Ferrets and the Seasonal Flu

October 25th, 2013

Flu Sea­son is around the cor­ner if not already start­ing to rear its ugly head in some regions. This is not only a med­ical con­cern for peo­ple and their fam­i­lies but also for fer­rets that may reside in the homes. The human influenza strains can trans­mit to fer­rets and fer­rets can trans­mit the infec­tion back to humans. How­ever, there are cur­rently no pro­phy­lac­tic flu vac­cines for fer­rets so the best way to keep them safe is to vac­ci­nate the humans in the house­hold. If some­one sus­pects they have the flu, they should avoid close con­tact and han­dling the fer­rets until they are no longer contagious.

Com­mon signs of influenza in fer­rets include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Sneez­ing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Puru­lent eye and nasal discharge

If you sus­pect your fer­ret has been exposed to the flu or may be infected, con­tact your vet­eri­nar­ian. Fer­rets can be tested for influenza to con­firm a diag­no­sis or a pre­sump­tive diag­no­sis can be made based on symp­toms. Treat­ment includes sup­port­ive care such as assist feed­ing and fluid sup­port as well as antibi­otics for sec­ondary bac­te­r­ial infec­tions. If the infec­tion is caught early on, antivi­rals may be an option as well. How­ever, due to the sever­ity of the ill­ness and lim­ited treat­ment options, pre­ven­tion of trans­mis­sion is key.

VA">Centreville, VA

May 22nd, 2013

I have now been an asso­ciate at Car­ing Hands Ani­mal Hos­pi­tal for two years. It has been two years at the Ash­burn office, one year at the Alexan­dria office, and now I have started at the Cen­tre­ville office. Cen­tre­ville is about 30 min­utes west of DC with­out traf­fic (90 to 120 min­utes with traf­fic) and 25 min­utes south of Ash­burn. It has been such an inter­est­ing expe­ri­ence work­ing at three dif­fer­ent clin­ics in the same practice. Even though the clin­ics are all of dif­fer­ent ages and have dif­fer­ent geo­graphic loca­tions, they have more in com­mon than not.  All of the prac­tices share the same mis­sion state­ment, have sim­i­lar setup in pro­to­cols, patient care, com­puter sys­tems, equip­ment, and hos­pi­tal poli­cies. All three prac­tices have also been so wel­com­ing to the exotic patients and show gen­uine enthu­si­asm to learn and care more for these non-traditional com­pan­ion ani­mals. This has made the tran­si­tion to work­ing at the dif­fer­ent loca­tions so much eas­ier. Now I hope to see the growth in clien­telle at Cen­tre­ville that I have seen at the Ash­burn and Alexan­dria clinics.

Overdue for an Update

May 8th, 2013

Well, alot has hap­pened since last time I posted almost a year ago. Once the sum­mer hit, I just became so pre­oc­cu­pied with work and home­life that I really lost the time to blog. How­ever, my hus­band has told me a few peo­ple have been ask­ing about my blog and so I real­ized I need to invest some more time into my lit­er­ary endeavors.

First an update on my pets. We still have Bob, the yel­low fish and Bob the blue fish and Bob the red fish. We had started with five total and had a loss a gain and then loss again so now the tank seems to be hold­ing steady with the three fish. Until recently, I had two cats. Isaac and Shadie. Shadie  recently had an adven­ture out­side of the house. This past April the weather has finally warmed up in Vir­ginia and we had our back­yard door open­ing and clos­ing alot while we pre­pared the grill. Unbe­knownst to us, Shadie snuck out of the house that Sun­day evening and I didn’t real­ize until Mon­day mid-day. This may sound ter­ri­ble that I don’t keep track of the kitty but we have two lev­els and Shadie tends to find quiet places to hang­out when my three year old is run­ning around. He is also sec­ond fid­dle to Isaac. So on Mon­day after­noon after run­ning some errands and real­iz­ing Shadie has not stopped by to spend some qual­ity time with mey, I started to do a major search for him–in the base­ment, laun­dry room, clos­ets, etc. That’s when real­ity hit me that he must have escaped throught he back door. I walked around the back yard, and behind our houses where there is a patch of woods that butt up against a park and the high­way. But no luck. Next I sent a notice to the local shel­ter and my friend send me a pic­ture she had of him so I can post his pic­ture on fliers. After pick­ing up Ari from day care and feed­ing him din­ner, I explained that Shadie was lost and we need to post signs and try to find him. He was very enthu­si­as­tic about help­ing with this and he told me that Shadie did not earn a sticker since he got lost but Isaac earned a sticker since he stayed home. Ah, the mind of a three year old. On our way out of the house, we bumped into our neigh­bor and explained how Shadie got out of the house and asked she keep a look­out for him. She was very sym­pa­thetic to our sit­u­a­tion being a pet lover as well. Ari and I spent the next hour roam­ing the neigh­bor­hood and putting out signs.

On Tues­day, while at work, I told my col­leagues about Shadie’s depar­ture and one of our assis­tance who used to work for ani­mal con­trol rec­om­mended that I put out socks that I have worn through the day. Put one in front of the house and one in back. Appar­ently the cats can smell the odor for miles and it can help them come home if lost. I thought this was a fan­tas­tic tip as I had never heard of this before. But amaz­ingly, I did not have to resort to this. In the mid­dle fo the day I received a call at work that my neigh­bor for Shadie and he was at her house! It turns out, Shadie came in through her dog­gie door she had in her base­ment and he was hang­ing out in her house! What a smart kitty. So that was a won­der­ful reunion.

Two weeks later, Isaac became severely ill. He bacame acutely dehy­drated and stopped eat­ing. I knew in my gut that this was not going to have a happy end­ing but I brought him to work for diag­nos­tics and based on his lab­work, his kid­neys were fail­ing. I kept him on IV flu­ids for over 48 hours but to no avail. His lab­work did not improve and his kid­ney val­ues were through the roof. We had to make a tough deci­sion but do the right thing for him. I called Eric to have him bring Ari to the clinic to visit Isaac and say good­bye. We took some pic­tures and I explained as best as I could that Isaac was very sick and he won’t be com­ing home. He will be going to heaven. Of course this was not really a con­cept Ari under­stood but it was the best I could do. After Ari and Eric left, I had my friend and col­league admin­is­ter the injec­tions that let Isaac go to sleep peace­fully.  He was thir­teen years old. I had him since he was a year old and he kept me com­pany through my res­i­dency at The Ohio State Uni­ver­sity, he moved with me to Fair­fax Vir­ginia, and then to Cen­tre­ville. I watched him grow from a snappy, sus­pi­cious, sneaky kitty to a relaxed, att­ten­tion seek­ing, affec­tion­ate senior. His loss has been very tough. Sadly, Ari is still try­ing to under­stand that Isaac is not com­ing home. It has been two weeks since we lost him and even yes­ter­day Ari asked about him. I patiently reit­er­ate that Isaac had a boo boo and was hurt­ing and now he is with other happy cats in heaven. We are sad and will miss him. My friend rec­om­mended a very good book that talks about cats going to heaven. I am going to have to get my hands on this book soon and see if that helps him through this. I think it is hard for him to under­stand that Isaac is not com­ing back, espe­cially since Shadie recently left and then returned.

Well that is it for now. I am going to try my darn­d­est to blog reg­u­larly again, espe­cially since I have a few more updates to make and some fun ani­mal sto­ries to share. Things should more upbeat with the next post­ing. Until then…



Here Fishie, Fishie, Fishie…

June 27th, 2012

tank with float­ing the bag of fish

Well, I did it. I finally got my act together and the aquar­ium is now set up. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get it done. My friend at work gave me her aquar­ium and heater, fil­ter, and air bub­bler. On Sun­day, I sat on the floor try­ing to fig­ure out how the fil­ter pieces needed to be put together and had no luck. So we took a fam­ily trip the the aquar­ium store and they were very help­ful in show­ing me how to put together the fil­ter. I was also able to buy my gravel, water chem­i­cals for con­di­tion­ing, aquar­ium back­ground, a siphon, and get some basic edu­ca­tion. That night, after Ari went to bed I was able set the aquar­ium on the stand–I had already checked the tank for leaks–and now the water was in, the chem­i­cals, the heater and fil­ter and light were setup. I then let the tank run for 24 hours. When Ari saw the tank set up Mon­day, he was so excited. He thought we already had fish in there but couldn’t find them. I explained we have get the fish on Tues­day so we had to wait until the tank was ready. Since Mon­day was Ari’s birth­day, he received alot of phone calls from fam­ily and friends and every­time he spoke to some­one the first thing out of his mouth was “I’m get­ting fishies” so I know he was thrilled about it. On Tues­day morn­ing I dropped Ari off at day care and with a water sam­ple in hand, made my way to a pet­store. They checked the water to make sure it was free of nitrates, nitrites and chlo­rine and check the pH. With the two thumbs up, I picked out my fish–I mean Ari’s Fish. I pur­chased a neon green tetra glofish, a galac­tic pur­ple danio glofish, and a starfire red danio glofish. Once I got them home, I went through the process of accli­mat­ing them–floating the bag, slowly putting tank water in the bag, And then releas­ing them  by net. The two danio’s seem to adjust quickly but the tetra kept swim­ming towards the side and def­i­nitely seemed more con­fused than the oth­ers. Once accli­mated for a while, I fed the fishies and let them be. When my son came home from day care, he was thrilled with the new fish. I asked him what he wanted to call them and he named them clown fish green, clown fish, pur­ple, and clown­fish red…I will ask him  again tomor­row what he would like to name them. So hope­fully these guys sur­vive the next few weeks as that can be the tough­est time on the fish. I will keep you posted.

Fish tank all set up

The latest

June 14th, 2012

So now things are going full force between Ash­burn and Alexan­dria. Although it is a trick to some­times remem­ber where I need to drive in the morn­ing, it has been workng out really well. Alexandria’s loca­tion is great and easy to get to from the belt­way and we are already up and run­ning see­ing all kinds of exotics.
The new phone num­ber is 703–778-2500.

In the mean­time, I am still get­ting every­thing I need for my new aquar­ium. I am wait­ing for the aquar­ium stand to come in the mail and then I can start to set up the actual tank. Once the tank is set, I need to fill it with water and let it sit for a cou­ple of days prior to get­ting my fish. Once it is set, I will post a picture.