Thursday, October 25, 2012

Never trust a doctor at face value

When we go to the doctor, we put our trust in the wisdom he/she has in their given field, at least to some extent.  I've learned to take a list of questions along with me to many of my doctor's visits, so as not to forget anything which may not have been addressed during the appointment.  I have still been disappointed in some of my previous physicians who did not do me the courtesy of informing me of side effects of certain medications before prescribing them to me, Prednisone in particular.  Because of this one medication, I became diabetic and will have it for the rest of my life.  Thank you so much, doc!  Even after I asked all the right questions, my first neurologist still never gave me the information he should have given me so I could make an informed decision as to take it or not.  I had the right to choose for myself and for this, I will never forgive him.
This post, however, is not aimed at that neglectful doctor.  I am writing about my girls' ex-veterinarian today.  I am still boiling mad at what she did with my Emmi Sue.  This woman, who runs a clinic specifically for only cats, prescribed a medication called aluminum hydroxide (a phosphate binder) to be mixed into her food in order to bring her phosphorus levels down.  I am a member of a support group and when I had mentioned, a couple weeks ago, how much binder I was putting into her food, a few members told me it was far too much, so I cut down on the amount I was using for her.  The vet had also told me that it would not harm Jinger or Allie if they ate food with the aluminum hydroxide, so I wasn't horribly careful to make sure they didn't consume it.. at least not at first.

The problem with this binder is that it makes food somewhat dry and chalky, no matter how much water I add to it, so Emmi Sue hasn't been eating nearly as much as she should.  I had been keeping her food separate from her sisters' dishes for the last week or so, since there really was no reason for Jinger or Allie to consume Emmi Sue's medicated food.  Aside from this, Jinger was vomiting quite a bit after consuming the food with the binder in it, so I felt it best to keep her away from it.

Since Emmi Sue hasn't been too enthusiastic to eat her medicated food, it has been very troubling to me as I desperately need her phosphorus levels to drop significantly!  Her not eating enough has been one of my biggest stresses lately and I hadn't figured out how to get her to take her medicine, until yesterday afternoon.
Someone in the support group had posted a message where she mentioned that she had been putting the aluminum hydroxide in capsules on her own, but then decided to have her pharmacy do it for her instead.  Ah ha!  A light went off in my head!  I called my local compounding pharmacy yesterday, where I purchase Jinger's hyperthyroid medication, and asked if they could do this for me, and they said they absolutely could.  I was ecstatic!  But here is when I started to become troubled.  They informed me that, according to what my ex-vet had prescribed, Emmi Sue was supposed to consume 3,000 mg. of the aluminum hydroxide per day.  3,000 mg.?  For a cat who doesn't even weigh 7 lbs. anymore?  It seemed like an extremely large amount but since I needed to speak to our new veterinarian to have her call in a new prescription, I would simply ask her what she thought would be the correct amount.

Our vet was terribly occupied yesterday but when she was finally able to return my call, I explained what I wanted to do and she agreed that it would be a great idea.  She then did a little research (she is not a cat specialist as she treats cats, dogs, bunnies and I'm sure there are more species!) and concluded that Emmi Sue should not be receiving more than 300 mg., not 3,000.  I was livid!  What on earth had the previous vet been thinking to overload my precious baby with 10 times the correct dosage?!  Was she insane?  AND, it is NOT ok for my other girls to be consuming the aluminum hydroxide since their phosphorus levels are perfectly normal.  There are no words to describe how angry I felt at hearing all of this, yet I was also so very proud of myself for following my instincts and taking my girls to a different veterinarian.  Imagine what would have happened had I not done that?  I refuse to even allow my mind to go there.
The good thing in all of this is that our new vet, Dr. Ecker, listens to me and is open to what I have to say, as I am open to listen to her expertise.  I am fully aware that I don't know nearly as much as she knows, yet I'm driven purely by my love and devotion to my precious little girls.  She knows, understands and respects this and I appreciate it so very much.  I feel we make a great team in the healthcare of my babies!  She is off work today but will call my pharmacy first thing Friday morning so we can get the aluminum hydroxide put into capsules.  This way I can start giving Emmi Sue her lifesaving medication in a way she will finally be getting the correct dosage into her tiny body each and every day without any problems.  I could not be happier in having a new way of administering this to her!  My baby finally has a chance at getting better and I can finally stop stressing out!  It's truly a win-win situation.


  1. I can really relate to this. Docs/Vets--oh the horror stories. You covered a few I'll add them together THE PHARMACIST--prescribed FIVE times the dose my partner was supposed to take. I noticed the different color. Yes, it would have KILLED her in minutes. NO, the pharmacist bever even APOLOGIZED. In the world of illness I have learned TRUST NO ONE, we are on our own.

  2. Diane--
    I'm so glad you noticed the color difference before your partner took the medication. We all need to question medical professionals and not be afraid to speak our minds if/when we disagree with what they say. You saved your partners life and I'm convinced I did the same thing with Emmi Sue. The dosage of aluminum hydroxide which she was prescribed was TOXIC and would have ended her life. You have no idea how many times I wanted to use the word FUCK FUCK FUCK in my post, but try to refrain from doing so to the extent I need to sometimes!

    Oh, and thank you for commenting. I love to hear from my readers. :)