Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's been awhile...

OK, so it's been like forever since I've posted.  Or it feels that way anyway.  So, Shiloh's still here and still eating his critical care/squash baby food mix.  He was seen again by the vet yesterday, who pointed out that his other top incisor, which had previously been broken off at the gumline.... has mysteriously vanished.  Vet said it's a possibility that the trauma from the other tooth caused the body to try to absorb that tooth.  Which, long story short, would be awesome, but would also mean he'd have to go in and get his bottom teeth pulled.

If, on the other hand, his top incisor does grow back, it may grind down both bottom incisors, or it may start to cause him problems breathing again, which then it would have to be removed, and then the bottom ones would have to go as well.  But, the surgery for removing the bottom ones is considerably less risky and traumatic, so I'm hoping the top tooth is gone and I only have to worry about a future bottom extraction.

Had a lot of calls about chins and critters recently, but considerably more calls than adoptions.  Everyone's being flakey lately and calling and then I never hear back, or not showing up, or whatever.

So, my friend with the guinea pig rescue has been trying to get back this dalmation guinea pig to her rescue.  The original adopters refused to return the pig to her rescue, and were offering the pig for free.  I tried to pose as a potential adopter to adopt the pig, but then my friend pointed out -- they know who I am because I used to sell them hay.  Needless to say, they wouldn't give me the pig, they didn't even bother responding to my emails.  They were giving away the pig, with all of its stuff, for free.  Well, the ad was taken down, and funny, now there's another ad for this exact same pig with all of its stuff for $150.  The ad says that it comes with $300 worth of hay.  Funny, I can buy hay for $5/bale, what is the pig coming with 60 bales?  So I email this lady and ask if she would sell just the pig, saying I have another piggie that needs a companion.  First, I get an email this morning saying she won't, cause she has no use for the stuff without the pig.  More like, she knows she can't sell that stuff for that much, so she wants to sell it as a package deal to an unknowing idiot.  Moving along, I get another email a few minutes ago, saying she will sell just the pig for only $75.  I couldn't restrain myself and emailed back:

Sorry, but that's a little much. I'd much rather get a guinea pig that needs a home over buying one at the pet store, but I can buy one for $35. No sense paying an extra $40 to get one off craigslist, that's a tad ridiculous.

Which it is.  It's sad when it's all about money.  I mean, this person got the pig FOR FREE and is now trying to make $150 off it.  And the animal's caught in the middle.  Ridiculous.  And I just got an email back saying "K".  I can't wait to see how long this critter is for sale on craigslist, cause I don't care how much shit a guinea pig comes with, it's not worth $150.

So, I finally made the liners for Truffles, Lacey, and Pixie's cage.  So they finally got moved into their cage.  Obviously, these are not pics that are going to make it on the website. Pardon the poos, I need to vacuum, but here they are:

Lacey (front) & Pixie (back)

Truffles (left) and Pixie (right)
Need to add some chins to the website.  Kandie's finally ready.  And then I have a standard female that was the runt and is still kinda tiny but will be ready in a few weeks, and a mosaic male that will also be ready in a few weeks.  Get those started on finding homes.  Available with limited peds if people want them.

Feast your eyes on the cuteness:

And then just a few random pics.  Toby looking kinda peeved.

...and Evil (aka Gypsy) looking, well, evil.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Shiloh's home!

So, Shiloh actually came home yesterday night, but point is, he's home!!  YAAAY!!!  His bill was actually cut down to $2500 by the vet, they capped it off.  Got us a $400.01 credit.  Whoo-boy.  Will be sending a thank you to the vet. 

Well, he was living downstairs in his cage, but those feedings every few hours necessitated that he be moved upstairs.  Though there is a fridge downstairs, there's no microwave, and no pet wants to eat their handfeeding mix cold.  So... upstairs he is.  In his little travel cage, which he is clearly not thrilled about, but he's gonna manage.

He did greet me with his "all clear" sound this morning, though not as enthusiastically as usual.  The handfeeding.... ah... is not going so well.  They said at the vet that he liked the squash baby food.  So, on the way home, I stopped at Meijer and got him some squash baby food.  So, his apple banana critical care was mixed up with some lifeline and mostly the babyfood as the wet (and a little water).  Got a nice milkshake consistency for once.  I'm sure that's an interesting taste, apple banana and squash, but oh well.  It smells better than regular critical care so it's surely got to taste better (though, despite the orange squash babyfood, it still is that nasty greenish brown color).  So... he's not too fond of feeding time.  I have some new chew marks on my hands, and I tell you, this thing can RUN.  Little stinker. 

At the vet last night, we learned that he does best eating when I'm sitting on the floor indian style and he's standing in between my legs.  Little stinker wants to climb up my shirt so I'm holding him, but he already did a number to my jacket at the vet's, so I'm trying to keep him by the jeans, which he hopefully can't tear holes in. 

So, at home, that's how I was handfeeding him.  Little stinker, I put him in my lap and what does he do?  Wipe his nose and face all over my shirt.  It's like having a baby.  So then, get a little of the handfeeding mix in his mouth, and he chews some, and then wipes his mouth on my shirt/pants.  Let's just say right now if you all could see my clothes... well, I can't decide... I either look homeless, or like I had a food fight with a 2 yr old (and the 2 yr old won).  And despite the CC mix being greenish brown, the spots on my clothes are more of an orangeish green color.  Yum yum.  I clearly will need to find different jeans to go out in public.

But he is eating some.  You'd never guess, considering how much I have on me and how much I have to wipe up from him, but the amount in the mix container is going down, so he's definitely eating some.  I need to weigh him tomorrow and get an actual weight on him so I can see how he's doing from day to day.

He is on metacam 0.15 cc once a day (for inflammation and pain), 0.15 cc baytril once daily (for infection), and 0.8 cc reglan (well, its metrocomp.... whatever... it's "reglan" to those that know) for gut motility twice daily.

He can't be feeling toooo too bad, cause he is a feisty little sucker.  He is still mouth breathing somewhat, and has an appointment on the 26th (I called up and asked for an appointment on the 25th before realizing, oh, Christmas, duh) to be seen again by the doctor who oversaw him after surgery.  Dr. Poliakoff?  Maybe. 

He definitely doesn't seem super comfy or anything like that, but then, he's totally off oxygen now.  His nose is oozing a bit, and I'm not sure if it's infection or mucus or what... they did say it would, so I'm not too concerned... but I don't know if I should wipe it off or leave it.  Don't want to dry it out, but I couldn't tell you if he normally has a wet nose or not.  Course, he typically makes his choice pretty clear and wipes his face & nose all over me once I pick him up.  Little stinker.   

His breathing doesn't seem too bad until he starts really getting upset.  So, when he really starts fussing about eating, he's done, he can go back. This morning, tried to make him eat some more when I was frustrated and he was frustrated, yeah, wrong idea.  Completely stressed him out and he was mouth breathing horribly again after a few more minutes.  So that's a no.  But the feeding didn't seem as horrible later at night so maybe he's getting used to it.  Maybe next mix I will put in more squash.  But I don't really think the flavor is the problem, he just doesn't like being restrained, but there's no getting that syringe near his mouth without some form of restraining him.  Ah well, the later feeding was better than in the morning so I won't complain.  His breathing seems more through his nose, but still labored.  So...I don't know.  They said he will just have to get used to breathing the way he will.  But then, there's still the question of the other top incisor and the bottom ones, so who knows how he's gonna end up breathing by the time this is all over with.

The important thing is that he's still alive and he IS getting some sleep, so he's not gonna die of exhaustion on us. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shiloh Update

So, Shiloh's not home yet, still.  Turns out, they are having a harder time weaning him off the oxygen than they originally thought they would.  Yesterday, when I called in the morning, they'd gotten him down from 4 liters per min down to 1 liter per minute.  They had talked about trying to wean him off of that.  When I talked to them today, they had him down to 1/2 liter.  When I called today, they said that they'd tried to get him off completely, and that he was fine when he was sleeping, but when he would wake up and become active, he was getting too tired and lethargic, so they had to put him on oxygen.  They said maybe tomorrow (Sunday) he'll be ready to go home.  They have to wean him off oxygen first, so this is still tentative, but they said they'll work on weaning him down to 1/4 liter per minute and then off.

They said while he's been sleeping, he's been curling up in a ball to do so.  So he must be reasonably comfy to do so, so that's good.
They said, the other day, that they've already gone over my estimate.  The high end of my estimate was about $2000ish, and they told me they're already more like $2100-2300.  Ouch.  They said they will cap expenses at $2500 so that, get this, it "stays affordable."  Cause, you know, $2500 is affordable, but $2600?  $2700? Apparently not affordable.  My dad said it well when he said that places like this think money is no object for the customers.  Cause dude, $2500 is going to cut out at least half of the chin account.  

Not to mention, he needs to be rechecked in about a week, and then possibly have the surgery for the other nostril, or to remove the bottom tooth that is now going to have nothing to butt up against.  So this definitely isn't over yet.

I think I'm going to do a raffle of some chin items/supplies to benefit the rescue.  Like $5 tickets and you could win the basket, or like maybe even a basket or a variety of single items that are more pricy but still reasonable.  Like stuff that I make, like hidey houses or toys or something like that.  Or like hammock or something.  Like maybe in the basket I could have some of the treats and stuff, or like maybe I'll do a poll on my page and see what people would like to see in a raffle basket.  It takes about a year to clear $2000 at the rescue so we're already into taking a year to rebuild what's already been spent, so if we could even get a few hundred or heck even a hundred, that would be awesome.  Every little bit helps. 

If we do bring home Shiloh tomorrow, I can't wait to see him!  He's been there since Monday morning, so it's been a good 6 days since I've seen him. 


Ok, so people are frustrating me.  I had someone call me earlier in the week who wanted to come Saturday.  He didn't know what time, just said "morning," and would call back to set up a time.  Well, I told him, until I had an actual time, I wasn't going to mark him down, cause I have other appointments to set and all.  So he calls me the next day and leaves a message saying he's going to be here at 12.  Really?  Don't ask or anything, just tell me what time you're going to show up.  Well, unlucky for him, I had already scheduled something else going on and he either could come at the crack of dawn or not until about 7 pm.  So I called him and told him that, and he rescheduled for tomorrow (Sunday).  Fine, no big deal.  Til he calls today and says they went and picked up a chin locally, so they won't be coming tomorrow.  Really?  Great way to teach the kid patience.  Now, I don't usually wish bad on people, but lately a lot of people have been telling me that they've gotten chins from the pet stores and the chin died within a week.... I don't normally wish evil, but I wouldn't feel bad if the chin were sick or died.  Cause he was another one of those that didn't want to go to a pet store, wanted to get a healthy chin from a breeder, and then what does he do?  Cave when the daughter can't wait a single day and goes to the pet store.

Moving on.  There was someone who called twice the other day.  Like twice in the same hour.  So I called back, left a message.  They didn't call back, so I called back a second time, and they ended the phone call on their end.  Fine, they found a chin elsewhere, but would it be so difficult to tell me?

Then, I had these people call the other day asking about a chin for their kid.  So she basically said she needed to talk to the husband, but everything sounded good and all.  Musta asked me every question in the book about chin care and everything and was already planning everything she was going to get from us with the chin.  So she said she'd call back the next day.  When she didn't, the following day I called them and left a message.  Of course they didn't call back.

What is it with the flakes lately?

Had someone call today asking about the pair of chins we have for sale and asking about used cages that we have.  Said he might want to come today, would call back.  What do you bet he doesn't call back?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shiloh update

Ok, so I spoke with the vet today.  Different vet, but very nice.  Said she'd had prairie dogs as pets before and seemed knowledgeable (well, I would hope after 14 years working at the exotic vet's).  Anyway.

So they said they had put the shunt in his nostril.  It clogged with his blood and blood clots, so they had to sedate him, pull it out, clean out his nose, and put in another one.  They said that for a prairie dog to breathe through its mouth is difficult because the trachea is so far back, so they basically have to do this heaving breathing, and so they said he's on 4 liters of oxygen (per minute? hour?  she told me but I don't remember), and that's the level at which he's breathing reasonably normally.  Not normal I guess, but less labored than before.  She said that in the days following surgery, they slowly wean the pet off the oxygen.  She said usually within 3 days, the body will actually get used to the lower level of oxygen being brought in, and will create more red blood cells to carry the oxygen (like people who live on mountains).  She said also within 3 days, the inflammation in his nose should go down.

She said he's not out of the danger zone yet, and because it is so hard for them to breathe out of their mouths, that he could literally die of exhaustion.  Hence, they have such a high level of oxygen (I don't know what a normal amount is, this is just what she said) and they're watching him closely.  I checked the box that I want him revived if he stops breathing, so she said that means if he stopped breathing they would try to cut a hole in the back of his neck going straight into the trachea, tube him, and connect the oxygen to that tube.  I can only imagine what that would cost me.  The high end of the surgery was like $2100 (basically, the if-things-go-badly-amount), I paid $650 down, on top of the $270 initial vet visit, so we're already at $920 and I have this feeling I'm going to owe a lot more when I go to pick him up.  Expensive little shit (said with the most love I can muster at this point). 

She said he's not eating, which really isn't a surprise, as to eat, and breathe, we're talking about the same airway which is clogged.  So they said they are syringe feeding him enough to keep his gut moving, but he is losing weight.  But they're not feeding him enough to keep it stable because its hard for him to breathe and eat at the same time right now. 

So that's where we are at the moment.  She said no news is good news, but I'm supposed to call several times a day at the minimum (um, oops?  They called me once yesterday and I talked to them, but I never called them later), so I'll call them again tonight and hopefully things will be going well.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mildly stupid people....and Shiloh

Ok, so a few days ago we gave out a new award for the stupidest email ever.  I have since deleted it, so I don't know it word for word, but the person responded to one of our ads for guinea pigs, asking if we had any dogs or puppies, available, specifically lab mixes (but no lab-w-rott/chow/gsd, etc).  I emailed back and explained that we are a small animal rescue and only have caged small animals here, and even small dogs/cats do not count as "small animals." 

OK, I can understand when someone sees out ad that says we take in animals and emails and says, hey, I was wondering if you have a rabbit, or a gerbil, or whatever.  I get it.  They don't need to look through every ad, they just see, ok, small animal rescue, maybe they have it.  Those I can understand.  But a dog?

Moving on to today.  This one's more mildly stupid, but stupid nonetheless.  All it said was:

I really think my daughter would like sonic but my she has to keep her room clean till x-mas

Ok. So why email me now?  It's like saying, ok, depending on the next two weeks, we may or may not want your guinea pig, but I'm going to tell you now, even though it's completely pointless, cause I'd never put an animal on hold based on the thought that someone "might" do something for two weeks.  Uh, no.  I emailed the guy back and was like ok, well, if she does, then let me know and if he's still here we can work on the adoption.

Moving onto Shiloh.  Got a call today around 1 pm from Midwest Bird.  So, Dr. Clarkson did the surgery, but they were only able to extract one of the top teeth (the one that was not buried at the gumline).  She said it took her an hour just to get that one out, and she didn't feel it was safe to keep him out even longer to get the other one.  So, they just got the one, she said we will see how he does for a few weeks with the one top incisor removed.  If the other is damaged, it may not grow, so that may not be a problem, but it all depends.  If his breathing seems significantly better with that one out, it may not matter, and then we will just need to worry about that bottom tooth that would be butting up to it.  She said she ground down the bottom teeth to the gumline to give us some time (thank god, cause this has already cost me over $900 and we're probably not done yet, I could use a few weeks...) and so we are going to give it a few weeks and re-evaluate.  So, she said they had to go through the palatte to get the tooth out, so because of that, there was excess bleeding and all that.  She said she put a shunt in his nostril to keep it open while everything heals.  She said he's up and awake and eating, and on oxygen.  So that's promising at least. 

No calls from them since then, so he must be still doing ok.  I'm supposed to call in the morning to check on him, so I will do that and they'll give me an update on him. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Shiloh again

So, we had an adoption today, two degus went to their new home.

But in more pressing news, Shiloh has stopped eating on his own.  His breathing is now labored and it is clear he cannot breathe through his nose.   He is completely mouth-breathing now.  He is getting 0.3cc of metacam nightly, but this clearly is not having any positive effect on him or on bringing down the swelling and inflammation in his nasal cavity.  All of this points to a definite odontoma.

Used the coffee grinder to grind up his lab blocks and dog food, and make it into a critical-care-type-mush for him.  Got him to eat some of it, but it's clear that he's having a hard time eating and breathing at the same time.  It's hard to watch.

So, Midwest Bird is an emergency-clinic-only on Sat night/Sunday.  Which doubles the price for everything.  As I can't afford a surgery that would start at $1600, I will be giving them a call first thing Monday morning.  He has an appointment on Friday, but I can't bear to watch him like this if there is any way he can get in sooner than that.  Heck, we don't even need to see Dr. Clarkson, we just need to drop him off so they can prep him and start the surgery.

Poor Shiloh.  If you're reading this, keep your fingers and paws crossed for him.  Send some good thoughts this way.  He physically looks ok but his breathing and the expression on his face is not happy.  We're going to get him help as quickly as possible.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Just a bad time...

So, things seem up, things seem down... I think it's more down anymore.

Last week, Melon was adopted out.  She didn't want to get along with their chins, so now she's back. 

Had someone who had a hold on Lucy.  Got an email today that now they're going on a trip and will email me once they come back to see if she's still here.  Now, here's the thing -- the fact that they don't want her held for them.... probably means I will never hear back from them.

Then, adopted out a rat the other day... turns out the guy's allergic... even though he's had rats before and never had problems before... so now I have to schedule a time for that rat to come back.

I had someone fill out a form to adopt degus.... they wanted to come this Friday, and I'd told them the times they could come.  Never heard back.  So I emailed them a bit ago saying it's been 5 days, they've got two days to get back to me..... and so on so forth.  I don't anticipate hearing back.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012


So, we enter the Shiloh saga.  For those that don't know, Shiloh is our resident prairie dog.  He was a rescue prairie dog, but we fell in love with him and he's staying.

Well, earlier this year, maybe two weeks ago?  Recently, anyway, we noticed he'd somehow managed to knock out one of his top incisors.  So, at the time, the bottom incisor (the one that had nothing to bump up against) started growing moreso.  So, we took him to Munster and they filed his teeth.

Fast forward to now, a few days ago I noticed he wasn't eating his food with quite his usual gusto, and his breathing sounded labored and squeaky.  And that bottom tooth was again sticking way up further than his other bottom tooth.  Time to go to Midwest Bird and see the specialist.  So today we went to Midwest Bird.  Made the decision to put him under to do x-rays to get a better idea of what's going on with those teeth.  I asked them to look at his molars while they had him under, so if he had anything wrong there we'd know about that as well.

So, the molars look good.  Good to hear.  The top teeth, not so much.  The x-ray showed that the top tooth that snapped off snapped off below the gumline.  The vet said that it may grow back, it may not.  It depends on how badly the tooth was damaged.  They said that the damage to the tooth could lead to swelling and to an odontoma.  Apparently the surrounding tissue swells and basically seals off the nasal passages.  The x-rays showed early indication of odontoma and the vet said his wheezing and the sounds he's making would also point in that direction.  Vet prescribed meloxicam (metecam) to try to bring the swelling down and see if that makes any difference in his breathing.  She also wanted to see if his upper incisor (the broken one) would grow at all within a few days.  We have a follow up appointment next Friday morning.  Until then he gets 0.3cc of metecam once daily to try to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Worst case scenario is that nothing improves and the odontoma becomes more evident.  In that case, we would need to consider surgery.  Without treatment, an odontoma would basically block the nasal cavity completely, making it so that the critter can't breathe through its nose.  In the early stages, it causes breathing problems and wheezing, which is where we are right now.  My opinion, based on being there today and talking to the vet, it sounds like it's just a matter of time before we have to do the surgery. 

The surgery involves removal of all four front incisors, roots and all.  Part of the problem here, with Shiloh, would not only be the odontoma, but also that if that tooth never grows back because it's too damaged, he'd have to go in for filings probably weekly.  With extracting the teeth, that problem would go away as well. 

I asked the vet to look at his back teeth, and she said those look perfectly fine.  Which is good, cause if we're considering removing all of the front teeth, we need the back ones in good shape to keep the critter alive.  She said prairie dogs mainly use the front teeth to pick up food, and he would do fine without them (if it comes to that). 

The good thing is that apparently, this is a common thing in prairie dogs.  So the vet has done the surgery before, and understands what needs to be done and how to do it.  Of course, nothing is without risks, if we did have to go through with surgery, they said there would be significant inflammation and Shiloh would have to be on oxygen for several days following the procedure (so, he would need to stay at the vet for several days). 

The vet said that the surgery for him could be more difficult than usual, since the one tooth is broken off so far up, they would have to go up through the bone to extract the tooth.  The surgery was quoted at $800-1200.  Not sure exactly what that does/does not cover, but that's a general idea.  Today's visit was over $270 alone, so this is going to be an expensive ordeal. 

This is what I'm talking about when people go off about the initial cost of a pet, and I say they should be more worried about future veterinary costs than the purchase price.  I had someone call the other day looking for a breedable female chin.  They were interested in Keeper, the cheapest chin we have listed, at a $60 adoption fee.  Had they read the ad, she doesn't get along with other chins.  But no, they were more concerned about getting the cheapest chin possible.  I told them about Keisa, who is pedigreed and breedable, and I told them, they should be less concerned about the cost of the chin, because if they need to do a  c-section on a chin, it's going to run them a lot more than the $40 difference in price between Keeper and Keisa.  And this is exactly what I'm talking about.  Shiloh didn't cost me a penny, he was dropped off at the rescue.  He was dropped off with multiple puncture wounds and a raging infection that took us 6 months of antibiotics to get under control.  It took months after that for his fur (had fallen out from shoulders down) to grow back.  It cost a fortune in vet bills just to get him back to being a healthy prairie dog.  I don't remember how much it was now, years later, but let's say it's probably several times more than what the average person would pay for a prairie dog.  Fine, we can call that the adoption fee, what it cost me to get a pet prairie dog.  But by taking in Shiloh and deciding we were going to keep him, I made the commitment to him to care for him as he should be.  That includes paying for vet care necessary.  For some people, like Rochelle's owners, this visit today, $273, would have been way more than they wanted to spend.  Imagine someone like that looking at a potential $800-1200 vet bill.  I'm not trying to say everyone should go bankrupt trying to pay for vet care for their pets.  If you can't afford it, you can't afford it.  It's that simple.   I understand.  I'm not made of money either, and I have other pets/rescues to think about, the way people have kids and mortgages and everything to worry about.  But I feel like at the very least, the people should have the means to take the animal to the vet.  If the prognosis is bad, or if the family cannot afford the treatment, the animal could be put down, but they should at least be taken to the vet to see what is possible for them.  This is my prairie dog, I take responsibility for his care.  I wish I could say the same for everyone and their pets. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Recent things....

So, several pets went to their adoptive homes recently.  Because I'm busy and tired, those pictures are posted on both my website's happy customers page, as well as the facebook page.  But not here, cause I really need to get stuff done.

Got two orders mailed out, and I just got a beep from my phone that I got another paypal payment for likely a large order.  Oh yay.  (ugh)

Still working on those orders.  Had someone come to pick up an order today, and I did ship out two orders.  Just got in another order, for some simple stuff that will take me 5 minutes to do, so I think I'm gonna get to working on that.  Some of the "older" orders are actually ones where I'm waiting for something to dry, so I give the wooden items 2 days to dry, so that puts those orders longer.  Have an order at the moment for a custom width wood, so I went and bought that today. 

Working on those orders at the moment.

Called Midwest Bird today -- took out Shiloh.  He's actually making a wheezing sound now and on top of that, his teeth are growing out of control, and he needs an expert to look at it.  So Wednesday he's going in to see Dr. Clarkson.  Send some happy thoughts his way.

Oh!  And Pumpkin (aka Chloe) was adopted today!  So she went home with her new family.  Check out the happy customers page for pics.