Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adoptions and Injured Chin (Nikki)

So, past few days.  Been slacking, I know.  Got a lot of orders and been working on those.  Man has shipping gone up!  Packages that I would have guessed would have been low 20's are now like mid-30's.  Yikes.  Anyway, so I have some new idiots to share and an adoption and an injured chin.

Let's start with the new idiot.  I know there's some people that say that's judgmental to say that, but some people really are.  If they simply lack knowledge, that's one thing.  But a lot of people I run into lack common sense, which is where "idiot" comes in.

So, bout the idiot.  I get a call from someone who's interested in Joey and sounds REALLY excited on the phone and REALLY wants to adopt him.  So, before I can even tell her about the care packet and adoption form, she asks me what he eats.  Before I can even answer, she literally says, "Just carrots, right?  Like Bugs Bunny?"  Um, no.  I told her (nicely) that their main diet is pellets, hay, and leafy greens, though they can eat carrots, though definitely not as the only thing they eat.  And so she had more questions and I answered them and I told her, well, she'd have to read our care packet before she could adopt anyway, so that would answer her questions more indepthly.  So I ask her if she wants me to email this stuff to her and she tells me that she has email, but it's not working (uh-huh), so she'll call me back later with a relative's email.  Needless to say, I never got that call.  Now, if this was a kid (and we will come back to that), I could see them vaguely thinking, ok, the rabbit on tv just munches on carrots = real rabbits just munch on carrots.  But this was clearly an adult, one lacking common sense.

Going back to kids.  I have nothing against kids.  But I have really gotten to dislike when parents have their kids call me and want the kids to talk to me.  I have no problem talking to kids who have some idea what they're talking about and don't have to relay everything to their mom, standing next to them.  I am more than happy to talk to kids who know what animal they are calling about and can actually, talk, relatively unaided, about whatever.  However.  When everything I say is followed by "mom, the chinchilla lady said...." I kind of feel like I might as well talk to the parent.  ESPECIALLY when it turns into a game of Chinese telephone and the kid repeats, incorrectly, what I said.  Which is maddening when I'm trying to give driving directions to a 5 year old while the mom is driving the car.  I spent like 30 minutes trying to direct someone here... and the whole time they were 5 minutes from the house.  And I don't want to sound rude and say, "honey, can you hand the phone to mommy, please?" because I understand that for a lot of parents, they're trying to give their kid some independence, but for driving directions, or kids under a certain age, I really want "mommy" on the phone.

Moving on.  Today, Vivi was adopted.  He went home with his new dad, Zachary.  Working on a picture, but that hasn't gotten off my phone just quite yet (camera battery was dead -- charging now).  So this was someone who had a chin previously that died of unknown causes, and so for this chin, he wanted to make sure everything was right, so he was getting wood shelves, food, all sorts of goodies.  Actually hung around for 3 hours, which I totally didn't realize, cause the time just flew by with the questions and talking and stories and all.  I think he'll be cared for well.  He hadn't even made it to the website yet so that saved me some effort.

Also today, I sent the people who have the 12 week old kit on hold an email.  I'm sure I put the chin on hold prior to this, but the date I'd actually asked the people when they wanted to come pick him up, was Jan. 23rd.  So I'll say, for intents and purposes, that was the date he was put on hold.  Well, one of our more recent policies is that if a chin is on hold more than a month, the people start incurring a $5/week boarding fee, because that chin is taking up cage space and resources (food, bedding, whatever), which all could be used by another animal, except that chin is still here.  So, as Feb. 23 is coming up, I emailed the home and told them that they're going to start incurring charges if they don't get here soon.  They're not incredibly local, but the reason they had to cancel their original appointment (which was Feb. 10) was because their car was in the shop.  They did email the night before, so it wasn't like they never showed up... but according to their email a few days ago, the car isn't fixed.  Which, I hate to sound jaded and cynical, but how are they getting around, for going on 2 weeks, with no car?  So, we'll see if I hear back from them.  In all reality, this chin is in a cage with another chin, so he's not taking up a cage on his own, but that's beside the point.

Moving onto the injured chin.  I don't know if I posted this the first time it happened, but in one of our runs, we had a female get her collar off, get in the run, get into another female's cage, and beat her up.  Not badly, just some pulled fur, but enough to make me think I might've written about it.  So, few days ago, Saturday, was just one of those nothing-could-go-right days, in terms of the chins anyway.  So, I was supposed to have a rescue chin dropoff at like 10 am.  Well, its like 10:30, they're not here yet, and so I'm going around and filling water bottles and food dishes, getting things done in the meantime.  And so they call and say they're going to be late, that they didn't think they would be leaving for another hour, but they would call before they left, so I figure I'll finish wrapping up filling the food dishes and go upstairs.  So I'm handing out hay to the runs, and I'm on the bottom run and I, for some reason, am not working from left to right, but right to left.  So I fill the right cage, move to the center cage and open it... and there are two chins in there.  Which would be fine if one of the chins was a beige and the other was a standard, as the bottom run has two beige females with a standard male... but no, the cage had two beiges in it. Which means the one beige got her collar off, yet again, and got into the other female's cage.  I'm commenting under my breath as I pull out the offending beige and put her back in her (empty) cage (which I would have noticed, had I been going left to right), and I close off the run (since God only knows where the collar was).

So, I pull out the beige that was cowering under the run in the back, to survey the damage.  First glance, it looked like her back was pretty tore up, but nothing that couldn't be dealt with at home with blu-kote.   So, the other chin had barbered her pretty well and pulled out a ton of fur.  I pulled out a few remaining pieces so they wouldn't get caught in the wound once it was blu-koted. 

Picture, for those that want to see (this, and moreso the following, are a bit graphic) - 

So I'm blu-koting (antiseptic) her back, and I imagine it's not feeling particularly good, and she's moving around and knocks over the blu-kote.  Which, of course, is something that's hard to get off anything it touches.  It stains heavily and very quickly.  So I'm grabbing for the rubbing alcohol (which, thankfully, was very close, due to me recently dying toy parts) and liberally pouring it on the blu-kote and madly trying to wipe that up before it stains, while at the same time holding onto the chin.... oy. 

So, looking at that first picture, look up by her ears.  The upper ear (in the picture) has some cuts/blood on it, and a scab on the left.  And there's a spot to slightly above the bottom ear, where the fur's a little bit darker.  It's not super obvious from the photo, but, in person, I could see there was some blood there, so I'm moving the fur around and checking for additional bite wounds to blu-kote.  I don't see any bite wounds but I do see some blood so I go to pull out the small patch of bloodied fur.  I barely even pull.... and the entire fur and scalp lifts up.  Not good.  Like it was to the point where I could see her skull bone through the hole that had been opened.  The skin flap was laying down so flat that it wasn't clear there even was such a huge skin flap, had I not been checking for additional bites.  And you notice, you really can't see the problem in that first pic. 
Pic of it held just slightly up, so you can see the actual injury:  

At that point, I've got her wrapped in a towel, madly rushing upstairs with her and the first carrier in view to the vet, which is less than a mile from here, thankfully.  Driving there, I'm trying to think of a name for the chin, because I'm the type, I don't want her to potentially die without a name.  I'm getting ready to call Meredith to ask her what the Lemler's first names are (we got her from them, as she is one of our pedigreed breeding chins that we got back in October), and it dawns on that the female Lemler is Nicole.  So the chin gets dubbed Nikki as I'm pulling up to the vet.

The vet is like beyond packed.  I'm parked on the far side of the bank, which is next door to the vet, and the vet probably has at least 15-20 parking spaces of their own.  All which are full, with cars moving into the bank lot (this is a Saturday mid-day, the bank is closed).  Normally, I can park within 3 spaces of the vet's door.  So I go in, and it's standing room only, and the vet techs, who normally get a call from me saying, "heeeey, how long's the wait for Dr. Foster or Dr. Han?" (it's a walk-in vet) before they ever see me, have just seen me rush in the door with this tiny little carrier (first thing I grabbed) and ask what's wrong.  So I tell them what happened and that she needs her head sewn up.

But it hasn't left my mind that I'm supposed to have someone stopping by the house in a little bit.  I'm at the desk filling out the forms when the guy (who's supposed to stop by) calls and says he's turning on 41.  Well crud.  He had said he was going to call before he left.  Had he done that, I was going to tell him, wait, don't leave yet.  Too late.  So, I told him that I was at the vet, and asked him to call me when he got to my house.

So since the vet was so busy, I'm asking them, if I need to leave and come back, can I leave the chin with a credit card and come back in like 20 mins?  Because this was totally not part of the game plan for that day.  So they tell me they're trying to get me in a room now, as this is more a case that needs to be seen now, versus (as they put it), the dog that got bit by another dog and isn't even bleeding, or the dog that needs routine shots.  Hole in head through to bone?  More an emergency case.

So, they get me in a room amazingly quick, which of course elicited death glares from everyone else there.  After all, I walked in with a carrier covered in a towel, they can't even see what I have, and was rushed into a room, and I imagine they'd all been there awhile.  So I get in the room, sit down, and the guy calls that he's at my house.  Quickest drive from 41 to my house ever, apparently.  Well anyway, I tell him, you know, I can't leave just quite yet, but this really was an emergency and I had to leave, and I will come home when I can, and I assure him that I'm not far.

So Dr. Han comes in, and looks at the chin and we're talking about the antiseptic (cause it's purple, so it's obvious I put something on the chin), and he says she doesn't look too bad (cause remember, with the skin flap down, it's practically invisible).  So I point that out, and he's notes that that's more serious.  So he's getting a good look at the opening and noting how big it is, and he says that needs to be stitched up, so I sign the forms that say that if she dies from the anesthetic or surgery, I will be assuming the risks and not suing the vet, all that good stuff, and I ask him to look her over, while she's under, to see if there's anything else that needs to be sewn or anything else that I missed.  So he says they will do that, and he points out the black tissue around the edges (which you can see in the second pic) and says that once the area is debrided (foreign matter and dead tissue removed), it may look bigger than it is, which I acknowledge, sign more paperwork.  He asked if I wanted an estimate, and I said no, just sew her up and fix anything else that needs it.  So he said they were going to take her into surgery right then.  So for once, I'd be the reason the doctor was in surgery, rather than my usual position, as the person waiting for the doctor to get out of surgery.

So I drove home, got the rescue chin settled in.  I apologized to the guy that he had to wait.  He was, thankfully, understanding, and he said that had he been on time, I would have been home (which is true), so it wasn't my fault that I had to leave 3 hours after he was supposed to be there. 

I eventually called the animal hospital (after they hadn't called for hours) and they said I could come get Nikki.  So I went to get her, they prescribed some antibiotics for her.  They sewed up her head and also one long gash on her back, but said she otherwise looked ok.  The vet kinda poked fun that I always bring in the interesting & challenging cases -- the last times I saw this specific vet was for (1) when Pixie [guinea pig] had been dropped on our cement floor and suffered a spinal cord injury, losing feeling in her back legs and dragging them around.  We tried non-small-animal-approved-steroids as a hail mary effort, as the alternative would have been to put her down -- she regained use of her legs after three weeks of steroids, losing wads of fur in the process (from the steroids?  we don't know, cause steroids aren't typically used on small animals, due to bad side effects/death... but when the alternative is putting the animal down, all of a sudden bad side effects aren't so horrible, if that's all that happens and the animal lives... and the fur grew back).  And (2) the more recent time I saw him was when Rochelle came in with her injured foot from getting tangled in and dangling from a hammock... and then being denied vet care for a week because "it was too expensive" before being brought to the rescue.  Her leg was swelled to 2-3x its normal size, the fur had fallen off, it was oozing, and was a nice reddish purple infected color.  She needed laser therapy for 6 weeks and antibiotics for a few months.  Now, you can't that anything happened to that leg.  I remember both times, the vet was amazed that I wanted to spend the money to get them better.  With Pixie, I remember we started with steroid shots, and moved onto the shots (at the vet) in combination with oral steroids that I could give at home.  The oral steroids were started at my request during the second week, because I'd told him, if he thought there was something else we could be doing that would make her get her legs back, I wanted to do it, that it wasn't even about the expense (within reason), if she got her legs back and we didn't have to put her down.  I don't think she was even a year old at the time, so I wasn't ready for her to go quite yet.  And so, with Pixie, we moved to the more aggressive (and more expensive) treatment, and with Rochelle, we jumped into the laser therapy without trying just antibiotics, as he thought it would heal best with both at the same time.  But his amazement that I want to fix the animals makes me think that everyone else must just say that it's too expensive and put them down or take them home without treatment.  And I mean, not everything's exactly $5, but at the end of the day, if it costs a few hundred to fix a chin or guinea pig and it lives another 15 or 7 years, then it's worth it.  Course, I suppose you can probably buy a chin or several guinea pigs for a couple hundred, but if you want the one you currently have to be with you in several years, its not that much.   

Anyway, back to Nikki.  Picture of her, back at home:  

So I moved her to a different cage for easy monitoring.  I don't think she has been eating much, so I've handfed her several times over the past few days.  It does look like she's been drinking water and eating some hay, so I've been refilling the hay.  She is not happy about taking her meds.  She definitely has a will to live.  I set her down for like a millisecond on the floor and she took off, like as if she didn't have a freshly sewed hole in her head and chewed up back.

As for her attacker, I pulled her out and put two collars on.  While I was doing that, the stinker literally thrashed around like a bull at a rodeo.  You'd never guess I wasn't performing open heart surgery with her awake and alert.  Checked her over, not a single fur out of place or a single bite wound.  So Nikki didn't fight back or anything.  Put Evil #2 (cause we already have a chin nicknamed Evil) back in her run, and opened the hole back up to the run, so I can see if she can get those collars off and get back into the run.

Pulled out Squishy (the male) and checked him over.  Not a scratch either.  Wonder what it was about Nikki that aggravated the other female so much.

So I think that's it for now.  I have people coming tomorrow for the baby guinea pigs, so hopefully that'll be two more adoptions there.  Will update on that hopefully tomorrow.

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