Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Latest Vet Experience

I've written here before about how traumatized Scarlett is by vet visits, and how we've switched to a home care vet in an effort to mitigate her anxiety. The last visit from the vet wasn't exactly a huge success, but with some xanax, Scarlett was at least able to receive her vaccines and a brief exam. (You can read more here.)

Because the xanax helped last time, we decided to use it again for the visit last week.  Before the vet's arrival, I trapped Scarlett in the bathroom so she'd be easy to corral. Scarlett pawed at the door and loudly demanded to be released, and Melly was quite concerned.


When the vet arrived, she did Melly's exam first. Melly loved the exam (attention! yay!) and didn't so much as flinch at her rabies shot. Then, it was time to tackle Scarlett.

The vet had brought a tech with her to hold Scarlett for the exam. The tech donned huge gauntlets and went into the bathroom to retrieve Scarlett. Unfortunately, Scarlett escaped the tech's clutches but was eventually cornered after a chase through the apartment. The tech wrapped her in a towel and held her down while the vet attempted to get close enough to examine her. It was at about this point when we realized that the xanax wasn't quite doing its job, and although Scarlett was a little slow and wobbly, it wasn't enough.

During all of this, Scarlett was screaming, and I mean screaming. (If you haven't heard a cat scream and are curious, brace yourself, turn your volume down, and click this link.) Any time the vet so much as brushed her fur, the screaming got louder and the flailing got worse. When the vet grabbed Scarlett's leg in an attempt to draw some blood, the flailing increased and the spraying started, closely followed by a little pooping. (That last one was new.)

Eventually, it became clear that the exam was never going to happen, so Scarlett was released and pronounced one of the Most Difficult Patients.

The next step is for me to give Scarlett a double dose of xanax sometime when I'll be home for a couple days to keep a close eye on her. If that seems to make her loopy enough that an exam might be possible, our next vet visit will be preceded by double xanax. If not, the vet recommended full sedation.  

I'm on the fence about the full sedation idea. For one thing, for someone to get close enough to sedate Scarlett, she's already going to have to be half under. For another, full sedation is dangerous, and Scarlett reacted to it poorly the last time. And finally, is it even worth all that risk and trouble to get Scarlett examined? I'm not sure. 






13 comments:

Rene said...

Oh this is just heartbreaking to read about. I hope the double dose of Xanax will work better. I think you need to find something that will help, because she does need exams. :-(

Rene said...

Oh this is just heartbreaking to read about. I hope the double dose of Xanax will work better. I think you need to find something that will help, because she does need exams. :-(

Fuzzy Tales said...

Poor Scarlett. I thought Annie was a bad patient, but nothing like this.

We hope you can come up with a solution, because even if you skip vaccinations, eventually she'll need vet care (and should have at least an annual check, if possible). But you do have to weigh that against the trauma for her.

Alice Marie said...

Poor Scarlett! My sisfur Jane is that way and there are multiple notes in her charts. I hope you can find a solution but I don't know...if it causes that much trauma for her....

ANGEL ABBYGRACE said...

There must be a better way. It just breaks my heart for Scarlett.

Lynn said...

Who knew Scarlett was so upset by the vet!!! She seems so docile normally!

Marilia Bavaresco said...

Poor Scarlet!!!! =(

Sparkle the Designer Cat said...

Poor Scarlett. :-( I hope the double Xanax works because I agree, sedation for an exam is really worrisome.

Tails from the Foster Kittens said...

Have you tried a cat muzzle? Since they cover the eyes, often it keeps the worst of the flailing at bay..

or a cat bag? http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Grooming-Bag-restraint-Downtown/dp/B0098AOY0K

Poor Scarlett. Twee has started swearing like a sailor while at the vet, which is VERY unlike my sweet sweet girl, and it breaks my heart too..

Photo Cache said...

poor baby, that was too much stress for you wasn't it?

Emma and Buster

Katnip Lounge said...

egads. That was a horrible time for all parties involved! Can you get her into a carrier? Some vets can give pets a little happy gas while they are in the carrier and it knocks 'em out enough to be examined, but it's not a full sedation. Just an idea.

catonsvillecats said...

My cat who's not afraid of anything and very tolerant of everything is a terror at the vet - those people don't intimidate her at all and she lets them know here opinion. Our regular vet had no trouble vaccinating her, she would get a tech to scruff her firmly - she could look in her ears and eyes but couldn't ever do an abdominal exam. They have something there that they call 'kitty magic' which is injectable, she had it once and it made her loopy enough that they could xray her but didn't put her under. Unfortunately, because they found out on the xray that she has only one kidney, or 1 1/2 at most, they don't want to make a habit of using 'kitty magic' but maybe your vets know of it, whatever it is? She needs a dental sometime in the next half-year, and her regular vet has retired from the practice, so we'll see how they do with her...

Percy the Cat said...

My cat Zowie gets muzzled and wrapped in a towel for vet procedures (blood taking, etc.).

However, we found out that having gauntlets was really not the way to go, as it freaked her out more than anything else.

Is it possible for your vet to come over just to hang out for awhile, and not do any Vet Things?

-Percy's Mom