Category Archives: surgery

It pays to invest in wellness

My husband will turn 65 the end of November, and thus I’ve been forced to look at Medicare in detail.  Let me tell you, it’s ugly!  The many myths I’ve believed have now been shattered.  Medicare is not a panacea.  MedicareAs a matter of fact, my husband’s Medicare will cost us more for basic annual services such as blood work and checkups than our existing ACA coverage does.  (Affordable Care Act)  AND he’ll pay $104 monthly which is higher than current premiums, with far, far higher potential financial exposure than the current coverage offers.

It’s discouraging to think that our government pushes those at age 65 into a program that really isn’t the best thing for anyone.  Luckily for us, we do everything in our power to stay away from the standard Western medical community by remaining well.  Unfortunately accidents do happen and my husband was hospitalized because of an accident in 2010.  He was also hospitalized because he ate some bad stuff in 2012.  In looking at our coverages, it appears that we would pay far, far more using Medicare than we’d have paid with our previous insurances.

So, it’s become increasingly clear that we MUST keep ourselves healthy.  This country is not like France nor is it like Canada, where quality health care is available for all at a minimal cost, if any cost at all.  In the US it’s every man for himself.   Thank goodness for the wellness-minded providers!  At least you are getting quality for what you pay where with the standard medical community, your results are always questionable and quality is long gone.

I invite you all to contribute to a list that we can all share, of health-minded providers, natural healers and alternative healers in the comment section below.  You can include health food stores, wellness providers, integrated medicine providers and any other alternative provider that you deem worthy.

I should also add that the same holds true for our beloved furry and feathered family members.  The same lack of respect towards wellness, the same cut ‘n’ drug thinking applies to veterinarians.

And if you have been reading this blog, you know that I am a strong believer that reading labels, organic eating, healthy choices and meditation will go a long way towards healing.

I’ll start the list here, but urge everyone to please, please add to the list!

Mitzi Schardt, MSN, NP – Fort Myers / Cape Coral, FL

Robert Murdock, NaturalFamilyPhysicians.com / Fort Myers and Cape Coral, FL

Whole Foods nationwide

Natural Pet Care LLC – Metarie, Louisiana  (They do phone consultations)

More Info: Ovarian Remnant Syndrome in Cats

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I have more information to share.  This issue is far more common than known, based on my experience.

BabyMhysaFor instance, in my last four kitty girls, two have suffered from these surgical ‘errors’ as vets prefer to call it.  I’m afraid I could come up with far stronger terminology.  When my babies are hurt, I become a very protective monster.

Thanks to being put off by vets who either did not know what they were doing, or who didn’t want to accept their own failures, my 20 year old Maggie who left us in May lived an entire life of anxiety and stress from the ovarian remnant(s) left behind in a sloppy surgery.  Even the vet who DID the surgery (and who charged me $1,500 in tests) claimed to be clueless as to why she had such problems.  The vets just tend to chalk it up to a ‘goofy’ cat or to some sort of feline anxiety disorder.   I’ve only come to the realization of what my sweet Maggie went through all those 20 years when I began to research the symptoms of my new kitten, Mhysa.  I suddenly realized that Maggie had struggled with this her entire life.  I’m not about to let Mhysa do the same.

Now, I have run into what appears to be more issues with vets, just trying to determine when to test Mhysa for estrogen levels.  I asked a local vet tech and she said she thought perhaps anytime would be fine and she said she’d have the vet call me.  I’ve not heard from him as of yet.  But since I am on natural bioidentical hormones myself, I know my high and low days in my cycle for estrogen.  We test once a year to be sure everything is in line on those days.  We don’t test on ‘baseline’ days.   So there is no reason to believe a cat would NOT have a similar cycle.

I found what appeared to be a very knowledgeable blog post by a veterinarian in Manhattan (NYC). He confirmed what my instincts told me were true – we would need to test when Mhysa was in the throes of estrus (a heat episode) to be sure of her estrogen levels.  After a few days of that, this vet states that the levels drop to baseline quickly, sometimes in as few as 48 hours.  http://catexpert.blogspot.com/2015/01/feline-ovarian-remnant-syndrome.html

SO, now the trick is getting the vet here for the blood draw on one of those few days, and then, another tech has told me that it is best to do the surgery when she’s in heat so they can more easily find the swollen ‘active’ ovarian tissue.   :::sigh:::  The vet we used for her spay, who said he’d ‘make it right’, is not in town so that means a hasty, long-distance trek and of course, the usual ‘fasting’ routine before the surgery.   Then, we can just hope this doesn’t happen on days when he is not there, since he only does surgery one or two days a week.

This is yet another reason it drives me crazy to live in a place where wellness services for humans and for pets are almost non-existent and where up-to-date health care is very rare. This is why we use a wellness, integrated health practitioner 6 hours away.  I’m more and more concerned about the wellness of my family when it relies on others.

Please, pet owners, be aware of this!  It appears these surgical errors are even more common in dogs.  Please, please, don’t let the veterinarian blow you off if your female pets are exhibiting symptoms of estrus when they’ve already been spayed.  This is really important to their lives, their overall wellness and their mental well-being.  AND it can be important for your HOME since often animals that are in heat mark their territories.  You can’t blame it on a ‘bad dog’ or ‘bad cat’ when it’s hormonal and they can’t help it.

 

Wellness for our pets: It’s a constant challenge

Wellness for our beloved furry and feathered family members is every bit as much a challenge as it is for us.  My particular frustration today is with the veterinary world.  I have known a lot of veterinarians over the years, and I continue to have problems with the care they offer our pets.

Our 6 month old kitten is struggling right now.  We had her spayed when she was BabyMhysa4 months old, and surprisingly, she was in heat when they spayed her.  However, we were told all was well.   A few days later, after she’d gotten over the worst of her surgery, she started to show minimal signs of actually being in heat.  I mentioned it and was told it was some sort of ‘dominance’ dance with the other cat.  Well, it’s gotten worse.  This past week, she has cried and shown every sign of being in heat.

I have researched on-line and this appears to be what is known as Ovarian Remnant Syndrome.   This occurs when during the surgery the vet fails to remove both ovaries and/or fails to remove ALL ovarian tissue. I was told by the vet who did the surgery that ovaries can pretty much ‘regrow’ if tissue is remaining.  It’s unusual but there have sometimes been additional ovaries other than what is expected.  And the problem with this is that she will remain in heat her entire life!  That is an awful prospect for our little girl.  So now, because of a mistake, which the vet swears has never happened to him before, there’s a good chance she will have to undergo another surgery.  This has me horribly upset and it breaks my heart to put her through this.

Mhysa SleepingNext, we will do blood testing to see what her estrogen level is.  If it’s 25 or over, then there is ovarian tissue still there and that means she has to go under the knife yet again.  I honestly can think of nothing else that would manifest these symptoms.

The vet indicates that this is extremely rare, but my research and personal experience proves otherwise.  My adored 20 year old girl who transitioned in May, had often displayed estrus symptoms and had an alarming full-blown episode when she was 16 years old.  She had been spayed by a local vet as a kitten when we adopted her from Friends of Animals.  Through her entire life, she had been a very anxious girl with a lot of odd symptoms and now, I know what it was.  Sloppy veterinary surgery.

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of disturbing behavior and heard a lot of disturbing comments from vets.  I’ve had one vet tell me that our pets don’t feel pain, when of course, they do.  I’ve had vets try to induce me to euthanize when it wasn’t necessary.  (I will go into that another time.)  When attempting to diagnose my older girl’s issues, the ‘second opinion’ vet didn’t accept the tests from the first vet, and insisted on doing tests again.  Not surprisingly, the test results were identical, and by then, I had a $3,000 total vet bill between the two of them.   They claimed they could find nothing wrong, declared it psychosomatic and then, with her x-ray on the light box, I could see she had spondylosis.  I knew because I had something similar, which is a degenerative condition of the spine from injury or from spinal arthritis.  I asked about that and they blew me off.  YET I know exactly how painful that is!

These are only a few instances.  I’d hoped we were finished with all of this, until recently when our baby began to suffer from estrus symptoms.

My husband put it very succinctly:  Vets consider our pets to be patients that won’t tell on them.   Vets are not counting on pet owners like us, who are very intuitive and who educate themselves.   Our pets are the center of our family and nothing is too good for them!

This, however, is reminding me of the surgery my husband underwent in 2012 where the local surgeon made some serious mistakes and to correct them, it would take more surgery.  It seems to me that doctors AND vets make an inordinate number of life threatening mistakes every single day.  To put your life in the hands of a surgeon (or in the case of today’s post, the life of my adored kitten in the hands of a vet yet again) is a a risky proposition no matter how you look at it.