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!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

8 Critter Vet Visit

Okay - it went great but wow - am I glad its over.  The whole vet idea stresses me out...what if they find something wrong with my babies?  But they didn't...  Then making sure they are okay - not scared, not upset, not reacting to vaccinations, etc.... and then there is vetting a pig - which just isn't all that easy.  Here are a few pics of the waiting for the vet to arrive:

Tabby - Kai in the background

Bash

Kai

Fiona


Kai



First the ferrets -  they did great.  They were social little critters and for the most part pretty cooperative. First we did weights - everyone is in the normal range - not too fat, not too skinny.  Then we did vaccinations which entailed rabies and distemper.  Then we did physicals.  They check eyes, noses, ears, teeth, mouths, heart, lungs and then palpate the organs to make sure everything is located where it should be, is the right size, etc.  Everyone passed the physical exam with flying colors....no issues found on any of them!  The only bad news from the check up - and its not a super serious problem - is that they tested positive for ear mites. I will swing into the vets office tomorrow and pick up the Ivermectin (yep - same that we use on the pig - just a different dose) and treat all the ferrets and the kitties to as mites are quite contagious.  I am very surprised they tested positive.  We had mites before - I think Theo might have brought them to to the party and he had itchy ears and stinky gunk in his ears as well.  No symptoms - sneaky little buggers.  Oh well - if that's the worst thing that they found - I can most certainly deal with that.

What did you bring us Dr Dan??

Kai getting vaccinated

Theo thinking 'I am not sure what just happened.'

He might have poked me with needles but he isn't all bad - he put Ferretone on my belly

Fiona - getting rabies on one side

And distemper on the other

Kai getting checked out


Then we moved on to the pig.  I am not sure who was more stressed - him or me.  First they put meds up his nose to sedate him.  Didn't take long for him to be staggering around.  Then it was time to flip him on his back - he hated it.  I hated it...but once I started petting him and talking to him he settled down.  He got several vaccines today.  We did tetanus - mostly as a precautionary thing.  Its not out of the realm of possibility that he be out playing in the pasture and step on something old and metallic.  We also did Erysipelas, Bordatella, and Pasturella  - I was quite keen on getting the Erysipelas as that is found in the soil and I have read some horror stories about piggies that have contracted it.  It is the reason I have Penicillin in my fridge.  We also opted to do rabies.  There is much debate in the pig world about whether you should do rabies vaccines.  I figure he is in close proximity to quite a bit of wild life - possums, raccoons, coyotes, etc.  I would rather be save than sorry.  The vet also did a blood draw, checked eyes, ears and teeth and clipped his dew claws.  The other thing we did today which was not planned was trimming his tusks.  I had talked to the vet about filing them - which I think I will do since they are back down to the gum line now.  I think I can likely keep them from needing to be done again by filing them as a part of our maintenance routine.  Winston is fine with me filing away.  Since he was already sedated we decided to go ahead and trim them.  They used a gigli wire and slowly made a groove in the tusk, then sped up the process and voila - no more pokey teeth - thank goodness.  My shins have a chance to heal....Winston didn't poke me on purpose.  I am 100% certain he is unaware that there are sharp things protruding from the sides of his mouth.  Then he was done.  Didn't take him long to recover - within about an hour he was still a bit subdued but he was walking normally and was grazing.  He is napping now - waiting for it to be dinner time.

You guys are up to something - I can tell....

Sedation meds up the snout - let's just say - he wasn't a fan

Woozy pig

Getting vaccinated

IM vaccination

Sub Q vaccination

Assessing the tusk situation

All in all it was a good house call - that is such an awesome service the vet provides....  waiting to hear back on Winston's blood work and on everyone's fecal sample analysis. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Prepping for the Vet

So - we are getting ready for our vet visit tomorrow morning.  Prep looks something like this:

1.  collect poop samples - I am doing pretty well on this - only Violet is being incooperative....I hope I can get a sample before her exam in the morning or she will get an unfriendly poke in the rump.
2.  clean up the critters - I was going to give Winston a shower but it hasn't been very long since his last one and his skin gets so dry so I opted for cleaning up his handsome face.  He was quite well behaved while I washed his snout, cheeks, eyes, etc with a warm washcloth.  I turned on the shower for the ferrets and let them play - they had lots of fun!
3.  hooves and nails - Winston's hooves are actually in pretty good shape so not much needed there.  The ferrets all need a nail trim - that might be a morning task if I have time before the vet arrives.

I always get a bit nervous before vet visits....the whole what if scenarios run through my mind.  I am hopeful for a clean bill of health for all the weasels and the piglet.

My questions for the vet - so I won't forget them in the morning....

Winston:

  • Tusks - what to use to file them and how short
  • Have on hand - I have PCN what else should I keep in stock
  • How to give a pig an injection
  • Ticks - they love him - geranium oil helps - anything else I should be doing?
Theo:
  • First morning output is not great
  • Use of Vetasyl
Kai:
  • Choking episode
  • Litter mate of Harlow - anything to watch for?  Same question for Tabby
Violet:


  • Litter mate of Finn. Could there be the same congenital issue?
Bash:
  • Had kidney stone - no issues since - should we be watching?  Doing anything different

Sunday, May 22, 2016

General Updates

As I type this it is POURING outside.  Thunder, lightening, the works.  Emma is handling it pretty well.  At the moment she is snoozing on the floor at the end of our bed.  I think her hearing is not what it used to be so she doesn't hear the thunder as much as she used to.  She had a pretty uneventful weekend - outside time, inside time - a pretty good couple of days.

Winston had a good day today.  He played outside for the bulk of the day.  It was a good rooting day because it has rained so much its a muddy mess out there.  I just tucked him in under his red fleece blanket.  He snuggled down and went to sleep - not sure if he is effected by the storms but he seemed ready for bed and covers for sure.

Ollie, Aggie and Phoebe - the kitties are doing just great.  They were quite interactive while I was down in critter land over the course of the day.  The great hairball season seems to be slowing a bit - thank goodness.  Only one for the whole weekend - woot!  :)

And last - the weasels.  I had lots of time with them today.  I was checking in on Kai to make sure he is still doing well.  The great news is that he is just fine.  He was quite cuddly and affectionate early in the day and then as it got later my wild child returned.  By this evening my leaping, biting, running, crazy boy was back which made my heart happy.  The calm, affectionate boy was fine but I missed his wild antics.  My other two boys - Theo and Bash are both doing amazing - happy and healthy and playful.

The little girls - Madison was her energetic, sweet, joyful and affectionate self all day.  Fiona was both playful and mellow - she played with toys and wrestled a bit but was also content to be held and loved on tonight.  Tabitha was quite interactive for her - she tends to be somewhat aloof.  Today she "helped" me clean up, she tolerated being held multiple times and she played with me - all great things.  And then there is Violet... each time I went down to critter land today Violet was snoozy, sleepy, not particularly energetic, etc.  I saw her eating and drinking and her outputs were fine.  She just wasn't interacting or playing.  It worried me a bit so this evening I decided to pull her out of critter land and let her play in our room for an hour or so.  I figured if she was feeling bad she would likely be sleepy down here as well.  Um - let's just say our schedules must have been off because she was WILD while she was here.  She was racing around playing, making her happy ferret noises, climbing on the furniture, investigating the closets and trying to get Emma to play with her.  She used up all that energy she gained by being sleepy today for sure.  I am fairly certain she is feeling just fine and that she was likely up and active during times when I wasn't down in their area.  Let's face it - after the Kai episode I might be just a little bit paranoid.

It was a good critter day today.  Can't believe it is already time to start another busy work week.... UGH!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Wild and Crazy Day Recap

So - it really has been a fairly crazy day around here....

KAI UPDATE:  First we had a bit of a scare this morning - in case you missed it here is my Facebook post from earlier today:  'Scary zoo moment....Kai (ferret) was in some sort of respiratory distress while I was cleaning down in critter land. I think he was choking on something. He was very frightened - tail and fur puffed out and he was trying to hide. I got to him and isolated him from the others. We did the finger sweep of the mouth which seemed to help somewhat...at least it calmed him a bit. I gave him ferretone with a bit of honey in case it was an allergic reaction. Honey is a natural antihistamine so it opens up the airways. Then we did a big drink of water with colloidal silver in it. He seems much better...an occasional little hack but breathing and heartrate are normal. He is napping, still in isolation. I would like for him to go potty before I let him back in with the others to be sure that end of the weasel is operating normally and we don't have a blockage. Fingers crossed by later this afternoon he will be back with his siblings....' 

I am happy to report that this afternoon I was able to put Kai back with his siblings.  He woke up from his nap and did his thing - outputs looked normal.  I made him some gravy (ferret food with warm water) which is one of his favorites and he ate the whole bowl.  Nothing wrong with his appetite for sure.  He was a bit subdued this afternoon - not my regular wild child - but I think the whole episode really scared him.  Hubs and I went out this evening.  It was hard to leave him....  we got home and checked in on him and the rest of the weasels and they are all just fine.  Kai was even up for a bit of wrestling and playing.  The kitties are all doing fantastic as well - they have been fed, medicated and given some kitty treats this evening.

PIG ON THE PORCH:  As if the whole choking episode with the ferret wasn't crazy enough....  Once Kai had settled in for a nap I decided to take all of the blankets out of the critter room and run them through the laundry.  I gathered them up and headed to the laundry room and then went back to continue to keep an eye on the ferret.  When I walked past the front door, much to my surprise, there was a pig on the front porch.  Seems the locking mechanism on the front gate had gotten stuck in the up position so the gate just needed a little push in order to open.  Winston made his way in front of the garage (thank goodness both the garage doors were closed) and into the front yard.  He rooted in the dirt, munched on some flowers, etc.  He had a lovely adventure.  Thankfully he didn't wander off and stayed very close to home.  He was quite happy to see me through the front door windows.  Silly pig.  He happily followed me into the back yard and we closed the gate and checked it twice.  We did a WD-40 repair on the gate locking mechanism and all was right in the world again....

THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE DAY:  So - after Kai was back with his brothers and sisters and the pig was secured in the yard I needed to get ready for our afternoon/evening out.  I started the tub and went to change over the laundry while it was filling.  I heard the doorbell ring but chose to ignore it, fairly certain that it was the postman with a package.  Then there was loud knocking.  Again I decided to head for the tub.  Once I was in there I heard it - a bump in the day.  Unfortunately when Emma woke me at 3 am I was on Facebook and saw this video about burglars and their method of operation.  So, of course I freaked out.  I drained the tub, wrapped up in a towel and went to investigate taking my trusty guard pig with me. Winston was hilarious.  He totally picked up on my anxiety and he stuck very close.  We slowly crept out to the living room and then to the entry.  Of course I was right and it was a package waiting on the porch.  Geez....  I am pretty sure that since Winston can be a pink turd to people I like he would likely be even worse of someone he thought was threatening me.  He could do some damage if he was so inclined.

Anyway - all was fine.  Everyone is fine.  Emma and Winston have been out for their last potty break. Kitties and weasels are in bed.  I will head in to tuck the piglet in shortly.  I am so thankful that Kai is feeling better.  There is no worse feeling than seeing your fur kid in distress.  I am also very thankful that Winston stayed so close and that we didn't have to initiate a search party.  Even though it was a bit of a stressful day everyone is okay and that's all that matters.




Friday, May 20, 2016

May Little Critter Snaps - including some on the new floor

Things here have been so busy I haven't had a chance to post any pictures of the awesome new critter land floor.  Here are some shots of the critters enjoying their improved space....


Fiona peeking over Theo

Fiona

Phoebe

Theo

Violet

Kai

Kai

Madison

Bash

Theo

Kai on the left and Tabby doing her best meerkat impression

Bash


Fiona

Oliver

Aggie - (who hates the camera BTW)

Kai

Theo (left) and Kai

Fiona

Did I mention they fit under the closet door now that the carpet is gone?

Tabitha


Bash

Violet

Theo

Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekend Recap - Looking Ahead to a Crazy Week


First - the weekend recap....

Not really a whole bunch to report in critter land over the weekend.  Piglet and pup had lots of time outside as we had glorious weather.  The littles had their standard weekend of eat, sleep, play, poop, repeat. Everyone seems to be doing great and feeling fine.




This week is going to be hectic.  The humans have lots going on at work.  On Tuesday the little critters will have to go into their critter room for the evening and the bulk of Wednesday.  On Tuesday night we get to prep the area for the new floor to be installed which entails moving furniture and pulling carpet. Fun times!  I am super excited to have the new floor installed though so it will be worth it for sure.  Hopefully by Wednesday afternoon/evening the critters will have full run of critter land with their new critter proof floor.

Sadly the end of the week is equally as crazy at the start.  Hopefully next week will be calmer....doubtful since next week we have the vet coming to see Winston and the weasels.  That should be an adventure for sure!

That's all for now - Happy Monday!