Come, Mommy

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Confessions of a Lousy Ferret Mommy

I love my ferrets. Very much. It's just that since Liam arrived, they don't get the attention from me that they used to. Pre-Liam, I was up on the newest ferret health issues, the pros and cons of various ferret diets, and was frequently on the hunt for new and different ferret toys and games. My ferrets still eat well, they have a whole room in which to run and play, I get them to the vet when they need to go, and I spend 30-60 minutes a day playing with them. It's just that Liam's needs come first these days. I know rationally that is the way it should be, but I still feel guilty that the ferrets take a back seat. Especially since this week I missed a problem that could have been very dangerous for the ferrets.

I was driving Stormy to the vet on Thursday for her monthly Lupron shot. Stormy, like many ferrets, has a benign adrenal tumor. For the last couple of years I have driven her to Philadelphia on a monthly basis to get her Lupron, and she has been doing splendiferously well. This time, halfway down I-295, Stormy started pooping. And pooping. Liquid. Stinky liquid. All over. I got her to the vet's office, and a quick look at some poop under the microscope told our vet that she had, essentially, food poisoning. It seems the last bag of ferret kibble I picked up was tainted, and now Stormy was pretty sick. Furthermore, the three ferrets at home were likely to be suffering themselves.

Fortunately, the organism causing all this poop is easily treated with amoxicillin. We gave Stormy her first dose at the office, and I picked up enough amoxi to treat all the woozles. But still, I felt bad. When I opened the bag of kibble, it smelled a bit different than previous bags, but as I was also making lunch for Liam at the same time, I didn't stop to think about it. The night before Stormy's vet visit, I noticed one of the litter boxes had some diarrhea in it. Again, I blew off a potential warning sign, thinking that Bobo, who's eating a lot of canned food due to his own medical problems, was just not tolerating his diet.

So now it's Saturday, and after a couple of rough days, everybody is healthy and happy again. We've got fresh food and amoxi all around, and after a morning of cage and litter box cleaning, there's not a trace of icky poop left. But still...if I was paying a bit more attention, maybe I would have tossed the food before I put it down for the ferrets. I might have called the vet earlier if I had paid attention to the litter boxes. If I still subscribed to all the ferret boards, I might have known of any recalls of ferret food. But I didn't do anything of the kind. And I could have lost one or more of my ferrets. Thanks goodness Stormy pooped when and where she did.

I know, rationally, that my ferrets are better cared for than are most ferrets. I know, rationally, that my son's needs have to come before those of the pets. But, still, this whole episode scared me, and I feel guilty.


  • You know, the thing that I never expected about parenting is the guilt at every turn. For the first 3 years of Danielle's life, guilt about everything I did and didn't do.

    Thank heavens I don't have pets. I would be a puddle on the floor! Kudos to you.

    Glad to hear your ferrets are on the mend.

    By Blogger Dana, at Monday, February 06, 2006 8:55:00 PM  

  • But Dana...,
    If you don't have pets, you also have to feel guilty about denying your children the experience of being responsible for another living being.
    In the guilt game, the guilt always wins. Sigh...

    By Blogger Kathleen, at Thursday, February 09, 2006 3:12:00 AM  

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