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.