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16 November 2010

Veterinary Hospital: a pussycat that went to the dogs I took Trilby to the vet on Friday. Poor little guy, both the trip there and the actual visit terrified him. [More:]

I lined his carrier with his Aristocrats cat blanket (don't look at me that way — my niece bought it for him) and put his favourite toy in, then tossed in three or four kitty treats to lure him in. He went for it, and, humming "Suspicious Minds" ("Caught in a trap/I can't walk out...") I latched the little wire door and left the house with him.

It's a ten minute walk to the subway station, so I thought I'd take the bus. Waited ten minutes for the bus, and the driver wouldn't let me on. Pets aren't allowed on the TTC before six p.m., it seems. Damn stupid rule — there was plenty of room on the bus and Trilby was securely crated so how does this improve customer service for anyone?

I walked to the station and went through the turnstiles with some trepidation, but I wasn't challenged by a TTC worker. Several people who were near us on the subway made a big fuss over Trilby and said how calm he looked, was he used to being on the subway?

Trilby stayed perfectly still and quiet for the entire trip and vet visit, so he looked calm, but he was actually still because he was petrified with fear. When I touched him I could feel him shaking slightly.

We got to the vet's office, the support staff made a big fuss over him and the vet kept referring to him as "Handsome Boy". Trilby let the vet do whatever she needed to do: look at his teeth and into his ears, feel his glands, give him his shots, listen to his heart, and pick him up and put him on the scales. His expression when the vet took his temperature with a rectal thermometer was hilarious — a wide-eyed stricken look, settling into a furrowed brow look of endurance. The vet was happy he was so co-operative.

The only thing he wouldn’t do was take his worm pill though it was contained in a treat, so I asked if we could get that to go. And though I stood there and petted him most of the time he never purred or rubbed his head against my hand. REALLY atypical behaviour from him. He's a very interactive pettee and loves treats.

His health is good, the vet says. He's gained two pounds since I got him a year ago and is now 12 pounds. The vet agreed with me that his shelter weight of ten pounds would have been too thin for him. She said he shouldn't gain any more weight, and not that he needs to lose any, but I think I might cut back his food just slightly. Eleven pounds is probably his ideal weight.

She does recommend that he have his teeth cleaned. I asked for an estimate of how much that would cost. And holy crap. They want to do blood work to make sure it's safe to put him under anesthetic and that costs about $120. Then the actual cleaning, aneasthetic and x-rays will cost $500, and depending on what they need to do when they get working on his mouth, it could be another $235. I don't know what I'll do about that. That is so much money for me and yet I don't want Trilby to lose his teeth.

Well, we headed home. There was a Beddington's Bed and Bath next to the Animal Hospital and I thought I'd just go in briefly and look for a new bathmat. I asked the sales associates if it was okay if I brought my cat into the store and they said, very eagerly, "Oh, you can put him right by the front desk here and we'll look after him while you shop!" I went down to the basement where the bathmats were and when I came back up about seven minutes later the sales associates were grouped around the carrier, cooing at Trilby.

We headed home. More people on the train made a big fuss over him and said how beautiful he was. When I got off the train at Dundas West five people waved bye-bye. Poor Trilby was immune to the flattery and curled up at the back of his carrier.

When I took the lid off the carrier Trilby looked around the kitchen wildly. Could his ordeal really be over? It is until next year unless I decide to have your teeth cleaned, champ.

I gave him a few hours to settle in and then gave him his deworming pill. He gobbled it up, searched my hand for more, and squawked in protest when he didn't find any. I took it from that that he was back to normal. It was a shame that the excursion scared him so much and yet he recovered very quickly, so that's good.
Poor lil' Trilby. At least he was quiet. Oreo yowls and yowls and YOWLS the entire time he's in his carrier. I just had the creeping horrors at the thought of taking him to the vet via public transportation.
posted by JanetLand 16 November | 06:42
Poor Trilby. I hope you find a solution for the teeth.

I always drive ours to the vet, even though it's plenty close enough to walk, as carrying him more than 100 yards in the carrier becomes very difficult - he wedges himself at one end of the carrier and it tilts. Not to mention the "I'm being ABUSED!!!1!" yowling.

Despite all the trauma, I find our cat recovers almost immediately from vet visits, though there is lingering fear of the carrier. Five minutes patrolling the house inspecting for changes (SOP for him after any journey), and he's eating his dinner and climbing on laps as though nothing happened.
posted by altolinguistic 16 November | 07:52
A woman on the subway was telling me that her cat yells his head off the entire time he's in his carrier. Thank goodness Trilby doesn't do that. He did let out one wail before we left the house, but not a peep after that until we got back home and he was free again.
posted by Orange Swan 16 November | 08:01
Yea, my cats yowl when they're in the carrier (when I can get them in there) and yell the whole trip. Fortunately, the Humane Society is only two blocks down the street.

Do the blood work before they put him under. I almost lost my last kitty when she had a re-action to the aneasthetic and when into arrest. They had to resuscitate her and she almost didn't come back (and they charged us an extra $500 for that).
posted by octothorpe 16 November | 09:29
Granted, cost of living in Tulsa is relatively cheap and different vets do things different ways, but $500+ for a routine dentistry seems excessive to me. At the clinic where I work, x-rays are only done if there's evidence of further problems, not as a matter of routine. You may ask your vet if that's really necessary in their opinion. Foregoing those could save you a fair bit of money. FWIW, the cost at our place for a routine dentistry is around $240, including bloodwork and the gas. We also offer month-long dental specials twice a year that knock the price back 15%, but I don't know how common that is.

Also, if it helps, keep in mind that oral health doesn't just affect the teeth/gums, but it also impacts the health of some internal organs, so there is some additional preventative benefit to the cost.
posted by ufez 16 November | 10:25
Poor Trilby! My cats were usually pretty stoic in the vets office, too, but yowly or catatonic (sorry!) on the way there.

I checked the TTC info, as I was never stopped when I took my cats on any streetcar during the day. There are some restrictions: "Leashed pets or pets secured in an enclosed container are welcome to travel on the TTC during weekday off-peak periods - that is before 6:30 am; 10:00 am to 3:30 pm; after 7:00 pm. A Service Animal may accompany a passenger at any time."

I can't remember taking them during rush hours, which wouldn't have been great for them or anyone else, I think. One thing I did after I moved to my new neighbourhood a few years ago was change to a vet just a single short surface ride away so we didn't have to deal with the subway or transfers. I really liked the old vet, but the new vet was great, too.

Sadly, that price for teeth cleaning sounds about right. I still remember the two year period where two of my cats needed to have radio-isotope therapy for their thyroids, at $1000 a pop. Eeep!
posted by maudlin 16 November | 10:25
My two girls have their checkup at the vet next week. I know for a fact that it'll be Giant Barking Dog Day in the waiting area.
posted by Senyar 16 November | 13:22
Great tale of the vet visit!

I just took my Aussie in for his annual appointment on Saturday. He was very good. I can't believe how far he's come in the two and a half years since we adopted him. He was quiet, but for some whining, and well behaved, despite seeing many strange dogs. I know he was feeling a bit wired, but he kept it together.

He also totally seduced the vet, who could not stop talking about his gorgeous eyes, his beautiful fur, his perfect teeth, and his general handsomeness. Since I'm besotted with him, I could hardly disagree.
posted by bearwife 16 November | 15:17
I thought from the headline that you had actually encountered dogs at the vet. I have our dogs' nails clipped when they have their annual checkup as this saves a lot of protest and injury (mostly mine). Last time, Loki was left in the back room with a crated cat up on a high table. In less than 2 minutes, he managed to work out that he could flip the cat's feeding bowl to shower him with food. Now, whenever he sees a cat carrier or crate, he heads for it with cupidity in his eyes ... If I head him off, he will wait until my attention is distracted and then make a lunge for the crate. He is definitely not after the cat -- he frequently walks by them in the street without paying them any attention at all. But life will never be the same again, now he has learned to associate a cat carrier with food ... :-)
posted by Susurration 16 November | 15:18
We didn't see any dogs, but there was one barking when we were in the examination room. The vet said, "Trilby's probably scared by the dog barking," and I said, "He's deaf, remember?" "Oh right!"

Trilby's so well adapted everyone forgets he can't hear.
posted by Orange Swan 16 November | 22:14
The first time, I believe, that Miss Piggy demonstrates her love for Kermit. || Mother, shall I put you to sleep?