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Catherine Fischer

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The things they don't tell you in vet school [Jun. 14th, 2008|10:07 pm]
Catherine Fischer
[Current Location |Arcadia]
[music |Eleanor Rigby]


Today a woman arrives with a cat that "hasn't been breathing in a while". She arrives late -- 45 minutes late, after the phone call telling our receptionist that the cat isn't breathing -- and it comes out that she has been in an auto accident on the way to our clinic (in a car borrowed from a friend). The technician who goes to assess the case/bring the patient back to the treatment area comes out of the room white and incoherent with horror. I go in to talk to the owner...

Who has her mouth around the cat's face. The cat is dead. Deaddeaddead. Deadsky. Eyes are sunken and dessicated. Abdomen is distended and liquefying. Rigor mortis has come and gone. The cat is putrefying -- actively decomposing.

I gently tell the woman that nothing I can do -- nothing -- will bring her cat back to life. I tell her that her cat has been dead for too long; she tells me that it died last Thursday (today is Saturday). She asks me if I will try to resuscitate it, and that she is "praying for a miracle". She has that unfocused, dissociated look of someone undergoing a schizophrenic episode.

I tell her that, since nothing I can do will help the cat in any way, it would be unethical to take her money. Then I ask her if there is anyone I can call, or if I can help her understand what has happened to her cat. She looks at me sideways, and asks if I can direct her to Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital (I tell her that they will say the same thing that I just told her; she tells me that several vets before me have told her the same thing). Then she sidles out the door. Nitwit me -- didn't get the license plate. Did file a police report, and called Dove Lewis and all of the other emergency clinics in the area. My friend Rob wanders in (his fiancee is my friend and colleague, Marsha) and tells me that she visited his clinic 2 hours ago.

I come home and tell Brent about the episode, and get the only gross-out I've ever managed to extract from the man. Totally heebie-jeebies. It was excellent.

Welcome to my world.

From: jackdarkhand
2008-06-15 07:31 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: copper9lives
2008-06-16 04:17 am (UTC)

Eeeeew, indeed

So very, very true. Eeeeew, indeed.

Talked to my colleague today, who said that the cat was rescued from drowning in a bucket as a kitten and was never healthy -- had a rectovaginal fistula leading to problems defecating and recurrent urinary tract infections, incontinence. We speculated that the cat might have either gone septic after not being able to defecate, or had its kidneys shut down after an ascending urinary tract infection, or even maybe died of pyometra (infected uterus), since the owner -- who was always crazy -- refused to spay the cat.

She had to have been crazy to have lived with an unspayed cat. They cycle every 21 days.

Apparently the owner used to trace around the cat's feces and fax the resulting outline to my colleague every day, for years.

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[User Picture]From: renae127
2008-06-22 04:43 pm (UTC)


That beats my dead doxy in a box and human fecal sample (presented as an animal's to save money) any day of the week. GROSSSSSS!!
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[User Picture]From: naturegeek
2008-06-29 06:11 pm (UTC)



You know, there should really be a TV show for vets, like there are for doctors - like House, but with cats and dogs (and pocket pets, and rescues, and the occasional large animal just for variety). This would definitely be part of an episode. You couldn't make this shit up!

Hey, I know, maybe you should write a book?!
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[User Picture]From: copper9lives
2008-06-29 09:31 pm (UTC)

Truth is stranger than fiction!

Yeah... and I would worry about anyone who could make stuff like this up!

As it turned out, the woman was in a hit-and-run on the way (with her dead cat) to Dove Lewis, and arrived simultaneously with the police. Brent was working at the other branch that day, so he didn't witness the hoopla, but he dutifully reported it after the fact (and I passed it on to the staff, who ate it up and gleefully repeated it to as many people they could).

Here's a question: who the hell loaned her a car?

Apparently, the woman used to be one of my colleague's "crazies", and would fax her an outline of her cat's poop daily. She told me that the woman's mother wasn't sane either (REALLY makes me suspect schizophrenia). And then she wondered, out loud, whether the woman's mother might be dead in the house...? And hoped that she wasn't giving HER mouth-to-mouth... the mental picture was gruesome, and appalling, and I haven't quite been able to wash it out of my mind.

Thanks, Hil.
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[User Picture]From: naturegeek
2008-06-29 11:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Truth is stranger than fiction!

oh god - can you say, "Norman Bates"?

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