By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
I never doubted Macau’s veterinarians’ professionalism before my beloved cat, Gypse, fell so sick a couple of weeks ago.
Late last month Gypse started to eat less and less and also looked quiet and always laid down on the couch, floor or the dining table. I know this is what a healthy cat will also do but I sensed that there was something wrong with her. Then few days later when I got back home from work I saw vomit on the couch.
Instead of going to the same veterinary clinic that Gypse had previously been to because of some “minor problems”, I decided to try the vet service in the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau’s (IACM) kennel this time, where Gypse has her coded chip inserted.
I had to admit that I got a bit worried when I saw the vet look even younger than me and there were quite a few trainee vets working there. Eventually they couldn’t find out what was wrong with her but said that it was usually normal for cats to vomit because they might have hairballs inside their stomachs, as long as after that they still ate and acted as usual. I emphasised to the vet that my cat didn’t eat normally, but she just assured to me that Gypse didn’t have fever and she didn’t find anything wrong after touching her belly. So she just gave my cat an injection, something like to protect her stomach from vomiting again, and instructed me to feed her the hairball removal gel.
I followed her instruction for two days but the problem seemed to have persisted and Gypse vomited again.
So I went back to the private vet clinic that Gypse used to go. But this vet couldn’t help either and even scared me almost to death that she suspected my little feline might have fatty liver disease. She said that since this disease could not be diagnosed by a blood test and was incurable, by the time when a cat appeared with serious fatty liver symptoms it must die. She even said that Gypse’s skin looked a bit yellow – one of the common symptoms for liver diseases.
Unavoidably on that night I even thought about if there was any pet cemetery or pet cremation facility in Macau. I only know there is a small cemetery in the IACM kennel but I don’t think it can accommodate more carcasses. It also came to my mind that Macau doesn’t really have a 24-hour veterinary service. A local pet shop owner told me that even though a vet clinic claims that it has a 24/7 emergency number, it will usually be directed to the voicemail box after late at night. These are some of the things that I believe all pet owners have found missing or insufficient in Macau.
There are more people nowadays who will treat their pets as if they were their children, especially in these years some young adults will prefer not to have any kids. They are willing to spend money on grooming their pets or buying them fancy toys. The demand for pet funeral and memorial services will likely grow strong in the future.
Gypse was taken to the third vet clinic, in Taipa for a second opinion. I had never been there but heard that it was good. After a blood test and an x-ray screening, it was confirmed that she actually had no fatty liver or any other kinds of organ diseases but gum infection! I started to doubt if the previous vet has ever studied veterinary science, what she had said to me was completely nonsense. Although this new vet was much more costly, I was more than happy to pay it because neither I nor Gypse would need to suffer any longer.