Going to the vet these days is different indeed. Our pet family recently had an unnerving experience that I wanted to share so that others don’t go through the same. Be sure that you’re doing what you can to protect your pet when they’re out of your sight. Pets and their humans are being separated to protect the veterinary community during this pandemic. But as with any new situation where new processes and procedures are implemented – things can get confusing pretty quickly. And that includes your veterinary office.
Amid COVID-19, veterinary offices have strict procedures to help protect the public and their staff. Procedures look something like this:
- Schedule appointment
- Show up to the office but stay in your car with your pet.
- Call the office to let them know you’ve arrived
- A vet tech will come out to your car to retrieve your pet
- The vet will examine your pet and call you to discuss any findings
- Pay the front desk by phone
- Veterinary staff brings your pet back to your car
A few weeks ago, we had an emergency with one of our cats, Jady. She had swallowed a candy wrapper and then vomited it up on a Friday morning. Jady has never swallowed any strange objects – this was a first. I kept a very watchful eye on her and her appetite, energy level and bathroom habits were all normal all day, so I didn’t feel she needed to see the vet. Saturday was much of the same – completely normal behavior. To complicate matters, Jady is diabetic. It’s critically important that we keep her eating and drinking normally so that she doesn’t experience any adverse reactions to the insulin she gets twice a day. She could end up in a diabetic coma if she’s given insulin and not eating.
At 5am on Sunday morning, I was woken up by Jady profusely vomiting. I immediately thought of the candy wrapper that she threw up a few days earlier and knew that any sort of obstruction in the intestines and bowels can be deadly. I thought that perhaps she had swallowed something else!
At the Emergency Vet
I called our Emergency Vet and told them we were coming. We waited in the parking lot for four hours before we were seen. While waiting to be seen, a vet tech called me to give me a report on Jady. It’s important to note that Jady was sitting next to me and had not been seen. The vet tech went on to tell me that Jady was really unhappy.
Immediately, I said, “Stop. My cat is sitting right next to me. You have not seen her and therefore any cat that you are telling me about is not my cat. Do you have another Jady?” The vet tech apologized and said there must have been some sort of confusion. (I’d say!)
About an hour later, another vet tech came out and took her. I asked her how she was going to keep track of my cat since I wasn’t able to be with her due to the rules surrounding COVID-19. She told me not to worry about it (yeah, right). I asked her how many other long haired white fur cats they had and they said “None.” I begged her to keep track of her … and then she was taken away.
When I asked her how she was keeping track of my cat, she said “Don’t worry.”
An additional four-five hours later, my cat was returned to me – a complete mess. She was so upset that they weren’t able to sedate her normally and ended up having to use anesthesia to get the ultrasound completed to confirm whether or not she had an obstruction. She did not.
The moral of the story?
Put a collar or ID tag on your pet and their carrier to avoid confusion at the vet. We’ve all heard horror stories about pets that were accidentally euthanized when the vet brought their pet “in back” to do lab work, etc. Do whatever you can to ensure your pet has identification when you can’t be there with them.
Here are a few personalized cat collars to try…
I selected these for several reasons:
- Breakaway collars are safer in case your cat gets caught on something
- Each design offers personalization
- Some are reflective which is helpful in case your cat gets out at night