Hobkin Update: Taking it Hour by Hour with Nutrical, Mealworms, and Crickets.

Thank you so much for all your supportive comments. I can’t express how much they’ve meant to us.

Hobkin is back home again. Wasn’t sure if he was going to pull through this morning. When our vet listened to his breathing and lungs and heard how bad the wheezing was and how much fluid had built up, he actually suggested we consider euthanasia.

I had a total meltdown. I simply couldn’t accept that Hobkin was ready to go yet, but I was afraid, too, that my judgment was off. Maybe I was just being selfish and incapable of letting go when Hobkin wanted to call it quits.

The vet went to give Hobkin another Lasix injection as well as a couple other meds and some subcutaneous fluids, and Hobkin tried to bite him. Then I knew that Hobkin wasn’t ready to give up (this is the vet–Hobkin has two vets at the clinic we take him to–that he doesn’t get along with). If he was finished and ready to let go, he wouldn’t have cared who was doing what to him. Of course, I rushed to pick him up then, and immediately he quit snarling, clung to me, and let them do whatever they wanted to him without a peep.

Went into frantic brainstorming mode after that. Asked the vet to rig a face mask to administer oxygen so I could hold him. They keep trying to keep us out of the room when he’s in the oxygen box, but I know that he’ll be less stressed if he’s with me. I held him all morning and into the afternoon until the vet’s office closed, and between the drugs, the subcutaneous fluids, and being able to be with me, his breathing improved to the point of all the wheezing vanishing.

But we couldn’t take him home if he wouldn’t eat. I remembered when we were dealing with cancer in our ferrets that they would accept Nutrical when they wouldn’t stomach anything else. So I asked the vet if we could try that. It was a sticky mess, and it took some coaxing, but Hobkin devoured a large dollop of it. Huge knot of worry melted away right there.

Knowing there was still a good chance we’d end up having to take him back to the emergency vet this weekend, fosteronfilm and I decided to take him home. I also asked the vet to show me how to administer subcutaneous fluids. Did it with the ferrets, and it’s so much better if I can do it at home instead of having to make a trip to the vet’s.

Hobkin has been cuddled with me in his little oxygen face mask at home instead of being in the oxygen box, and I think that’s really made him happier and more comfortable. I sent Matthew to the pet store to pick up some crickets and mealworms. Hobkin actually pounced at those. Eww, but OMG-thank-all-the-good-spirits-that-watch-over-sick-critters. And I just got him to eat a little yogurt with healthy powder and half a hard-boiled egg.

Hobkin in his oxygen face mask–which is more like a dome or helmet than a mask. It doesn’t need a tight seal since we’re only trying to increase the percentage of oxygen he’s breathing, not administer 100%.

This has been an utterly grueling emotional roller coaster, and we’re definitely nowhere near out of the woods. As we saw yesterday, Hobkin could backslide without warning. We’re taking it hour by hour. But he’s still fighting, and we’re still hoping.

Hobkin Update: Bad night

At the emergency vet clinic. Had a very bad night. Spent most of the last couple hours in tears.

After yesterday’s promising developments, Hobkin stopped eating and his breathing got really bad–loud wheezing and very labored–at around midnight. Rushed him here after several hours of trying to coax him to eat something (must stay hydrated) and watching him go steadily downhill.

Waiting until our regular vet opens. Hoping he can just stabilize a little and hang on. Really, really terrified.

Hobkin Update: DIY Home Oxygen Box

Hobkin is at the vet’s. fosteronfilm and I are home for showers and to get a couple hours of sleep.

Had a worrisome few hours this morning. At around 4AM, the lil guy started making soft whining noises although he ate a snack readily enough. At 6AM, he took his whipped cream-blended meds with only minor wheedling but then couldn’t be persuaded to eat. We’ve been feeding him small meals approximately every two hours to ensure he’s getting proper hydration. It’s also a good gauge of how he’s doing—checking his appetite and all.

It was time to take him to the vet’s anyway, so off we went. Soon as we got him into the oxygen box, he perked right up and devoured a fair-sized meal.

Hobkin in the oxygen box at the vet’s waiting for breakfast.

After consulting with the vet, we concluded that our current makeshift oxygen tent at home probably wasn’t doing the trick and got some DIY tips to make an oxygen box at home. A trip to Walmart for a clear, plastic, 64-quart tub, some drilling to accommodate the oxygen tubing, etc., and we’ve now got a home skunk oxygen box:

Heading back to the vet’s to pick him up in a couple hours. Hoping this will work a-ok over the weekend.

Hobkin Update: Oxygen Tent Night 2

Back from the vet’s. More oxygen tent at home for Hobkin tonight, and the vet gave us a handful of medicines to administer orally: furosemide (Lasix), prednisolone, and amoxicillin. I was concerned about how well he’d take the first two as they’re pills, and we’ve never given him pills before. But crushed up in a little whipped cream, and they went down as a nummy treat.

He’s definitely on the mend–a world of hurray–but still not out of danger and still needing intensive care round-the-clock. And we have to go back tomorrow morning for more tests.

Think I’ve managed to catch about four hours of sleep in dozing catnaps in the last two days. Mental faculties blunter than a butter knife right now. But the relief that the lil guy is continuing to get better is indescribable.

Hobkin Update: Back at the Vet

We’re back at the vet’s. Hobkin is in his oxygen box, and we’re waiting to consult with the doctor.

The lil guy stayed stable throughout the night so we didn’t need to rush him to the emergency vet. Much relief there. He’s still breathing too hard, but his appetite was quite good. We fed him anytime he exhibited any interest in eating. Since he doesn’t drink water, he gets all of his liquids through his food, and we need to make sure he stays hydrated–Lasix being a diuretic especially. Want to avoid having to administer subcutaneous fluids, if possible. But it meant small meals every hour and a half or so. fosteronfilm and I are utterly wiped.

End of a long night; beginning of a long day.

Hobkin Update: Still Touch and Go

Thank you to everyone for all the well wishes and supportive comments. They’re very much appreciated.

We didn’t end up taking Hobkin to Athens. Our vet got him stabilized in an oxygen box with periodic Albuterol treatments and gave him a Lasix injection to decrease the fluid in his lungs, but Hobkin refused to eat anything at the vet’s all day. However, when I got there, I managed to coax him to eat a decent-sized (and messy) meal from my hands; the trade-off between overnight veterinary care versus him stressing out and not eating with strangers wasn’t a good one. So he’s at home now in a makeshift oxygen tent. fosteronfilm and I are watching him in shifts tonight. If Hobkin gets worse, we’ll be rushing him to the emergency vet/critical care clinic which has been alerted to expect us. First thing tomorrow, we’re taking him back to our vet’s for another Lasix injection and another day of observation in the oxygen box.

I’m cautiously optimistic, but it’s still definitely touch and go. And it’s going to be a long night.

Hobkin Worries: Sick Skunk

Worried about Hobkin. Noticed the lil guy was breathing quite hard last night—almost panting but not quite—and when I put my ear against his chest, I could hear a tiny squeak, like really quiet whining. But his appetite was good, so we didn’t call the emergency vet.

This morning he was still breathing too hard and he was wheezing slightly. It’s probably just a cold, but I’m having fosteronfilm take him to the vet today.

No More Skunk Camp for Hobkin

So the results from the vet came back, and Hobkin has a staph infection, apparently a methicillin-resistant one. He gets another course of antibiotics. Poor lil guy! But it’s a relief having a definite diagnosis and simple treatment.

However, as one skunk-related worry resolves, another rears up. The housing crisis and economic recession caused Hobkin’s godmother to lose her house. She’d been unemployed for a while, and with the job market being what it is, she ended up exhausting her savings and then having to default on her mortgage. She declared bankruptcy, and she and her houseful of skunks relocated out-of-state.

We’re devastated. I hope she manages to get back on her feet soon. Really, really hope she does. And now Hobkin doesn’t have a place to go when we’re out of town. His godmother was wonderful. We completely trusted her to look after him, had total peace of mind boarding Hobkin with her, secure that she was both capable of and would look after him with the same care and attentiveness that we would.

I don’t know what we’re going to do next month for Christmas when we go to visit fosteronfilm‘s folks. We can’t take Hobkin with us because skunks are illegal to own as pets in Illinois, and we simply can’t board him at our vet’s. It would be far too stressful. We’re considering getting a professional pet sitter, but even if we can find one who’ll sit a skunk, I very much doubt they’d have any experience caring for one. And even if they came by four times a day (which is how often Hobkin’s meals are), Hobkin would be alone for huge chunks of time. He’s used to having someone with him essentially 24/7, not to mention sleeping with me at night. I think he’ll be sad and lonely being alone for so long. I would be.

Don’t know what to do. Wah!