My cat is very sick. We went to the vet and were incredibly unsatisfied. Please recommend an awesome vet in the South Hampton Roads (preferably Norfolk or Virginia Beach) area. (Also, if you have ANY idea what's wrong with my cat, please give me an idea, because I'm sick to my stomach with worry.)
This is a long story, but if you're a cat lover, please bear with me because I desperately need help.
At the end of March, my fiance and I adopted a cat from the Virginia Beach SPCA. Her name is Fiona. She is 4 years old, spayed, up to dates on shots/wormers/flea treatments, and in good health. Well, she was at the time of adoption, anyway.
About three weeks after we got her, we noticed her getting symmetrical bald patches on her shoulders. We weren't too concerned, because she wasn't showing any other symptoms, and we got her an appointment at Pet Care Veterinary Hospital
for May 1st. Between the time we made the appointment and May 1st (about 1 week), the bald patches on her shoulders started to bleed and crack. I was putting antibiotic ointment on the open wounds every day, but she did not seem to be in any pain, and we never saw her licking or scratching at them.
Finally, May 1st rolls around, and with it, the most upsetting, disappointing vet visit of my life. The vet I saw was Dr. Partlow, and I believe the vet assistant was named Nicole (I'm not positive about that part). When we got into the examination room, we let Fiona out of her carrier, and she walked around, acting totally normal. At this point her only symptom was the wounds on her shoulders. The vet assistant picked her up, put her on the exam table, took her rectal temperature, all that stuff. When she was done, Fiona jumped back on the floor, and at this point, had a very pronounced limp on one of her rear legs. She did not have the limp when we got to the vet's office.
Dr. Partlow came in and immediately noticed Fiona's limp. We told her she had not had the limp before we got there, and the vet assistant confirmed that when she first got out of her carrier, she was walking around like normal. Dr. Partlow palpated her limb and said she didn't feel anything wrong, but we could "pay for x-rays" if we felt like it. We deferred to her expertise and said no, it was probably nothing. She kept assuring us Fiona had probably just landed wrong when she jumped off the table and it was no big deal. She then examined Fiona's wounds. She shaved the hair around them, so she could look at them better, and she remarked that they looked like burns. They really do look as if she got burned, but we have no idea how she COULD have been burned, and symmetrically on both shoulders? Plus the fact that we saw the hair fall out and normal bald spots first, and then the open wounds formed later. The doctor then told us that maybe it was allergies to food, or perhaps to pollen, or maybe she was licking herself due to stress. She tested Fiona for mites and yeast and both tests came back negative.
Dr. Partlow then left the room, and the vet assistant kept pressuring us to buy a product called Aler-G 3, without actually answering any of our questions about what it does. (I researched when I got home, and it turns out it is basically just fish oil...) It was a very high pressure sales environment and left both my fiance and me very uncomfortable. When Dr. Partlow returned, she prescribed metacam (to ease the pain she surmised Fiona was feeling due to her limp), silver sulfadiazene cream (an antibiotic cream specifically used to treat burns), and an oral antibiotic (I no longer have the name of, unfortunately). She asked that we return in a week.
We got home, and Fiona's limp was worse than ever. I felt her foot myself, and could clearly feel a bone chip or something grinding. My fiance and I were both incredibly angry that the vet could have dismissed this without a second thought. All in all, the trip was very frustrating. None of our questions were answered and we were just given medications to treat the symptoms instead of whatever the underlying problems were. We did change her food (the vet recommended Purina One, so that's what we have changed it to), and for what it's worth, she has not developed any more bald patches or wounds.
As the days creeped towards her next appointment the following week, Fiona's limp got better and better, and my fiance and I decided we did not want to give any more of our money to the clinic we were so dissatisfied with before, so we cancelled the appointment the day beforehand. She seemed to be improving day by day.
At this point, her limp is totally gone (although that leg seems to have a permanent knot in it now), and the wounds on her shoulders have almost fully healed. However, over the past week or so, she has become more and more lethargic. She just lays in the kitchen all of the time, unless she's eating, drinking, or using the litterbox. We can't get her to play or even acknowledge us when we pet her. She is still eating and drinking like normal. I started to get very nervous at her extreme lethargy. My fiance told me she drooled for a short time about three nights ago (less than a minute). Today, one of her eyes is swollen almost totally shut.
I don't understand what could be going on. I want to take her to the absolute best vet in the area, who will work hard to find out what is causing her problems, not just throw medication at the symptoms and let new problems crop up. We have been very very wary to take her to another vet after the poor experience we had last time, but now that I see her swollen eye, I won't wait another day. Today is Sunday and she needs to see somebody tomorrow
, Tuesday at the latest. Please, mefi, please tell me who the best vet I can take her to is, and if you have any idea what is wrong, please let me know. I know this post was really long, so I will summarize the symptoms and timeline again:
- 5 weeks ago, bald patches appear on shoulders
- 4 weeks ago, patches start bleeding, breaks toe(?) at vet
- 3 weeks ago, limp heals but leg has a knot
- 1 week ago, scabs fall off shoulders, she starts acting extremely lethargic
- 3 days ago, drools briefly (maybe unrelated to anything else?) after waking up from a nap
- today, still extremely lethargic, one eye swollen
Thank you so much in advance for any help you can offer. Fiona thanks you too.