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!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Do I get a Frequent Visit Discount??

It looks like June may be a fairly vet intensive month....

Ollie will go back to follow up on his UTI and his thyroid levels.  Emma is going to get her bump looked at and potentially removed.  Baby ferrets and older ferrets will go along with Nigel to get their regular checkups.  I try to be really diligent about taking them when they are due - the little critters are little and can have things get really out of whack really fast so I try to stay on top of their visits.

In July and August most likely I will try to get the girl kitties in - Zoey first, then Aggie, then Phoebe.  Zoey because she has had a health scare in the last 18 months or so, then Aggie because she hasn't been in forever and then Phoebe because she was in most recently to get her lumps checked which thankfully turned out to be nothing.

June may afford us some away time.  I am okay with this because I have a new pet sitter - this will be awesome!  I hope to get an outside play area set up for the ferrets - but frankly - it has been so hot that outside for them has not even been a possibility - they get overheated quickly so you have to be careful.

Other than that - I look forward to spending time with my furries....

BTW - how the heck is it June already?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May Month In Review

I can't believe there is only one more day in May - how does this happen?  The big May happening was with my Ollie boy.  See previous posts for info on his hyperthyroid diagnosis.  I think all in all we are okay though.  His ailment is treatable and we caught it early so all is well.

The babies are doing well.  I have added them to the insurance policy so they will be covered starting mid June.  Healthwise they are both doing amazing.  Finn is my sweet boy and Violet is jockeying for Alpha ferret position with Clooney - they are funny.  Speaking of Clooney - he seems to be doing fantastic.  He is engaged, happy and his health seems really good.  Miss Madison is loving having her babies - they are so happy.  She is my joyful girl and is loving life.

The girl kitties are all just fine.  No health issues to report for any of the three girls.  Aggie and Phoebe have been a bit more tolerant of each other and Zoey is my crazy leaping counter kitty.

Emma is well - she has enjoyed several play dates with Quincy.  She isn't loving the super hot weather and would rather wait inside instead of doing yard work.  She has a bump that needs to be checked out.  Vet looked at it once before and was not concerned but I want to check it again and remove it if necessary.  I guess she is next on the list....

Nigel - my hedgie boy is happy and go with the flow.  He seems to be bright and active.  I love spending time with the little guy - he is so easy and fun.

May was a pretty good month - even with Ollie's new ailment - we found it early and he is going to be just fine.  Everyone else is going strong so life at the zoo is pretty good!!  :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Another Ollie Update

Well - its confirmed - Ollie has hyperthyroidism.  His numbers were way outta whack so there is not any question of the diagnosis.  The good news is its treatable and he should be just fine.

I did some research about hyperthyroid in kitties and this is what I found:

  • Its rarely, if ever found in kitties younger than 7 years
  • Boys and girls get it equally
  • There is no tendency based on particular breeds of cats
  • Classic signs are: weight loss, increased thirst, increased appetite, increased irritability, restlessness and hyperactivity
  • Sometimes kitties quit grooming, have diarrhea or vomiting
  • Increased heart rate (or in Ollie's case - heart murmur)
So - starting Friday (or maybe Monday) we will start him on Methimazole transdermal gel - applied on his ear.  Not sure yet if it will be once or twice a day.  His UTI is all cleared up and he seems to be full of energy.  I am thinking we must have caught the hyperthyroid early because he never really exhibited the signs.  Isabel had almost all the symptoms....interesting how differently each one of them responds to things.

And here is my favorite snap from the last few days - Miss Violet taking care of Ollie...so sweet:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Oliver Update

Just got home from the appointment to chat about what's going on with Ollie.  As we suspected, he does have a pretty significant urinary tract infection.  They gave him a time release antibiotic injection last Friday - it works for about 10 days and is similar to giving them a pill twice a day.  He seems to be feeling better in that regard - haven't seen any of the symptoms he was exhibiting in the last few days.

Now - on the the other lab results.  Seems that Ollie's thyroid level is right at the top of the range.  Technically its not abnormal but given his age it could indicate that he has hyperthyroidism.  Dr took another blood test today and we should know more in the next few days.  Isabel had this for the last year of her life - she eventually died of kidney failure.  Thyroid is pretty easy to treat - we can use the same thing we used for her - a gel you rub on his ear.  We will see what the test results show.

Heart murmur is also present.  This apparently does not seem to be related to dehydration as we had hoped.  It could, however be related to hyperthyroid.  Evidently the hormone the thyroid produces can irritate the heart muscle if the levels are high and cause the heart to be inflamed which can then cause the murmur.  So - if the tests confirm hyperthyroid - it could correct itself if we get his levels back in line.

If the murmur does not go away or the hyperthyroid is not confirmed, then heart disease could be the culprit which we can treat with medication and diet.  We will likely need an echo-cardiogram to confirm.

So - long story short - we are addressing the urinary tract infection with the antibiotic shot.  We are holding on anything else until we get results back on the thyroid.  In the meantime - Ollie is feeling good - active and ornery like always.  :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Birthday Critter Bonanza

Today was my birthday and it was a great day.  I got some time with my critters (only captured a few snaps) - I think Finn wins today's cuteness award...

Then we went for a cruise on a local lake and captured some wildlife photos:

While we were cruising around the lake we found this little guy in distress and saved him from drowning.  He was so exhausted when we fished him out of the lake he just hung out with me and rested.  Once we got back to shore we found a good spot and let him go - he was all dry by then and seemed to be okay - hopping from one branch to another and then flying a short way.  I hope he is okay and has a good long life...

It was a great critter filled birthday!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ollie's Under the Weather

Well - my boy kitty isn't feeling great.  The symptoms of the urinary tract infection came back - I think the colloidal silver treated the symptoms but was not strong enough to overcome infection itself.  I decided it was time to get him into the vet.

He was not at all cooperative this morning - running off twice resulting in a romp through the woods in order to catch him.  He is at the vet now getting all fixed up.  They are doing a bunch of stuff - all his routine stuff is due, physical, fecal, vaccinations, etc.  They are also going to give him a subcutaneous fluid boost - he is a bit dehydrated which is a typical result of UTI.  They are also doing a full blood panel and sending the urine out to the lab to get a full diagnosis.  They also heard a heart murmur while they were checking him out.  Could be related to being dehydrated, could be something he was born with, could be the start of heart disease - we will know more on Tuesday when I take him back.  I get to pick him up in a bit - hoping they will start him on an antibiotic so he will feel better.

I hope my little dude is okay - nothing like worrying all weekend til Tuesday rolls around.

Friday, May 24, 2013


We have a ton of birds this year.  We had a nest of Carolina Wrens that hatched and flew the nest a couple of days ago - the babies and mama are still around - I see them every day.  We also have a family of Cardinals, a family of Redheaded Woodpeckers, House Finches, Doves, Bluejays, Robins and Chickadees.

I have set up feeders on the porch, a squirrel feeder and a couple of hummingbird feeders.  This brings lots of activity to the porch - resulting in lots of entertainment for the kitties:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Strolling Along....

Let me preface this post by saying the hubs is not impressed....he said I was "that person" and made me promise he would never have to be seen in public with this purchase... that said:

Look what I got...

Yep - its a pet stroller.  Now - let me be clear - I don't picture myself pushing my critters around the neighborhood in the stroller.  Zoey would absolutely love it but its probably not gonna happen.  Here are my thoughts on how we will use it though:

  1. I rarely take just one critter to the vet - in fact - once the babies get on the insurance policy I will be taking the 5 little critters for one visit.  This will come in quite handy - get them loaded up inside.  Head out to the car - pop them in the back seat and then out and into the vets office.  Much better than dealing with multiple carriers.
  2. Emergencies - I posted the other day that I was a planner.  As I reassessed our plan for fire, tornado or evacuation I was looking for ways to shave off time.  This stroller is quite large and has a 150 pound capacity.  Clooney and Finn might squabble and Aggie and Phoebe might fuss but the reality of it is - in a pinch there is room for all four cats, four ferrets and the hedgehog in there.  I wouldn't want to leave them in there for an extended period of time but it will work for getting everyone in one spot, secured and out in a very short amount of time.
  3. Aging puppies - we are very lucky that Emma is in fantastic health but she is 10 years old.  As she ages we may run into issues with hips, arthritis or other ailments that might require transporting her to and from the vet without her getting there under her own power.  I really hope we never have to use the stroller for this purpose but I did make sure that it could accommodate her size.  So far she is afraid of the thing so we have some work to do there.
  4. Travel - There are times when we take the little critters with us when we travel.  This is typically when we go to the beach for a week.  This stroller will be great for transporting them and for letting them hang outside with us in a safe little enclosure.
  5. Hanging outside - Both Zoey and Oliver LOVE to hang out outside.  With Zoey she is content just to go on the porch or the deck.  With Oliver - he is a runner so he has to be closely supervised.  With the stroller there is room for both he and Zoey to hang out comfortably.  I can take them outside with me while I work in the yard - they will be so happy!
So that's what I plan to do with it.  So far - other than the dog - everyone else seems to love it.  I set it up and have left it open for them to investigate.  I want them to get used to it and have it be familiar so that when they get stuck in there for an emergency they won't be freaked out.  Here are a few snaps:

Front View - with Zoey being our lovely model

Side View

Back View - red pocket for critter stuff, black pouch for water bottle

Ollie checking it out

Is he a ham or what??

Phoebe and Ollie

Madison and Violet


Phoebe wondering what Violet is doing in there



Eskimo Kisses - Ollie and Finn


Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I had every intention of pulling out the camera today and getting some shots of Nigel, the kitties and Emma.  It never happened.  Today was filled with chores and lots of work and no time for cameras.  I did spend some quality one on one time with Finn this morning - he was in the mood to play and most of his critter siblings were snoozing.  The babies and Madison helped me change the bed this evening - that was an adventure.  Nigel had lots of out of the cage time today.  Zoey and Phoebe are hanging out with me as I type and I spent some time with Ollie and Aggie during my long stretch of conference calls.  Emma and I had some outside time and some toy time and Clooney kept me company while I was in the tub.  So - I got to have some critter time but I didn't have time to document it.  Maybe tomorrow or sometime over the long weekend.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Miscellaneous May Weasel Snaps

Here are a few ferret snaps that I took over the course of the month - stay tuned for kitty, pup and hedgie snaps coming soon: