One of the things that most fills me with dread when I am overseas is the thought of having to take my animals to the vet for anything other than the routine.
The fear is borne of a certain ethocentrism, I am sure...I have certain expectations based on how awesome my vets are in the states. The animal hospital we took Koshka to for her Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD - which later became the lymphoma that took her)? It not only had an oncology wing but had just done successful kidney transplants!
Right or not, that is the level of care I want available for my pets even if I never use it, and I am never sure I can get it overseas. Add to that a knowledge that some cultures do not value pets as much as we do, and well, you get nervous.
I had a decent vet in Jerusalem, but I never had to use her for much out of the ordinary. I found a week-old kitten after it fell two stories to the concrete and I went to her for help. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries and I just wanted some kitten milk replacement. She gave it to me while chiding me that "it will probably die."
Humor me. I am an American. We are the champion of lost causes.
So when I found a spot of pee on the carpet that had crystals in it, I was terrified. I hoped that it meant that the problem had passed. But then a few days later, there was a spot on the carpet, and Noostie was definitely drinking and peeing more. M convinced me to take her to the vet.
Our usual vet here, who I had only been to once and not for anything major, referred me to the emergency vet because they had no appointments available. And I'll admit that the older building in an older section of town didn't increase my confidence. But they took Noostie in and were very kind to her.
Then we did a sonogram. And I mean "we" since I helped hold her still. They saw a large shadow.
So we did an x-ray. And again I mean "we." They gave me a ginourmous heavy lead vest and lead collar while I helped hold her.
And they found a ginourmous bladder stone. One that was NOT going to pass on its own.
Which meant major surgery the very next day.
The good news is that I discovered that there is very good vet care available here at what compared to American prices is very cheap. The better news is that Noostie is on the mend. She has a few more days of pain killers and antibiotics to take and will be as good as new. They did advice me to make soak a cloth in a solution of half water and half vodka to put on her incision to help keep down inflammation. Considering how good they were, I'm willing to try it.
Or maybe they just wanted me to take some of the vodka myself for my nerves! I'd probably try that too!
And in case you are curious, here is what they took out of her:
Oh, and you probably wanted to know as well: the kitten in Jerusalem made it. I bottle fed it and took it to work with me until it was old enough to eat on its own. When it was about 3 months old, I found a nice indoor home for him in Jerusalem (because we already had two cats, a dog and a bird). I hear he is doing very well.