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« The saddest day | Main | "Baby held the blogosphere in his paws" »

December 28, 2008

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Vets are a mixed bag - like any other profession. I'm truly sorry you had such a bad experience at such a stressful time. Definitely let the practice know you're unhappy and why.

You should definitely let the powers that be at Angell know for Tiny's sake and in honor of the precious Babe who deserved so much better. He deserved hands-on treatment right away.

Our own Dr. Thames is very hands-on and he tried very hard to save our much loved and still missed, Captain. Our problem was that we didn't really know Captain's age, having "captured" him in a snowstorm in Ft. Drum, New York in 1994.

One vet thought he was two years old, one vet thought he was eight, so at the very youngest he lived to be sixteen and Dr. Thames had tears in his eyes on Captain's last day.

That is how hands-on he is. We received a sympathy card from his office a few days later signed by him and everyone on his staff.

Dr. Thames does use technology as needed and it came in handy when Sabby had the tumor on his thyroid gland. The good doctor arranged for us to take Sabby to the only center in Arkansas which treats cats with Feline Hyperthyroidism using Radio-Iodine.

That was two years ago. So far, Sabby is doing well.

We also have an emergency pet hospital here in our city and our vet is a part of that. He receives their communications about the pets and when Captain was treated there a few times had the records for that too.

I'm so sorry Sissy. This is such a great loss. The photo I featured of Babe on my blog was so beautiful that a year or so ago I saved it to my computer. I called it Babystarlight. Or maybe you had named it that.

I do know from the evidence of your glorious photography that both Babe and Tiny have had a wonderful life with you and Tuck and what more can any human being ask?

Thank you so much, Laura Lee. Here is what I wrote:

To the members of the Board of Directors:

I just lost my baby, and I'm blogging about the bloodless bedside manner of some of your doctors. It was a horrifying experience during the last couple of weeks and very expensive -- in the thousands -- with unnecessary tests that never got to the point. Most of the regular doctors and emergency doctors were exemplary, but two of them made my blood run cold. I can supply their names if you wish.

I am a long-time supporter of your programs, and your staff have saved my animals' lives through the years.

But this last time I detected what I'm worried may be the result of a politically correct hiring policy and -- could it be? -- a loss of appreciation for the whole-animal philosophy? The bedside manner was not there.

Check out my blogposts here:

The saddest day

Whatever happened to the bedside manner?

"Baby held the blogosphere in his paws"

Please respond in some way to restore my faith. I shall blog whatever you may say, with your permission.

My name in your data base is Mary Willis, and my beloved is Baby Cakes.

Dear Sissy,

I'm so sorry to hear about the lack of caring on the part of the two vets at Angell. My experience, thankfully, is much like Laura Lee's-- my cats have been cared for by both members of a local two-vet cat-friendly practice. They have two office cats who were abandoned quite literally on the front doorstep and have been adopted by the staff. The office kitties certainly help my cats (and any anxious humans!) relax in the waiting room.

The older vet, a gentleman in his mid-60s, was forced to retire a few months ago with a heart problem. Like Laura Lee's vet, he helped to start an emergency animal hospital in town that saved my Princess last summer when she suddenly developed diabetes. His partner is running the practice by herself for the time being. She is a warm and caring lady in her late 50s with a wonderful sense of humor. She grew up in Canada and has a Ph.D. in pharmacology as well as a D.V.M., but it certainly doesn't interfere with her bedside manner. Both docs have always been hands-on with all three of my kitties and more than willing to answer questions about their health and any recommended tests or treatments.

I know diabetes is a different type of disorder from the tumor that took your sweet Baby's life, but it's still tricky to monitor and treat in cats-- and in that sense, it will tell you a great deal about your vet as a human being. My vets have held my hand, so to speak, every step of the way from coping with the shock of the diagnosis to learning how to inject insulin and monitor Princess's blood glucose at home, to dealing with the unpredictability of the disease. Many cats are hard to regulate, and Princess is one of them. Right now she's been off insulin for two months and seems to be doing fine on a high-protein diet alone, but that could change tomorrow. At any rate my vets have always let me talk out my worries-- Dr. Davis has a diabetic cat herself--and have never acted as if they're more interested in computer technology than in the animals entrusted to their care.

I agree with Laura Lee that you should be honest with the staff at Angell about your bad experience with some of the vets. I just wish I could do something more to ease your sorrow. More hugs across the Net, anyway.

I am fairly new to the Blogosphere, but when I saw that Baby Cakes had passed, I had to follow and read his story, and yours. I am a vet tech, have been in this field since I got out of high school and I'm 56 now. I have worked at 4 different practices in those 38 years and out of the 11 different doctors I have worked with, I count 3 as caring, compassionate and having a "feel" for animals. I work at a high end, feline only practice now and we are expensive...but we give everything you have missed in these past weeks and I am proud to say I work there. There are only 2 vets, both women, all feline practice and I hope I have my position there til I retire, as I can't think of working anywhere else, now that I have experienced their style and way of practicing. I would definitely write a letter to Angell, with the doctors names that were good and bad, and try to rest easy that your Baby knows you were thinking only of him and knows you care beyond measure.

Warmest Condolences,
Teri and the cats of Furrydance

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