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.

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