Ah the joys of being the mom of, well, a zoo. Having all the kids around us is always so nice. There’s always someone right there for you to pet, kiss, scratch or tell your secrets to. Unfortunately, as we all know, with the happiness also comes some not-so-nice moments. Our loss of Brody is probably the most poignant example I have right now. Well, that and every other furbaby I’ve lost over the years. Some are tougher than others – not that you necessarily love some more than others – but if you can see it coming then it’s a little easier to digest. Anyway, this post is not about Brody. There will be one coming soon. I need to write more about my grieving/healing process because I think it will help others who read it. I also need to write his real memorial about all the good memories we have with him. That will come with the introduction of our Brody Fund, which will be a used to help rescue animals in need. But like I said, this is not about him.
This is about the scares we’re having with all of our other animals. When it rains, it pours, you know?I know a lot of you have noticed my recent tweets about Spunky and so many of you have told me that you’re thinking of us and hoping everything’s okay. I can’t tell you how much that means to me, to us. To recap, last night Spunky acted strange and uninterested in his food. If you knew Spunky, you’d know how incredibly strange that is for him. Spunky is one of those dogs that is obsessed with food and no matter what I’ve tried we can’t stop him from gulping his food. So right away I wondered what was wrong. Then Nikki noticed that Spunky had eaten a whole lot of cauliflower soup sometime earlier. Then I remembered that there were almonds in it and got nervous because I thought they weren’t good for dogs. So we rushed off and googled and found out that the biggest worry is with bitter almonds, not sweet almonds. Still, it was a big reminder of everything I DIDN’T know about poisonous foods (for instance, until recently I didn’t know the dangers of onions & garlic). So we started to calm down some but were still worried because Spunky’s stomach was very big and hard. Of course my mind jumped to bloat but since I’ve never seen it personally your mind can just run wild with all the different symptoms of it you can find online. There were lots of people trying to offer advice or make me feel better on twitter. I’d like to thank @winecountrydog, @RubyTheJRT, @WebVet_com, @LindaJosey & @GreenSpotOn for caring enough to comment! Anyway, we called an emergency vet in Knoxville since there aren’t any here and she said the only time we really needed to start worrying was if he tried to vomit but couldn’t. It should have calmed us but I was a nervous wreck last night. We stayed up with Spunky until 4 in the morning, checking his tummy for rumblings (apparently a sign it’s not bloat) and seeing if the swelling went down. After a few hours he seemed to feel better – his tummy wasn’t hard anymore and he was back to acting like his usual self. So we went to sleep but I still set my alarm to wake us up every hour to check on him again. Yeah, not much sleep last night. This morning we noticed that ever since the soup he has been urinating frequently in huge quantities and it’s been completely clear. Back to worrying…
So I’m sure some of you have also noticed that I’ve been tweeting about how our rat Chunky has been sniffling and sneezing and gurgling. We tried treating it ourselves with vitamin drops in his water and steam treatments (keeping him in a room with a humidifier and showers). Anyway, he’s been up and down, up and down. I really thought he was better for about a week but then he relapsed. I finally decided over the weekend that I was going to bring him to the vet today. So this morning I called up and made us an appointment. I had already decided that I wanted to do a Baytril suspension that I could give to him orally (wanted to avoid sub-cutaneous if possible). We decided to bring the girls (Morgan & Meetu) along too since they’ve been sniffly and I’d like to nip their problem before it gets any worse. Well we’re bringing 3 animals already, so why not add the dog? We were thinking we might get bloodwork done on him to check his kidneys & also have his teeth looked at since we want to get his broken tooth fixed soon.
So skip past the part about us always being late & running around like chickens with our heads cut off and we’re sitting there in the end room at the vet’s. Now don’t get me wrong, I really like the people at our vet. We’ve seen both vets and they’re both wonderful. They also don’t talk down to me – they can tell that I know what I’m talking about so don’t try to dumb anything down for me. The vet techs are nice too and one even remembered us from the last time we were there over 3 months ago. But I hate being at vet offices if it’s not for a regular check-up and vaccines. And our rats were the first ones they’d ever treated there. That makes me nervous. I went in asking for Baytril & he looked it up and has supposedly done all the calculation but I’m still a bit uncertain. I know they’re not idiots but rats are different than cats & dogs so… Also, they couldn’t give us a suspension so we’re supposed to make our own. Not quite sure how that works. If any of you have suggestions, please let me know. Also, if any of you are vets knowledgable with rats, is this the right dosage? We were given 22mg Baytril tablets that were quartered and told that that is the right amount per dose (2x daily) to give Chunky who weighs roughly 1 pound. The girls weigh about half a pound (9 grams) so we’re supposed to give them 1/8th of a pill. I am not trying to be disrespectful of my vet at all! I just want to be responsible.
Now on to Spunky. The vet checked him out and everything was good until he felt his abdomen. He said it was still swollen (though we know it’s better than last night) and Spunky whined a bit. He said that with pain in the abdomen the first thing he’d do would be a urinalysis. We debated over whether we should try to do a free catch or if they should use the ultrasound & use a needle to go directly into his bladder to get a sample. We were worried, of course, but decided that a sterile sample would be better than a potentially contaminated sample. Spunky wagged his tail as they took him into the back & he was back within minutes, reaking like rubbing alcohol. The pup even made himself sneeze over his stank! Anyway, then came the big wait. The waiting is the worst part. At this point I was feeling good. Then the vet came back in and said that we were right and his urine wasn’t concentrated at all and that that was a problem with his kidneys. He went to do another test. More waiting. That’s the point where I wished that I could just burst into tears. What was wrong with our son? When he finally came back in the vet didn’t have much more information. He doesn’t know why Spunky’s kidneys aren’t concentrating his urine but they aren’t. I started to panic some more but he reassured me that if he had kidney failure, we’d know it. It takes a 70-75% drop in kidney function before the diluted urine would occur, apparently, and at that point Spunky would be sick as a, well, dog. (Why is that a saying anyway?) He told us that there were some very rare conditions that could lead to this (some type of special diabetes & a few others) but that they’re hard to diagnose. So here’s our plan for now. We’re taking Spunky home and watching his… urinating habits. Then on Thursday we’ll collect a sample and take it to them for another uranalysis. If his concentration is back to normal then we can breathe a sigh of relief. It it’s not, then we’ll take him in for bloodwork on Friday and then go from there. So it’s a wait and see, which I hate, but at the moment I’m hopeful. Perhaps he got way too much salt and that has messed him up temporarily. When we got back from the vet, Spunky’s pee was already more yellow. Possibly TMI but you’re all animal people so I’m sure you can handle it.
Oh! I would also like to thank @godlikescoke, @tinka_bell, @lovingpaws, @rachellereese, @SwissFamily, @MrsDazzle, @angelicinsights & @TheArtOfKaren for sending us good thoughts when I was freaking out at the vet.
Also, when we go in on Thursday I’m going to pick up enough dewormer for Spunky, the 3 cats & possibly the ferrets. Then the cats will be all caught up on everything except their feline leukemia shots. Yes, it scares me, but we can’t afford to get them all tested and vaccinated. It’s $40 per test per cat – not including the vaccines. The ferrets are good except that I’m pretty sure Drake & Nate both are in the beginning stages of adrenal gland disease. I hate not having enough money to do everything perfectly right but we are doing our best. Sometimes it’s just not possible to fix everything. Nikki and I need jobs but it’s hard right now for anyone to find one. So if any of you know anyone who wants to hire an animal psychologygrad or a fantastic web designer? I’m serious here. We’re willing to relocate! Heh, twitter is helping to save animals, maybe it can help save us too! ^_^
Filed under: Personal Stories, Random Rambling on June 15th, 2009 | No Comments »