etc. Cats blood glucose does elevate quite a bit with stress. Not our stress but their own, or what they percieve to be a stressfull situation. I never heard of starting a cat wth a BG of 500 on oral. Wow. DKA is a confusing nightmare to alot of vets. We see it a bit and it can be managed and the neuropathy I have seen totaly resolve.
Any way, Becky, I think it would be wise for you to ask that your kitty's instructions be written or printed up for you, as well as getting a copy of her file for you to keep at home just in case there is an emergency or something and you have to go to yet another vet. That way at least you'll be able to let them know what is going on and what she is on.
Take care

Posts: 1,328
Loudpurring--it was quite an ordeal. New problems(eye) now.
I think it's great that you give detailed d/c instructions--the more info to people the better.

Posts: 82
Hi Becky, no Alfie wasn't the dog out of the incredible journey, but he was the dog out of oliver twist, they are english bull terriers.

Posts: 19
Hi Becky and company

I am just catching up after a week out of town.  I just wanted to add my thoughts as well. 

Becky, Maya and Cisco are the first dogs I have had in my life that I have been responsible for.  I have no expertise with animal medical care.  I barely have expertise with my own medical care.  I trusted Maya's clinic and they let me down.  After she passed I took her records from the facility and reviewed them and found they had suspected cancer previously and not told me.  In my gut, I had not liked them and did nothing to find a new vet.  By the time I did it was too late for her.  I have found Cisco a new vet and a new emergency room.  I ordered extra tests during his physical as part of a preventative regimen that will include twice yearly exams. 

I agree with some of the others' reasonings as to the "whys" for poor care.  I think part of the whys also include the fact that my Maya was a pound puppy and a senior.  I know at least one vet made comment to her age as part of her treatment plan.  Another made reference to the cost.  I had to correct them both.  Knowing all this does not make me feel better about Maya but it makes me feel better about dealing with Cisco.  It also helps alleviate my guilt. 

I am glad you are finding your way through all this and if you ever find a need to continue to talk about it - feel free.  As you have realized, your cat needs your love and attention.  It is good that you are spending time focusing on your cat's health.

I don't have many pictures of Maya because she was so black.  This was always my favorite.  I would like to share it with you all finally.  This is us on a happy day.


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