Hobkin’s Spring Tummy

Hobkin’s not feeling well, which might explain his lackluster behavior on Friday. Not a very nice birthday present for the poor lil guy. His tummy’s upset; he’s been sicking up his dinners, and the food that makes it through his system goes through . . . too fast. Again, I’m very, very thankful he’s so good about being sick exclusively in his area.

This has become a seasonal thing for him. When Spring comes around, his GI tract turns all delicate and fussy. It really worries me. fosteronfilm thinks it’s just something that happens, the way babies just get sick all the time. But I’m inclined to fret and stew.

Hobkin remains active and alert, with a good appetite, and using the “scruff test”* he’s not dehydrated, so there’s not much reason for him to see the vet again. We’ve brought him in for this before, and they haven’t been able to figure out what’s causing it. They give us some anti-nausea meds and tell us to treat the symptoms, a regimen we’ve got down. His yearly blood work has always come back fine–into the “excellent” spectrum, typically–so it’s not something that seems to be impacting his overall health, nutrition absorption, and other long-term factors. But I just wish I knew what was causing this. I keep wondering if he’s got some sort of food allergy, but it manifests mostly during specific times of the year, and we haven’t changed anything in his diet recently.


*We learned with the ferrets a down-and-dirty way to check whether a critter is dehydrated: Pinch the fur at the scruff of their neck and release it, and if the fur doesn’t de-scruff immediately, they’re dehydrated.


Writing Stuff

Did some more fiddling with my website over the weekend: added a couple new markets to my Children’s Market Listing, adjusted some font settings on my CSS page, tweaked some content, and made some layout adjustments. Also realized that I can now embed my LJ using JavaScript instead of the in-line frames I’ve been reduced to before.

A website is never “done,” is it? I’ve got to just put the thing aside and get back to writing. It’s sucking up way too much of my time, and I’ve got a backlog of stories that I ought to be working on.

Beginning to eye my submission spreadsheet. I’ve got several stories out that have responses due any day now on. I try not to dwell on response times, since down that road lies madness. (Maaaadness!) But, well, insanity happens. Also, there’s a couple markets that I submitted multiple stories to (in one case at their request, in the other I just had two stories that were appropriate pop into availability during their reading period) where they ended up buying one but didn’t mention the other(s). Should I treat that as an oblique rejection, I wonder? I’ve queried one place, no word back yet. Debating when/if I should query the other.

I frequently multi-sub to a couple places–the Cricket folks most notably–but those are publications I’ve sold to before and I know the routine. But these markets are break-in sales for me, and in one case the publication is new. Snoglewart. I should quit mulling and just query already. There’s probably a “and this, boys and girls, is why you shouldn’t multi-sub” moral in there, but I’m a fan of multi-subs so my internal narrator can get stuffed.

Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Hobkin’s Spring Tummy

  1. aliettedb says:

    That would indeed explain Hobkin’s sad faces on the pictures of Friday. I hope he gets better soon.

    Like you, I always worry about markets’ responses if I know they should be answering any day now. That’s why I so seldom open my spreadsheet, or else my mind would be full of insane thoughts. I’m holding up pretty good right now, actually (must…not…open…spreadsheet…). Well, save for the nail-biting about getting into Orson Scott Card’s literary bootcamp… 🙁

    A website is never “done,” is it?

    Just like a story is never done. Accept it’s not going to be as pretty as you want, and move on 😉 Get back to your muse before she decides to take over.

  2. mroctober says:

    My Asian studies professor told us once about a similar test that Chinese folk would do during the bad times of drought. They would come up and pinch each other on the face (usually forehead) during the greeting to see if the other person needed water.

  3. mtfay says:

    Maybe it is allergy related. But not food allergy. If it always seems to happen in the spring, maybe he is allergic to the spring bloom? I know dogs and skunks don’t have all that much in common, but Linus has terrible skin rashes and itching problems during the spring bloom and the autumn seed drop. So bad, in fact, that we have to put him on anti-biotics and prednisone, and give him baths with a seriously medicated shampoo. Maybe Hobkin just gets an upset tummy.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      If it always seems to happen in the spring, maybe he is allergic to the spring bloom?

      That could be. I wonder if we should try giving him some children’s liquid Benadryl. Then again, I hate dosing him on something he might not need, and he’s not sick all the time. Did Linus have allergy tests done?

      • mtfay says:

        Did Linus have allergy tests done?

        No. The vet felt it unnecessary, because so many indicators were allergy related (the rashes, and the extreme itching). The only reason to do allergy testing with Linus would be to try and narrow down a food allergy, but we are fairly certain (given that we can control his itching with a mixture of Tavist and Benedryl the rest of the year) that he doesn’t have a food allergy.

        I would run the possible allergy question past the vet and see if he thinks the benedryl would help. You could also email my mother and see what she thinks, but she knows more about ferrets and dogs than she does about skunks. There just aren’t many skunk owners in Wyoming, do to the all too common wild skunks there, and their preclivity to get rabies. I guess the rabies vaccine doesn’t work very well for pet skunks. If you want to try and email her, let me know and I will send you her address. But she might take a while to respond. She’s in Frisco right now helping my sister cope with her new baby, probably by paying attention to the older child:).

      • mtfay says:

        And, since I forgot it in my other reply, if the vet thinks anti-histimine therapy might help, you might have to try several anti-histimines. The progression usually goes benedryl, tavist, chlor-trimeton. If the first one doesn’t work, you go to the next, and so forth. At least, that’s what they do with dogs. It doesn’t sound like Hobkin’s problems are bad enough that he’ll need multiple anti-histimine therapy, if they are indeed allergy related.

        I wonder, if it’s not allergies, if it might just be some season related hormonal changes that upset his system for a few days. When the days get longer, he goes through something to increase activity, when they get shorter, something to decrease?

        • Eugie Foster says:

          The more I think about it, and after hearing about Linus from you and ‘s comment below about similar issues her skunk Trinity has, seasonal allergies has bumped to the top of my list of likely causal factors. Definitely going to bring it up with Hobkin’s vet as well as check to see what dose of children’s Benadryl is appropriate for a skunk Hobkin’s size.

  4. dude_the says:

    He may just realize Uncie Paul is going to be visiting in a couple of days.


  5. Is it possible that your ferret’s seasonal illness is due to his shedding fur being ingested when he cleans himself? Like cat hairballs. Hair is an irritant in the esophagus and isn’t very digestible.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Um, actually Hobkin’s a skunk, not a ferret.

      I hadn’t considered the possibility of hairballs. I dunno, though. I’ve never heard of skunks having fur ingestion issues before. And I’m not sure if his symptoms follow that of hairball-induced distress. Normally Hobkin isn’t sick until a couple hours after his dinner. He’s usually lying beside me on the couch, napping, then he jerks awake and makes a mad dash for his area to be sick. There’s typically not any grooming behavior preceding these episodes.

      • D’oh! Sorry about that.

        Do you give your skunk (skunk! skunk! not ferret!) worming medication? If so, could he be reacting to it? Some of them are damned nasty.

        If not, I’m guessing he’s eating something that disagrees with him.

        • Eugie Foster says:

          Do you give your skunk (skunk! skunk! not ferret!) worming medication?

          Not recently. We don’t worm Hobkin regularly since he eats a human-grade, lacto-ovum diet, and he doesn’t go outside at all, making the odds of him contracting worms minuscule. Although he’s had worming medication–baby skunks go through a fairly intense deworming regime–in the past, and responded fine to it.

  6. dionycheaus says:

    Allergies are very strange things. If I can all of a sudden develop respirational weirdness at 22, I would say skunks getting GI upset during spring should be at least possible. Is his diet the same year-round? Sometimes we vary the amount of calcium supplements for the lizards, just because we think we should.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Is his diet the same year-round?

      Pretty much. He tends to get a few more vegetable types in summer, seasonal corn on the cob and suchlike, but we haven’t started him on any of that yet.

  7. alijt says:

    Similar issue with one of our skunks

    We have a skunk that has allergies, Trinity. I just talked to Dr Wonders today about it because she is coughing in her sleep. We have to try her on a new allergy med, which I hate because they usually make her so tired. We have taken her to the vet a million times and everything is always perfect, including blood panels. But every couple of months, she has digestive issues as well. I think some skunks are like humans and just have sensitivities. Unfortunately, they can not talk to us and help us figure them out.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Re: Similar issue with one of our skunks

      I’m so relieved to know that we’re not the only ones to have a delicate-tummied skunk! When we were still on Skunk Chat, no one ever mentioned having a skunk with a sensitive GI like Hobkin when we asked about it, and I was so distressed, not knowing what to do or what it meant, or if it was something we were doing wrong. And I was always glad when Hobkin’s blood work and tests came back healthy, but also frustrated because we couldn’t isolate a cause. It makes me feel loads better knowing that we’re not alone in dealing with this sort of problem, and that it’s likely an allergy issue. I wish I could hug you (and Trinity) in person right now. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *