Monday, April 21, 2014

Bad News at the Vet Today

Cayenne had to go to the vet today.

She says it was the worst day ever, by the way.  She had to ride in the car, see the vet, and on the way home she pooped in her carrier, which meant she had to get a bath when she got home.  Car, vet, bath = worst day ever for her.

Well, it wasn't my worst day ever, but it wasn't so good for me, either.

The skin has broken down on her belly again, which was to be expected given the growth of the tumors there.  She now has a very large, very infected hole in her belly.  The vet feels very certain it will not heal up this time.  The only treatment he can suggest is surgery, to remove as much of the tumors as possible and close the hole.

When the tumors came back about a year ago, I elected against surgery because she was so very ill after her last surgery, because it seems extremely likely that the cancer will just keep coming back and I certainly don't want to have to put her through surgery on an annual basis for the rest of her life, and because, due to her age and medical history, it just seemed like it would be better to let nature take its course.  I expected last summer to be  Cayenne's last summer.

But here she is, nearing the start of another summer, in no worse shape than she was in a year ago, except for the big gaping hole on her belly.  Of course, a big gaping hole on the belly is no small thing, but honestly, she does not appear to feel ill.  She is as active as she was last summer, maybe actually a bit more active, because for the last few months she's been on a daily anti-inflammatory which seems to have increased her ability and/or willingness to jump up on furniture and stuff.  She eats well and in fact weighs about half a pound more than she did last summer.  She sleeps a lot, but she is an old lady cat, 15 years old.  She doesn't sleep anymore now than she has for the last several years.  She still gets excited about treats, excited about being brushed, excited when I open the living room window.  And I think her coat and whiskers look better now than they did last summer.  Healthier, less scraggly.

I think she's going to make it through this summer.  I don't know if she'll be around next summer, but she might be.  And her quality of life seems OK to me.  I don't think she's ready to go anywhere.

I don't want to put her through another surgery, though, if she's going to be as sick afterward as she was last time.  I just don't want to put her through another surgery unless it's absolutely necessary.

At the vet's today, I felt like I was being pressured to schedule the surgery.  I felt like I was having trouble getting straight answers out of them.  I asked what would happen if I decided not to do the surgery and the vet kind of beat around the bush and eventually said that then it would be time to talk about euthanasia.  But I don't think she is suffering right now.  I imagine if she doesn't have the surgery, she might begin to suffer soon.  But I don't want to euthanize her when she seems happy and does not seem to be in pain.  I know it seems like a huge hole in the belly like that would hurt, but I swear she doesn't appear to be in pain.

I really like Cayenne's vet, most of the time.  I believe he really does care about her.  But I felt uncomfortable after today's visit.  I just felt like I wasn't really getting the information I needed in order to make an informed decision.  I felt like I was getting the information that suggested the surgery was the best option, but not any other information.  It felt biased, not balanced.  Maybe the vet was having trouble being objective because he's cared for Cayenne for 10 years and really likes her.  I don't know.  But I left the appointment just not feeling right.

I decided to call Isaac's vet and see if he would see her, just for a second opinion.  If I decide to go ahead with the surgery, I will have her regular vet do it.  I don't want to switch vets, I just want a second opinion, an objective opinion.

So she sees the other vet Wednesday and then I will decide what to do.  Chances are, I will opt for the surgery.  But I'll feel better with a second opinion.  I'll feel better with more information. 

Poor Cayenne.  That means another long car ride.  Hopefully it does not mean another bath!

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