Ferrets' blog

A blog with news about my ferrets: Tata, Izzie and Liira. There will also be reminiscense about Tenchi, Adric, Ker Avon, Ryo-Ohki, Nyssa, Lady Ayeka, Romana, Pertwee, Podo, Kodo, Ella, Zephyr and Chin Soon, all of whom are gone now.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Tata Update: Pathology Result, New Picture

This was Tata yesterday evening. He ran. I don't mean walked around and explored. I mean he ran around like a healthy ferret, at least for a little while. Dr. Dan also called with his pathology results: everything was benign. His blood glucose is slowly dropping towards normal.

Bottom line: Tata is going to be just fine, at least for now.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Tata's bumpy (and expensive) road to recovery

Tata came home yesterday after a very long and trying holiday weekend. I learned yesterday at Avian & Exotic, that Tata's surgery was difficult. This isn't surprising with right adrenal surgery as part of the package. Add insulinoma and a tumor on the spleen and, of course, it was very invasive and difficult. What I learned from one of the vet techs is that they were very worried for Tata on Friday and were absolutely thrilled by what they saw yesterday. What happened in between wasn't so good.

After surgery Tata's blood glucose shot up. Temporary diabetes after insulinoma surgery is pretty normal until the pancreas starts working normally again. The insulinoma cells suppress normal pancreatic function, or so I've been told. Anyway, Tata's blood glucose went up over 500. Dr. Johnson decided to hospitalize him so he went to the Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care in Raleigh. Dr. Wyatt there treated Tata when he had his seizure and also cared for Chin Soon at the end of her life. He's an excellent ferret vet but care at the emergency facility is insanely expensive. For a short emergency visit it's fine. For a long weekend, well...

Tata was put on insulin and his blood glucose came down. As the insulin wore off it would go way back up again. He wasn't stable. Dr. Johnson wanted to put Tata on glargene insulin, which is longer acting (12 hours) and is what Dr. Powers used for Chin Soon when she had the same problem. In Chin Soon's case the insulin was expensive but it worked well for her. Chin Soon only needed it for a few days. Then her pancreas started working again. Tata, unfortunately, did not tolerate the glargene well. His blood glucose crashed to 40 and he needed dextrose to get him back to the normal range. Then it spiked way up again. The very expensive insulin purchased for Tata turned out to be useless for him. He went back on regular, short acting insulin diluted in saline. His dose was one quarter of one unit. His blood glucose roller coaster continued through Sunday.

Tata was doing much better by yesterday but still needed insulin as of 5 AM. Dr. Dan decided to send him home and called in an insulin prescription to a pharmacy here in Eden. I came home with Tata, a shiny new, calibrated AlphaTrack glucometer and anti-inflammatory meds for the next couple of days. This was after getting a refresher course on how to give an insulin injection. I was told only to use the insulin if Tata's blood glucose went over 400 again.

The good news here is that Tata's blood glucose hasn't been that high. The highest reading so far was 320 and it's come down from there today. Dr. Dan's feeling that his pancreas was starting to work again appears to be correct. The hope was that Tata wouldn't need more insulin injections and so far that is what's happening.

The bad news is the cost. Six years ago Chin Soon's surgery, four day hopitalization and aftercare added up to an over $2000 bill. With the emergency clinic rates Tata is already over $4000. Oh, and no, I really couldn't afford that.

Is Tata worth it? Of course, and I hope to have him around for a few more years. He still has earned himself a new nickname: Pertwee Jr., after the most medically challenged and expensive ferret I've ever had.

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Friday, September 04, 2015

Tata's Surgery

Dr. Dan Johnson at Avian and Exotic Animal Care in Raleigh performed Tata's surgery today. He removed a very large right adrenal tumor, a fair amount of his pancreas including some large nodules, and a lump from his spleen. All are being sent off for pathology. The good news is Tata came through surgery well, he's awake and his vital signs are strong. For those of you not familiar with ferret medicine, right adrenal surgery is far less common than left and more difficult. Despite all he went through Dr. Johnson said Tata "looks good" and was very upbeat about the result. I'll know tomorrow morning if he gets to come home or spend the weekend in the hospital.

Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes, thoughts and prayers for Tata. A huge thank you to everyone who bought CDs and minidiscs from me on Discogs to offset some of the cost. I'm still in a difficult place financially with this and total costs will likely exceed $2000. I'll be listing more on Discogs shortly and any additional music purchases will still help. I can live with a smaller music collection. I couldn't live with Tata not getting the medical care he so clearly needed.

I'll be posting an update when I know more.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Buy Some Great Music and Help Tata Get Surgery Sooner

Tata, my oldest ferret, has adrenal disease which has been under control thanks to a deslorelin implant. He also now has insulinoma, and attempts to control that medically haven't worked very well. His last blood glucose was only 52. He's scheduled to see the vet again on Friday.

The recommendation as of his last visit by two vets in the practice is to have surgery, preferably sooner rather than later. Unfortunately my business has been incredibly slow lately and I can't afford it just yet. Over the past 31 years I've gradually built a very large music collection on CD. I've decided to sell off as much as I can to fund his surgery, both on Discogs and on eBay. I'm not asking for charity. I am asking that if you're one of those people who still like a physical copy of albums you like that you take a look to see if there is anything you want. I also have items listed where the CD would be cheaper than a legal download from iTunes, Amazon, etc... If you get a CD you can rip the music to mp3 yourself and have the original copy as a backup.

I have over 300 items listed on Discogs and that number will be increasing in the coming days. You can sort by clicking on Artist, Title, Price, etc... Prices range from a couple of dollars to some rather expensive, collectible items. I try to be very competitive in all my pricing. Discogs is better for me than eBay because commissions are lower so more money ends up in my pocket. If you don't have a Discogs account you can sign in with a Facebook account instead. If you don't have a PayPal account I don't believe you need one -- they'll take a credit card.

So.. please, take a look, and if you don't find something you like now check back in few days. I offer free shipping on multi-CD orders of a certain value depending on which country you're in, so please check my terms as well.

Thanks in advance to anyone who helps me help Tata this way.

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Saturday, July 04, 2015

An Anniversary on the 4th of July

17 years ago, on 4th of July weekend, I brought home the toughest ferret I have ever known. Nyssa was a panda kit that was in the only pet store in North Carolina that I know of to have been shut down by the responsible authorities. Yes, it was that bad. That's where Nyssa started her journey, in a very small cage filled with 20 kits, no food, mountains of poop. The owners and their friends were smoking in the store. From what I later read I didn't see the half of how awful that place was.

Anyway, I went to a company picnic held on the grounds of the local nuclear plant. Don't even get me started on that. Doesn't everyone picnic at a nuclear plant? Anyway... One of my coworkers had a German shepherd on a leash. Nyssa wasn't impressed. She wasn't curious; she wanted the dog gone and was aggressive about it. The shepherd was absolutely terrified of her, growled and backed away as Nyssa, on her leash and harness, continued to challenge the dog and advance. Yeah, I picked her up because that could have gotten ugly, though I'm not sure for who.

When a ferret is diagnosed with lymphosarcoma the average life expectancy is 90 days according to the Dr. Dan Hudson, who was treating Nyssa at the time. Sadly I had way too much experience with that. Nearly a year and a half later I was writing about Nyssa's eighth birthday. She was just too stubborn to die despite having added adrenal disease to her list of problems. I finally had to let her go the following month.

Anyway, on this 4th of July I am remembering Nyssa. Happy Fourth to everyone out there. I hope you and yours, both two and four legged, are having a great day.

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Friday, February 07, 2014

The Texas Trio

Just over a year ago, when I was living and working in Texas, I got in touch with the Warm and Fuzzy Ferret Rescue and ended up adopting this wonderful trio of ferrets. Tata, the big boy, is somewhere around three to three and a half years old. The two girls, Izzie (standard sable in the picture) will be three in April. Liira (chocolate sable) is two and a half. They are absolutely delightful ferrets. Izzie and Liira are mostly high energy while Tata is my new Mr. Cuddle Weasel. Oh, he runs and plays like crazy too, but he's the one who climbs up on the couch and goes to sleep curled up against me.

I thought this was an ideal time to relaunch this blog and introduce the new business since tonight, once again, it was time for ferrets and figure skating. As I explained during the 2006 Olympics every four years I turn into a couch potato for two weeks and catch all the Olympic figure skating I can. It's one sport I absolutely love to watch.

When I watch the Olympics I also play with ferrets. After all, there is no reason for them to be caged if I'm in the living room, is there? Eight years ago, thanks to Nyssa, Chin Soon, Ella and Zephyr we had evenings of ice dancing and weasel war dancing. Four years later Nyssa was gone but Ella, Zephyr and Chin Soon were helping me enjoy ferrets and figure skating again. My three little weasels played and I watched skiers go "low in the weasel". Now, eight years after my original post and 12 years after my first night of ferrets and figure skating a new trio is helping me have a wonderful evening.

Yes, I miss the ferrets who have gone but with Tata, Izzie and Liira I can still enjoy my own special favorite way to spend an evening, with snow falling outside, weasels dancing and playing inside, and the beauty and grace of figure skating drastically increasing my time with the TV turned on.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

The End For My Carolina Ferrets

It's been a long time since I posted. I lost Zephyr to third degree A/V node heart block last summer. She was nine years old, which is a very good age for a ferret. She lived with the heart condition for just about eight months thanks to the fantastic work of Dr. Lauren Powers at Carolina Veterinary Specialists. She came up with an experimental medication regimen that kept Zephyr going, albeit slowly. According to everything I've read that is a very good result for a ferret with that condition.

As Zephyr slowed down so did Chin Soon. It became apparent by May or June that she wasn't well either. It turned out she had lymphoma, the number one killer of my ferrets over the years. Once Zephyr passed away the life seemed to go out of Chin Soon, who was suddenly a solo ferret after having companions for the previous eight years. I tried giving her all the attention I could and she was still affectionate but never was energetic again. The change in her was just heartbreaking. Sadly, with her illness I knew it was the wrong time to introduce a younger ferret. Also, by that time it was clear I'd be moving. I already had a job offer for my present position pending a series of background checks and I was expecting two other offers. Adding ferrets at that point made no sense.

Chin Soon lasted just a few weeks after Zephyr passed away. Fluid began to build up in her abdomen, just as it had in Kodo's during the last days of his life. I ended up taking her to the emergency vet in Raleigh who told me what I pretty much already knew: her time had come. Chin Soon was nine years old when I let her go.

Both Zephyr and Chin Soon are now buried next to Ella and their other companions over their years with me. I was fortunate enough to have more than seven years with Zephyr and more than eight years with Chin Soon. I miss them. When I moved to Texas last September I was without ferrets for the first time in 14+ years.

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