Wednesday Feb 20, 2013
"Can you operate today?" the owner of this 7-year-old with a disc-shaped bladder stone of 8 mm x 8 mm and 3 smaller stones was referred to me by his vet friend working in Biopolis. I had asked him how he came to know about Toa Payoh Vets as presently, one salesman told me the 52nd vet clinic is about to open in Singapore.
"I can operate today, but you may have a dead cat at the end of surgery," I showed him the high total white cell count and neutrophils of the cat's blood test taken earlier in the day. "These data showed that the cat has a generalised blood infection of bacteria and is not in a good health state to be under anaesthesia and surgery. He may die on the operating table."
"But Vet 2 told me that my cat is suffering from a serious kidney failure. She said I should operate soon and any delay will result in death." Vet 2's blood test result show BUN as "---", creatinine and phosphorus as exceedingly high. This indicated an acute renal failure.
"It is best to stabilise this cat first," I had read the medical reports and viewed the X-ray. "Was there any antibiotic injection given to the cat? Any fluid therapy? Any urine test? Any fever?"
"I don't think so," the gentleman is typical of the increasingly educated and well informed pet owners in Singapore putting vets on their toes as he would have done his internet research on his pet's urolithiasis with one click of the mouse. "Otherwise my bill will have this item charged. Vet 2 did say that the cat was slightly dehydrated"
The cat was now furious and the owner could not handle him. I did not want to provoke this frightened cat further as the cat would go crazy and very aggressive. I asked the owner to hold and talk to him while I gave the Baytril antibiotic injection SC. I assessed that this cat would not need the fluid therapy as he was drinking and peeing. Only that he was not eating for a few days and the owner had brought him to consult his regular vet (Vet 1). Vet 1 had asked him to return again if the cat had not recovered but Vet 1 closed on Wednesday and so he remembered Vet 2's colleague whom he had seen before. Vet 2 told him that she was not sufficiently experienced to operate and her colleague's surgical bookings were full house. So he had to find another vet and that was where his vet friend referred him to me. I don't know this vet friend and so it was a surprise.
The operation would be done the next day. Weighing the cat, taking the rectal temperature and giving SC drip would be out of question as the cat was quite fed up with Vet 2's blood taking and X-raying. Cats are notoriously difficult to take blood and Vet 2 had managed well. I presumed she X-rayed first, otherwise it would be very difficult to restrain this little tiger.
Thursday Feb 21, 2013
The main worry was the possibility of death under anaesthesia as this cat was just not fit for surgery based on Vet 2's blood test of a severe kidney disorder. I would say it would be acute nephritis but this cat had no history of vomiting. Would this cat die on the operating table? This was one of those hot potatos vets prefer not to handle as death may result in bad-mouthing of the vet's incompetence. Who to pass the buck to? I decided to operate myself under such negative conditions of impending death of a cat. Ideally, the cat should wait 3 or more days before surgery. But the owner was much worried and the kidney disorder may worsen to severe vomiting and death owing to delays. The kidney enzymes were exceedingly high. To wait would be risky as a cat in deteriorating health would die anyway.
So, I was holding the hot potato one way or another. To operate or to wait more than one day.
What safe anaesthesia to give? This is hard to say.