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There is always something going on in a multi-cat household. Erm 9... cats and counting...... Plus stories from the Sheffield Cats Shelter

Saturday, 27 July 2013

A second opinion

The more I thought about it the more I wasn't happy. If there was a chance the diagnosis was wrong, that could mean Millie's eye might be saved, but not if no one paid attention and gave her a chance.

The next check up was a week later and it was to be with one of the practice partners. This would be make or break for the surgery as far as I'm concerned. But then I started to mull it over, what if waiting a week meant she could no longer be helped?

2 tortie kittens
Willow and Millie on my knee
Another vet at another practice was recommended to me. So on Friday 19th July, we went for a second opinion. The vet had done his homework. He'd had all the test results faxed over and had read the diagnosis.
He checked Millie's eye with dye and had a good look inside. He explained he was checking for any ulceration as the steroid drops we were using are good for swelling but can make an ulcer worse. He saw no ulcer, but did say there was starting to be a build up in her eye.

After further examination he concluded that, based on the evidence, he would come to the same diagnosis. Most likely FIP, but like the other vet, he could not say for absolutely certain.

I talked to him about the contradictory 'plague scenario'. He was cautious, but agreed that the information and advice I'd been given was a little extreme.  He went on to say that he would not consider euthanasia necessary as she was so well in all other respects, but there might be a point when  her eye needed removing.

The way he said it made me think euthanasia had been indicated in her records and he disagreed. Well I also disagreed in the strongest terms. If I had taken their information and accepted it, they would have advised me to put her to sleep and maybe even her sister too.
Everything we'd read was supported, if not a little cautiously, by the new vet who, unlike mine, had done some research or had existing knowledge. He mentioned the name Dr Diane Addie from Glasgow University and told me to look up her findings if I wanted to know the real deal with FIP.  It just so happened this was one of the sites of information we'd come across already.

For the first time I felt a little better. I accepted that Millie could have a killer disease, but there was a slim chance that she might not. That way there was still hope. In addition all the information we'd read about not needing to isolate meant we didn't have to keep the kittens locked away. We just needed to manage ways to reduce the risk of cross infection.  It meant that whatever time she had could be spent with us and that was a big deal.

We carried on with Millie's medication for the next few days. There used to be a hint of a pupil showing, but this was slowly starting to be obscured by the white substance creeping higher everyday like silt.

tortie kitten

By the time of our next appointment on Thursday 25th the eye was full. The senior vet told us it was puss. I discussed the incorrect information given out and he suggested this was down to the previous vet being 'over cautious'. I'm still not sure how I feel about this as being 'over cautious' could have lead to euthanasia. I set this to one side for the moment as my priority is Millie.

Through talking to him it became clear he was willing to consider other treatment. The eye, he said, was redundant and posed a risk that infection could travel down the optic nerve to her brain. 

In his words we had 'a window of opportunity' and I should think about having her eye removed. There was no need to think, I agreed. Looking at her eye I wanted it gone. It was her best chance.

tortie kitten with sore eye
Eye is full of puss
We starved her overnight and I dropped her into the surgery at 8.30am. The senior vet was performing the surgery himself and he had given me confidence in his ability.

When I collected her later that day the sight of her was a bit of a shock. She had to wear a lampshade to make sure she couldn't scratch her stitches. 

tortie kitten with eye stitched up
Millie with her stitches and 'lampshade'
I was told it was normal if blood came out of her nose and to only feed her plain food to begin with.

Today she's eaten well but other than that she's very dozy and is sleeping or snoozing a lot. 
I suppose it will give her time to heal and maybe the meds have induced it, but I always worry when they are quiet.
tortie with lampshade collar
Millie the day after her operation

There is no way of knowing if I've bought her any extra time, but I know I've done my best for her.

Pop over to the Corona Virus and FIP page if you want to know more.


  1. good for you....and I am glad this partner seems to be "less" cautious. I will never understand how overly cautious when it can lead to an animal being euthanized is ok. I agree - it sounds like surgery was the right solution. purrs to all of you

    1. thanks, no way could I consider any other option. It may not save her, but I can hope :)

  2. I have just caught up on the Millie story. You have really been put through the wringer on this by a seemingly uncaring, scaremongering vet who to my mind sounds rather sadistic and without care for the animal or the people caring for the animal.

    I am really glad you got a second opinion from an educated vet. Diane Addie is marvellous for the work she has done on FIP. I am shocked a vet would report that she tested positive for FIP, I thought it was common knowledge that there is no definitive test.

    Diane Addie has also done a lot to research into and educate about the much misunderstood FIV too. So many perfectly healthy cats are needlessly killed due to ignorance about FIV, mainly due to the ignorance of vets and veterinary nurses/assistants, on the subject. The information is out there, it doesn't take much for a vet to find Glasgow Uni Vet School's excellent research either. As an aside, the in house ELISA test that vets run for both FIV and FeLV is not truly definitive for FIV, false positives are very common. It needs a follow up lab PCR test for a true diagnosis.

    Millie will feel so much better without that troublesome eye. Well done for going with your instincts and challenging an hysterical, unfounded veterinary opinion.

    Millie is gorgeous. Long may she, Willow and all the others thrive!

    1. Thank you :) I'm so disappointed that they didn't do some research, the lady vet had four days to do it, and obviously didn't. I can't understand why you would suggest putting any animal to sleep without being sure you are in possession of the facts. The thing that scares me most is that many people (understandably) would trust the advice from the vet :( I'm keeping everything crossed for Millie, she's overcome a lot of set backs, even during the time I fostered her. Such special little girls :)

  3. I just found you via the blogpaws facebook swap *waves hi*

    I too am THRILLED you got a second opinion. I had what I believe to be a case of FIP 11 years ago (we didn't do the necropsy to confirm) and I try to read up as much as I can on it. I can not wait to read the rest of the story on this..

    Btw, do you realize you have word verification on your comments? A lot of people have a hard time with them and will not leave comments when they see it.

  4. Thank you for the verification feedback, I'll have a look at that. I need to check back into Blogpaws and start following lots of people!
    FIP was something I knew nothing about. I'm so sorry to hear you possibly lost a cat to this :(
    I will keep updating and I hope it will be a very long story....