This little guy is Oreo. He’s my friend Shayla’s cat and I’ve known him since he was a wee little kitten.
Last month when I was out visiting, Oreo started to have some sudden health problems. He’s already diabetic and gets daily insulin shots so the obvious guess was that his problems were related to his diabetes.
He was lethargic, hanging out under a piece of furniture for two days straight, he wasn’t eating or drinking (and subsequently not going to the bathroom), he looked thin, his tongue was sitting outside of his mouth in a weird way and he had a constant string of drool from his mouth to his chest.
So what do you do when your pet is obviously having strange symptoms and you want to take him to the vet but you have to seriously consider all the available options because money is, um, tight?
You go straight to the computer and start up Google because the internet knows like, everything.
We were doin’ us some research and soon found out that what was happening with Oreo was not a “kind of” bad situation it was a “super bad” one. As in, get him to the emergency vet ASAP!
Have you ever heard of that Ask-A-Nurse line? It used to be HUGE when I was a kid (pre-internet days) and I was a big fan up calling up and telling the nurse my symptoms to find out what I had. The nurses would always, I mean always, tell me that I should go to see a doctor. I started thinking it was a racket, you know, just a promotional tool for the doctors. You call a nurse and they tell you to go see one of their doctors, ones that paid to be on a recommended list. It’s possible. I sound like such a cynic. “They just want our money!” Maybe they were legit? Do you know if they were?
Shayla ended up calling the emergency room vet after the bleak diagnosis that the internet provided and we were fully expecting them to say, “Yes, you absolutely must bring Oreo in ASAP or he will probably die tonight. Totally up to you though!”
She relayed the symptoms to the nurse and told him that she didn’t want to come in unless absolutely necessary. Then the nurse (are they nurses at the vet? or vet techs?) asked quite a few questions.
The conversation lasted about 20 minutes and he asked if Oreo had gotten into any chemicals, or if he had eaten anything he shouldn’t have. The answer was “no” to both so it was determined that the problem was almost definitely related to his diabetes. We were instructed to give Oreo a little spoonful of honey and that the sweetness would help him if his problem was indeed related to the diabetes. The nurse/vet tech then said that if the problem was diabetes related that Oreo would be acting more normal in about half and hour.
Turns out, getting a cat to eat a spoon of honey (I so want to say: a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down… I know you know what I’m talking about) is not as easy as it sounds. Even though he was lethargic he was still squirmy and that honey was not going to get into his mouth.
The next day Oreo got taken to the regular (non-emergency read: cheaper) vet and got checked out and sorted out and he’s all good today. Go Oreo!
The point of the whole story is that super helpful nurse/vet tech on the phone. Maybe it was his first day out of college and he was super eager to help and all about the enthusiasm. It’s totally possible that she lucked out with that, or maybe he just completely loves animals and didn’t want one to suffer any more than it had to, or maybe he was just totally awesome naturally.
I must say that I’m not an expert in animal care and have not ever attended even one day of veterinary school (so take this advice at your own risk) but, if you have a pet who is in need of a vet visit and you’re low on funds it’s worth a shot to call the vet, tell them you’d like to avoid the office visit if at all possible (I’ve done this with people doctors too when I’ve needed a prescription re-filled but didn’t want to spend the time or money to go in, and they will – sometimes- honor the request. I have 1st hand knowledge that it works).
You just might luck out and get a super helpful person on the line who can save you some money.
It’s definitely worth a shot to try.
How do you deal with the high-cost of pet bills? Have you ever used pet insurance? Is it worth it? Do you have a limit on how much you would spend on your pet’s healthcare?