When she was spayed, the price was supposed to be included in the adoption fee. When my husband went to pick her up, she’d had all sorts of additional shots and procedures.
When I called Animal Medical Services, where the spaying had taken place, they said these things were presented to my husband as a matter of choice, but he says they were presented to him as imperative. When I called my husband to see how she was, my first reaction was, “I don’t want her filled with all of those chemicals!” But when I saw the bill, I was even angrier.
I know veterinarians have to make a living. I also know that a fairly new building and many employees must be paid for. But I doubt that this kitten’s paws had ever touched the outside ground before we got her, and I can guarantee that they will not in the future. She is strictly an indoor cat.
I believe North Carolina state law requires an annual rabies shot, but beyond that, what does an inside cat need?
L.E., Mount Airy, N.C.
DF: Active young cats need several (four to six) small meals a day, ideally canned or raw-frozen, and a lesser amount of grain-free dry cat food. For readers who are interested in a home-prepared recipe and recommended commercial cat foods, go to www.drfoxvet.com.
Some pet food companies donate their cat and dog foods to shelters and provide free samples for people to take with them when they adopt an animal. This makes marketing sense, but it does not mean that the animals would fare best when fed such foods for the rest of their lives.
Thank you for sending me your itemized veterinary bill. The charges seem reasonable to me. The spay operation was free, but charges were made for protective electrolytes and blood screening. The treatment for worms and fleas was also free. I would question only the need for a feline leukemia vaccination for an indoor cat.
Surprisingly, you were not charged for the feline viral leukemia tests, which can cost more than the entire bill that your husband paid. The other vaccinations that were given (at a very reasonable charge) are necessary.
You should count your blessings in this regard, and consider adopting another cat and taking it to the same veterinary facility.
Beagle has glaucoma
Dear Dr. Fox:
My otherwise healthy 6-year-old beagle, Kady, has recently had glaucoma diagnosed. I took her in because of her glowing greenish-looking eyes and the fact that she bumped into a few things.
The vet said that Kady probably had glaucoma from a young age and that it was genetic. She is on latanoprost drops twice a day to stabilize the pressure in her eyes.
Have you found these drops to help the situation? I was told that when her pressure gets too high and when she becomes uncomfortable, I might need to have her eyes removed.
I am sick about this possible scenario.
S.G., St. Louis
DF: I am glad that this condition was diagnosed and that treatment was immediately instigated, if it is not too late, that is, to save your dog’s eyesight. Glaucoma — increased fluid and pressure buildup inside the eye — can lead to detachment of the lens, ulceration of the cornea and blindness.
It is common in some breeds, such as the cocker spaniel, wirehaired fox terrier, Great Dane, poodle, miniature schnauzer and Alaskan malamute. Initial signs include excessive blinking and/or rubbing of eyes, reddening around the eyes and dilated pupils.
Your attending veterinarian might also consider treatment with a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, such as methazolamide, especially if one or both lenses are detached. So-called gonioimplants (aqueous humor shunts) to drain out the fluid inside the eye might be a surgical option, but I am afraid that the prognosis is poor and that your dog might well go blind. It’s also true that she might need to have the eyes removed.
With patient and loving support, many dogs adapt surprisingly well to loss of vision, and your beagle still has her nose and ears on her side.
Michael W. Fox, author of a newsletter and books on animal care, welfare and rights, is a veterinarian with doctoral degrees in medicine and animal behavior.
Write to him at United Feature Syndicate, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo. 64106.
2013 United Feature Syndicate