Monday, October 29, 2012

Hammocks -- good and bad

So, first, "good hammocks."  Since I got down to two hammock patterns, I figured it was time to add some of the new ones to the website/webstore.  So I did -- feel free to check them out.  Also have a zebra pattern one and probably another few to add... but so far the ones I put up are the ones I had at least one currently made of, so I could take the pic for the website.  So the current list of patterns is here -->

And onto "bad hammocks."  Ok, so many know this, but I will reiterate, the hammocks at the pet store are not safe.  None of them.  Not even the ferret hammocks.  The pet store ones typically hang by nylon ropes, and are made of some fabric other than fleece, which contains strings.  Strings, which I might add, can become frayed and exposed when the chin chews on the hammock.  Strings, which, once exposed, can become tangled around a chinchilla's foot, causing the chinchilla to dangle from the hammock, by its leg, when the chinchilla tries to get off the hammock. 

Which brings me to our surrender of the day.  Rochelle is a 5-6 month old chin who came to her past owner's house with (apparently) her brother (who I did not catch the name of).  Rochelle and brother's first owner had them since they were babies, and told the most recent owners that chins could not breed until they are 1 year old.  Uh, nope.  So anyway, these chins were kept together in a cage, with one of the above-mentioned "bad hammocks."  Rochelle somehow got her leg caught in the threads, and the family found her dangling.  They had no idea how long she might have been dangling for.  Wonderful. 

So, if this was here -- not that this would ever happen here, but hypothetically -- we would have blu-koated the wound and it might have healed ok.  Assuming it was done day 1, as soon as they found her.  But, see, that's me.  For regular people, wanna know what they did?  Called around to every vet in the area asking how much it'd cost to see her, and asking about home remedies.  Apparently a grand majority of vets told them that the chin would die, and quoted them potential prices of $175 for x-rays and $50 to see the chin.  Well, the $50 sounds about right, but unless they're taking a ton of x-rays, I'm thinking that number should be cheaper.  Anyway.  So, the lady I'm talking to says they can't afford that and wants me to take the chin in and find someone who can care for her the way she needs to be.  Um... what?  Ok, so once I get these people on the phone, it's clear they think I have some magical powers of healing or of finding some magical guardian angel who wants an injured chin with an impending vet bill.  Um, no.  I told them, when they bring her here, depending on how she looks, I have pain meds, I have anti-inflammatories (I have valid prescriptions for all of these -- excess meds from previous chins), if it didn't look too bad, I might try treating for a bit and take her into the vet if no improvement, but I told them, regardless of what happened with my hypothetical treatment, she was likely going to have to go to the vet.  As... wait for it... the hanging incident was.... a week ago. 

So, in this week, the chin's brother had started chewing on her foot.  In addition, the fur started falling out.  Her foot swelled.  And somewhere in this, they decided that she wasn't getting better and called me. 

They said they gave her a dust bath (which I can only think:  yeeeeeowch!) and all the dust stuck to her foot, which made them think "oooh!!  the fur's growing back!!  she's doing ok!!" until they realized it was the dust sticking to her foot.  Uh, yeah.  If that doesn't scream "most intelligent owners ever" I don't know what would.  Ok, so here's the thing.  She is NOT getting a dust bath until this thing looks better cause it is oozing and pussing and clearly severly infected and that dust would f-ing hurt

So, before I get to pictures, I want to note, while I was still on the phone with them, these people asked if it would be possible -- once she was adoptable, if I would let them know and could they adopt her back?  And if not her, like if she died, could they adopt another one?  Now, they are lucky they asked me this on the phone cause after seeing her, I may have just strangled them.  I tried to, as nicely as I could manage given the circumstances, tell them that if they can't/won't afford the vet bill for this one, they definitely would not be able to adopt.  Not affording a vet bill doesn't bode well for affording future vet bills.  And here's the thing.  Had they taken her to the vet the day this happened, I would bet any money that the chin would have been sent home with preventative antibiotics and she would have healed up fine.  But nooo....

So, while I didn't go into this with them, here's the real problem with a rescue ever letting someone drop off a sick chin and later, when it's well, adopt it (and this should be fairly obvious).  Allowing someone to drop off a sick chin and then adopt it back later -- that would allow everyone to try to skirt vet bills.  I mean, come on, why would anyone pay vet bills if they could just drop off the chin at a rescue, have the rescue care for it while it's sick and foot all its vet bills, and then adopt it back for a measely fraction of what's been spent at the vet (not to mention, food, chews, and other necessities while the chin is at the rescue)?  They wouldn't.  Rescues would get in tons of sick chins by people who would be more than glad to re-adopt once the chin is well.  No... don't think so.

Even in this instance.  It's a standard grey chin, a young one, so adoption fee would be $100.  Well, with her going to the vet we can expect at least $100 in vet bills (it's $48 to walk in the door, so I fully expect a higher vet bill, but just for example purposes), and then the chin has to be here for four months to be sure that she's not pregnant before she leaves.  So, that's four months of food, water, treats, hay, chews, cage cleanings, etc etc etc.  If she has to go back to the vet in that period of time (which I'm betting is highly likely, given her condition), we're looking at another $48 as well as whatever the other fees are at that point.  All for an adoption fee of $100.  Yeah, see, this is why, for those people who say "you get em for free, why charge such a high adoption fee?"  Chins like this are why.  At $75 adoption fee per chin, I need 4 healthy chins to make up for one chin with a $300 vet bill.  And that's assuming that somehow those four chins don't cost me a cent while they're here.  In reality, it's probably a heck of a lot more than 4 healthy chins to make up for the one sick one that requires vet visits. 

Plus, I hate to say it, but paying an adoption fee of $75-100 for a small animal rescue really DOES seem to show whether you're willing to spend money on it in the future.  The people who come here and want a $25 chin?  I'm betting they would never think of spending a dime on vet care.  They'd just replace it with another $25 chin if it died.  On the other hand, the people willing to spend a tad more seem to be more the type to spend the money if the need arises.

For this chin, they said they got her from someone who wasn't caring for her well.... or something like that.  I didn't get the feeling they had paid a fortune for them though, even though it was two young chins.  Cause if they had, they'd be the people asking if I could pay them to take their chin in since they "just paid $____ for it and I've only had it ____ weeks and so it's clearly still worth that much."  Uh, yeah.  And I really do get people like that.  Sorry, but it's a rescue.  I try to find homes for animal that need to go now, not ones that "have to go by tonight.... rehoming fee of $300."  Uh, no.

Anyway, enough ranting, back to the chin.  Here's pics of Rochelle...

...and pics of her injury.  Please note, these are linked because they are graphic.  Not for the queasy. 

--pic 1 --
--pic 2 --

...and this is why you should stick with hammocks made by chinchilla vendors and rescues, as our hammocks (the collective "our" -- as in the chin vendors all together) are made with fleece, which does not contain strings, so your chin cannot get caught up in the hammock the way this one did.  Avoid all this suffering and pain with a good hammock.

Oh, and she has been given some metacam (pain med) to get her through the night until our vet opens in the morning.

I want to note, those pictures were taken after her epsom salt soak (which is why her leg fur is wet).  I should have taken a "before" picture, because that entire foot was a dark angry purple (like when we get a black and blue mark, it was that horrible color).  And there really is no fur on that foot.  The second picture is more true to life regarding the color, only it's now back to a nice dark purplish red.  Ick.  Can we say, infection?  And, it's oozing.  Not bleeding, no, not now (though, clearly before), no, now it's oozing.  Ickkkk.  Sorry but at some point I don't like looking at it either.  I especially don't like when it's sticky.  Yeeecch.  I can't wait to get her in to see the vet. 

For the people who looked at those pics, chin skin is supposed to be a nice bluish gray color.  Can't say it's exactly pretty to see a chin's skin, as they do look best with fur, but we've had some with injuries that require some fur to be removed, and their skin is actually a pretty color.  A nice bluish gray.  Notice how that leg is not at all that color.  And notice, in the second pic, the other leg in the background, if nothing else, for size comparison. 

Will update tomorrow when I know more of what's going on with her.  Fingers and paws crossed, and send some good thoughts this way!

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