Receiving A Second Opinion From A Vet

by Nick
(New York, NY)

Reader Question: How Can I Get A Second Opinion On My Cat's Upper Respiratory Infection?

My 15 year old male cat (JC) has had a continuous upper respiratory infection for the past 2 1/2 years. We go to our Vet, he gives him an antibiotic shot and I give him Clavamox at home along with benedryl. JC seems to get better for two months or so and then we can hear the sneezing and then wheezing until it is back to his lungs being congested. He has had blood tests that show nothing bad. Everything is working well.

He is very over weight and we have had him since he was 5 or 6 weeks old. We have two other cats that aren't affected by this at all. So it isn't contagious. I called our vet and asked him what we can do this time for him. Our Vet asked if he responds to the antibiotics I said yes he does. He said that was good because a lot of cats don't. I asked what is wrong with him, why does he keep getting sick.

The Vet said he had a kind of lung infection. I asked what kind he said just a lung infection. We have gone to this Vet for 7 years and having 5 dogs and until a month ago four cats we have spent a good deal of money with them. I need to take JC in again, I can't let him just be like this. Money is tight but I am more concerned with JC getting immune to antibiotics more than the money issue. I can't see doing the same thing without investigating a
different remedy or second opinion.

I don't want to offend our Vet but JC needs me to stand up for him. What is the procedure to obtain records and what do I say to a Vet that I am going to ask for a second opinion from? Please somebody help with either suggestion and or had similar issues with their feline. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated by all of us.

Veterinarian Responds To Reader Question Regarding A Second Opinion


You should never worry about offending a veterinarian when you feel the need to seek out a second opinion. Your primary concern should be your cat’s well-being, and when you are not getting the answers you need, a second opinion is absolutely called for. If you’re current veterinarian reacts poorly towards such a request, you have just learned a lot about him.

The procedure to follow is to first ask your veterinarian if he would recommend a specialist that you could visit. If he is unwilling to help you or you are not satisfied with his response, you can essentially refer yourself. It sounds like an internal medicine specialist might be your best option. You can “search for a specialist” at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) website. In either case, your veterinarian is required to provide you or the new veterinarian with copies of your records.

Based on your description, I am concerned that your cat is suffering from an underlying condition (e.g., a chronic viral infection or feline asthma) that is predisposing him to chronic bacterial infections, so I strongly encourage you to keep fighting for him.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

Comments for Receiving A Second Opinion From A Vet

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Oct 17, 2012
agree but in alternative
by: mack k

I agree with the above response but in the alternative, you can just ask for a copy of your pet's records "for your own files" and then seek 2nd opinion. I had to do this recently with a big corp vet office only interested in up-selling expensive procedures. Our pet almost died from their lack of targeted care. Second vet saved her life. I only wish I'd gone sooner because the damage done by waiting & being treated improperly caused irreparable harm.

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