Tag Archives: expensive

Chris's Unresolved Medical Problems


Chris has always been our healthiest cat. Sure, he did have minor issues, but we never had to bring him to the vet for an illness until he was about seven and a half years old and he got an eye infection that really wasn’t his fault. Both he and Frankie caught it from Floki when we adopted Floki. Then, a couple of years later, the flood gates opened.

First it was an infection in his mouth about a year ago that resulted in the loss of eight teeth. Then in June his ear polyps, which he had since he was a kitten, worsened and became infected. You can read that story here. The vet gave us a price of almost $600 to remove the polyps but when we were ready to proceed he changed his mind and said it was too complicated to do in their office and recommeded a specialist.

We went to the specialist twice (here and here). The first visit I talked to a surgeon who wanted to remove his ear canals and make him deaf. I didn’t want to do that and asked for other options. She consulted the dermatologist who had them test the infection and then they compounded a medication for it with instructions to see the dermatologist when the medicine was gone.

A few weeks later we saw the dermatologist who said they needed to take a biopsy to make sure it wasn’t cancer. He said it would be about two weeks to get the results. They also gave me more medicine. That visit cost me $701. The first visit was about $250. This is all before a treatment plan.

While I was waiting for the results, Chris started puking so I had to bring him back to his regular vet (read about it here). By now he is very weary and does not want to cooperate. The vet gave him a shot for nausea but Chris struggled too much and they were not able to get a blood test to determine what was wrong.

He seemed to get better and we went to St. Augustine for a few days for my wife’s birthday at the end of December. When we returned he still seemed okay so I assumed he was better.

Last week the dermatologist called and said Chris’s results came back, finally, but they were inconclusive. He wanted to do the test again, at no charge, and try to dig out a deeper sample but I did not want to put Chris through any more trauma. I tried to talk to him about it but the connection was very bad and lost him. He didn’t call back so I called the office and was diverted to an answering machine. I left a message saying I was cut off but never got a return call. I put it out of my mind but then called them back last week and talked to someone in the office.

I asked the person on the phone, “What’s the worst that could happen if we assume it is not cancer?” I told her he had polyps his whole life and if they were cancerous we would have known by now.

She agreed that it was unlikely but possible so I asked what would happen if it was cancer? “They would probably remove his ear canals but that would not guarantee that it would not spread,” she said.

I said, “If we assume that it is not cancer what would you do?”

“Well, with the polyps as extensive as they are in Chris’s ears, they would need to be cut out with a laser,” she said, “and that is an expensive procedure and only a few places around here, like universities, have lasers.

“So why am I wasting my time and money with you if you can’t do anything?” I didn’t say that but I thought it.

At about the same time I talked to that vet, Chris started puking again. It also became very obvious that he has diarrhea too. I called his regular vet on Friday and asked if I could bring him in for the blood test that they couldn’t take last time but they couldn’t get me in until late this coming Monday.

In the meantime, I am watching him closely. He is puking two to three times a day and as I was writing about his diarrhea, I was also witnessing it first hand.

Frankie pukes almost every day but I don’t worry too much about him because that is what he does. Chris, on the other hand, is not a puker so I do worry about him.

I have noticed some interesting differences between Chris and Frankie. Frankie seems to seek out carpets or other hard to clean places before he pukes but Chris tries to puke in the litter box. I would say at least half of all his pukes are contained in the litter box. This morning he missed the boxed but puked just outside of it. He then reached in the box and pulled out enough litter to bury it.

Another thing Chris does lately is lie in the litter box. I don’t know if he feels like he has to puke and wants to be ready, or if he is just getting weird in his old age.

I let Chris out on Friday to eat some grass. Cats eat grass when they are sick so we thought that might help him.

Normally, Frankie goes out on a leash first and then Chris goes out, but this time Chris went out first and Frankie was not happy about it.

When I brought Chris inside, I planned on getting Frankie’s harness but Frankie had other ideas and bolted out the door. He then hid under a car where I couldn’t catch him.

So now all we can do is wait for Monday and hope the blood test is okay. As far as his ears go, I think we will just try to keep the infection under control for now and we will see what happens.

Another Vet Visit for Chris


Tuesday was not a great day for medical visits. I went to the dentist that morning and found out I need a root canal. I then found out my crappy dental insurance does not cover specialists.

Later I brought Chris to the vet to have his ears reexamined. You may recall his regular vet recommended surgery for his ear polyps but when we tried to make an appointment for the procedure we were told the surgery was too complex for that office and were referred to another vet. That vet wanted to remove Chris’s ear canals and make him deaf but after I resisted they gave him medication and an appointment to their dermatologist, who we saw Tuesday.

Chris was fascinated by the cat carrier his first nine years with us but now he sees it and runs the other way. When I do get him inside he doesn’t want to get out when we get to the vet. That is also something new because he used to love to explore the vet’s office.

The vet seemed very nice. He took ear swabs and then talked to me about ear polyps. He said there are two types, cancerous and benign. He said he needed to take a biopsy to find out which type Chris has. He said if they are cancerous then he would have to refer me back to the surgeons but if they are benign then there are treatment option. One he mentioned, if my memory is correct, involved freezing them off. He said they show up all the way through the ear canal so he couldn’t get them all but he could get most and then treat with antibiotics when needed.

They took Chris in the back room for the biopsy and returned him 12 days later. Well, maybe not that long but that’s what it seemed like. We then went back to the waiting room to wait for more of the same medication that we got for him last time. A medication that actually seemed to do some good for Chris.

When they called me up to check out I was expecting it to be fairly expensive. My wife was originally going to go with me but backed out so I knew if it was expensive she would blame me. As I waited for the bill I kept thinking “Please be less than $300. Please be less that $300 . . .”

“Your total today is seven hundred and one dollars and ninety cents.”

“What!? Holy crap! Is this a joke?”

It wasn’t a joke and I had to call my wife so she could transfer money to our checking account. I wasn’t looking forward to that call.

She took the news about the same as I did except louder. She also had the luxury of someone to blame. I didn’t have that privledge.

So now I have to wait two weeks for the test result but it seems now that they bled us dry there will be nothing left for Chris’s ears. The frustrating thing is, the original surgery estimate was around $500. Now we have spent almost $1000 and nothing has been done yet.