I was called out around 11pm recently to a case of acute onset dyspnoea in a seven-year-old Siamese cat (yes, we do our own out-of-hours work – how weird is that?)
Even with my ageing ears, I felt I could hear a crackling over the lung fields and a cardiac arrhythmia. Its mucous membrane colour was a poor grey and it had a body temperature of 35.9°C.
Obviously, the cat’s owners were very keen to know exactly what was wrong, but I really felt any attempts at handling and investigation would tip it into crisis.
Following a good 20mg IM dose of furosemide, some oxygen supplementation and warmth, by the following morning we had a different, happy cat.
My colleague (who is a whizz with an ultrasound) confirmed the cat, Hugo, had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and was in congestive heart failure, but was doing well with treatment.
I cannot help but reflect that, in my early days, I might well have rushed to investigations in the middle of the night – perhaps with a very different outcome.