Today was interesting. My first visit of the day ended up being tougher than I thought. It is a house of 2 cats. I have watched them many, many times. The one cat takes 3 pills plus a liquid medication. The other cat isn't on anything. I went about my business as usual and noticed the "healthy" cat breathing funny. This was at about 8:30 am, so I called the owners hoping that they were awake. We played a bit of phone tag, realize that this was new, and decided that she should be seen. Of course it is a Sunday and most vets aren't open. Luckily her vet is her neighbor and she was nice enough to come over with a stethoscope and take a listen to her chest. Her recommendation was to go to VSEC (thank god they opened another emergency facility right in the neighborhood) and get a chest x-ray. We were both on the same page, not life or death, but very concerning. I know this cat well, and she was not herself. Terry picked us up, we went over to VSEC and they took her in for triage right away. They brought us back to discuss diagnostics and history. I started to tell them what I thought was going on, and the vet (who turned out to be a surgical resident) was a bit belittling. He was trying to get a medical history from a pet sitter. I told him that it wasn't my cat, and I could only tell him the age and what was going on this morning. He then insinuated that she could be trying to get a hairball up. Really??!! After being in this business since 1998, do you think I would bring a cat to an ER on a Sunday morning if I thought she had a hairball??? Ugh! He said she was hypersalivating (sign of nausea). Um, how about the car ride causing that? I get defensive, I know. But come on! So we left her to continue morning rounds so that they could do a work up.
It turns out that she has severe asthma and that was the odd breathing I saw. I have seen many asthma attacks, none looked like this. Apparently her liver values were elevated, her lungs were scarred from said asthma, and she was underweight. She is now home and stable with her family. This morning was enough stress to tire me out for the whole day! I'm so glad I listened to my instincts and took her in. Much thanks to the vet (who may want to remain nameless) for helping out as well and coming to the house on her day off to listen to a cat chest.