Mixed messages from vets

in Pets & Pet Care
7 replies 1.9K views
Around two weeks ago, my mum's cat stopped eating and vomited black. Obviously, I got in touch with a vet as soon as I found out. It was a vet I had not used before but they didn't charge rip-off prices for call-out. My mum is housebound and I also have disabilities.

They admitted the cat for a week and during this time performed a number of tests and multi-organ scans. We were told her white blood cell count was abnormally high and there was some sort of 'mass' in her stomach, but they didn't know if it was food or something else. They scanned this at least twice more and later did a gastroscopy, which showed nothing sinister.They also found out her teeth needed attention and removed five whilst she was sedated.
When I picked her up, they told me sometimes they got water down their throats and her breathing might be a bit noisy and to bring her back if it got worse.
She seemed to be making a sort of hiccuping/gulping action which I'd never seen before.
This got worse, along with her breathing and she again quit eating.
I took her in again three days later and saw a different vet, who said he could hear a serious heart murmur that he said was very likely to have a bad prognosis and he spoke of euthanasia.
We were devastated. I had to leave her there for them to get her fluids up and maybe run a scan of her heart.
Today, I spoke to her original vet and she said she *cant* hear any murmur and the cat is eating again and seems ok!
There seems to be something amiss here! How can one vet apparently find what he calls a grade 5 heart murmur and even suggest having her pts, whilst another says there's no murmur?
Meanwhile, we actually have no answers as to her high WBC count(a nurse I also saw said her readings were 'in range' which seemed to contradict this)the supposed 'mass' in the abdomen, and why her heart was not scanned during the 'multi-organ' scan carried out wgen she was admitted. And also, the perculiar hiccuping/gulping thing that has only happened since her teeth were removed.
And we have a vet bill for £2, 000.
I feel really edgy about the conflicting things I've been told: does she have a heart murmur or not? And if not, had I listened to the second vet, I could have had her put down!
She is still in the vet til the end of the week, what do I do? The money is mounting up, but I still have no real answers.
Any advice would be gratefull accepted.


  • edited 20 March 2019 at 9:53PM
    elsienelsien Forumite
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    edited 20 March 2019 at 9:53PM
    Are both vets at the same practice?
    If so, I think your starting point has to be to ask them your questions directly and see what information you get back.

    However, this link says that some cat heart murmers can come and go depending on how stressed the cat is, so that may be part of your answer.

    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Thanks for your reply. Yes, they are at the same practice. I did a fair bit of research on heart murmurs(I had a cat with one years ago too) and it did suggest stress, yes, but not to something as severe as a level 5 murmur, which that vet said he heard.
    I need to write down my concerns and address them in person first, I think, you are right.
  • Thanks for sharing. :)
  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    Vets can get things wrong, I had an elderly cat who would fit/poo/pee, it came out of nowhere vet one checked her over, said she was constipated and gave her meds, it made no difference. Vet two checked her over, booked her in for scans and confirmed she was riddled with tumours.

    Both vets had her history; which was two operations for tumours.

    I knew they would reappear and go internal.

    Go with your gut feeling and the vet you feel was right. If you have none of this with either vet see if there is a third!

    You should write everything down as mind goes blank when you are in the room with them.
  • edited 21 March 2019 at 3:27PM
    Fire_FoxFire_Fox Forumite
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    edited 21 March 2019 at 3:27PM
    Welcome to MSE. :)

    Your cat's complete medical history is relevant here. Poor dental health and/ or the heart murmur should have been noticed in the annual veterinary check (done alongside booster vaccinations).

    It may be that your cat has a complex diagnosis, with one condition causing or contributing to or being a complication of another condition. These links can seem completely random to anyone who does not have a background in healthcare.

    For example dark vomit suggests a bleed in the digestive tract, which may cause anaemia. In turn anaemia can affect any organ, including the heart. Chronic dental infection/ inflammation can cause a high white blood cell count, and may damage the heart if untreated.

    Furthermore cats are really good at hiding their discomfort or pain, so by the time we notice worrying symptoms they can have been unwell for some time. :( This can be a huge challenge for vets when diagnosing and treating, and for vet nurses when monitoring.

    By all means put your questions to the veterinary practice in writing (letter or e-mail) but be open to this being a complex case, without a single straightforward diagnosis.

    Given your personal situation it would be worth identifying a veterinary practice that offers home visits for routine or minor concerns and/ or taking out pet insurance for any future cats.

    Hope your furball feels better soon. :A
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • Thank you for replies and advice. I now have an appt with another vet tomorrow after I explained the situation.
    I realise that health problems can be complex, I have a mixed bag personally, and I have a fair degree of knowledge, so I do get how many factors are involved.
    Tali is currently staying with me so I can watch her closely. I specifically asked to speak to the vet who had been treating her and though I was calm and simply asked for clarification, she seemed very defensive and was not volunteering much info. I became almost sure that something is being held back when she denied Tali still had the spasm and that it couldn't have anything to do with them...I had asked repeatedly about her breathing and the hiccup/spasm thing over the phone and was told her breathing was fine and there was no spasm. Both not true as I found out. She is still doing that hiccup thing and her purr is really loud and occasionally open-mouthed, which I know is not a good sign. The vet seemed almost to be trying to say it was down to us, when she never had this problem before and came out with it after her op, and they specifically told me to keep an eye on it when she was discharged! Even wrote it down.
    Anyway, I am hoping that the appt tomorrow can start to shed some light on this. I am kind of expecting that there will be some sort of heart or lung issue.
  • Fire_FoxFire_Fox Forumite
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    Any news, Bettinoir? :)
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
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