Thank you for your writing in.
I am sorry to hear you have had such a sad experience with this wee stray cat.
Now you have listed a total estimate from the vet practice of $550. This is unlikely to be for the bloods alone. It quite likely also included the hospitalization of the wee cat and the supportive care (ie IV fluids, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, nursing care of any wounds, syringe feeding, etc).
That said, the blood work is likely a significant percent of that estimate. This is because submitting blood work to the veterinary laboratories isn't a cheap undertaking in any case (not even when vets need to test their own pets). The reason that bloodwork costs as much as it does (and they are expensive in human medicine as well) is because these labs have to special machines dedicated to test animal blood. These will be different from the ones used for humans and because of that it means the companies who design the machines charge the lab more to have these machines (since there are less labs for them to sell their machines too). So, these specially designed machines in these specialty laboratories cost more to run and this trickles down into the amount of money the labs charge to test blood for our sick patients. Therefore, blood work isn't an inexpensive undertaking for animal species.
In regards XXXXX XXXXX vets running the tests themselves at the clinic's expense, I am sure they would have loved to but its just not practical. I have to admit that limitation is one of the saddest parts of being a vet. And it is a tragedy that we face on a daily basis. There are so many kitties that end up in the clinic with a similar history and if the vet practices did everything for each one, the practice would end up in great debt and be driven out of business. I can tell you that both my cats came to my clinic with the same type of history, I took them in (paid the expense for their care), but there are so many that we just can't do that for. And it is even more complicated when they don't have a home, so even if you did treat, they may end up not getting a home anyway and being put down by the shelter.
This is the dark side the human-cat relationship (and I have to say that humankind have been quite irresponsible with the cat species). We domesticated them and now there are stray populations and cats like this one who may have had a home but is now homeless. And even with animal control agencies and cat charity help, there still is just not enough help for all of them.
I know you feel guilty in this situation but it does sound like the right thing was done. If this cat was ill enough that the vets felt it was going to need a lot of care and that its prognosis even then was poor, then it is likely best that her suffering was ended. I know its not easy (I cry everytime I have to put one of these kitties down), but it does sound like you kept her from further suffering and illness on the street and at least provided her with the peace of euthanasia.
I hope this information is helpful and please take care.
Please do let me know if you have any further questions.
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All the best,
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