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.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Week in Review

We made it to Friday - yipee!!  This has been an incredibly stressful week for the humans - part of that stress attributed to my sweet Clooney and his setback but mostly related to non critter stuff.

Monday Clooney was seen by the vet because of side effects from his medication.  We put him on some new stuff and things slowly started to improve.  He was confined to his bachelor pad so he could get lots of rest and I could keep track of food and water intake and what was coming out the other side.

Tuesday we saw continued improvements - still a bit nauseous and not all that interested in food.  We made progress on syringe feeding - it took us a bit to get used to how things should work.  We are old pros now. Theo and Finn were allowed to hang out with Clooney - that made all three of them happier.

Wednesday Clooney was released from the pen and allowed to stay in the master bathroom so he had some space to run around.  I think he liked the upgrade - we still had some work to do.  Nurse Violet slept most of the day right next to the gate I put up to keep Clooney in - she is so sweet and so concerned about anoy critter that doesn't feel good.  We also experienced a Nitrate spike in the fish tank so we did a water change.  SteveIrwin and Cousteau seem no worse for the wear.

Thursday Clooney was doing better yet.  Still not great on the back end and not all that interested in food. My theory was that if you put mostly liquid into the front end its tough to get something solid out of the back end.  I decided to try Vetasyl - a fiber product made for citters.  I put some in his food and voila - major improvements!  So happy it worked!  Another water change required for the fishies....sigh.

That brings us to today.  Outputs are looking good!  He is still not all that interested in his regular food so I gave him some breakfast to get something in his tummy.  Later this morning I will mix his meds into his food and give him some more.  I think we are both kind of enjoying the feedings - I know that sounds strange but if you could see his little face while I feed him you would totally get it.  Since things are better on the back end I decided to increase his area of freedom again so now he has free run of the master bath and the master bedroom.  I need to be able to find him for feedings and for meds so I am not turning him loose in the whole house just yet.  Maybe next week!  Need to check on fish water quality this morning although both boys were okay when I turned on their light and fed them.

Kitties are doing fabulous - they have been pretty easy on me this week and I needed it!  Emma is well - she is sad that we are missing out on our morning walks - maybe next week we can get back into a rhythm.

Hope you had a good week - Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bonding and Healing

So - after a tough weekend, a trip to the vet on Monday morning, new meds, syringe feeding and now just in the last 10 mins or so the first glimpse that he is feeling better - the zookeeper is both exhausted and relieved.

First the vet visit - Clooney has lost weight - quite a bit actually.  We believe that the Diazoxide for his insulinoma caused nausea, diarrhea and loss of appetite.  We moved him to new meds - Prednisone for his insulinoma, Famotidine for nausea (its Pepcid AC) and just to be sure that his intestinal upset was not related to a bacterial bloom in his gut Clavamox which is an antibiotic.  We also changed him from Duck Soup which he is really not a fan of to Carnivore Care which he isn't all that thrilled with but will tolerate.

Getting on a new schedule is hard.  Syringe feeding a critter that has never needed anything from a syringe before is tough.  Note - we are already getting the four younger ferrets used to getting things from the syringe.  Ferretone for Maddie, Finn and Theo and water for Vi since she is not a fan of Ferretone.  As for syringe feeding - its strange - Clooney and I have kinda gotten in a rhythm and while he is still wiggling and not happy about it - once we get going he looks at me with those sweet brown eyes and he knows I am trying to help him.  I have found he also likes the cleanup after syringe feeding - a nice warm washcloth that we use on his face, paws and wherever else the two of us managed to swill food in the process.  In general - if you took his latest struggles out of the equation - Clooney is 6 years old and entering the later part of his life.  I am thankful in a way to have this time with him where we are bonding and working together to get him better.  It was much the same with my sweet kitty Isabel towards the end of her life as well - and those interactions are some of my most cherished moments.

And for the current status - his backend is still not quite well - but we are making progress in that department.  First off the frequency is much less which is great - less of a chance of dehydration.  Plus he is drinking on his own quite well.  Second - I think because we aren't really putting anything solid in that its tough to get something solid out.  But - that brings me to my most exciting update.  I have been trying to get him to eat on his own all day today.  We have gotten close a couple of times but nothing really enticed him. Then I had the thought of giving him his favorite treat - ferret chew sticks.  He needed some help since they are tough to chew so I cut them into little pieces.  He ate quite a bit of that.  I snuck a few pieces of cat food into the bowl and I am pretty sure that a couple got eaten as well.

I cut up several sticks and left the bowl in his pen - I am so happy he is eating something on his own that I don't much care what it is at this point.  Progress makes me feel so relieved!!  If we can get in a good rhythm then we can work on gaining back the lost weight.  Feeling quite optimistic!  :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Crazy Critter Weekend

It's been a critter intensive weekend for sure...

As you saw - Ollie went to the vet and passed his physical with flying colors - so happy about that!!! Phoebe, Zoey and the little ferrets all have appointments on the books....Ah the joys of vetting season.

Emma seems to be doing well with her new flea and tick collar - no irritation and no bugs to be found - even after out tromp through the forest on Saturday.

Sadly - we had another loss in the fish tank - BettyWhite passed and I was quite surprised by that - she never exhibited any signs that there was something wrong.  SteveIrwin and Cousteau are still going strong...

The baby ferrets are doing well - the four of them seem happy and healthy.  Unfortunately I cannot say the same about my Clooney.  He is showing some of the common side effects from the Diazoxide he is on for the insulinoma - nausea, lack of appetite and a case of the runs...poor little guy.  So - this weekend has been full of syringe feedings to make sure he is having food go in - he is not a fan...but in reality he does pretty well and doesn't give me too much grief.  I have also been testing his glucose levels because I have been cutting back on his meds in an effort to give his system a chance to recover....he is low - running between 66 and 70.  80 is the low side of normal so it's not critically low thankfully.  The other good thing is that he is drinking well - so I don't believe him to be dehydrated - his gums are nice and pink and his skin has good elasticity.  I will keep putting food in this evening and overnight and call the vet first thing in the morning to see what they that little dude so I hope we get this sorted out soon...