Little Dustin Died Last Night of Multiple Illnesses

Dear little Dustin died last night of kidney failure after a nearly four year struggle with cancer (small cell lymphoma), irritable bowel syndrome, and stomatitis. He had most of his remaining teeth removed 2 months ago because he was not eating. His oncologist was at VCA West LA and suggested an internist there, Dr. Bruyette, to determine why Dustin was not eating.

Dustin's kidney functions were just about normal with a slight elevation in his BUN, which Bruyette discounted as reflecting kidney disease, because his other and related blood values were normal. So he recommended a third dental examination, cleaning and extraction to better manage his stomatitis, which began about 14 months ago.

Well, it wasn't stomatitis that was bringing him down, but kidney failure, which Alan Chinn, a psychic, had diagnosed two months ago.

While I was away in Pheonix for 15 days, Dustin deteriorated. When I returned I took him into the West LA VCA to Bruyette to find out the source of Dustin's severe weight loss. Dustin had gone from 7 lbs 4 ounces in late November, to 5 lbs., 3 ounces when I returned.

I had noticed Dustin was drinking more water even before I left for Phoenix, but his blood values had been near normal just 3 weeks before.

Dustin was hospitalized for 4 days at West LA and put on an IV. His BUN was 147 on entry (hign normal is 28), and his creatinine was 9.1, with anything over 2.1 an elevation.

This was an enormous and sudden decompensation.

Anyway, the 4 days of hospitalization cost over $2,800, which followed almost $1,000 for an unnecessary dental just 2 months before.

I also want to point out I never saw a doctor at West LA VCA. I could not get an appointment and had to drop him off. I talked to Bruyette for 5 minutes on Friday (Dustin was hospitalized on Thursday afternoon), and I talked to another internist on Sunday for 15 minutes. 

Nor did anyone from VCA West LA call to find out how Dustin was doing after he returned home. 

Avoid VCA West LA, they have gone totally over to the Darkside of rapacious and unrepentant Capitalism, as did the human medical model years before. What is worse, VCA now owns Antech Diagnostics, which is one of the leading veterinary labs, and which has drastically raised its fees for tests submitted by independent vets----because they can. They selectively charge higher rates to small practices with low volumes, and much lower fees to large practices or VCA clinics.

In any event, Dustin did not eat after he got home even though his creatinine had dropped to 3.9, and BUN to 71. So we force fed Dustin with a syringe for alomost 2 weeks, up to 130 cc a day of Science Diet AD, as SD KD cannot be syringe fed. He even gained weight. I took him to his usual vet, Adler, now also VCA, and his weight had increased to 6 lbs. 2 ounces. However, blood tests taken 3 days ago there showed creatinine had gone back up higher than even when he went into hospitalization at VCA, West LA. His creatinine was now 10.1, and BUN 156.

Last night (Jan 30) I went to get him for his 6 pm feeding, but he was under the bed and I could not get him. Two hours later Kerima and I got him out, and found he was already in a borderline in a coma despite doing well the previous days except for not eating.

My nickname for Dustin is my tumor, as whenever I lay down, within minutes he'd be on my chest, looking into my eyes or sleeping.

So I put Dustin on my chest. He was ever so quiet and his eyes were open. Then he seemed to revive a little and began looking at me. He laid there for about an hour, and I picked him up and carried him to Kerima in another room, and put Dustin in her lap. He was there for about 20 minutes then began a series of coughs, about 15 or 20, that gradually got weaker, then he died with her holding him.

All of our other cats were very disturbed. They knew something was happening, but not what. Dustin is now lying in an open box for them to see and say goodbye however cats do during this night. Sometime today, Cal Pet will pick up his body and cremate it, just as they have done with 8 other cats over the past 21 years.

Kerima was heart broken, holding tightly onto Dustin and crying profusely. I tried to tell her to let go and be more peaceful for Dustin's sake, as when most of us feel really sick or are dying, we like to be left alone.  But she got lost in her emotions and wanted me to sympathize with her holding on and crying, but I could not. I wanted Dustin to feel peace while passing, not us holding onto to him.

Daisy, Dustin's sister, had died 1.5 years before of kidney failure at home also after 4 days of hospitalization at Adler's Vet Clinic, which at that time belonged to a different corporation. That hospitalization, with the same treatment mostly, for the same diagnosis, cost $720, of 1/4th of Dustin's hospitalization at VCA West LA. She died peacefully at home also. This shows you the moral corruption and greed VCA-Antech has brought to the entire veterinary industry who are following VCA's  pricing practices.

I will tell you more later, but there is a crying need for quality veterinary care, such as we received at Adler VCA in Reseda, even after they had sold themselves to a large corporation, versus the 4 times as expensive VCA West LA just 1.5 years later.

In fact, this will be a mission of our Ashram: to establish a low cost, non profit, veterinary clinic charging less than half VCA rates. This would be a not for profit vet clinic. We are beginning exploration of this concept at this time.

There is no way an 80 year old on social security can afford the usurious rates charged by current vet practices. Something must be done to help pets of rescuers with dozens or hundreds of animals, as well as the animals of the elderly and poor who are now going without care. More about this later.


Condolences.... said...

Please do write more about Dustin. I have also been grieving terribly for over two weeks. I know how Kerima felt when she didn't want to let him go but had to. I transported mine to vet to have him PTS. I know about "the tumor" humor in your chest when he looks up at you and you are holding him. Mine couldn't take all the sub-q fluids at the vet and I refused to stick those thick needles into him at home as his vet was willing to teach. He was so stressed at the vet, but I kept taking him for fluids nevertheless. Then when he first showed signs of diahhrea, I decided to take him to have him to the vet to have him go peacefully there. I transported him to the crematory and began screaming when he was placed in the incinerator. They allowed me to be there for two hours with him prior. Please write more about Dustin if you are up to it.

All those IV's and sub-q fluids are so important, and they are so very stressful on the cat and his owner. Mine didn't respond well to the sub-q's fluids done by two different vets and various vet techs. I just couldn't do it. Someone else had to. I couldn't take his eyes looking at me wondering what the heck was going on and why I was doing this to him. He just didn't understand that the fluids were necessary to keep him hydrated and help him to feel better even for a short time.

Deepest condolences to you, Kerima and the rest of your cats who will miss Dustin.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!! Ed, I am so sorry.

Michelle A. said...

Oh, Ed, I am very sorry for your loss.