Parker turns 15 in a few weeks, and she has always been in very robust health. But about three months ago, she started developing small scaly patches on her skin. Not apparently painful, and not to the point she would scratch her skin bare or raw — just little scabby areas mostly on her face and neck.
I wrote it off as a food allergy, or perhaps a delayed reaction to the stress of the move, and changed her brand of food. The symptoms subsided for a few weeks, but never completely resolved. Then over the next few weeks she started vomiting every few days, with gradually increasing frequency (and Parker has never been much of a barfer).
Since there tended to be some fur present when that happened, I figured it was hairballs. Out came the comb and digestive gel to help mitigate the symptoms, but those didn’t do the job. However, since she still exhibited a healthy appetite and readily took food, I wasn’t overly concerned.
All along I had been closely watching the catbox for any changes to her “output.” Nothing was unusual — regular amounts of liquid and solid waste, with no blood or anything runny. Nevertheless, two weeks ago when she threw up twice in one day, I realized it was time for a trip to the vet.
But where to go in Madrid?
A quick search located Clínica Veterinaria Antón Martín right around the corner (https://www.facebook.com/cvantonmartin/). The on-line reviews are stellar and several mentioned the vet even speaks English. It was 18:00 on a Friday and the clinic was open until 20:00.
When I called for an appointment and reverted to English, the assistant responded fluently. After I explained the problem, she told me they didn’t have any appointments available but that given the symptoms they needed to see Parker right away. She asked when I could come in and I told her I could be there in 20 minutes, to which she responded, “Perfect, see you soon.”
When I arrived at the spotless and odorless clinic, Camila immediately greeted me, took my information, and set up my file. Then she said, “Let me find a doctor.” Three or four minutes later Parker and I were in the exam room with an English-speaking vet, Miguel. He asked about the symptoms, patiently examined Parker, commented that “she is a very calm cat,” and concluded it was likely a food allergy.
Miguel recommended special food, pepcid, and an anti-nausea medication, with a follow-up appointment a few days later. He gave Parker two injections to provide immediate relief and sent me home with two trial packets of food (hypo-allergenic and digestive support) and ten days of medication.
This was one of the best vet experiences I have ever had. The sincere care and concern displayed by the entire staff was unmistakable. Remarkably, the bill for two office visits (initial and first follow-up), two shots, food samples, and oral meds totaled US $50. Sheesh…
After two weeks, Parker has not thrown up once and displays more energy. When I went back for a third office visit, they only charged me for another 20 days of medication (US $16) — the check-up was free.