Manchester Veterinary Clinic

156 Spencer Street
Manchester, CT 06040


Enzo Goes To The Doctor

Publish Date: 7/29/2019 11:46 AM

By Heather Wussow

My first visit to Manchester Vet Clinic with Enzo filled me with trepidation. Enzo and I love each other, but he is cautious about interactions with anyone else, even his dad who’s known Enzo only a year less than I have. Enzo is the best cuddle buddy with head butting, gentle kneading, and nuzzling. But when it comes to someone besides his parents petting him, he gets testy fast.

The most frustrating part of owning this emotionally unbalanced cat, is that he is also quite curious. He will put himself in the middle of the room, despite anyone who is visiting, just so he can watch the goings-on. Inevitably, he soon feels surrounded and lashes out at anyone who unwittingly gets too close or attempts to interact with him. We often wish that he would just go like a normal cat would hide when he feels uncomfortable. But no, we are forced to draw him into the bedroom with treats and then lock him away when he can’t handle a situation with civility.

Needless to say, I did not expect a sedation-free visit to Manchester Vet Clinic would go well.

Enzo was a four-year-old, well-muscled and lean cat at 12.5 pounds. I brought him in to get established and because he was coming due for his Rabies vaccine. A good rule of thumb here at MVC is to give each patient the benefit of the doubt when it comes to possible behavioral issues. Despite the doctor’s calm movements, Enzo was not having it. The cage rattled as he thrashed inside, and I winced as the doctor thought that we should try letting him out, hoping this would relax him. Knowing that my own stress could be influencing his reaction, I left the room and let a more experienced technician try to tackle Enzo with the doctor.

The Beast was then unleashed in the enclosed exam room. Finally given the chance, Enzo left the carrier like a shot and proceeded to swat and hiss and scream. After a few attempts in vain to wrangle him, the doctor and technician decided it would be best to abort the exam and regroup for another visit, this time with sedation.

Now came the challenge of getting him back into the carrier. Enzo is in ‘panic mode’, and there is no reasoning with or comforting him. Although I am his beloved cuddle buddy, even I couldn’t get close enough to throw a towel over him and scoop him into the carrier, which he was avoiding like an escaped convict. Eventually, and miraculously without anyone bleeding, Enzo was scooped up in that towel and shoved back into his carrier.

From that point on, future visits consisted of medications a couple hours before leaving home, and then still getting poked in the rump through the door of the carrier, since despite the at-home medications dosed on the higher end, he was still putting up quite a fight. With this technique, Enzo was able to have much-needed exam, vaccines, and dental work done (four teeth removed at 4 years old) and get fully up to date. He may not be a candidate for yearly check-ups since he needs full sedation to be looked at, but with sedation as needed to get him vaccinated and for visits if he’s sick, I’m confident he’s getting the best care he can tolerate while limiting stress for everyone involved. The combined benefits of working at a vet office and high-quality ‘diagnostic’ photos by Dad who is a photographer, means some ‘telecommunication’ vet care is possible.

But when your fractious cat is sick, it’s frustrating and difficult to decide if it’s worth his stress to medicate him and bring him in, or to try and wait out his illness. This winter, we were treating a seven-year-old Enzo for eye issues that seemed to mostly resolve with medication. To help evaluate his eye, I had to stain his swollen eye at home and have my husband take pictures. It wasn’t easy and Enzo wasn’t thrilled, but he cooperated enough for us to get the job done. One of our doctors look and at pictures we took and decided that he didn’t have an ulcer.

Flash forward a few weeks to sedating Enzo for his dental/rabies vaccine combo visit, and we found his right cornea completely eroded and in need of debriding, gridding, and more medication. We all felt awful for his pain, and I tried not to dwell on the fact that if he were remotely tolerant, things would have been different. If we were able to bring him into the vet office without such pomp and circumstance, a doctor would have been able to examine his eye more closely to start with and we would have had his eye re-checked by a doctor before deciding it was healed and medication could be stopped.

But even though Enzo is a difficult cat, he’s my difficult cat, and through cooperation with the vet office and keeping my relationship with him so I can medicate and handle him safely, we’re able to get my lovebug the healthcare he needs.