Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A painter is angry at the vet

The painter introduced herself when she saw me taking pictures of lotus flowers as I practised my photography of flowers and compostion. She lamented that she had not brought her camera. I offered to let her take some pictures and would send them to her in a CD later.

As she discovered that I am a vet, she started to say: "My vet is money-faced (or some expressions to that effect). She ought to have put the cat to sleep. All white gums. My cat was dying. He had the human equivalent of HIV. It is called FIV. Yet my vet went on a rescue mission and charged me a lot of money."

"How old is the cat? Did you tell her to put the cat to sleep?" I asked.
"4 years old. The vet should know that there was no hope in FIV. I don't buy animals. I adopt them. Now, this cat was already diagnosed as having FIV."
"Did you really instruct her not to treat but put the cat to sleep as there was no hope?"
"I did."
"How much were you charged?"
"$500."
I asked: "What does it include?"
"Treatment and some form of cremation."
"The charges are reasonable to me," I said.


Her point was that no treatment ought to be given. Just advise euthanasia. Or let her know the total costs of survival treatment.
For cats with poor prognosis, I would normally be brutally frank about the economics of treatment. In this case, the painter suffered an allergic reaction (numb lips etc) and was warded in the human hospital. She phoned this vet about antibiotics given to the cat. She thought it was tetracycline and was then not sure.

"So difficult to extract info from her," she complained. Fortunately she survived.

Last week, an aunty of a niece with a young guinea pig passing blood phoned me to say I ought to advise euthanasia. "I can see that the guinea pig is brain dead similar to what happens to people." The guinea pig had recovered from the bloody diarrhoea and was at home on medication and electrolytes. The niece was to nurse it and was told that the prognosis was very poor. Yet, the aunty interferred by saying that I should advise the niece to get rid of this guinea pig as it had no chances of survival. It is hard to say in this case as this guinea pig was young. As vets, we try to save lives. "Put to sleep" advices are not to be given lightly. Except in recurring FIV cases in cats. Talk about costs to the owner.

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