My guess is there are good and bad veterinarians out in this great big world. Just like anyone. My hope is that a veterinarian starts down this life calling from a deep love of animals, but somewhere along the way I have encountered quite a few that seem to have different motives that have developed over time. Cash is king, and our emotions are tied to our sweet animals; therefore we open our wallets more freely. To see our animals suffer is heartbreaking. Our pets don’t understand why they feel sick, and they surely can’t communicate with us if they’ve done something that may have contributed to how they feel.
A few years ago, Daisy Mae Moe ate something that disagreed with her (we’ve all done it). Anyway, she made a royal mess and we thought it best to bring her to the vet in case she needed some medical attention. Several “tests”, X-rays, and a fluid IV later, we were $900 poorer and she wasn’t diagnosed with anything besides eating something bad and having a bellyache (they did have a fancier name for it – but this is what it came down to). They also tested her for a lot more scarier things than a bellyache. The condition cleared up on its own. That bring us to today, Daisy Mae Moe has a cyst (which is gross and a recurrent thing with her). We brought our old girl back to the doc after this cyst didn’t clear up on its own for awhile, and again the veterinarian wanted to run a battery of tests and said they thought the cyst may be cancerous. They told us the tests were mandatory to do any removal and and that they would not provide an ‘estimate’ until the tests came in. Well, lo and behold, we received the following letter from the vet after we paid $240 for tests, a small prescription of antibiotics, and a visit:
Daisy’s test results showed that she has an increase in one liver value. Her urinalysis is showing dilute urine and a lot of protein in it. She could have a urinary infection since there are some white cells present but that would need a urine culture to best determine that. Excess protein loss in the urine can make a pet predisposed to blood clots and that would be very concerning if we are considering surgery to remove the skin mass that has ulcerated.
I recommend that we do a 4dx test to check for Lyme disease to make sure that it is not the cause of the protein in the urine even though I know she has been vaccinated for it. If that is negative, I recommend that we collect a sterile urine sample and run a urine culture and sensitivity to make sure there isn’t an infection that is causing the excess protein to be in the urine.
Please schedule a recheck with me to discuss these tests. I would also like to do a needle aspirate cytology of the skin mass to determine if I need large surgical margins to remove this mass. This will make it possible for me to give you an estimate for removal.
So…. now we’re looking at cancer, a UTI, Lymes (she has been religiously vaccinated for), and back to the same infection we already brought her in for. That is four different diagnoses. Additionally, our bill shows we paid for urinalysis test, so I’m not sure why we have to do additional blood and urine tests. Now, the final paragraph…. about the cytology and the skin mass…. Daisy Mae Moe is almost 12 years old (and a purebred that has a life expectancy of 8-10 years). Would our answer be different if this is a cyst or cancer (though four years ago this was a cyst that ruptured in the exact same spot)? Probably not. If she does have cancer we aren’t looking to have her final few months/years tied up in a vet’s office ripping stuff out of her body and treating her with different medications with side effects. We love her more than that.
Luckily, her cyst thing is looking better since we received the antibiotics, so (hopefully) it was just an infection after all. I researched the antibiotics that she was given (Simplicef) and it treats a wide-range of infections to include UTIs and skin infections. If after the antibiotics are done she hasn’t shown vast improvement in her skin cyst, we’ll probably get a second opinion from a veterinarian that doesn’t give us every possible diagnosis available. Mr. Moe says she diagnoses like I do when Miss Moe has a cough or a fever (and I’m a lot cheaper than a veterinarian if we want to be frightened). We called the vet to report her cyst was looking better, and that we would wait until the round of antibiotics were completed before looking into further treatment, and their response, “oh, so she has started eating again?”. Um, yes and no; she never stopped eating and that has nothing to do with what we brought her in for.
I feel our love for Daisy Mae Moe is being used to dig deeper into our wallets. Especially with the big C word being dropped. Before we pay for additional tests at this stage of her life, we really must ask ourselves…. what if the answer is yes, then what? Would we make a different decision?
** Update 2/18: we did end up getting surgery for the cyst to the tune of $2,000, but did not opt for the plethora of additional tests. She’s doing just fine, but her recovery was long. We’d think long an hard about any future surgeries at her age. **