Thanks to everyone who expressed concern and well-wishes about Hobkin. He's still limping, but both fosteronfilm and I think he's better today than he was on Tuesday. We didn't end up taking him to the vet, as what they'd probably want to do is take an x-ray, and I'm pretty sure it's a soft tissue injury, and the x-ray procedure (the whole vet experience, actually) would undoubtedly agitate him which would risk aggrevating his injury. But we did call his godmother—the person he stays with when we're out of town or at Dragon*Con—and got some suggestions for treatment.
It seems that a lot of domesticated skunks suffer from hip dysplasia, which is not surprising considering that most of them are from a single place which is undoubtedly causing some inbreeding issues. Although Hobkin is notably not from there, so I'm hoping that this isn't hip dysplasia manifesting.
I do think it's likely that this might be a sign of arthritis—although I don't believe it's the sole culprit, here. Hobkin is six years old, officially classified as a "senior" skunk, and I've noticed particularly with this season's coat blowing* that there's a lot more white around his muzzle and paws than a couple years ago. It sort of freaks me out thinking of our little guy as being "old." I'm clinging to the hope that he'll be one of the pet skunks who live a couple decades, but I know that's unlikely. I also know that it's inevitable that one day he will break my heart—the unavoidable consequence of loving someone who has a significantly shorter life expectancy than we do. It's something I try not to dwell upon much, but this (baffling) injury has sort of brought that to the forefront of my mind.
Going to continue trying not to dwell upon that now . . .
*My GAWD there's skunk fur everywhere! My car is coated in skunk fur, and that was only from one back and forth to his godmother's last week. I'm worried that our vacuum cleaner is going to belly up from choking on skunk fur!
Actually, I do brush him regularly when he's blowing his coat . . . after he's fallen asleep. He's not fond of being brushed and will nip at the brush, and then the hand holding the brush when that proves ineffectual at stopping such brushing behavior, when he's awake. But no matter how much I brush out, the next day, *poof*, fur everywhere again. The only thing we can figure is that there's some strange fur of eternal shedding spell cast on skunks twice a year.
I got a Furminator for the hounds, but it didn't work any better than a cheaper brush. I think it's because greyhounds don't really have an undercoat.
If you're interested, you can have ours. I bought the small one, so it should be the right size for Hobkin.
My sympathies with poor Hob. Invariably as your pet gets older you think about the sad time in the future. I do so with Dault every so often, especially if he's hiding under the bed or in the closet or just lying very still.
But then, I bought a new toy, a mouse on a string, and Dault absolutely loves to chase it. In fact, he likes it when I make the mouse go to and fro really fast and then he runs after it. Runs! Not bad for a 14 yr old fat cat. And he can do this for like 20 minutes or so a session without tiring.
Hobkin's Godmother is also an angel on Earth! She passed on some wonderful treatments the first time that Artie went down. Got him walking again in no time (well, six months, but still, since we feared he wouldn't ever walk again...) I haven't talked to her in ages, so pass on a "hello" for me?
Funny thing about a full blowing coat, I only noticed it didn't happen every year. Hehe. And it does miraculously appear overnight, in drifts! Do you notice it's all white hair? I never did notice any other color! With Maggie, I can't tell, since she's a white on white and the Papillons seem to blow only their white, as well!
Snuggles to him (though I know he'd actually hate it if I did it!)