April 15, 2008

A Vet Visit & Chicken Wings

Our cat Bode is growing an extra kneecap on one of his hind legs (at least that's what it looks like) so we brought him to the vet yesterday for a checkup. Anytime we bring one of our cats to the vet our nerves are about 60% due to being worried about what could be wrong and about 40% due to being worried about how much it's going to fix whatever is wrong. After her initial examination we breathed a nice sigh of relief when she assessed that it is probably nothing other than an odd hair follicle growth and if we do decide to have it removed it wont cost too much. Phew.

Then she checked out his mouth...it's never a good thing to hear your vet screech "OMG!" in the middle of an exam. Apparently poor Bode is a victim of periodontal disease and needs to have multiple teeth extracted. We scheduled the visit immediately (you tell me my cat is in pain, I demand the procedure take place as soon as humanly (felinely?) possible!) and went home to discuss how we are going to pay for said extraction. Wouldn't it be lovely if our health insurance covered pets? Who is a health insurance provider anyhow to determine if one species is any less of a qualified dependent than another? OK I know that's a bit insane, but still.

We are responsible pet owners. We adopted both of our cats from the same nonprofit (Kitty Kind) and are very mindful of their health and daily habits and schedule vet visits when things appear to be a little off. So I do feel bad even questioning whether or not we should go through with the surgery, but at the same time we recall Bode's last encounter with dental surgery which wasn't exactly a success. The last dental visit Bode had a few years ago was with a different vet who recommended that Bode have several teeth removed. He told us, similar to our vets comments yesterday, that "he will be a whole new cat once those teeth are removed, you wont even believe how much happier he will be!" Only that wasn't the case at all, in fact Bode became even more skiddish and cautious only now he was missing teeth which doesn't exactly make eating easy.

So we're torn. Do we have her do a teeth cleaning and do our best to maintain his teeth with weekly brushings and feline tarter control products because he really doesn't seem to be in any pain or unhappy at all? Or do we go with her recommendation and go through with the surgery in hopes of preventing a possible infection? I have a feeling we'll go through with the surgery because that's what the expert is suggesting, but I'm just concerned that the same thing will happen this time as did last - more teeth removed making it even harder to eat (which means fairly regular pukings since he already has to swallow most of his food whole) and potentially making him even more skiddish. All this for a precautionary measure and to cure "pain" that he really doesn't appear to be in. I just don't know.

Oh, and the reason the title includes a bit on chicken wings - our recent healthy eating plan came to a screeching halt yesterday when we realized that if we do go through with Bode's surgery then we'll need to start taking advantage of $0.25 wing night at the local pub to pay for it...


Amanda & Andrew said...

This blog could have been taken out of one of mine! I have the same reservations when it comes to vet visits and our "kids". I'm always worried about the health as well as the bill.

I, too, always do what the vet suggests, but I can definitely understand your concern.

Good luck with this, let us know what happens.

Katy said...

Because you asked...

I bet you know your cat better than anyone. You would know if he was unhappy or in pain. Under the circumstances you described, I would definitely opt not to do it. If the risk is future infection, then you'd end up having surgery at that time, when it is necessary, right? Maybe that time will be never. Seems like you are very attentive to your cat and would become aware of any possible infection/problem prior to it causing death or serious permanent injury. I know the vets are experts, but they are also in business. I have opted to treat animals "conservatively" as opposed to the recommended surgical options (ie partially torn ligament, brain tumor) several times and everyone has turned out to be just fine and healthy and happy. Ok, the brain tumor dog died, but lived a long healthy life into old age before that. Just my opinion. I wouldn't subject the cat to the pain/change/risks unless there was an acute and obvious need for it.

Either way, sounds like your a real good kitty mama.

Courtney Rose said...

GREAT cat write-up. I think Jas and I get to go through this at least once a year (or so it seems). We thought our sweet little Fiona was all aces until we took her to the vet two months ago. We got the same gasp. A couple days later, once our little one was on the surgery table, we received a phone call asking if we were down with 5 teeth being removed (instead of the "one" we were initially aware of). Two being the bottom canines, two being molars. Ouch. On many accounts. Now she's basically toothless. As for the boy cat- he's had a total of six removed. What the heck.

I can say that we asked to see the five from the girl cat- and they were NASTY. I had no idea- especially because she was still eating and acting perfectly normal. The reason we ended up opting for the removal was due to my biggest concern- possible liver/kidney/heart problems due to periodontal disease.

HARD decisions. Good luck....