We lost our best kitty friend in the world last night, Pumpkin, who woke up happy and purring and was gone before midnight.
Around the middle of the day I noticed something was suddenly off on her, and she exhibited what I now know as some of the symptoms a cat has when they have a stroke: weakness, dazed and odd walking in slow circles and occasional tilt of the head.
A few hours later we decided to take her to the vet, but her regular vet was not answering calls because they closed in 15 minutes, and after 10 call attempts we took her to the vet that our vet's voicemail suggested as an emergency vet.
I asked them if they thought it might be a stroke or heart attack.
The vet did not think so at all. She did mention she heard a heart murmur(another warning sign--one of possible endocarditis or vegetation on a valve), but was not concerned.
Instead they quoted us a battery of tests to run that weren't stroke specific, and after trying to draw blood(which was very hard to do, and they were not having much success getting blood out of her), they suggested they give her some medication to calm her down:
"Butorphanol is to 3 times more potent than morphine and has a shorter duration of action (0.5 to 3 hours), with minimal sedation (see Table 26-1). Cardiovascular and respiratory side effects are minimal compared with mu receptor agonists, and butorphanol produces antitussive and antiemetic effects."
The vet lady said that this is given to cats in heart failure, and is very low risk.
Doing this delayed treatment by two hours.
After she was given the drug, she continued to run tests, and Pumpkin declined in condition as these tests went on, often involving long wait times of 30 - 45 minutes between nurse visits, or more.
At some point towards the end, her breathing became dazed, her mouth was agape, and she was in a trance.
They struggled to get a blood pressure reading and continued to fumble with the device, when the vet(or a nurse) suggested they reverse the drug.
Shortly after that suggestion, and a delay of administering the reverse, her little heart stopped beating.
They rushed to resuccitate her, but by the time they got her heart started again, the damage to her mind had been done.
My brother and I dug a hole in my back yard today and buried her.
Based on everything I have read, cats survive strokes, often, and live to recover, especially if promptly diagnosed and treated.
I told them all her symptoms upon arrival, and even told the vet a previous vet that had treated her for a respiratory infection a few weeks ago had noticed a murmur as well. But she was given antibiotics, and recovered quickly thereafter. Pumpkin was happy, alert, and her playful, snuggly self.
But the ER vet did not try and treat stroke, and instead drugged her with something that can slow heartbeats, which could lead to breathing complications. Slowing of a heart, or weakening of the pumping action can lead to fluid buildup in the lungs, and quickly, which could hamper breathing. She did not have symptoms of pleural effusion, so this may not have happened, but her mouth agape is what cats do when they are having difficulty breathing--something the nurses overlooked.
We don't know what to do.
Our Pumpkin is with the Lord now, we know this, and for that we are grateful. But she is gone, and was in perfect health, happy and playful, and is hard to accept she is gone, suddenly, when this may not have had to happen. Ideally we want to prevent this from happening to another family and their beloved pet. We are not seeking financial payout for our own sake. I have always been against gigantic rewards, etc., as I feel Tort reform is necessary in America, but that belongs in PWEC, not here.
We need to review this with another vet, but obviously there are legal ramifications now, considering what happened, and this state has terrible laws which the Vet far more than the consumer when a Vet harms their pet.
We are so sad and hurt.