Context: The Month from Hell.
After numerous attempts David finally got through to DjurAkuten, the clinic that did Rigel’s neutering surgery and decided to put a catheter in him because they thought his bladder looked big - the one he left with a urinary infection and an inability to pee.
He spoke to them about what had happened. They requested that we email them all of Rigel’s journals, which we did the same day. A week or two later a letter came in the mail (in Swedish) where they claimed that they had zero responsibility for what happened to Rigel because his bladder was already flaccid when he got there. I’m not sure if they even read their own journals on him. DjurAkuten themselves wrote in their records that they found no blockage and no infection in Rigel’s urine and that his bladder contracted normally while being drained during castration - it was certainly not flaccid. They simply thought his bladder was large and decided to poke around with a catheter during what was meant to be a routine surgery.
It’s disappointing because either they are contradicting their own paperwork without even reading it or they are being intentionally misleading. I might upload all of his journals here later for anyone who’s curious and is willing to either translate or reads Swedish.
Here was my email to them in response, sent a few weeks ago, to which we have had no reply even after calling (I have censored the names of the other clinics involved here):
Attn: Ms Susanne Åhman regarding Rigel
Dear Ms Åhman,
I am contacting you through email because it is faster than sending physical mails back and forth.
Please let me know if I misunderstood your mail to us about Rigel, but it seems you are saying DjurAkuten takes zero responsibility for anything that’s happened because our kitten came in with a large bladder? The part in your mail about him having a flaccid bladder is not correct. Your own journals have said that his bladder contracted normally after you decided to stick a catheter in him: “efter tömning drar ub ihop sig vad som ser ut som normalt.” It was certainly not flaccid as your own records show.
In fact, the first time your own journals mention a flaccid bladder was when we brought him back to you the 2nd time when he was unable to pee after your treatment.
We are certainly not saying that the problems were as a result of his castration as your mail seems to imply - we are saying his problems are as a result of your introducing a urinary infection while sticking a catheter in him during what was supposed to be simply a castration surgery. There was no good reason to do this.
An Internal Medicine specialist has examined him and communicated that cat organs, just like human organs, can vary in size and shape. We have been told that just because a bladder is large does not mean it has a problem. The fact that he developed an infection after you decided to put a catheter in him is also indicative of an issue being introduced at your clinic. Our kitten was perfectly happy and healthy before his procedure at your clinic resulted in a urinary infection. I can assure you he did not come in sick with an infected, distended bladder. I know this not just by our own observation of him and his very normal urination frequency before your treatment, but by looking at your own journal notes - you decided to put a catheter in him when you noticed his bladder was large and tested for infection. You found no infection. You have also said that his bladder contracted normally after being drained at that time. Your own vet spoke to me in person after the neutering surgery and said that his large bladder can be totally normal for him and not cause any further problems, especially since he’s been peeing normally all along. We came back to you when our kitten could not pee despite straining to after your surgery and catheterization. You stuck ANOTHER catheter in him to drain him AGAIN and said that he now suddenly has an infection. This is what started this entire chain of events - us bringing a healthy, happy kitten to DjurAkuten for a routine surgery and leaving with a kitten who was unable to pee and had to go through a subsequent bladder biopsy surgery, perineal urethrostomy, and countless catheters, blood tests, and needles being stuck into his bladder. He was sent home to die and we still have no idea how he managed to survive after all this. He is still on heavy medication, special food, and constant watch (we still monitor his urine clumps in a box daily to make sure he is urinating enough after this entire ordeal). We have just begun to get over everything he’s been through and everything we’ve gone through to keep him alive, but now seeing you claim that he came to you already sick despite all evidence to the contrary is even more upsetting.
So - am I understanding correctly in that you claim DjurAkuten did not have anything to do with the initial problem - him being unable to pee after being catheterized at your clinic - even though you tested (and cleared) him for infection, despite the fact that other veterinarians have indicated that he was fine before he saw you and got sick after you decided to stick a catheter in him, and that the treatment he received at your clinic and subsequent infection are more than likely related? You will note that in the journals [other clinic] concludes that his original infection was iatrogenic in nature, ie, introduced in the catheterization process. Please confirm if this is the case, as I want to make sure I have correct information about your standpoint on this before we decide whether to pursue a formal complaint and proceeding to warn our friends, breeders, and the public about your clinic.
We are still hoping that they will reply and clarify what they meant by their mail. It’s possible that it was some sort of misunderstanding, and that DjurAkuten didn’t mean to suggest that Rigel was sick all along despite all evidence indicating otherwise. And if they were really trying to convince us that we brought them a sick kitten despite their own records indicating otherwise I will be extremely disappointed as this would indicate their miscomprehension of their own and other hospitals' records at best and a blatant lie at worst.
Rigel has been suffering from yet another urinary infection after this whole debacle. Perineal Urethrostomy increases the likelihood of infection, and I guess he got unlucky. He is on antibiotics and painkillers/anti-inflammatories. He seems to have gotten worse over the last day (peeing blood again and straining, and starting to pee outside the box) so I rushed another urine sample to the hospital at 4-5am this morning and managed to get an appointment with a vet this afternoon. By the time we had our appointment they had already gotten the results of the sample and said that there was no more bacteria! What was an infection is now a case of cystitis, so our next steps are to:
- Finish course of antibiotics
- Appetite booster every other day and special appetite-boosting food
- Continue with Cystease supplement for bladder lining
- Start giving Zylkene supplement for stress
- Continue giving Metacam for 5 days for pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory.
- Minimize noise and stress as much as possible (coincidentally this seems to have started when David’s kids came over to stay for two weeks a couple of days ago, so noise and excitement maybe triggered something, even though he really likes them).
They also took a blood test and checked his kidney, liver, and other values. Everything seems to be normal, which is a load off my chest.
It’s crazy that one bad incident at a bad vet has spun us into what seems to be an ongoing cycle of vet visits, tests, surgeries, hospital stays, two closets of cat medicine, and endless vet/medicine bills. It’s still amazing to me that he has survived all of these hospital stays and other procedures with his affectionate personality and happiness intact. The difference in his and Kaytu’s approach to life is obvious, though. Even though they’re best friends it’s obvious that Kaytu, with her seemingly carefree personality, hasn’t been through what Rigel has been through - you can see it in their eyes and in how they approach strangers and the outside world. He’s a very strong kitten and we will keep fighting for him and his quality of life no matter what it takes.