OPINION by CARA LANGTON-LEANDRO
On Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 20, my daughter and son-in-law took their 4-year-old male cat to a local San Luis Obispo County veterinarian for medical treatment as the cat had twice lost control of his bladder and was behaving in an agitated manner (biting, as cats do sometimes). He was drooling a bit the morning he was taken to the veterinarian.
This doctor advised my daughter and son-in-law that this 4-year-old cat should be euthanized because he may have rabies. The option of a 10-day quarantine was not explained.
This veterinarian pressured my daughter and son-in-law into making an immediate decision. She told them that Animal Services had been notified. They were confused and scared and were pressured into giving their consent without being told of their options.
The only sign of agitation in the vets office was this cat jumping on the veterinarian’s shoe after being allowed to walk around the examination room. The family did tell the vet of the symptoms that the cat was displaying at home. During the examination, the cat had some tenderness around his lower back and bladder. He was tested for a urinary tract infection and did not have one.
This family called Animal Services the next morning to have any available options explained, but it was too late, the veterinarian had already euthanized the cat.
Two days later, the family was informed that he did not have rabies. There is no test to determine if an animal has rabies while the animal is alive. The option to euthanasia is a 10-day quarantine either at the veterinary office or in a home.
This was a tragic incident and the reason I am writing this letter is to bring to any reader’s attention, the fact that you do have options. Do not be intimidated into making a rash decision. Ask the vet to provide your options in writing, go home, and consider getting a second opinion.
This beautiful, vibrant, 4-year-old kitty should not have been euthanized. This vet was not helpful in explaining the options. Now the entire family is grieving for this beautiful animal that was euthanized, and who needed medical attention, not euthanasia.
Cara Langton-Leandro has been a resident of San Luis Obispo County since 1984. She is a retired county employee who is currently self-employed.