Hello. Friday a week ago my 12 year old cat came home, limping extremely badly off her back leg. She's an out door girl, climbs and jumps like a kitten, very healthy -normally, in way of describing her. She was in great pain. I checked for blood, there was none none. I took her to our vet, who had difficulty examining her due to her aggression from the pain. The vet gave me antibiotics (the little pink ones) and Metacam, after I almost fainted at the price of x-rays (£860.00). I cannot afford this huge amount but the problem for the cat still exists. She still limps really badly and after almost a week I have seen no improvement. I stopped the metacam as she was discharging mucous blood in her stool - I read in the Metacam leaflet to stop if vomiting and diarrhoea experienced. Is there another way to examine her leg? If she is given a sedative, would this not be an alternative way to check her? The biggest issue for me now is that I leave for a holiday in South Africa tomorrow for 8 days and cannot in my right mind leave her in this condition. I have a good pet sitter coming in (no charge) to stay. Perhaps she could take my cat to another vet. I cannot believe x-rays can be that expensive to check a cat's leg. Could you give me a ball-park figure of what they are generally priced at. Thank you, ***** ***** XXXXXX (when directed to "my details" page, I pressed the continue button at the wrong time and didn't get to give you full details).
Hello & welcome, Janet. I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
First, if she was passing bloody mucus while on the Metcam, then you were right to stop the medication as this could be an indication of lower GI irritation (which could be related to the Metacam, though we'd need to monitor that it doesn't continue and is instead a poorly timed colitis).
Now in regards ***** ***** persistent lameness, if she is severely lame despite a week of treatment on antibiotics (to rule out a cat bite abscess) and an anti-inflammatory, then I am concerned that she may have a severe injury (ie a hairline fracture, bony tumor, or potentially spinal/nerve based) here. And if she were my patient, I would want to xray her as well at this stage. Of course, if we were doing so, once she is under the anesthesia (which is a better option for an elderly cat then sedation as they will have control of her airway and she won't feel them manipulating the leg), we would be able to perform a full examination of the leg to feel if there was anything amiss before the xray. But if we are "chemically restraining" her and she has such a severe lameness then an it'd be foolish not to xray at that stage. So, in regards ***** ***** next step for her, this is the best course of action.
That said, I too am surprised by the estimate you were given and would wonder how many xrays that included and whether there was anything else included in that estimate (ie bloods, IV fluids, a dental or removing a mass while she was under, etc). As I am sure you can appreciate veterinary costs do vary around the country and vary by practice, but this does sound a bit more dear for xrays alone. Generally speaking, here in Lancs I'd not expect a general anesthetic and 2x x-ray films to be over around £300 (obviously a bit more if there were other xray views that needed to be taken). Furthermore, here is an interesting link with some prices for xrays over the UK (HERE) and you can see even in the Oxford example it was ~£683 which is still quite a bit less then the estimate you were given.
Overall, I do agree with the severity of her lameness that an xray would be best at this stage. That said, I do think that it would be ideal to ring around local vets and see if you can get an estimate from them that is a bit more cost effective. You can find your local vet practices contact details via the RCVS Register (HERE).
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