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cindys
April 22nd 07, 07:29 PM
As I posted in another thread, I will be starting Alex on subcu fluids
tomorrow and made an appointment to meet with the veterinary tech. As
planned, I decided to phone the vet hospital to see if his urine could be
tested for melamine or its derivatives. The secretary told me that the vet
hospital (which is a very large, modern, fully equipped operation) has not
tested any animals for melamine and doesn't know of any labs that can do
this. After some discussion, she said that the hospital had only run across
one or two cats that seemed like they *may* have gotten sick from eating the
contaminated food. She assured me that none of their clients who had been
feeding their cats OM (as I have) had brought their cats in with kidney
problems (who didn't have CRF from before, that is). All of my cats eat dry
OM, and none of them has displayed any kidney symptoms (except for Alex who
was a CRF kitty from before), but we have discussed on this group that
symptoms can be delayed. The secretary told me that the vet hospital's
current standard of care WRT this food crisis is to test the urine specific
gravity of cats who may be displaying symptoms, but she had not heard of any
testing for melamine specifically or its derivatives.

What seems a wise course of action here? Retesting Alex's urine seems
counterproductive since we already know he's a CRF kitty. I was thinking
that maybe I should request a urinalysis/urine specific gravity on one of my
young, ostensibly healthy cats as a control. Does that seem like a good
plan? Or does anyone know of a lab in Upstate New York where I could ask the
veterinarian to send the urine to test it for melamine or its derivatives?
Or am I overreacting to the whole thing ? (My cats have not eaten any of the
food that's been recalled (so far), but they have eaten food which contains
wheat gluten and corn gluten).
Thanks in advance for opinions.
Best regards,
---Cindy S.

Roby
April 23rd 07, 01:10 AM
cindys wrote:

> As I posted in another thread, I will be starting Alex on subcu fluids
> tomorrow and made an appointment to meet with the veterinary tech. As
> planned, I decided to phone the vet hospital to see if his urine could be
> tested for melamine or its derivatives. The secretary told me that the vet
> hospital (which is a very large, modern, fully equipped operation) has not
> tested any animals for melamine and doesn't know of any labs that can do
> this. After some discussion, she said that the hospital had only run
> across one or two cats that seemed like they *may* have gotten sick from
> eating the contaminated food. She assured me that none of their clients
> who had been feeding their cats OM (as I have) had brought their cats in
> with kidney problems (who didn't have CRF from before, that is). All of my
> cats eat dry OM, and none of them has displayed any kidney symptoms
> (except for Alex who was a CRF kitty from before), but we have discussed
> on this group that symptoms can be delayed. The secretary told me that the
> vet hospital's current standard of care WRT this food crisis is to test
> the urine specific gravity of cats who may be displaying symptoms, but she
> had not heard of any testing for melamine specifically or its derivatives.
>
> What seems a wise course of action here? Retesting Alex's urine seems
> counterproductive since we already know he's a CRF kitty. I was thinking
> that maybe I should request a urinalysis/urine specific gravity on one of
> my young, ostensibly healthy cats as a control. Does that seem like a good
> plan? Or does anyone know of a lab in Upstate New York where I could ask
> the veterinarian to send the urine to test it for melamine or its
> derivatives? Or am I overreacting to the whole thing ? (My cats have not
> eaten any of the food that's been recalled (so far), but they have eaten
> food which contains wheat gluten and corn gluten).
> Thanks in advance for opinions.
> Best regards,
> ---Cindy S.
I hope the secretary is not the one who chooses treatment for patients.
With all of the focus on melamine, I gotta believe there are labs that
can test for it in urine (and they're getting a lot of practice right
now) and by now know how it alters blood chemistry. If you want that
testing done, press your case: does the vet belong to VIN (and so have
access to their on-line info)? How about a phone call to AVMA? I don't
think it is necessary to restrict the search to your region.

Good luck to you and kitty!

cindys
April 23rd 07, 02:24 AM
"Roby" > wrote in message
...
> I hope the secretary is not the one who chooses treatment for patients.

She was just relating her observations of what's been going on at the vet
hospital. She did actually put me on hold to inquire (from the vet or vet
tech) about the lab testing and came back with the answer that the hospital
didn't know of any labs that were doing it; it wasn't simply her own
opinion.

> With all of the focus on melamine, I gotta believe there are labs that
> can test for it in urine (and they're getting a lot of practice right
> now) and by now know how it alters blood chemistry. If you want that
> testing done, press your case: does the vet belong to VIN (and so have
> access to their on-line info)?

I haven't discussed this with the vet or the vet tech yet, but when I go
tomorrow, I can certainly do that. I have a very good relationship with our
veterinarian. If I were to say to her: "Lab XYZ has the capacity to test the
urine for melamine derivatives. Can you send Alex's urine sample to that
place for testing?", she will happily do so. She didn't think he really
needed to be on a potassium supplement at this point, but I said I would
feel better if he had one, so she prescribed it. No argument.

>How about a phone call to AVMA? I don't
> think it is necessary to restrict the search to your region.

I agree.
>
> Good luck to you and kitty!

Thank you.
Best regards,
---Cindy S.

Lynne
April 23rd 07, 04:16 AM
on Sun, 22 Apr 2007 18:29:38 GMT, "cindys" >
wrote:

> What seems a wise course of action here? Retesting Alex's urine seems
> counterproductive since we already know he's a CRF kitty. I was
> thinking that maybe I should request a urinalysis/urine specific
> gravity on one of my young, ostensibly healthy cats as a control. Does
> that seem like a good plan? Or does anyone know of a lab in Upstate
> New York where I could ask the veterinarian to send the urine to test
> it for melamine or its derivatives? Or am I overreacting to the whole
> thing ? (My cats have not eaten any of the food that's been recalled
> (so far), but they have eaten food which contains wheat gluten and
> corn gluten).

Isn't that some crap that a vet can't figure out a way to get urine
tested for a known toxin?!?

You should call the Banfield Hospital in your area if you have one. They
are located in Petsmart. I am actually thinking about trying the one
here for a checkup because I am hearing good things about them. I'm
*still* looking for a vet who is not just good with cats, but wonderful
with cats.

Let us know what you find out.

--
Lynne


"We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly
We are brave enough to bend to cry
And sad enough to know
We must laugh again"

~ Nikki Giovanni, 4/17/2007, Virginia Tech

Lynne
April 23rd 07, 04:19 AM
Sorry about the tone of my post. I'm still crying about Sheelagh's Jack,
and this after crying enough for a lifetime over what happened at my Alma
Mater... I'm drained and mad at the world.

I just want to say that I'm in no way suggesting you should change vets. I
think Banfield is dialed in about how to test for melamine and its
derivitives.

--
Lynne


"We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly
We are brave enough to bend to cry
And sad enough to know
We must laugh again"

~ Nikki Giovanni, 4/17/2007, Virginia Tech

cindys
April 23rd 07, 04:44 AM
"Lynne" > wrote in message
m...
> on Sun, 22 Apr 2007 18:29:38 GMT, "cindys" >
> wrote:
>
>> What seems a wise course of action here? Retesting Alex's urine seems
>> counterproductive since we already know he's a CRF kitty. I was
>> thinking that maybe I should request a urinalysis/urine specific
>> gravity on one of my young, ostensibly healthy cats as a control. Does
>> that seem like a good plan? Or does anyone know of a lab in Upstate
>> New York where I could ask the veterinarian to send the urine to test
>> it for melamine or its derivatives? Or am I overreacting to the whole
>> thing ? (My cats have not eaten any of the food that's been recalled
>> (so far), but they have eaten food which contains wheat gluten and
>> corn gluten).
>
> Isn't that some crap that a vet can't figure out a way to get urine
> tested for a known toxin?!?

Yes, I agree it would be, but I haven't actually discussed this with the vet
herself. I spoke to the secretary who was asking somebody else. The hospital
has at least a dozen veterinians and countless other personnel. The
secretary could have been asking anyone. I suspect that they have been
fielding dozens of phone calls from people who are panicked. It's easy to
forget that the regular participants in this newsgroup are probably way more
cognizant of what's going on regarding the tainted food problem than the
average pet owner. We spend a lot of time on this newsgroup discussing the
situation in many different threads, looking at the latest updates the
minute they become available (thanks to bug lady). Yet, it is human nature
to assume that what we know, everybody knows.

I would be willing to bet that most people (who don't read the feline health
and behavior group or some other websites that discuss feline renal disease)
read the original list of recalled foods, verified whether or not their dog
or cat had eaten any of the contaminated food, and once they verified that
their animals hadn't eat any of the originally recalled products, done!
Never considered again. Many people who feed their animals only dry food
haven't given this a thought since the original bulletin regarding the cuts
and gravy foods. And these were the more diligent ones. It is mostly human
nature to look at the cat, say "Hmmm...the cat's perky and eating, so he/she
is all right" and forget about the entire issue.

My understanding is that acute kidney failure is treated in a particular
way, and so at my vet hospital, if a person brings in an animal experiencing
acute kidney failure, the treatment will be the same no matter what the
cause, and that's why they're not sending blood and urine samples out to
labs. I would also be willing to bet that testing for melamine is very
expensive, and people are balking at the expense, particularly if their pets
aren't exhibiting any symptoms, and if the pets are exhibiting symptoms, the
treatment will be the same no matter what the cause. So, why spend $xxx for
a test when the result isn't going to change the treatment or outcome?

>
> You should call the Banfield Hospital in your area if you have one.

I don't think we have one, but I can check.

>They
> are located in Petsmart. I am actually thinking about trying the one
> here for a checkup because I am hearing good things about them. I'm
> *still* looking for a vet who is not just good with cats, but wonderful
> with cats.
>
> Let us know what you find out.

Thank you. I will.
Best regards,
---Cindy S.

cindys
April 23rd 07, 04:46 AM
"Lynne" > wrote in message
m...
> Sorry about the tone of my post. I'm still crying about Sheelagh's Jack,
> and this after crying enough for a lifetime over what happened at my Alma
> Mater... I'm drained and mad at the world.

I know what you mean. I was finally starting to get over Ringo and now
this...

>
> I just want to say that I'm in no way suggesting you should change vets.
> I
> think Banfield is dialed in about how to test for melamine and its
> derivitives.

I understood. Thank you.
Best regards,
---Cindy S.

Meghan Noecker
April 23rd 07, 08:35 AM
On Sun, 22 Apr 2007 22:16:15 -0500, Lynne
> wrote:


>You should call the Banfield Hospital in your area if you have one. They
>are located in Petsmart. I am actually thinking about trying the one
>here for a checkup because I am hearing good things about them. I'm
>*still* looking for a vet who is not just good with cats, but wonderful
>with cats.
>

My personal experience with Banfield was that the vets were competent,
and my cats were well cared for.

But they had several techniques to get more money from you.

When I took Jay Jay in for diarrhea 3 days after I adopted him, they
said he needed another vaccination. I explained that he shelter
already did that. They insisted that he required a booster. After 10
minutes of discussion, they marked it on their records that I
*refused* the vaccination.

My regular vet will just mark that I had it done elsewhere and note
the date and type of vaccination. No guilt trips.

When Maynard went in for an abcess, they said he should have bloodwork
done.

When Jenny needed treatment for Mange, she had to get a medicine
applied every other week for 3 months. The treatment was standard for
Shelties and collies (I found it on several vet sites). But they had
me buy the whole bottle of medicine (since it is rarely needed at
their office), and I had to pay $40 - $50 for each treatment. The
price varied depending on who actually billed me.

They charged me for testing (I paid when I dropped her off), and then
was told that they can't test the same day as the treatment. Instead
of giving me a refund, they said they would not charge the next week.
But they tried to charge again, and I had to argue to get it fixed.

The first two tests came back negative. The hair had regrown, and
everything was great, At the end of the 3 months, they started talking
about how it might have to be redone (another 3 months) if the test
came back positive. I really felt they were preparing me for a
positive test (which was really unlikely) so that they could get
another 3 months of payments from me.

When I took Maynard in for liver failure, I could see on her face that
my cat was doomed. She said it was probably liver failure, but they
could do bloodwork to see if there was something treatable. That made
sense, even though it was pretty obvious he was going to die in the
next few days. But then she went on to tell me about their emergency
care that she wanted to start. It was going to be $300 the first
night, in addition to the $300 of bloodwork and regular treatment. It
was obvious that the emergency treatment would buy me only a day or
two, and he was still acting ad eating fine (just bright yellow) yet
there was the sales pitch and guilt trip.

After asking here, I learned I could do sub-q injections at home, and
that would at least make him more comfortable. I'm sure he did better
at home with love and comfort, than being kept in a cage at the vet's
office.

I will go there if I have an emergency and my vet is closed. They are
competent. My cat would be treated well. But I cannot trust anything
they say in regard to tests and treatment needed. I have to do my own
research and watch my wallet. I don't mind spending what I need to,
but I don't want to be fleeced either.

My regular vet will tell me when I don't need something that I have
asked for. I can trust him when he says I need to test something and
give a medication because I know he doesn't try to pad the bill.

Lynne
April 23rd 07, 04:03 PM
on Mon, 23 Apr 2007 07:35:05 GMT, Meghan Noecker
> wrote:

> My regular vet will tell me when I don't need something that I have
> asked for. I can trust him when he says I need to test something and
> give a medication because I know he doesn't try to pad the bill.

Meghan, thanks for the feedback on Banfield. That makes me quite wary and
I think I will go to another vet who was recommended to me. Unfortunately
(well, fortunately for my dog), he was recommended by a dog person, so I
don't know how good he will be with my cats but I will find out.

--
Lynne


"We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly
We are brave enough to bend to cry
And sad enough to know
We must laugh again"

~ Nikki Giovanni, 4/17/2007, Virginia Tech

PawsForThought
April 23rd 07, 07:11 PM
On Apr 23, 11:03 am, Lynne > wrote:
> on Mon, 23 Apr 2007 07:35:05 GMT, Meghan Noecker
>
> > wrote:
> > My regular vet will tell me when I don't need something that I have
> > asked for. I can trust him when he says I need to test something and
> > give a medication because I know he doesn't try to pad the bill.
>
> Meghan, thanks for the feedback on Banfield. That makes me quite wary and
> I think I will go to another vet who was recommended to me. Unfortunately
> (well, fortunately for my dog), he was recommended by a dog person, so I
> don't know how good he will be with my cats but I will find out.

Hi Lynne, just wanted to add that I have not heard good things about
Banfield. One thing I was told is that they promote declawing. Ok, I
just did a quick Google and came up with these hits, including the
Declaw Hall of Shame site:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=banfield+hospital+declawing

Lynne
April 23rd 07, 08:05 PM
on Mon, 23 Apr 2007 18:11:47 GMT, PawsForThought >
wrote:

> Hi Lynne, just wanted to add that I have not heard good things about
> Banfield. One thing I was told is that they promote declawing. Ok, I
> just did a quick Google and came up with these hits, including the
> Declaw Hall of Shame site:
>
> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=banfield+hospital+declawing

The price gouging was pretty disturbing and I lost interest in trying
them.

I wonder if that stuff is (still) true, that they promote declawing? Or
maybe it's just specific vets at Banfield. I just checked their website
and I don't see much at all about declawing, and nothing that looks like
they promote it. They do mention it on their fee page, but only as a
footnote and with a disclaimer about why they offer it. I'm disgusted
that it's even offered, but if people are going to insist--and they
will--vets probably feel they need to offer it.

Perhaps Banfield has changed their stance under pressue, or perhaps they
only promote it face-to-face now because of that pressure. On their FAQ,
they have this response about scratching, which says nothing at all about
declawing:

How can I stop my cat from scratching on furniture? Scratching is a
normal feline behavior. The difficult part is training them to use
something other than furniture or door frames. The best choice is to
offer a sturdy scratching post from the time your Pet is a kitten. Play
with him or her on and near the post, offer treats, toys, and praise when
your Pet uses it. Many cats will be attracted to scratching posts that
have been rubbed with cat nip. Some cats will scratch on cardboard boxes
or scratch pads, while others will only use tall, sturdier posts that do
not tip over. Older cats that have developed a furniture damaging habit
will be harder to train to a post, but can still learn. Frequent nail
trims can decrease the damage caused by scratching. Some owners find help
with a soft, plastic nail cap that is temporarily glued to each nail.
This can have mixed success as the cats may still scratch (with plastic
blunted nails), and the caps need frequent re-application. Covering a
favorite scratching area with something slick or tacky like plastic
sheeting, or double stick tape may discourage the behavior as well.

--
Lynne


"We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly
We are brave enough to bend to cry
And sad enough to know
We must laugh again"

~ Nikki Giovanni, 4/17/2007, Virginia Tech