Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Normal Day

It's Tuesday - feels like this week has been 124 days long already.  Life at the zoo marches on.  I am happy to report that everyone seems to be in good health and full of energy.  If only we could shake the sometimes overwhelming empty feeling...

Today was an okay day - no tears, just sadness.  I miss Clooney so much and things just don't feel right yet.  We have not achieved a new dynamic, a new normal.

The ferrets are all well - the little girls were up early, the boys more towards mid morning.  They are playful and rambunctious and they make me smile.  The kitties are doing just great - I think they are all feeling good.  They have been sticking pretty close the last few days.

Emma is good - behaving for the most part - for that I am thankful.  She is a good girl.  Even SteveIrwin seems to be doing well - holding his own.

Losing Clooney has makes me realize how much I adore my critters.  I thought I was somewhat prepared for him to go but it has hit me harder that I anticipated.  One must guard against building walls in an effort to steel ones self against the impacts of such events.

So the stories of today - Violet "helping" me vacuum.  Theo causing trouble.  Oliver inserting himself wherever possible to be the center of attention.  Zoey giving me and everyone else a bath.  Phoebe and Aggie having a cat fight.  Emma scratching on the carpet.  Dr. Finn providing his daily checkup of ears, eyes, nose and mouth.  SteveIrwin hanging out in his new favorite spot by the heater. A normal day at the zoo....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Clooney- February 12, 2008 - July 27, 2014

We are heavy hearted here this morning - in the early morning hours we lost our sweet Clooney.  I think the last month of healing from the injury, the fight to get him on the right medications, stabilizing his blood sugar, not eating his regular diet, symptoms from the insulinoma, etc just wore out his little ferret body.

Clooney passed away at home, in the arms of his parents, surrounded by this critter siblings.  For this I am grateful - he was not in a hospital with strangers.  I am also grateful that my little man is no longer suffering - this past month has been so hard on him that I am thankful he is resting now.  He put up a gallant fight and there were several times I thought he might be okay - but with every step forward we experienced another set back.  I know he must have been exhausted.

I miss him desperately already - he was my first ferret - the one I learned from.  He taught me so patiently and he made me fall in love with ferrets as pets.  When he was still not a fan of the babies I tried to explain to him that it was his own fault - if he had not been so perfect we would have never gotten more.  I am so happy that Clooney was able to experience ferret affection and that he and Theo were good friends for the last few months - they loved each other very much.

So - to my boy - a thank you - for 6 and a half years of laughter and joy.  For ferret kisses and cuddles.  For endless love and patience while I learned the ways of ferret keeping.  I love you more than you could ever know.  Have joyous times at the Rainbow Bridge with Isabel and Nigel and kiss them for me.

Here is a video of my little squirt - taken in 2011:


...and some shots of my guy - hard to choose - I literally have hundreds of him:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Clooney's Trip to the Vet - Again

I told the vet today that Clooney was making up for lost time....in 6 years he went to the vet 2 times for things other than routine checks - we are making up some ground over this past month with this being his 4th visit - UGH.

So - here is the good news - we have gained weight - today he was 812 grams - 72 gram weight gain in 11 days.  His blood sugar levels are AWESOME!  The vet is super happy with those numbers.  He is super alert, active and full of energy.  These things are all fantastic!

On the flip side of fantastic - we have his back end.  If you are squeamish - quit reading - I will be a vague as possible but still....  In short his poo is not right - we have put him on a medication to soothe his GI track to see if that helps.  We are also putting him back on the ferret version of Pepcid AC.  Worse than that - he has sore swollen back end parts - not going into more detail than that - but I think he is uncomfortable so we have 2 ointments - a soothing cream and believe it or not - Preparation H to help with shrinking.

It's time for his meds but right at the moment he is resting comfortably in his favorite Pirate Hat bed so I am going to hold off for awhile.  Thankfully his numbers are stable enough that a couple of hour delay shouldn't make too much of a difference.

I am happy that he is resting and I hope this clears up quickly - I am ready for him to be feeling better and I am 100% certain he is ready too.  Love that baby boy...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Weigh In Day

Given the health issues we are starting to see in our aging zoo - I thought it might be smart to pick up a scale and start tracking weight at home.  The scale arrived today and weigh in day commenced:

Clooney - before his injury he weighed 1004 grams (2.2 lbs).  At his follow up appointment to clear him to get back to a full routine he weighed 955 grams (2.1 lbs).  Then - after he experienced side effects from his meds he dropped way down to 748 grams (1.6 lbs) - UGH.  It's been 10 days since we changed his meds and he is now up to 804 grams as of today (1.7 lbs).  60 grams of weight gain - I will take it.  We have a ways to go but at least we are going the right direction!

Theo is my beefy, tall boy -  1120 grams (2.4 pounds) - so thankful he is hearty and healthy or else he wouldn't have been a good candidate for the transfusion.

Finn is my fraidy ferret and somewhat anxious - this causes him to have occasional boughts of colitis.  This doesn't seem to be affecting his weight though - today he weighed 968 grams (2.1 lbs).

Violet - TBD - she and Maddie played so much earlier today that they missed out on weigh in day because they are sacked out...

Madison - TBD - see above...

And the kitties - I need to keep an eye on their weight as well - particularly my 3 hyperthyroid kids:

Oliver is my skinny mini - 7.85 pounds today.  This is good - up a bit - he was close to 7 pounds flat when we found out he had the thyroid issues.

Phoebe was 12.8 pounds today - if the vet is happy about Ollie gaining weight then he should be throwing a party when Phoebe shows up!

Zoey - 10.55 pounds today - I believe that's up from her last vet visit as well.

Aggie - is has a bit of a round belly but surprisingly she only weighs in at 10.12 lbs.

I did not weigh Emma - she pretty much always tips the scales between 46 - 48 pounds.  I did not weigh SteveIrwin - number one - because weighing a fish is hard and number two - what would one do if he was over or under??  The zookeeper did not weigh herself either...  :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Four Kitty Post

It's been pretty ferret intensive around here lately so I thought we were likely overdue for a kitty update. In general I am happy to report that all four kitties are doing fabulous!

Aggie - my old girl is cranking along happy and healthy.  Her strong trailer park genes keep her healthy I guess.  She is still the people food beggar - occasionally we indulge her...Her latest favorite spot is a chair cushion that the ferrets pulled down off one of the dining room chairs.  She has been laying on it soaking up the morning sun.  She seems quite happy which makes me happy!

Zoey - my snaggle puss is also doing just great.  She is feeling good, spending time with the humans, trying to be more tolerant with the ferrets.  Her favorite spot at the moment is smack in the middle of the kitchen island.  Counters used to be off limits til I gave up - she was determined and once she sets her mind something you can forget it.  She is slated to go into the vet in September - U G H - how I dread that appointment - and I am sure she does as well....not to mention the folks at the vets office.

Oliver - as reported - my boy is the picture of health which is just super.  He is full of ornery as usual.  He is quite the favorite with the ferrets and he has been quite sweet and gentle with Clooney.  He finds all kinds of trouble - not sure how he keeps thinking up new ways but he does!  His favorite spot these days is at the end of my side of the bed.  He and Phoebe are still attached at the hip - they do love each other so.  I am quite pleased with how Mr. Kitty is doing!

Last but not least - Miss Phoebe.  She is doing quite well - much better after a bought of stomach issues of unexplained origin that magically resolved themselves.  She is still my toy girl - dragging out many toys each day.  Each evening she brings her red pom pom up on the bed and we play 43 rounds of fetch - I throw and she retrieves.  She is better at fetch than the dog.  Her favorite spot lately is on the chair in the entry way - she lays draped over the arm of the chair and is the official greeter when the humans return home.  It's a sweet little face to come home to for sure!  She is next up at the vet - she hates to go but is usually very well behaved.

All in all - kitty land is calm and happy and for that I am grateful!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

To Surgery to Not to Surgery - That is the Question

Last week the vet brought up that Clooney is a good candidate for the surgical treatment of his insulinoma.  I was surprised to hear this given his age.  Hubs and I are considering our options - I am leaning towards and he is less enthusiastic.

The surgery goes in and allows the vet to remove the tumors from the pancreas.  This is not a cure, but rather provides Clooney 18 - 24 months of time with no symptoms and no need for the meds that he is currently on.  The other benefit is that they can check out some other things while they are in there - his large spleen to make sure it is just large and not diseased and his adrenal gland which ferrets are notorious for having issues with.

I am scared to have him go through surgery - there are always risks...but - the thought of him not needing meds, not having to be poked as often to check his blood sugar, not having to be boarded when we travel - separated from his ferret siblings which he would hate - these all make me think that we should strongly consider having it done. He would likely be symptom free for the rest of his life.

Regardless of what we choose - I would want to wait for him to put on some weight.  He is pretty scrawny at the moment...Decisions like this are tough...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fish Tank Mayhem

Okay - officially the bad parts about having a tank are outweighing the good parts.  Even though the water is perfect according to my testing - with the chemicals not with the strips - and to the pet store who tested it for me - there must be something - a disease or bacteria of some kind that is causing issues.

Yesterday I pulled Cousteau and SteveIrwin out of the tank and put them in the old tank with new water with nothing in there with them - no gravel, no ornaments - just fish and water.  Evidently it wasn't soon enough for Cousteau and he was dead when I got up this morning.  RIP little catfish.  Thankfully SteveIrwin is doing better.  When he was in the big tank he was laying on the bottom and his fins were clamped up tight against his body.  In the small tank with new water he is resting for sure but not laying on the bottom.  His fins aren't clamped and a bit ago I got his leaf hammock which he loves out of the old tank.  I sterilized his hammock in boiling water before it went in his new tank.

I checked on him a bit ago and he was resting on his leaf.  I am cautiously optimistic that he is on the road to recovery.

As for the other tank - I think it's destined for the garage - I will sterilize all of the ornaments and silk plants. SteveIrwin will likely be an only fish going forward...ugh.