Wednesday, 19 January 2011

When your pet is sick.

Einstein and I went to the vet today. Einstein has had difficulty breathing ever since I got him. When I was in England he showed some massive improvement in behaviour, but lost weight. In the past week or so his breathing seem to be worse, and he's had a near-suffocation episode caused by snot blocking his nose and drying up while he's asleep. It's not often that you can save a life by removing snot, but I suppose your ABCDE is your ABCDE whether it's a human or an animal. Now I also noticed that whatever is in his nose stinks. But he didn't seem that sick.

So I took him to a new vet today, because I wasn't certain about starting him on Baytril. I miss my old vet, but I moved. The old vet was perfectly fine with guiding me in treating my own pets, and we had mutual respect for each other. Actually, two of the three vets I saw there in the past years were like that; and I remember some interesting conversations with them about medicine. The third one didn't know me that well.

This one was talking down to me and seemed a bit annoyed with me for bringing him in so late. I'm not normally one to throw in the 'I'm a doctor' thing immediately. I am also fully aware of the differences between human and veterinary medicine; and I know that treating your own animals is technically illegal. Like I said; the vet was supportive of me doing what I did because they knew I wouldn't do something stupid. But I didn't have the same feeling with this new one; but maybe she just had poorer communication skills. But, like I suspected, Einstein has a bacterial upper respiratory tract infection of unknown duration and he is really underweight. She also immediately said Einstein's breathing problems are due to allergies and seemed a bit upset that I didn't have him on anything for it and mentioned vaguely considering antihistaminics as a trial.

I wanted to say:
"Look, lady, I'm aware of the fact that this animal should have been started on Baytril earlier. The thing is, to me he is actually acting healthier than he had been in a long time and I found it really hard to differentiate between his 'normal' breathing problem and this because he didn't show the symptoms they normally show. I also wasn't sure if he really was having more trouble breathing, or if it just looked like it because he was so thin. I don't know why he is so thin, I wasn't there. He has continuous access to good quality food. I don't know what his normal new pattern of behaviour is; he changed. It was a good change.
I am also not just some idiot considering antihistaminics. I went to medical school. I wouldn't have given it to him just like that. Your option of giving him dexamethason doesn't sound too lovely either, to be honest.
Einstein has been repeatedly seen by vets in his first year. Allergies are only in the differential diagnosis; we could not find a single factor that made his problems worse, apart form dry air in winter. He actually was doing better after he stopped growing; and I actually have a strong feeling that the problem might be anatomical. This animal isn't being neglected.
And stop calling steroids ´anti-inflammatories'. While Voreen isn't a human drug, dexamethason is."

But regardless: Einstein is going on, doing his thing. He skipped the bath this week and got a bit of cat food with baytril instead. He will be fine, for now, and if he doesn't improve in 3 days I should go back with him to get doxycyclin. I'm supposed to weigh him every week and he should gain 12-20% of his tiny body weight. If he doesn't, she wants to see him again.

The old Einstein wouldn't have had a problem with that; a few months ago he actually was too fat. The new Einstein might find it a bit harder, as the new Einstein actually engages in physical activity.

1 comment: