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The Vet who let Nando down

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Directly continued from previous post…

Calling the vet did nothing to put my mind at ease. I wanted to find out whether Nando would need any more pain relief. It was going to run out at 11pm Sunday evening and I wouldn’t be able to find a vet to perform any surgery she may need until Monday when they would be open. This left an unknown number of hours where Nando could potentially be in a lot of pain.

I also wanted to find out whether it was common practice to splint a broken leg as this was something that my research kept suggesting.

However the vet made me feel like I was overreacting. She said that I was putting my cat through unnneccessary pain by taking her into the vet and that if I really had her best interests at heart then I would just leave her be until I could find a vet that would be able to perform surgery. She then also said that most likely the cats leg wasn’t even broken which is why the vet didn’t splint it. She also made unnecesary comments about our lack of pet insurance and questioned our financial ability to look after her.

After this phone call I was very upset and frustrated.

I made Nando as comfortable as possible and we sat together waiting for Monday to arrive. Nando was so brave. She was obviously in pain and discomfort and struggled to eat, drink and use the toilet. But she tried hard. And after every trip to the toilet or her dish, she always returned to lay next to me, and still managed to purr every time I stroked her.

A note…

After this whole ordeal was over I did file a formal complaint against the vet as I do believe the clinic didn’t look after us very thoroughly, especially in contrast to the amazing care we were about to receive.

I felt like the phone call was rude and unprofesional to say the least. Nando should have been on constant pain relief and I shouldn’t have been made to feel bad for asking after this. It is not common practice to splint broken legs on cats, but asking whether it is doesn’t require a rude answer. Nothing was said or done to prepare us for an amputation. In fact Nando’s situation was downplayed with one member of staff claiming it probably “isn’t even broken”. The second vet we went to examined Nando’s leg and immediately prepared us for the fact that an amputation was most likely, before she had x-rayed, etc. She also put Nando on constant pain relief as she said this was a necessity.

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splint, pain, pain relief, vet

This is how Nando ‘slept’ whilst we waited to be able to take her to another vet. She only stayed in a very light sleep with her eyes never fully closed. Her third eyelid was almost always showing which research taught me is a common sign that cats aren’t feeling well.

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Concern

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A quick message

So sorry that I broke the schedule of posting once a week! As life is returning to normal and the coronavirus situation is dying down, it is harder to find the time, so I now optimistically hope to post once a week, but realistically will be posting once a month.

continued directly from the previous post…

The day after was probably the most traumatic out of all of the days associated with Nando’s injury as all we could do was think about our concerns. We now knew for certain that her leg was broken. But we weren’t sure how much pain she was in. We knew the pain relief would run out completely after 24 hours.

As I wondered about all of this, I realised I hadn’t asked enough questions the previous night. Unfortunately, this led to Google. When you are a concerned cat owner, this is probably the worst place to be. Countless web pages informed me that broken cat legs demanded constant pain relief and a splint. A splint hadn’t been provided and pain relief would run out around 11 pm that night. The more I read, the more my concern grew – had Nando received sufficient care? Should more have been done? Asking friends and family only served to deepen my worries.

On top of this, I also began to research treatment options for broken legs. The prices were astronomical. If there is one thing that I want people reading this blog to take away: please get pet insurance.

It’s so easy to wander into the world of “this will never happen to me.” My first cat was insured for about a year, before we cancelled the insurance. He is an indoor cat, and that naive mentality was at play so it seemed like a waste of money. After what happened to Nando, all of my cats are insured.

The truth is, you never know what will happen. My cats spend the majority of their time indoors. They never stray too far from the house, always a call away. In the end, it doesn’t matter. These things happen randomly and when they do you need to be prepared. My only option was to work out a payment plan come Monday. 

For now, my biggest concern was: has Nando received the care she needed? I decided it was in her best interests to call the vet and seek advice. 

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Nando, Concerns, Broken leg, Pain

This picture of Nando was taken on the Sunday that I am talking about on the post. Breaks my heart seeing her like that and thinking back to the day.

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Broken Bones

Continued directly from previous post…

 

The vet knocked on the car window and we wound it down. Nando wasn’t with him. He cut straight to the point, telling us that her leg was broken and she needed surgery. He was certain of a tarsal fracture, and suspected additional breaks in her metatarsals. Apart from the administration of pain relief, he informed us that there was nothing else that could be done that night. Orthopaedic procedures aren’t classed as emergencies, so we would have to take Nando to our usual vet on Monday. It was Saturday night.

There was also no point in X-raying the leg as whoever carried out the surgery would take the same X-ray, meaning we would pay for the same scan twice.

After confirming we understood and were happy, the vet went back inside to give Nando the drugs. She received one opioid injection that was to last 6 hours, and one NSAID that was to last 24.

Nando’s leg was broken

At this point my mind was so busy it seemed blank, and I was at a loss. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that Nando’s leg was broken, and realised I had subconsciously been telling myself that I was overreacting. Now I had to tell myself something else: Okay. So Nando’s leg is broken. This isn’t a big deal, cats probably break their legs all the time. Monday will come, Nando will have surgery, and everything will go back to normal.

We paid, and the amount was justifiable. We had done the right thing. It was a good thing we didn’t wait till morning. Nando had been in a lot of pain, and now that pain was relieved.

When Nando returned to us, she was very still and sleepy. She didn’t seem awake for the entire journey.

When we arrived home, we set up our bedroom so that it would have all she needed. It was important to keep her separate from the other cats and limit her movements. We set Nando down in the room, and she was happy to be home. She settled down for an uneventful night, whilst I stayed awake, thoughts racing.

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A diagram depicting the bones of a cats leg to help show where Nando’s leg was broken

Here is a picture that I found on google, depicting the tarsals and metatarsals of a cat. I have included a video on instagram that shows Nando’s broken leg; it can be found in the ‘Blog: Nando’ highlight.

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