We could not be more grateful to the Surbiton team for all the care they gave our precious cat Billy.
Billy was a Battersea rescue cat who had been abused by his previous owners and had issues with redirected aggression and trust. We got him when he was 5. He was very scared and anxious but also badly in need of love and cuddles, which we were only too happy to give him. From the outset at his first check up, we were impressed with the compassion shown to him by everyone, and how mindfully they treated him.
About a year after we got Billy he tore his leg wide open after being chased by another cat. This was a very traumatic injury for him. Elise led his treatment and recovery and was amazing in all respects. His leg healed well but the experience had put him back into rescue cat mode. As a result, while he wanted to show the affection he loved to give, he would be scared very easily and lash out. Elise was very supportive in helping us to help him through this.
Billy was happy and healthy for some months afterwards but towards the end of 2018 we were concerned that he was not enjoying his food as much as he normally did, in particular his biscuits, but also his wet food which he had started to turn away from. He was a very talkative cat, and his meow also changed. These signs were at this stage very subtle, and otherwise he was his energetic, engaged and affectionate self. Jenny and Elise were very helpful, and we tried different things which seemed to help him.
By the New Year, however, although he was still eating, he was not eating enough. He still seemed his normal self, apart from how he would cry around his food, and search for alternatives such as our food, which he had never done before. We took him in for more tests, which showed that his liver was unwell. Jenny very promptly called us, and fitted him quickly in for some exploratory tests and a feeding tube. Her communication was excellent around what was going on and our best options for helping him. The idea of a feeding tube was a bit daunting at first, but Jenny and Elise were so clear with instructions on how to manage it that we felt easily reassured and confident. Billy was an excellent patient with his tube; he loved jumping up on our knees and snuggling with us for his feeds.
Repeat blood tests showed that his liver seemed to be improving but he was not eating independently and the primary cause of what was making him unwell was still unclear. Jenny arranged a referral for him to a specialist at North Downs. She ensured that this was all done very efficiently. Billy stayed in North Downs for a few days for more tests, and came home with a new medicine regime. At its peak, this involved 4-5 medicines a day. These medicines confused Billy, making him feel very anxious. One moment he would be being very affectionate and cuddling up to us, then with no apparent trigger he would attack. We are very grateful for all the support given to us by Jenny, Elise, Vanessa, Lily and others throughout this time. The way in which they listened and responded to our concerns and questions for Billy was wonderful, as was the way that they dealt with Billy on his regular checks so that he was as calm as possible – it is testament to their skill that not once did he need any sedation for his bandage changes or blood tests, something that surprised us all. They were also excellent in following up with North Downs and keeping us updated.
After some further weeks Billy's blood tests were much improved and he was eating independently and normally. His tube came out, and we started to wean him off his medicines. This started well but very sadly he relapsed after a couple of weeks. Again, the team showed an abundance of care and support and were very helpful and empathetic in discussing his options with us. Considering that his condition was chronic, and how he had relapsed so quickly, we decided that it was not fair on him to put him through further surgical procedures. However, he still appeared happy and engaged. We decided to put him back on some of the medicines to see if he could get back into remission. This worked for a further few weeks but then the effect of the medicines seemed to be dwindling. Blood tests confirmed that his key liver marker had deteriorated significantly and that he was in the very early stages of developing jaundice. Again we had fantastic support from Elise and Jenny. Their advice was invaluable to us in ensuring that we were as informed as possible so that when the time came to decide to put him to sleep we would know it was the kindest thing left we could do for him.
In all the circumstances he had the loveliest last day and it was heartbreaking to say goodbye to him. But the compassion shown by Lily and the team working that day was immense. Everything was done on Billy's time, and it could not have been more calm, caring and peaceful for him. When a few days later we wanted to see him one last time, Elise and Jenny very kindly facilitated this, and it was so touching to see how the nurses had so lovingly curled him up and wrapped him. Cleo made us a beautiful little memento of his fur which was so thoughtful.
We miss Billy so much; he was very special to us and we would have done whatever we could have to help him to get better. He was feisty but had a lot of love in him and he was a wonderful pet. He was so brave through his illness. We are so thankful to have had such an amazing team also wanting the best for him, including helping us to ensure that he did not suffer.
Dear Anna & Dan,
Thank you for your review and such kind words. Billy was a firm favourite with the Surbiton team and it was a pleasure to treat him and assist you with his care and final moments. We hope that your fond memories of Billy give you some comfort during this time. Warm wishes, Keira, Vet4Life - Surbiton