Thursday night he got sick. Vomiting, diarrhea, pawing at the mouth, tender belly ... the list goes on. It took me forever to find an after hours vet that would see ferrets. Finally I'm referred to one that will, and it takes us an hour to get there, and when we do, I realize the vet is kind of just ... clueless. About diets, about ferrets, and I'm just about to give up. Because you would not know that ferrets are the THIRD MOST POPULAR PET IN THE US by the way people don't really know anything about them.
Basically, they xray him and take a fecal smear (because it HAS to be salmonella and/or bacteria overload. I mean, raw meat.). Nothing's wrong. They give him sub-q fluids, a motility drug injection, and send us home with a can of a/d (since I clearly don't know what I'm doing with my guys' diet) and a bottle of amoxicillin. That was about $300, and we get home around 2:30 in the morning. I'm thinking, "well, If I can just get him through 'til the vets open at 8, I'll get him in to the Blacksburg vet." Well, when we get home he's perked up. He's drinking and eating cgh like it's going out of style, and his poo even firms up. Friday's the same, and I'm thinking, "maybe it was all the stress, and we're in the clear."
But then Saturday comes. He starts off good, and I'm watching like a hawk because our vets close at 1 pm on Saturdays, but he holds strong ... until about 5:30. Of course. At first it's just explosive diarrhea, and I'm thinking if I can keep him hydrated through Sunday, then we can get him in on Monday. It's a plan. Kind of. But around 9 pm he starts vomiting again, and I know there's no way I can combat diarrhea and vomiting. So we call in to the after hours clinic then head down there (with three little girls in tow).
This time we see a different vet, Dr. W. She knows about ferrets and about raw diets (feeding it herself). I tell her about the a/d, and she's shaking her head and saying ... "that's only a step up if you feed kibble! You don't want to go to that if you're feeding raw, it's full of carbs :C " When we let her know that the other vet's attitude was, Dr. W was really sheepish. So we talked diets, she told me that Hiko's lymphnodes seemed enlarged, so she poked one, and it was fine, so it was just a response to his illness and NOT due to lymphoma. We got his bg tested, and he was at 130, so that was fine (and he had been not really eating for much of the day).
Basically, it seemed like a gastric illness, so we're now treating him for helicobacter. That means he's on the amoxi (still) as well as famotidine and metro, and on a bland, raw diet consisting of pureed chicken breast, a tsp of squash baby food, 1/4 tsp of eggshell powder, a bit of unflavored pedialyte and water to blend. It makes a nice, yellowish custardy slush. He seems to not mind it (Pixie loves it), but he HATES the metro, which is not surprising, poor guy. That stuff is horrid (Pixie was on it for HER helicobacter infection + ulcers).
We'll see how he does with this, now. Hopefully this is the last time we'll have to rush out late at night for this (oh! but I did learn how to administer sub-q fluids, so that's one good thing).
Now, on to a mix of Sian and new baby issues.
Thursday morning Sian got into Rula's cage. Which, she had acted promising about the new baby, so I wasn't really worried. Rula ... fell in love, and she was romping and playing, and Sian was doing well. I'm standing by the cage, with the doors open, and the girls move up to the shelf. Next thing I know, Sian loses it, without any hint of anything going awry, grabs the baby by the scruff and starts shaking Rula. Every hair on Sian's body is standing on point, but I'm following the rule - "no blood, no poo, no foul," and so far there's eee-eee-eee'ing on Rula's part but that's it.
Until Sian starts picking Rula up and slamming her into the bars of the cage. Pee and poo start flying, Rula's screaming, and I'm trying to get them separated. Which I do, thank god, and I see that no skin is broken (not even red. But Rula was covered in spit).
At this point I'm just o_O all over the place. But Rula had a vet appointment at 11:20, and as a last ditch effort to get them to have a positive experience with each other, I decide to take Hiko (ahahaha, this was before he got sick) and Sian with us in a separate cat carrier. We do, and OFF WE GO.
It's fine, they're all great at the vet's, and we just decide to treat EVERYONE for earmites, because they had been exposed that day, and Tuesday when we brought Rula home. We get home, and I decide to set Rula's cat carrier on the ground in the room and let the others smell at her from a distance. It goes well, and Rula sleeps through it.
I open the cage up to get Rula out, and Yogi sneaks in. At first he's good, just smelling and laying with her. Then he scruffs her and starts dragging her (this is from her being in a dead sleep) out of the carrier. She wakes screeching but I don't want to interfere too much since he's not being extremely aggressive, just dominant. But then Sian hears, and she rushes over. SOMEHOW Yogi shifts to where he's got Rula by the underside of her throat, and Sian's got her by the side of her neck and they are PULLING IN TWO DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.
Needless to say, I get THEM separated, and I realize it is going to be a good long while before Rula can handle introductions.
So Hiko's sick, Rula's separated and needing playtime, so I'm racing everywhere trying to do everything. I'm stressed, Sian's stressed, everyone's just kind of BLAH, and there's tension in the room and it just doesn't feel that great.
So, yeah. That explains this:
It's not ferret math! Sort of! I have never successfully kept singlets, and that's what Rula would have been for a LONG time as we get this situation sorted. Not feasible, especially with my upcoming schedule of classes and work. So, another baby.
Her name is Neera, which has both Spanish and Greek origins apparently, and means, and I quote, "devastating, capable of great destruction."
They're getting along famously. In the beginning, Rula was showing some fear response (from her previous experiences with my guys), but we got that sorted in short order and she is just so happy, I KNOW I made the right choice.
Which just goes to show - nothing goes according to plan (which I had, believe it or not. No, just believe it. REALLY.). Rula was going to get along with my guys. She'd give Hiko, who was the odd one out, a companion, and then in a year I was going to get a PRIVATE BRED FERT, and name her Meela, and it'd be perfection for years and years and years.
Instead, Hiko's sick but now is accepted as part of a cohesive business with the Triad, Sian's been pissed off and stressed out and jealous, and I have two new kits and two separate playgroups.
Now, with Neera here, though, Rula's occupied when I can't be with her; I'm able to focus on Sian, Pixie, Yogi and Hiko during their playtime instead of worrying about if Rula's bored and depressed, so Sian's calming down, and Hiko's med.s seem to be helping and the atmosphere is really turning around and getting lighter.
It's not what I expected, but it just might work.
(now have some gratuitous Rula shots from last night)