On Saturday, my beloved 15 year old cat Cleopatra was attacked by two large dogs and nearly killed! I rushed her to VCA TLC Animal Hospital West Hollywood on Santa Monica Blvd. I live in Laurel Canyon and the VCA TLC Animal Hospital in West Hollywood was the closest animal hospital I could think of that I was sure would be open on Saturday when the attack occurred. I was not sure if my regular veterinarian, Dr. Jason Rattan, was open on Saturday and I knew that he did not offer 24 hour care like the VCA TLC Animal Hospital West Hollywood did.
When I saw Cleo in the dogs mouth, getting tossed around literally like a toy, I frantically stopped the attack and took my limp nearly lifeless Cleo immediately to TCA Animal Hospital wrapped in a towel placed in a US Postal Service Box.
I quickly arrived in their parking lot and ran into the VCA owned TLC reception room threw down my credit card and told them it was an emergency. Without any hesitation the receptionist took Cleo to the back where the emergency veterinarians are and told me to take back my credit card. She took a full report of what had happened and after communicating with the veterinarian came out to give me an idea of what the normal initial charges would be. I was told this type of trauma was $500 and I said fine. The TLC veterinarian, Dr. Baker came out and explained that he saw no external puncture wounds but we needed to be aware of internal damage from the bites and that in this type of case they needed to be careful of possible brain injury similar to shaking baby syndrome. I was given a chart showing the likely charges for the first day and if necessary the second day. I paid for the estimated first days charges. Their days are based on 24 hour periods. I was told that they would be giving Cleo oxygen, sedating her, giving her pain meds, taking blood tests and x-rays as they went about investigating how badly she was hurt. I was told the visiting hours and encouraged to call whenever I wanted for updates.
I felt comfortable with Dr. Baker and the VCA TLC Animal Hospital in West Hollywood staff and left to go to my own doctor to get my bites taken care of. You see when I rescued Cleo from the mouth of the dog, she gave my hand a deep four tooth bite. After leaving the hospital, I drove back to the VCA TLC Animal Hospital to get the latest on Cleo. Dr. Baker came out and told me that Cleo had damage to one of her lungs; it had contusions and bleeding inside the lung as well as a broken rib. She was suffering from shock and pain and they had put her into an oxygen box to help her breath easier. I was invited back to see how she was doing. It was so sad to see her laying on a table with an oxygen feed and an IV in her little paw all drugged up. I knew however that everything that could be done was being done by Dr. Baker and the caring staff at VCA TLC Animal Hospital in West Hollywood. Dr. Baker explained that he was starting his days off but would brief the night and weekend staff thoroughly on Cleo’s case and that they would take good care of her.
Later I called to see how Cleo was doing. I was told that she was stable but that her temperature had dropped, probably due to the shock and that they were doing what could be done to bring her temperature back up with heating her fluids and wrapping her in heating blankets. When Dr. Baker got off his shift, he called me to give me a report. He said that the first 24 hours were the most important to see which direction Cleo would go but that she was stable and they were working on bringing her temperature back up.
Being concerned, later that night I decided to go visit Cleo with my friend Amanda. Cleo had been moved to an enclosed cage that was full of oxygen, like a pet oxygen tent. She was wrapped in heating blankets and her little head was poking out. We were able to pet her and let her know we were there and loved on her for awhile.
When we left, the female tech was encouraging and said to call anytime we wanted, and that they would call us if necessary but to remember that “no new is good news!” I felt confident that she would take good care of my cat.
Sunday morning I called to see how Cleo was doing. I spoke to Dr. Hsu who was taking care of her and he told me that she was better. He said she was lifting her head and was being turned over by the staff on a regular basis to keep her from pooling fluids. When they turned her, she would turn herself back to the side that did not hurt which encouraged me that she was much stronger. I drove in to see her again. I was expecting to be escorted back to the hospital part of VCA TLC Animal Hospital but instead, out came Cleo, wrapped in a towel in the arms of the tech. We went to a room where Cleo meowed at me which made me feel wonderful. Soon however, her breathing became labored and she was taken back to her oxygen tent. I visited with her there and spoke with Dr. Hsu, the Vet on staff, who said I could take her home but strongly encouraged me to keep her at the hospital for at least one more day. He went over the bill with me to show me what the charges were. He emphasized that it had only been 24 hours since she had been brought in. Although to me, it felt like a week had passed. Actually, the charges were less that originally estimated because the person who gave me the price estimate had figured Cleo was a case 3 but she ended up being a case 2 patient which was less expensive. I decided that for the extra $400, I should let them keep Cleo for one more day as there were also signs of kidney problems.
I received a phone call Monday morning at 7:50AM from Dr. Miller, the overnight doctor, at VCA TLC Animal Hospital to give me an update on Cleo. Cleo is definitely improving, both Dr. Miller and the technicians see that she is “brighter and brighter.” They actually got her to eat a little baby food overnight and she is alert and watching people walk by her and meowing! Because Cleo is breathing better, Dr. Miller took her out of the oxygen box. She had a concern about Cleo’s lack of use of her front right paw which could be because there was never damage, or because it was on the side of the cracked rib or because that paw has catheter in it. She let me know that the next doctor to care for Cleo would be Dr. Shih and suggested that I call and come in around 3 or 4 to spend time with Cleo away from the hustle and bustle to give her some love and try to get her to eat. Dr. Miller said that “no news is usually good news” and that now we should take it "a quarter day by quarter day at a time."
Learn more at the VCA TLC Animal Hospital website