I blame myself for what happened to my beautiful, female tabby, ChiChi. What could have been her last few, precious moments dying in my arms translated into more than 12 hours or tortorous hell for her - then to die among strangers in a strange place instead of with her loved ones.
I found ChiChi laying behind a closed gate which is more than 100 feet away from the street around 8am, 5/2/04, sunday morning. I arrived with her at this emergency clinic between 8:30 - 9am. The vet in charge, Dr. Haine, took x-rays and found massive internal damage. She also found different cuts and contusions around her lower extremities. The vet could find no broken bones and was unable to determine what could do this sort of damage. The vet did not mention that they may not be able to save her.
I called this emergency clinic every few hours to find out ChiChi's status. The vet said that she was a very sick kitty; that she had blood in her lungs that ChiChi had to resolve on her own. The vet had yet to say that there was a chance they could not save her.
I decided that I had to visit ChiChi; it was around 9pm. I couldn't let her think that I abandoned her. They had her in a hyperbaric chamber. She was laying down and could hardly breathe. She could barely pick up her head to look at me. Her eyes dialated and hemorraged, she had the look of death in her eyes as she reached for me, trapped behind this glass cage, then she fell back down. She was too weak. She could hardly move. They had this tube stuck in her. I remember that the vet said said they were loading her up with fluids to see if her bladder was still working. I remember Dr. Haine say that her bladder was probably torn, yet she never said once that there was slim chance of saving her.
As I waited in the lobby I listened to other people showing up with their pets. They were coming in for piddly little things like diarrhea, constipation, a bruised elbow; things that wouldn't even be considered emergencies in the human world.
The final time I spoke with the vet she explained that ChiChi may be able to make it because she was so young and strong. She mentioned a chance of cardiac arrest, but then we went on to talk about how I would transfer ChiChi to another facility in the morning where she would get an operation. Not once did the vet say that they probably couldn't save her and that I should take her home.
Unfortunately, my eyes did not open until around 10:30pm that night from the vet that ChiChi died during cardiac arrest. I realized that this clinic and others just like this may be able to handle a spot of diarrhea here and a bruised elbow there, but they are ill equipped to handle a living creature in dire straights. I realized that their medical technology is at least fifty years old: The idea of loading a body with noxious fluids to see if an organ still works, the nebulizer, the hyperbaric chamber. The idea of forcing a living creature in dire straights to have to resolve blood in the lungs on her own is medical cretinism; it belongs in the dark ages.
I realized that their technology for billing was far more advanced than their technology for saving lives when I was charged a final $600 and given a solemn "thank you" from the vet assistant as she handed me my dead cat.
My advice to the consumer:
1-Even if you think your pet is super intelligent, like ChiChi, please train her/him away from every danger zone possible.
2-Consider the worse case scenario. Visit your local veterinary emergency clinic on a Sunday night before anything happens (God forbid) and listen to the kind of problems that this clinic is used to. If their regular fare is something between diarrhea and bruised elbows, then you know that clinic is not used to handling living creatures in real trouble.
3-If you do ever find your beloved pet in dire straights and decide to go to that emergency clinic, then ask that point blank question straight to the vet's face, "Is there a chance my pet will die?" If yes, then take your pet home; it is better that your pet spend her last few precious moments in a familiar place with her loved ones than torturous hour after hour with strangers in a strange place.
Pets are spiritual creatures. They also live on love. Love your pet enough to let him or her die in your arms. If you love that pet enough, God willing, it may even decide to live.
Unfortunately, the veterinary practices are more interested in money, so there is nothing spiritual about them. Read "Is Your Pet Dying From Over-Vaccination Due to Vet Economics?" http://www.vaccinationnews.com/DailyNews/2003/May/09/IsYourPet9.htm
I believed that I could not save my pet because I could not protect her. That will never happen again.
Mountain View, California
United States Minor Outlying Islands