So remember last week when I posted about finding a wee lump on Morcilla’s head? Well I decided that as I was going to be put through the whole CAT SCREAMING TAXI RIDE to the vet’s I may as well take Loki in too. Ever since his last check up in May I’ve been concerned because it felt like that vet wasn’t being thorough. In fact, a week after the blood test she called me with the results and said everything looked fine but that they had held back some blood in case I wanted further tests done, specifically for the pancreas, even though Loki was showing no symptoms of pancreatitis. And I thought… whaaat? It felt a bit scammy and even the vet admitted Loki wasn’t presenting for pancreatitis, so I told her I’d wait a bit on that. But I mean, they kept some blood? Is blood even viable for testing after a week? Whatever. I’d actually been losing confidence in this vet for some time so it wasn’t until Morcilla’s lump that I realised I didn’t want to go back there…
I checked with my friend Mar, who has two dogs and a cat and who came to look in on the beasts while I was in Bilbao, and she wholeheartedly recommended her vet Sonia in Triana. And so yesterday evening Peter and I packed up the cats and went to see if any taxi would accept stereo screaming felines. Loki was in the usual cat carrier but Morcilla has her own little one that looks like a slightly oversized shoulder bag. And yep, the minute we stepped out of the apartment off they went, howling their heads off. But the taxi driver was nice and, as usual, I gave him a ridiculous tip.
The vet’s was packed when we arrived. Mar had warned me that I might have to wait a bit because Sonia does surgeries in the afternoons and almost inevitably receives an emergency case or two. And sure enough we saw a couple of bandaged up dogs leaving the consulting room (each with about half a dozen family members, honestly just like in a Spanish hospital) and, all things considered, we got in to see Sonia after about 45 minutes. To be honest I was a bit put off by what looked like a totally chaotic setting and even considered leaving and finding another option. Well, I’m so glad I didn’t.
We went in with both cats and first up was Loki. I thought Morcilla’s case was more urgent and Loki’s more of the “general check up” variety but Sonia wanted to see the old guy first. It was then that the chaos suddenly became all dead-serious no-nonsense and down-to-business. As usual, Loki was good as gold and everyone was impressed at how he let Sonia do a thorough check-over including a long look inside his mouth (I’d mentioned the broken tooth) and then an expert blood extraction. Then Loki was weighed (6.4 kilos, down half a kilo since May) and one of the assistants cleaned out his ears, checked his eyes, and administered cuddles.
Now it was Morcilla’s turn while we awaited the blood test results (done on premises, no waiting a week like at the last place). Of course everyone gasped when Morcilla was taken out of the shoulder bag. So cute! So tiny! And the good news was that the little lump is a wart and, most likely, nothing to worry about. But Sonia said she’d like to see her again in three months but to come in sooner if I notice any changes. Then she was weighed (2.3 kilos, “hahaha she’s half, no a third of Loki” said the staff) and when asked about her vaccines I said that since they never go anywhere that I stopped after the initial ones. Got a LOOK from Sonia who said, wait a moment so I don’t have to say this twice, and brought in another client with her small dog. She patiently explained to us that in Spain all pet owners were required by law to administer two things annually: a rabies shot and an oral parasite one (don’t remember which parasite) and I could tell that Morcilla was not going to be leaving without an updated rabies shot. I also was given the parasite pills but was told to hold off until all three at home could all take them together. Sonia was also not going to give Loki a rabies shot until she knew more about what was going on with him. By this time the blood tests were ready.
And now the not-so-good news. Loki has pancreatitis. Fuck fuck fuck. Sonia also didn’t understand why the previous vet only did a partial blood test. Anyhow, the kidneys have been affected but the good news is that with proper treatment the damage could be reversed. But no guarantees. Then it was time for the treatment. A few minutes rehydration with a sub-cutaneous saline drip (they poked it into Loki and he was just like, yeah okay) then three injections to reduce inflammation and prevent any infection, and then we were sent home with a prescription for blood pressure meds and a few tins of low-fat special diet wet food to help take the load off the pancreas.
There will be three more treatment sessions (the hydration and other injections) on Wednesday and Friday this week and then on Monday, which is when I’ll see Sonia again to reassess the situation. I must have been looking upset because she patted my shoulder and said “you did well bringing him in, it may be just in time”… and oh man. So now that’s what I’m dealing with.
Loki is of course totally oblivious since he has probably been feeling fine all along, eating well, no vomiting, not being listless… NO symptoms of pancreatitis. So that gives me hope because, other than his obsession with water, there have also been no signs of kidney problems. But I’ll tell you something… he is totally loving his new wet food diet! And today the quarter of a blood pressure pill crushed into his lunch serving went down the hatch in a flash. So now it’s wait and see.
This morning I ordered a supply of the wet food – holy fuck 50 euros for a 12 day supply. So in the past 24 hours I’ve spent about 300 euros (vet 240€ + taxi fares). To be honest I probably wouldn’t have gone to Bilbao if I knew this was about to happen, but what the hell. Shit happens. I’m just very relieved that I think I have finally found a vet I can trust.
For those of you still with me at this point in my rambling post (am reckoning it’s just Sledpress, Deb and Anne at this point) thanks so much! I know you’re always so supportive. And I know I ramble on here but it’s just like when I had cancer. I never know who’s reading or who may benefit from the info I mention here. If I can say anything to those people… if you have an elderly cat (10 years or more) don’t hesitate to get an annual FULL blood test, symptoms or no symptoms. And if you feel you don’t trust your vet…move on. More news as I get it.
Poor Loki….and poor you too! Dealing with pets health is always so stressful…..looks like you made the right decision to move vets and to take Loki with you. hugs all round.
Deborah Barnes said:
I had to speed read through, my heart in my throat. Sounds like Loki should be ok, phew, but what a worry for you.
Glad Morcilla’s lump turned out to be non threatening.
It’s getting harder and harder here to find a vet I can trust. Well TBF it’s always been hard. There was a great vet hospital five minutes away from my old house, and then the founder retired and left this condescending bitch in charge who literally BABY TALKED while giving care instructions (“now fish is a big NO NO”). Who can work with someone who treats you like a stupid infant? Checked out an all cat clinic; they tried to shake me down for “oh wait let’s run more tests” the way the previous place did with Loki’s aging-out blood sample. Took another recommendation; the place was OK until I had to deal with the owner/senior vet, who refused to answer a question I phoned in because “I already talked to her today.” (The guy who relayed the question sounded SO embarrassed.) Finally lucked into a good place, then after 20 years the Mars Bars people decided they wanted to buy up vet hospitals and turn them into a cash cow nationwide combine, and all the good docs went. Currently dealing with a guy who comes in a van because the close-by, top end cat clinic nearly killed my Nickel on the first pass. So right now I envy you Sonia.
We’re all sending the best vibes to Lokes.