A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper

A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper
Ever wonder what its like to share your world with a bunch of crazy critters? Tune in to find out!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Weekend in Review

It's been a good weekend so far.  Midday on Sunday and I just got done running errands. I am pleased to report that I can leave the puppies unattended for short stints now without them tearing things up or getting into things they shouldn't.  In fact, when I got home today, I returned to find Charli and Juliett sound asleep in their crates which was totally voluntary as they were snoozing on the bed when I left.  Tango and Emma were napping on the bedroom floor.  Nothing out of place - such good dogs. I got them new toys at Costco and they seem to be a hit - all three are playing away as I type. They also got new banana peanut butter cookies which Winston has taste tested and approved.

Everyone seems happy and healthy. Violet continues to do well and Oliver is lively and ornery as ever - showing no signs of anything being amiss. Winston is a happy piggy in that we have had much nicer weather and he is spending the bulk of his days outside.  Today - not so much - its raining.  He did go out for a bit and get some grazing in before it started to sprinkle.  The rest of the ferrets and kitties are well.  This week I hope to tackle some spring cleaning in their rooms - getting rid of old, torn up toys, doing a deep clean to include windows, baseboards, etc and rearranging their rooms - they do love it when things are a bit different than the same old thing.

Next up for vet visits will be Charli and Tango next month - I haven't scheduled them yet. Then we will get the home visit for Winston and the ferrets - everyone but Madison needs their adrenal disease prevention pellet updated.  Since she has active adrenal disease she already got hers updated a couple of months ago. Then it will be time for a checkup for Aggie and Emma - it never stops!

I never posted the camera trap photos from the past week - there was one bird pic and a BUNCH of deer photos - they are prolific this time of year.  I will only post the good ones. It's also been windy - I the camera captured the windy leaves in kind of a cool shot - I will post that one as well.  While I am in critterland this week I will try to take some shots of the kitties and ferrets and post them as well.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Vet Visits and Other Stuff

As I type - Charli is barking wildly at the ferrets who are playing in their room - she watches them through the sliding glass door and wants to play so bad.  They are all chasing each other through the dryer tube having a grand time. Winston is 'bitching' at his bedroom door - he wants to be outside but it's rainy. The puppies are outside - they don't care if it rains - in fact, I think they kind of enjoy it.

This week has been crazy so far for the humans.  Phoebe and Oliver had their every six-month vet visit on Monday.  We did all the regular stuff - physical, fecal, blood work, etc.  Both of them look pretty good considering that Ollie will be 16 and Phoebe will be 13 (my zoo is getting old).  We didn't get the bloodwork results back until yesterday. 

Phoebe is perfect - not one number out of whack.  Her thyroid number was perfect - no need to adjust her medications and we got her prescription renewed.  Oliver wasn't quite perfect - but nothing was too whacky.  His white blood cell count was one digit outside of normal.  Last time he was at the top of the range so its basically no change and the vet wasn't all that concerned.  His BUN number was elevated - top of the normal range is 37 - he was 41.  BUN is associated with the kidneys and can indicate the start of kidney disease when elevated - but - his Creatinine was low - 0.9 is the start of the normal range and Ollie was 0.8.  So - since both kidney numbers were not elevated - it's likely not kidney disease.  His calcium number was also slightly elevated - 11.2 was the top of normal and he was 11.5.  There is a second calcium test we can do to get more details.  I will take Oliver along in April when I take Tango and Charli in for their annual stuff and they can do a quick blood draw.  Until then we are going to watch him closely.  Inflated calcium can be a sign of something more serious - but typically the number would be much higher than .3 above normal if we had something icky going on.

In the meantime - we are going to keep Ollie from stealing the ferret's raw diet cat food because it is very high in calcium and just keep an eye on him and make sure he is not showing any signs of illness.  At the moment his is his same ornery, active self.

Here are a few pics from the vet:

That's about it from here - I feel like this week has been 17 days long already...happy hump day!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Month in Review and Camera Traps

I can't believe its already March - I know I say this every month but geez - I swear last Tuesday it was Thanksgiving week.  February was a pretty good critter month.  Violet is well - as are all the little ferrets - crazy little bunch.  Kitties seem to be doing pretty well. Piglet seems happy and healthy.  The puppies are well - we did have the lump on Juliett's head - which turned out to be a hematoma.  It's much smaller, albeit still present, but getting better.  Healthwise - we are good to go I think.

We also had the dog on pig violence incident.  Tango went after Winston in the house.  Since then we have had no issues. Of course - they have not had much opportunity to have another incident.  They are on super lockdown and closer than every supervision.

We set up the camera traps in February and are really enjoying the results.

Looking forward to March - the kitties go to the vet on Monday.  I would also like to get Tango and Charli in for their annual stuff (Juliett's was done when she got checked out for the lump).

Here are the latest pics from the camera traps - I still think that is a fox and not a coyote - based on the blogs I have checked out and of course - the deer...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Camera Trap Shots

So - there is lots to share this week for a couple of reasons.  First, the weather here has been amazing so there has been lots of activity. Second - somehow the camera in the meadow reset itself and its internal date. I knew something was funky because I could never find the shots after I downloaded them.  Took me a few days to figure out that the photos were being saved in January of 2017.  So - enjoy - there are some fun ones in there:

Wild collies in their natural habitat - Tango (closest) and Juliett




Fox again


Again with the fox

Love this one


Friday, February 23, 2018

Juliett's Trip to the Vet

It was an interesting critter week this week.  Piggy and ferrets are all fine. Ollie and Phoebe (kitties) were supposed to go to the vet on Wednesday for a thyroid panel to check their levels so we could renew their hyperthyroid medications. Fast forward to Tuesday evening when I get a panicky call from the hubs to report that Juliett has a giant lump on her head.  I get home and check her out and indeed, there is a large lump on the top/back of her head. She has a scratch on her nose so my suspicion was that she had an abscess similar to what Phoebe went through a few months ago.  Juliett was behaving like she was fine - great appetite, very active, no issues to suggest we needed an emergency vet visit. 

On Wednesday morning I called the vet to let them know that I was bringing one dog instead of two kitties. The lump on her head was not an abscess it was a hematoma. Evidently while roughhousing with her puppy siblings she whacked her head on something and a hematoma developed. The vet pulled the fluid out of it and looked under the microscope. There were red blood cells present but only a few white blood cells indicating there was no infection. We decided out of an abundance of caution we would do a week of antibiotics just to be sure. We didn't take any action on the hematoma - hopefully in the next week or so the body will reabsorb the fluid and it will go away.  It's already significantly smaller than it was.

We also decided while she was there to do all her annual stuff as she was due in March anyway. Her physical went well and her fecal and heartworm tests were both negative. We did have some concern that she had an elevated BUN number - the high end of normal is 27 and she was 38 and an elevated CREA number - while it was still in the normal range it was at the very top of the range. These elevated numbers can possibly indicate kidney disease. The vet recommended an additional test called SDMA which is a more sensitive test related to early detection of kidney disease - which we sent her blood sample over to the lab to run.  We had to wait overnight for results but the vet let me know on Thursday afternoon that her numbers on the more sensitive test were perfect and that the elevated numbers from the first round of testing were likely incidental and we didn't need to worry. Whew - she is fine and I am relieved.

Here she is at the vet - you can see the little scratch on her nose

...and chilling out before bed with her sister - Juliett on the left and Charli on the right
There are lots of camera trap photos to share from this week.  I think the warmer weather brought the critters out for sure.  I will post them over the weekend.  Happy Friday!!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Valentine's Day, General Updates and Camera Trap Shots

First - Valentine's Day.  Of course we celebrated but this week has been so whacky I haven't had two seconds to download pictures and post.

Winston got one of his most favorite snacks - strawberries:

The puppies got some new treats and some toys from The Dollar Store - they are still in destroying the toy mode so it doesn't make sense to spend any more than a dollar:

Waiting for their treats

Getting her treat hand delivered while she lays in bed - ruff life

The kitties and the ferrets got some treats and toys as well.  They were all sleeping when I made my Valentine's Day delivery in the afternoon - but when I went to take care of them and put them to bed Valentine's Day evening the toys had been hoarded into someone's stash - I guess that means they liked them!

As for general updates - everyone is well.  Oliver and Phoebe (kitties) are headed to the vet next week to get a thyroid check so we can renew their meds.  Everyone else seems to be perking right along.  It's amazing summer-like weather here so the doors are wide open with dogs running in and out and the littles are playing in their outside play space.

And - here are a couple of the camera trap shots for this week. There are so many deer shots that I only picked the couple that were really good.  This first one I took with my phone - the crows are prolific for some reason:

Friday, February 09, 2018

Camera Trap Pictures from this Week

So, the camera traps have been up and running for five days. We have captured sticks, leaves, camera straps, unknown still frames for no reason and some actual critters. I am really enjoying taking the pig and the dogs with me every morning to go and pull the cards and download them to the computer. It's great exercise for all of us! I think Winston it, in particular, is really enjoying it. One day this week, even followed me all the way down to the furthest camera which is a pretty long walk on little piggy legs.

So far we have captured deer, an opossum, a squirrel, lots of pictures of the dogs running in front of the cameras, and even one of the top of Winston's back. I thought maybe on Fridays I would share the best of the bunch for whatever was captured in the previous week. Enjoy:

February 7
Opossum!!  Guessing by size - this one is a male.

February 8

I'll share again next week!!