On hyperthermia amd dehydration in skunks

Discovered the limits of Hobkin’s heat tolerance yesterday. We’d set the A/C to 81, trying to save energy and money, but it seems that’s too warm for the lil guy. Yesterday morning, he had a bad tummy and then wasn’t interested in breakfast. Loss of appetite is extremely worrisome in a skunk, so much fretting commenced.

fosteronfilm suggested that Hobkin might be dehydrated from his bad tummy, so, feeling rather dubious, I scooped him up to see whether I could force some water into him.

Normally, Hobkin doesn’t drink water. And I mean at all. The closest he’s come to drinking out of his water bowl is dipping his paw in and then licking it, and even that’s pretty rare. We still leave fresh water out for him, just in case, but he’s knocked the bowl over more often than he’s drunk from it–and it takes quite a bit of effort to tip it as it’s secured to his pen. In the past, when I’ve tried to feed him water out of a syringe, he’s batted it out of my hands and spat or shook what little fluid I could get into his mouth back out. He just doesn’t like water, the goofball.

But yesterday, although he whined and glared at me, he readily swallowed something like 12ccs. It seems the heat had dehydrated him, and he wasn’t hungry because he was thirsty. But figuring out the problem didn’t get us much closer to a solution. How does one re-hydrate an animal that doesn’t drink and won’t eat? We could take him to the vet’s and have them inject fluid into him subcutaneously, but that would’ve stressed and freaked him out. Plus, I didn’t think he was that badly dehydrated. We could try buying some flavored Pedialyte or Gatorade, but that’s a last-ditch sort of effort as I don’t like the idea of him having all that sugar. Also, there’s no guarantee he’d like that any better. When we had to force electrolytes and fluids into the ferrets they were quite underwhelmed by the stuff (as I am–Gatorade, yuk). Also, last I checked, fresh watermelon wasn’t quite in season, and again, re-hydrating him with watermelon would’ve involved more sugar than I’m comfortable with him having.

After some brainstorming and much anxiety, I came up with the answer: A cottage cheese smoothie. I used a fork to mush up a teaspoon of cottage cheese in about 18ccs of water and added some diced bok choy, and Hobkin lapped it right up! Three servings of cottage cheese smoothie later, and he’s himself again–running amok, stomping at shadows, and begging for treats. Whew. I kept pushing liquids the rest of the day; his lunch was more smoothie along with bok choy and celery, vegetables high in liquid, and I added enough water to his dinner lentils and rice mixture to make it a pudding.

Definitely going to keep that in mind for future need. My next plan had been to make him a veggie shake–cottage cheese, a bit of milk, plenty of water, and various vegetables in a blender. But fortunately I didn’t have to break out the blender.

And yes, we’ve now cranked on the A/C.


Writing Stuff

Got an email from Lynne Jamneck–a writer who I’ll be sharing a ToC with in mroctober‘s So Fey antho–asking for an interview and inviting me to contribute to an anthology she’s editing, Lesbian Sleuths & the Supernatural, to be published by Regal Crest Enterprises. Of course, I said yes to both. The anthology also has an open call for submissions:

An Anthology of Lesbian Sleuths & the Supernatural
(Women Writers Only)

Word Length: 7,000 – 10,000 words
Payment: $100 Flat Fee Per Story
Submission Period: July 2006 – November 2006
Reading Period: December 2006 – April 2007

Ghosts, haunted castles, and things that go bump in the night. A trip to Egypt; the mummies and the pull of a primordial tomb. Ancient Aztec ruins and the burning fever of a jungle. Is a sinister cult operating in a small town near you? Do you feel the pull of something otherworldly just beyond the veil of everyday? The supernatural have existed in cultures for thousands of years, all around the world.

I am looking for stories that explore these and other weird happenings, and are centered around a ‘whodunit’ type conundrum. The sleuth of the story-whether amateur or professional-must be a lesbian character. No excessive violence. Humor is welcome. No fan fiction. Character driven stories with strong emphasis on storytelling essential.

If you’re looking for a reference/indication of the types of stories I’m looking for, you should familiarize yourself with the following authors:

H.P. Lovecraft
Agatha Christie
Ray Bradbury
Arthur Conan Doyle
Harlan Ellison
Kim Antieau
Kathe Koja

Submissions should be unpublished, original short stories. If you feel you have a story that does not fit that word count but would be perfect for the anthology, please query to superantho@gmail.com. Be sure your submission includes your surface mailing address and phone number in addition to a valid return email address.

Submissions (disposable copies) should be sent to:

Lynne Jamneck
129 Layard Street
Invercargill, 9501
New Zealand

Exceptions can be made for email subs, but query first to: superantho@gmail.com

New Words:
– 1100 on the article for Writing-World and it’s at zero draft. It needs a few editing passes, but I’m hoping to send it off today.

– 60-day “although it’s a really fun concept and a wonderfully creative POV choice, this one doesn’t quite work for Escape Pod” with invitation to submit again from sfeley on a reprint. Snartleblast. But I’ll show him! I just launched two new submissions his way, mwa ha ha haaaa!

Erm, yeah. My wingstubs have been really hurting these last few days. I popped two Tramadol, and they’re not helping the pain, but I think they’ve made me a loopy.

Club 100 For Writers


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30 Responses to On hyperthermia amd dehydration in skunks

  1. cuddlywombat says:

    Re-hydration for fur children

    I don’t know if Hobkin will like it but, when we had a guinea pig rescue, I used to give them V8 when they were feeling puny. You can even get the low-sodium kind. I would also make a mash for them by pouring some water over their pellets and microwaving them to get them soft, then smushing that up and adding V8 to it. You can make it liquid enough to put in a syringe that way. If you could add the V8 to something Hobkin eats, that might get some extra nutrition into him. However (and this is a big however) I’m used to dealing with herbivores and I don’t have a clue as to what skunks eat. I was just thinking that it certainly would be a more healthful alternative to Gatorade and those other sugary liquids. It sounds as though you’ve come up with a good plan and I’m glad you’re concerned about all that sweet stuff, too. I even avoided giving my piggies vitamins that had aspartame in them.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Re: Re-hydration for fur children

      I’d considered V8–as another ingredient in the “veggie shake” Plan B–but I was worried about all the salt they add to it. I didn’t know they made a low-sodium version. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks!

      However (and this is a big however) I’m used to dealing with herbivores and I don’t have a clue as to what skunks eat.

      Skunks are omnivores, and the recommended diet for domesticated skunks is heavy on vegetables. We feed Hobkin a lacto-ovum vegetarian diet; we think it’s healthier for him (and so far his annual blood panels have been supporting that), plus the hubby and I are both vegetarians too.

  2. highway_west says:


    I found about the So Fey Anthology just a bit too late. Which is too bad, because I have a story idea in my notebook. 🙂

  3. ecmyers says:

    Aw, I really want to write for this anthology… Stupid Y chromosome. 🙁

  4. mroctober says:

    Glad to see Hobkin recovering.

    Also good thing Lynne emailed you about the anthology. She’s terrific to work with.

    And hopefully your SO FEY moolah will come soon. I just received my last bit. I’ll pester them about the contributors if by the end of June nothing has gone out. Thanks for the patience.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      And hopefully your SO FEY moolah will come soon.

      Yay, moolah! Hey, I saw on the Haworth Press site that they seem to have ISBNs for both a hardcover and paperback edition. I didn’t know they were issuing it in hardcover! Happy dancing in the streets!

      Any world on cover art or a release date?

      • mroctober says:

        Yes, if all goes well, we’ll have a dandy hardcover to boast about.

        has been toying around with cover art. I have not pestered him about a glimpse.

        I’m hoping to hear a release date shortly. I’ll post it when I do.

  5. mtfay says:

    While you seem to have come up with a workable solution, you might consider asking your vet to teach you how to admin subcue fluids too. It’s not that hard (I did it for Candi when I had to flush her system after she ate some ibuprofen) and it might be very necessary at some point.

    • I’m going to second this–being able to subcue an animal is a very useful skill (despite what Ashes may think, as she tends to try to pull the needle out and leak all over the place). Dehydration can be easily remedied at home with a subcue kit. I don’t think skunks would have the shoe-leather skin that guinea pigs do, either (less stressful for everyone).

      • Eugie Foster says:

        I actually do know how to administer subcue fluids–had to do it with the ferrets. But what is this subcue kit that you speak of? We always got our needles and electrolyte solution baggies from the vet’s, and after Templar died, we got rid of our remaining needles and leftover solution. Do they sell subcue kits at pet stores??

        • I just meant, the whole thing, the bag of fluids and the needles and tubing 🙂 I just tend to refer to it as a ‘kit’.

          You can get needles at http://www.valleyvet.com but they require a prescription for the bag of fluids.

          • cuddlywombat says:


            OMG you have beautiful piggies. I miss my piggers. When I moved out of my house, my ex had to keep the piggers that we still had in the rescue because I’m in a rental that won’t allow pets – even little furballs. Give yours a hug for me, okay?

            BTW, before XMen the other night, there was a commercial with a pigger in it. It was a strange ad, but the little critter sure was cute.

          • Re: Piggies!

            I love my piggies! Want some pictures?

            Suzi with her sons, Jackie and Einstein. I bought Suzi from a store before I knew better, and she came with bonuses. Einstein was a lethal white who lived two and a half years, pretty good for having no incisors and having really bad molars. He needed a tooth trim every month and he ate pellet mash with a variety of baby food fruits and veggies added to keep him interested. He was such a sweetie.

            Doom looking proud of his new wife Suzi. He had just lost his brother and was very depressed. Since he was neutered, I figured, “Hey, I’ll get him a wife! They’ll get along great and won’t have babies!” Doom was a very good stepfather to Einstein, but thought Jackie was a stupid punk who was out to steal his wives. Of course, he was 100% correct.

            Cuddles and Suzi were Doom’s two wives (and later, his two widows). This is typical of their relationship: fighting over a bag of hay. “Bitch!” “Fatty!” “Stinker!” “Idiot!”

            Doom and his brother Flake, being fat. That was their greatest talent. That and bickering.

            Ippie and Caesar enjoying a nice game of Scrabble. They were the pigs I had when I was in high school. Ippie liked to express his opinions of my friend Sara’s fashion sense. With his bladder. Caesar liked to sleep with his head in the pellet bowl to save energy.

            Einstein and Jackie snuggling. For all that Jackie stole his brother’s pellet mash and spent all his time on hitting on the womens instead of personal hygiene, they really loved each other.

            Now the only pigs I have left are Suzi and Jackie, and my girlfriend’s pigs…

          • cuddlywombat says:

            Re: Piggies!

            I am so jealous – I just want to hug them to pieces! I have had a wombat craze for years, so I just substituted piggers and called them little wombats since I can’t have a wombat in the US. I had a piggie named Samantha in grade school. My mom came home from a card party on Groundhog Day with this little gal – she was the doorprize! Can you imagine? It was the closest they could get to a groundhog.

            I adopted a few piggies from the Chattanooga Rescue before embarking on rescue myself. We had over 60 pigs one summer when we took in lots of pregnant sows from a bad breeder. Talk about wall to wall piggies! I did love all the home-births, though. Baby piggers are just the most darling things.

            Thanks for sharing the pics. They are truly beautiful.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Heh. Been there, done that. I learned how to administer subcue fluids when we had ferrets. But we’d have to go to the vet’s anyway because I don’t have any needled syringes, nor any electrolyte solution hanging around. I’m very glad our days of having to keep medical supplies like that perpetually on hand are past, and I’m very much hoping they don’t resume.

      . . . not to mention the prospect of trying to jab Hobkin with a needle does not fill me with eagerness. He can’t be scruffed like the ferrets could, and he’s displayed that he’s quite capable of vehemently expressing his displeasure at medical procedures. Geez, it’s amazing how strong (and pointy) a 7.5 lb animal can be! It took three people (including me) the last time he was at the vet’s to restrain him when they went to get a blood sample.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Pet Fretting

    Looks like we both had our share of pet worries this weekend. Cosette is actually doing better after a few days of baby aspiring and glucosamine. (Jodi)

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Re: Pet Fretting

      It’s so awful when fur children get sick! They can’t tell us how they feel or what’s bothering them, and don’t understand why Mommy has to force that syringe full of vile medicine down their throat. I always feel so helpless and distressed.

      Very glad to hear Cosette is doing better!

  7. norilana says:

    Glad you got him re-hydrated, yaaay! 🙂

  8. alijt says:

    Poor little fuzzbutt…

    My guys are giving me the evil eye for having the thermostat set at 78. I can see how they may be a little miffed…LOL

    That is a great tip, though. I would have never thought to make a smoothie to get in the fluids. I would have been getting bit while I forced the fluids down with a syringe. I will definitely keep this little tip in mind.

    Thanks for posting the experience! I bet he is loving all the special attention, too. LOL Uh oh watch out for a “repeat performance”. Nah, Hobkin probably is not quite as devious as my bad boy Neo.

    I always love reading Hobkin posts! he heee

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Re: Poor little fuzzbutt…

      I’m dreading the day that we’ll have to force feed Hobkin something. The ferrets were bad enough, and they were scruffable. It’s amazing how much “umph” a small animal can put into refusing to swallow. I so wish there was a way to convey to a wee-brained fuzzy things like “you have to take this medicine even though it tastes yucky because it’ll make you feel better” and “the doctor needs to jab with his needle so you won’t get sick.” Sigh.

  9. basletum says:

    Sorry to hear about Hobkin getting sick again and glad he’s getting well.

    “(Women Writers Only)” Crud! Oh well, plenty of other markets out there. (Heads off to watch Ms. Doubtfire)

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Sorry to hear about Hobkin getting sick again and glad he’s getting well

      Thanks, and thanks! There’s nothing quite so stressful as a sick fuzzy animal in the house.

  10. yansmom says:

    Glad to hear Hob is doing better! And I have to ask, how did you ever end up getting a skunk as a pet? I think it’s illegal to have one down here, unless maybe if you have a special license. Anyhow, Hob sure is cute!

    I used to work at a pet store and they had brought in orphaned babies at the vet clinic next door…awwww my gosh…the cuteness factor was sky high. lol!

    Gisele 🙂

    • Eugie Foster says:

      And I have to ask, how did you ever end up getting a skunk as a pet? I think it’s illegal to have one down here, unless maybe if you have a special license.

      Yepper, skunks are illegal as pets in more places than they’re legal. Fortunately, one of the legal places is Georgia, as long as they’re not black-and-white (hence Hobkin’s chocolate chip markings).

      As far as the how (and the why), I’m the sort of person that needs to have a fuzzy animal to share my life with, but I’m seriously allergic to cats and dogs. and I used to keep ferrets–I’m not at all allergic to them, I dunno how that works–and I saw my first pet skunk at a convention about five years ago. They seemed smarter and larger than ferrets, while having a lot of the same playful, adorable, and hopefully hypoallergenic characteristics. We drove to Florida for a skunk show so I could pet, pick up, and cuddle a lot of skunks–both seeing what sort of temperament they had and testing my allergies. And voila, a few months later, we picked up baby Hobkin from a breeder in Iowa.

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