I would just like to comment as I am growing increasingly irritated at people who keep posting this type of thing. I have a medical back ground and have been working as a veterinary nurse for over 3yrs. Lets first talk about what is going on here. You bring your pet to the vet for symptoms that include fever and a cough. Well the fever could be caused by any number of things. For instance organ failure, infection, cancer, stress and/or pain, parasites, ect. The cough is just as frustrating, could be caused due to irritation, infection, toxins/fumes, masses or cancer, foreign body, ect. In order to know what the doctor is treating it is common to want to run blood tests or a general health panel which may also include a urine sample. Due to the unknown origin of the fever, and the unknown reason for the cough, radiographs are also a useful diagnostic tool. Of course as a client and a caring owner, you are encouraged to ask questions to understand why the doctor wants to do these things as part of your treatment plan. You are also welcome to decline anything on that treatment plan against doctor recommendations. Now, since the doctor is held to medical guidelines, there may be some medications that they are not able to give you without first testing. Even if you or the doctor is sure of a diagnosis, regulations will require some proof for a diagnosis. Working for a corporation only complicates things further as they have guidelines that their staff must follow. You do not have to listen to that doctors advice any more than a human physician. You can walk out and ask for a second opinion. Most doctors will be irritated but understand that you are a concerned pet parent and want to cost effectively find care for your pet who is to most people like a child.
As for the lack of diagnosis. When you go to a human hospital, some times the doctor does not know whats wrong with you so they charge you for tests, throw antibiotics at it for a week or two and tell you if you arent feeling better in 48-72hrs come back. Medicine is not mathmatics. It does not have one right answer. It is not easily found. Medicine for lack of a description, is very trial and error. If all tests come back inconclusive, usually the doctor will refer you. But the point is that they do come back inconclusive. And there are always more tests. If radiographs dont show something, there is always an ultrasound or mri. There are all sorts of diseases to test for, some common some not, most expensive and time consuming. The best thing to do for a fever is usually to use iv fluids to lower that fever before it gets any higher and causes damage that is permanent. 24hrs or even 72hrs of therapy is not unreasonable. Unfortunetly it is expensive. You pay a co-pay of 15-50 dollars normally for those of us that have insurance. Our pets do not have insurance. That means their care has to be covered in cash or plastic. It sucks but it is the truth. Medicine has to be paid for. Otherwise doctors cant afford to treat. This does not make them bad people. This just means that the situation gets even more frustrating.
Im sorry your pet was not diagnosed. Im sorry that you feel you did not get the service your pet deserved. I have not way of knowing if the staff working on your pet was competent or inconsiderate or money grubing. If you feel you were treated unfairly I encourage people to get a second opinion, take your medical records to someone you trust and have them looked over. See if there were unnecessary tests run or if there were some that should have been done as well.
The worst part of my day is the one where I have to tell someone that we dont know what is wrong but would like to try some expensive medication that might not work. But it happens. It happens alot. I would rather a client ask me questions or ask the doctor questions than go away mad and confused and not get their pet cared for because of a misunderstanding. Most of us go into vet medicine to help treat pets and help their families. If we wanted to make money we would be in another line of work. But as much as I would love to I can not speak to your cat or dog or bird. We have to rely on science to tell us whats wrong because they cant. Things get missed and tests come back inconclusive and it sucks that a machine cant just tell us this is wrong, give this pill and it will get better. Please keep in mind the next time you yell at your medical staff that sometimes its not their fault. If they tell you you are stupid or something like that be mad as hell, but otherwise try and be human about it. Sometimes they arent trying to screw you over. Sometimes they just dont know or they dont know yet.