Alternate title: Some Tough Vet Visits Recently
I have mentioned in my recent series on vaccinations that even if you don’t get annual vaccinations for your pets you should take them for a wellness exam every year. In all honesty, we haven’t always done this with our cats. Since they have become indoor cats, we didn’t take them if they didn’t need vaccines and were healthy.
But as they have gotten older, Sam is now almost 13 and Conrad is probably 17 or so, we had changed that practice and they’ve gone every year. We found out this year just how important that is for both cats as well as the dogs.
First of all, our beagle Cricket didn’t get any vaccines this year but when she had her wellness exam, our vet found that she has a heart murmur. He was not overly concerned about it, but concerned enough that he wants to re-check her in a few months. Now we know to watch for a cough to develop, but other than that she can keep doing her normal activities. It’s a treatable condition, and I feel better knowing what to watch for so that we can get her in immediately if that cough does develop.
We took both cats in a couple of weekends ago, and it was a tough visit. We found out Samantha is hyper-thyroid. She hadn’t exhibited any symptoms that we picked up on, but our vet noticed a couple of things (the condition of her coat and the fact that she had lost a pound or so) and felt we should have a blood test to check her thyroid. We did so immediately and the tests came back positive. Now Samantha is on medication and will be re-checked in a couple of weeks to see if it’s working, and then an adjustment will be made to the dosage if needed. I feel relieved that this was caught before Sam did start to show worrisome symptoms.
We honestly considered not taking Conrad in. Conrad is more than showing his age; he has accidents in the house, he doesn’t groom himself, and he frequently walks in circles and doesn’t know where his limbs are at all the time. Only the latter things are new. The former things have been discussed with our vet at past visits and he was found to be in good health, with old age only leading to those problems. The reason we thought of not taking him in was our fear that they would tell us it is time to let him go. But the walking in circles had me concerned, along with some bouts of diarrhea (again nothing completely new), and we knew we had to find out.
Our worst fears were confirmed. The vet felt his issues were neurological and that the only way to confirm that would be through an MRI. We are not going to put him through that considering his age and overall health anyway. Our vet suggested it was time to consider his quality of life, due to the many issues he has. That was no surprise to us, because we were already doing that. But it actually helped us to know that making that decision was imminent, and the right thing to do. We left the vet’s office feeling sad but at least less guilty for having the thoughts we’d had that it might be time.
Conrad is still hanging in there. Actually it was kind of funny when we were loading him into the cat carrier to leave the vet’s office and he was putting up a bit of a fight. I commented to my hubby that maybe that was a sign that he wasn’t ready to go yet. There has been more than one time since that visit that we were sure the vet was right and it was time to let him go. Then he’d bounce back. He’s a spunky old guy. I’m trying not to agonize over the decision too much but to take it one day at a time, keeping him comfortable and showing him love, and have faith that we’ll know when the time is right. Right now he’s been having a pretty good spell so I’m feeling a bit more optimistic.
So take your pets for their annual exams, especially if they are older. Sometimes the visits can be tough, and the news might not be what you want to hear. But it’s also good to know exactly what’s going on and to put your mind at ease that you are doing everything you can to keep them as healthy as possible.