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cat: my 1 year..became ill (lethargic, loss of appetite)..antibiotics…

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I was advised previously by...
I was advised previously by JA to have my 1 year old cat tested for kitty aids since the symptoms I described pointed in that direction. When he became ill (lethargic, loss of appetite) after his antibiotics ran out I made an emergency appointment and the vet said she would have to run a blood test to make sure, even though she felt he was extremely symptomatic. I really wanted to spare him this trauma and let him pass peacefully, but my mother who is a co-owner felt we should go ahead. Reluctantly I agreed and after the test he started gasping for breath and seized. The vet ran out and said she would get him some oxygen and took him out of the room. She came back in and said he needed to be euthanized ASAP regardless of the outcome of the test. I can't get this terrible memory out of my mind. Should she have pushed him to be tested in his weakened state? Does this happen often? Should I have been told of this horrible possibility? I am haunted by what he went through. HELP!
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Cat
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Answered in 1 hour by:
6/16/2010
Cat Vet: Cher, Feline Specialist replied 8 years ago
Cher
Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21,708
Experience: Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
Verified
Hello and welcome back to JustAnswer.

My heartfelt condolences on the recent loss of your beloved kitty. I understand what a very difficult time this is for you.

If your cat was initially tested for typical feline diseases like Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDS before he was vaccinated when he was a kitten, and these tests were negative, that's great; however, sometimes various factors affect the validity of the outcome of these tests, and when a cat exhibits symptoms which may be associated with these diseases, it is common to recommend they are tested again.

The test only requires physically drawing blood from your kitty, and this should not have caused him to gasp for breath and experience a seizure, unless he was very anxious/stressed by the vet visit, and he he had an underlying medical condition like FIV as was suspected, or another illness, which caused severe weakness and had already caused some of his organ systems to shut down.

You did not do the wrong thing by bringing your cat to the vet for blood work, as this was the only way to find the cause of his symptoms. Once the vet assessed his physical state on that day, if she felt he was in too weakened a condition to withstand having blood drawn, it was her obligation to let you know this, and not to proceed.

It's very possible that if your kitty did have FIV, another immune-mediated disease or even a heart condition like cardiomyopathy, his body couldn't hold out any longer, and this caused his unfortunate situation at the vet's office. If she felt he couldn't be saved at the time, the only humane thing to do, was to euthanize him.

A necropsy (autopsy for animals) would have been a good idea, to determine what disease process was causing his symptoms. Many pet owners do not opt to have this done, and that's fine.

I know it's important that you find 'closure' regarding the sad loss of your furry boy, and you can take comfort in knowing that he is now in a better place and free of any pain.
It's possible that this 'episode' could have happened to him at any time, and coincidentally it happened at the vet's office. I hope this poem will to help ease your grief in some small way:
http://www.petloss.com/poems/maingrp/rainbowb.htm

Again, my sincerest condolences on the loss of your beautiful furry boy

I hope you have found this answer helpful; if so, please click 'Accept' and leave positive feedback. If you need additional information, please click 'Reply'. Thanks for the opportunity to be of help.

Best wishes,
Cher

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Relist: I would like a reply from a board certified vet. I do not see this in her credentials. Also, I do not believe cats "live on" or are resurrected (as much as this sounds nice)..
I would like a reply from a board certified vet. I do not see this in her credentials. Also, I do not believe cats "live on" or are resurrected (as much as this sounds nice).
Cat Vet: Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 20,770
Experience: 15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
Verified
Hi,

I'm very sorry to hear about this outcome. It is very tough to have a patient pass in a manner as you describe.

Should the vet have "pushed" to test him in his weakened state? I would hope that she wasn't pushing in the sense of trying to run a test to run up the bill. Most likely she was offering the test to allow you to have the most information to then base future decisions on.

Does this happen often? If a pet is severely compromised when they come into the clinic, sometimes it is a matter of time or stress that will finally push them over the edge. Unfortunately, the same thing could have happened if he was at home with you and never entered the veterinary clinic. Luckily, this doesn't happen often, but it does.

Should I have been told of this horrible possibility? Obviously, she didn't expect this outcome based on the simple restraint and need of only a couple drops of blood. If this was in my clinic, I would have said prior to doing any testing that this was a very guarded case but we're going to try our best.
Being haunted by what he went through - please don't be. You brought him to the clinic to help him. Yes he died. But, he wasn't going to just pass peacefully unless the vet gave him the injection to let him go. He most likely would have had the same thing happen even if the blood wasn't ran to do the test. His body was shutting down.
I'm sorry again. Please let me know what I wasn't clear on.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
When I said I wanted him to pass peacefully, I told the doctor that I wanted him to be euthanized immediately (before the blood test was even done since I felt strongly he was probably infected with kitty Aids). Even though she would not confirm this without this blood test, she did feel very strongly this was a possibility since he was very symptomatic ( multiple recurring infections, no fever). My mother who is a co-owner pushed for the test and we did have some controversy, so I told the vet reluctantly to go ahead. My concern for posting this was that I wanted to know mainly if blood tests sometimes result in seizures, especially if the cat is in a weakened state. I felt terrible that he was held down and went through this resulting in this type of death rather than just being put to sleep.  I just wanted to clarify what I meant when I said that I wanted him to "pass peacefully".  What you replied makes sense.  Thank you.
Cat Vet: Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
I would say that drawing the amount of blood needed to run the Feline Aids test, very, very, very rarely causes seizures even in cats even in such a weakened state. This is a situation where I wish the outcome was different. Your mother wanted to know prior to making a decision. You knew before hand what your decision would be.
Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 20,770
Experience: 15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
Verified
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