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! :)