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.
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)
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.
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.
Bummer. Sorry .
I always feel bad about exclusive guidelines that knock some people out of being able to submit. There was one anthology last year that I would've sporked babies to have been able to submit to, but I was too old. Pook.
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.
"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?
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).
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!
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
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.
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!
"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. fosteronfilm 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.