So, about lunchtime, Jamie got a call from the vet saying that it’d be a good idea if we came asap. Algea had taken a downturn and the vet wanted to discuss what options we had and have everyone on the same page.
We opted to have them try a steroid injection to see if it would help bring down the swelling in his head/neck so they could figure out it it was swelling on the brain or sinus/nasal swelling. I stayed while Jamie went back to work to explain to his boss what was happening and grab his things. He came back, and until then there’d been no news (and we were doing the “no news is good news!” thing at the time). Jamie had stepped outside to call his dad when one of the vet techs came out to say that Algea was doing ok, they were taking him off of oxygen, he was breathing a little better, and he had stood up, turned around, and curled back up (unlike earlier when we got the call when he would stand up and immediately fall back down).
We were allowed to go see him, give him some scritches and tell him we loved him. He was sleeping and curled up into a ball. We left for a few and came back. We were taken to one of the exam rooms and discussed how Algea was doing. He wasn’t on oxygen, his breathing was rapid but not as bad as earlier, and did we want to keep him there for overnight, do another injection, or take him to EVS for observation.
We opted to try the injection again, which would be done around the time that the vets left for the day, and not have him moved because I was afraid that moving him would cause him more trauma and stress; Jamie agreed with me. So we let the desk staff know what was going on and we went to Kroger because, damnit, after how this has been going, I’d like a beer. I did a mix-n-match 6-pack and we found a really nice bouquet of roses in a vase that we agreed would be good to get and give the staff because they are always awesome, extremely helpful, etc. We cannot give them enough praise*
We were about a street away from the house when Jamie got the phone call from the vet stating that Algea had passed, did we want him to be cremated, if we’d like to come in after a while that’d be cool. So we kept on going and headed to their office, where I set the vase on the counter and Jamie pointed out that it’s because they’ve always been great and awesome and we wanted to say thank you. One of the ladies there almost burst into tears and Jamie asked if we could speak to the vet for a few and we were lead back into the “conference” room (it’s two chairs with a little table that has a plant on it in a small room) and we spoke to the vet.
He’d told us that he had just gone on his normal rounds of checking on everyone and looked in on Algea and did a double take because something didn’t feel quite right. He opened the kennel door and sure enough, Algea’d gone. He was still curled up in the little bed they provided for him. The vet said that it was quiet and peaceful, that he’d been expecting some sort of noise, but there was nothing. We’d all figured that it was because Algea had realized that it was a quiet, safe space where people were keeping an eye on him. He’d been able to relax enough to sleep and just went in his sleep.
We ended up discussing different things, like building terrariums for critters, reptiles, and that we had gone ahead and opted to put Izzy to sleep (the appointment is for next Saturday). The other vet that we normally see will be the one administering the procedure, so the vet that we had today got him up-to-speed with everything that was going on so he wouldn’t be all wtf when he saw our appointment with him.
We’ll be picking up Algea when they call us to let us know his ashes have arrived and we’re treating Izzy like we always have. When we got home and I let everyone out, I realized where all the mystery blood from Algea’s mouth had come from:: he’d ripped the shit out of Izzy’s ear. And, because I wasn’t paying attention (and the stress from the incident), Izzy’s ear didn’t get cleaned until about 5.30 tonight and slathered with neosporin. I’ll be putting a warm compress on it again in the morning and re-slathering it. I also got Firefly’s scratches on her head slathered with neosporin and double checked Bug and Hobbes–who both seemed to have not had anything happen.
Nope, you can’t save them all, but you sure as hell can try.
*Seriously, if you live in the Roanoke area, I highly recommend going to Valley Animal Hospital on Hildebrand Rd. The staff is amazing, the vets are awesome, they look after birds, rodents, reptiles, cats, dogs. They’re about $3-10 or so more than other vets in the area (based on things like nail trimmings, exam costs, x-rays. roughly the same on flea/tick preventative and heartworm medication, as well as boosters/shots), but it’s well worth it. The vets are happy to answer any question you may have (really, we’ve discussed a lot of pet-medical stuff with them and they’ve always been more than happy to elaborate on anything we have questions about).
And hey, how many vets can you take your “exotic” pet to as well as your “normal” domesticated pet?