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CH Community Responds: What Has Your Experience Been With Your Vet & CH Cat? (Part 1)

July 25, 2013

At the beginning of the month, I posed a question to all CH parents: What has your experience been with your CH cat and vet?

The question was born out of a reader’s concern over the level of care her CHer received at her vet. She was curious if other CH cat parents faced similar frustrations.

Photo courtesy Brit.

A number of you reached out (thank you!) and offered up your experiences, and in some cases, even recommended vets who are outstanding with CH cats.

Here’s a look at your responses (part 1 of 2!) – and if you’re looking for a CH-friendly vet in your area, please check out this map. (All recommended vets will be added to the map soon.)

Janet: I must say I never had a vet say my CH cat should be euthanized, but I have found care that is better than another. The first vet said our cat would live a full life, but I thought the care was a bit perfunctory.

When I came back from overseas and Poppie had some health issues, I decided to try an all-cat vet recommended on the CH kitty FB page. I think he was more responsive and thorough. I really recommend such a vet if that’s available. They usually have experience with CH kitties and more experience with cat specific health issues.

Natalie: My vet, who specializes in cats, recognized her CH the moment I set her down on the ground, and he saw her take a couple of steps – and immediately assured me that it wasn’t ever going to be life-threatening, and while it wouldn’t get better, it definitely wasn’t going to get worse.

She has mild CH, and is therefore able to do most of what she wants to do, although it took much longer for her to figure out how than a non-CH cat would take. And there are some things she will never be able to do, but I’m willing to help her when she needs help. She is also a primordial dwarf (yes, I looked that up) — has finally reached 4 lb. at 9 months. But my vet is aware of that too. If anyone lives in Reno, Nevada, and needs a really good cat vet, it’s the Feline Medical Center.

Emily: My husband and I just took Sophie, our mild-moderate CH kitty, to our vet for the first time last week. We’ve had her for about 5 months, and she had already been previously diagnosed and was up to date on all her shots and everything when we adopted her, so there hasn’t been a reason to take her until recently – she has an ear infection.

Anyway, we were very pleased with our experience. We have two non-CH cats that have both seen this vet before, and we have always loved him. We only love him all the more now, knowing that our Sophie receives top-notch care as well. From the moment she arrived, everybody in the vet’s office loved her. Everyone wanted to hold her and pet her and kept going on and on about how special and awesome she is (I’m sure all of you CH cat parents know what I’m talking about). She received a very thorough examination, and while the visit was just a simple check of her ears and prescribing of antibiotics, I am confident that she would receive great care for something more serious as well. Dr. Caldwell is very knowledgeable, and NEVER mentioned or even hinted at euthanizing.

I’m from Macon, Georgia and the vet’s office is called Caldwell Veterinary Hospital in Forsyth, Georgia. I would recommend him to anyone.

Photo courtesy theogeo.

Kelly: I have 2 CH cats. Siblings. One is severe, the other is moderate/severe. I have seen three different vets thus far with my CH kitties. First one tried to talk me into euthanizing Otis. I went to them more for confirmation diagnosis. Luckily I had done a little research on my own so I didn’t take his advice thank goodness.

The second one, we took Mandy to because she bit her lip. The vet techs didn’t want to listen to me telling them what was wrong with Mandy. They were just VERY insistent that she had poisoning from flea treatment. Wouldn’t listen to my explanation of what was going on with her no matter how many times I told them she was born with it. Finally after losing my patience, the doctor came in, looked at her lip and basically said “good luck with that one.”

Third time’s a charm. We took Mandy in for spay and Phoenix Road Animal Hospital in Michigan was great. They had never really seen it before, but the vet listened to me about what she had and then did all the research she could possibly do to know how to treat her. They were a little more expensive but well worth it.

Selena: I’ve been seeing my vet for many years prior to my adopting my first CH cat, and she specializes in cats and small animals. Bunnies mostly but rats too, which is how I actually started seeing her in the first place. While she wasn’t super experienced with CH cats, she has definitely seen a few and was more fascinated than anything when I started bringing my Roxy, then later on Kiro and Shinju to see her. I’ll say my girls were immediately “accepted” just as any other cats would, there was never a hint of doubt or questions on whether or not they should be kept alive.

Helen: My vet is familiar with CH cats and is very supportive of caring for these kitties. When Bobby was neutered we discussed in detail the surgery plan. I was impressed that he was so supportive and willing to spend extra time answering my questions.

Barbie: I have two different vets, and both are great with my CH. The one assistant actually went and looked it up, so she could know more, and now she too has a little CH cat. Both show compassion, and say similar things, especially that they don’t know they are any different!

Photo courtesy cattoo.

Lisa: Sadly, my favorite vet in the world moved to AZ and opened a clinic recently so anyone living near Anthem, AZ, should go visit Dr Young. She is amazing. Tell her JillyBean sent you.

Dr. Young was the one who saved JillyBean while she worked here in Olympia. She is the reason I became familiar with this condition. If it weren’t for her, I would have no clue nor would JillyBean be part of my family. Here is her Facebook page for her new clinic.

Eleanor: When I was adopted, Mom took me to the vet she uses for everyone. She talked to them beforehand and found out they had a patient who was a dog with CH, but had never had a cat. Before I went for my first appointment my vet had done some research on CH so he knew some stuff before he saw me. When I broke one of my canines I had to see another vet in the office. He was very fascinated by me, there are not many CH animals in the area I live in, so he gave me a thorough exam and watched me move and walk around. He says my brain is clearly working. I could have told him that! Anyway, I live in Montana so it is a smaller population and the vets here aren’t exposed that much to CH.

I wanted to say that the first vet the local humane society took me to told them they should just put me down, but the staff wouldn’t listen to her. I have learned all kinds of ways to get around and do things. I’m quite smart.

Alice: My primary vet wasn’t familiar with it, but was smart enough to refer me to a feline neurologist in 1997 for Diva (RB). That vet diagnosed her practically the minute he saw her walk. Apparently, at his vet school (I forget where, someplace in Ohio?) they were caring for a number of CH cats.

Sarah: I’ve had three vets and luckily they have been understanding of Wallis. The first one didn’t know much, but he was happy as long as Wallis was happy. The second and third are at the same place and they have been great. The Irish one said his symptoms matched CH, but didn’t want to put him through brain scans as he was an older cat and its not any worse. The other vet who is Scandinavian was very interested and seem to know all about it. Lucky, as I live in the UK where it’s still an unknown condition, and kittens are still being PTS.

What has your experience been like with your CH cat and vet? Please share in the comments! And be sure to look forward to our part 2 of your responses!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2013 9:04 am

    To Sarah in the UK: It’s funny but the first vet to see our CH kitty was a UK vet in Kabul who was there for an agriculture project. He had done some small animal practice in the past. He did not recognize the problem but knew it was a central nervous system issue of some sort. This comports with your statement that in the UK it is an unknown condition. Is this because the kittens are PTS, as you say? I wonder why. The vet in Washington, DC knew it immediately and one of the vet techs also had a CH kitty.

  2. Vickie permalink
    July 27, 2013 9:49 am

    I have two CH cats, they were born in our garage. When they we first found out what they had we had a wonderful vet who took extra care with them during there spaying. He stated that most people just knocked these type cats in the head early on. He never once ask me about putting them to sleep he was wonderful with them. He stated Tiny had a heart problem and he would be really careful with her during her surgery. He retired and I had to find another Vet who could give them the care they needed. I found Dr. Mike Johnson in Liberty, Indiana and he is wonderful with them both, I would recommend him to anyone needing a Vet. I have been going to him for years now and my two CH cats are 13 years old and he takes such good care of them and my many other critters.

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