Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pocket Pets

I've never had a pocket pet of my very own. It's not that I dislike them so much as they just fail to really engage me so much. The closest I've come to having one was the two New Zealand White rabbits we had as kids; trust me, that type rabbit does NOT qualify as a pocket pet. I also have no problem treating them but do approach their care with the same blend of practicality and individuality with which I approach all of my patients.

There is a local pet store that brings their pocket pets to us for care. The entire outlook is unique to me because we can do pretty much anything but they are very practical in that heroic efforts to save the dying is just not the way to go. Today, they dropped off a mouse, a hamster, and a bird while I was out for my lunchtime walk. The exam went something like this:

Hamster is taken out of cage and is clearly in bad shape. He looked as if he had been worked over by a gang of hamster thugs. He was shocky and so lifeless that his only attempt to bite consisted of a slow motion, half hearted opening of his mouth. In my experience, a hamster, particularly a dwarf hamster, that does not latch onto one of your appendages is actively considering death as a good option (to die, to sleep no more...).

The mouse had a nice abscessed bite wound on his back . He tried to get away and was very active.

The bird had weird funk on its head and feet and did not want to stand, curling its feet and legs beneath it. It was also less than normally responsive.

I returned all three to their respective cages and gave the hamster a warm towel while I called to discuss treatments. The bird promptly flopped on its back and died.

My comment afterwards was: "The bird is dead, the hamster is about to be, but the mouse should be fine. One reason I'm not such a fan.

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