Another day, another diagnosis for Coolidge. . .and an example of when to change vets

I was prepared for it; I have long suspected it. Getting it confirmed required a change in veterinarians—not an easy decision in the late stage of the life of my companion cat of 17 years. Nine years of diabetes, two of hyperthyroid—a destructive enough alliance; confound these further with a UTI and antibiotics—we’re talking systemic overload. Coolidge had no appetite, and his potassium levels were cosmic.

I knew we needed a vet who thought more comprehensively and was more motivated by compound challenges than our vet of five years, which is the time we’ve lived here. The decision to change was hard. (What would the new vet think of our leaving our former vet at a critical time?)

But I already knew where we’d go. We met him three years ago. Providentially, he was the on-call emergency vet the day Coolidge had a clearly painful limp in the foot he had broken years earlier. My husband and I were impressed with the real interest this vet took in Coolidge, the extent of his knowledge, his investigation of the problem at hand, and his clear and affable communication with us.

I called yesterday morning and secured an appointment an hour out. The staff was cheerful and accommodating. I was permitted to remain in the exam room even while the doctor (not a technician!) drew blood—never a simple matter with Coolidge—and for everything else.

The doctor ran the blood sample and obtained the results then and there. I called my husband and asked if he could meet me at the clinic. He rescheduled a client and came over.

The crushing news of advanced kidney failure was mitigated by the doctor’s presentation of strategies for home care. Were we willing to give Coolidge subcutaneous hydration? Yes! The doctor showed us how. My genius husband can do this; it’s in his rancher DNA, even if he is a lawyer now.

Chronic renal failure (CRF) is the worst nightmare a diabetic cat’s person can confront. But we have been given a capable and caring new ally, motivation to meet the challenges before us, and the blessed prospect of a longer and higher-quality life for Coolidge.


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