Firstly, my apologies for being a little quiet of late – rest assured I will be a lot more vocal over the following months!
Secondly, this post is the first of two I will be posting today, as I have a little anecdote and a some words of advice for any pet owners amongst us.
OK, so as you may remember from an earlier post, I have a 9 month old kitten who goes by the name of Dave. He had some… um… let’s call them “anatomical differences” to his fellow tomcats, which meant that when the day of neutering came, the operation would be less straightforward, cost a lot more money, and probably be quite stressful for him.
At the end of March I found myself in a position to finally be able to get the procedure sorted done, so booked him in with the vet for his preliminary ultrasound scan to find out exactly where his little kitty-balls were. I won’t waffle on about it, but basically, the outcome of the scan showed two things :
1) One kitty-ball was in the right place, the other was subcutaneous. This meant that the operation would be more straightforward and less dangerous (and cheaper).
2) The scan showed that Dave had an enlarged spleen and a swelling on the offending organ. This is normally a sign of a more serious problem, like Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) or FIV (Cat HIV). They would need to carry out some blood tests on the little guy to get a better idea, but that I should be prepared for the worst.
So good news and very bad news. I spent the next couple of days terrorising myself by Googling possible causes of enlarged spleens, FeLV and FIV, and wracking my brains as to how this could have happened. He has had all of his vaccinations, has had no contact with other animals since he was eight weeks old… how…. why? I must admit I relaly did get myself in a state, and when I took him in for the operation and tests two days later I had resigned myself to having a very poorly cat, probably with a couple of years tops to live.
I spent the rest of the day sitting in the flat, gazing forlornly at his toys and paraphernalia. What would I do? Is he in pain? Is he going to die? I have become very, very attached to my little furball, and can’t imagine losing him, so young as well. Six hours later I went to collect Dave from the surgery; my mind racing, feeling sick to my stomach. What were they going to tell me? How did the operation go? What could I have done to stop this? I waited in the consulting room while the nurse went to fetch him. The vet (who is also my landlord) explained what they had done in the operation and said that the results for both tests (FeLV and FIV) were in fact NEGATIVE! My word. I nearly cried. Nursey brought in the little fella in his carrier and he hobbled out to me- the most pathetic thing I have ever seen – grumbling and mewling. He had a little blue bandage round his paw where they had taken the blood test and was batting the air trying to get it off. What a little soldier
For the past week he has been the subject of constant fuss and new toys and treats… he seems a little bit unimpressed by it all though. He’s got a bald rear end and a shaven patch on his leg, but the bandage is off. He seems to be his normal self though I have noticed he is sleeping a lot more.
Anyway, the point of me regaling you with this tale is as follows. If you are here in Spain with a pet, or you get a pet while you are here, it is really, really important to find a vet you can trust, and ensure your animal’s vaccinations are all up to date. If you don’t speak Spanish or are not confident in your level of Spanish when it comes to something like this, you can find a list of English-speaking vets here:
The surgery I use is this one
The staff are great and take really good care of Dave. I live just down the road, and like I said, the vet is my landlord, so choosing a surgery was easy for me
The Comunidad de Madrid have very strict rules on pets and pet ownership, so it is a good idea to study up before you get a pet. It is a legal requirement for all pets to be microchipped, and have a personal record of all vaccinations. Your vet will give this to you. You can find more information here:
Makes me glad I have a kitty and not a dog… so many more laws for dogs! There are a lot of stray cats in Madrid though, and it can be heartbreaking to see sometimes. Dave often hears them meowing outside and will prick his ears up and look to the terrace for all of ten seconds before going back to sleep… haha!
Another good idea is to insure your pet. I am currently looking into this and have had a couple of quotes. There are plenty of English-speaking insurance brokers in Spain, but you will need to look online. I have done all of my insurance window-shopping online, but most pet insurance here is underwritten by protectapet.eu; you just need to hunt around for who will give it to you for the cheapest!
Right I better go for now, but will be back later on to regale you with some spring-time tales. In the meantime. ENJOY THE SUNSHINE!