Overwhelmed by Large Vet Bill
I am writing to you hoping for some help. My ferret Oliver needed an emergency surgery Wednesday to remove an obstruction from his small intestine. It turns out he nibbled on a blanket he had in his cage. The surgery did go well and he is home now and recovering, but it has been such a rough time for me as well.
He had unusual stool and didn't have as much energy as he usually does. I took him in Tuesday afternoon to All Pets Animal Hospital. They did x-rays . After a barium series (the next day) revealed it was not moving along as fast as it should through his system and new x-rays confirmed an enlarged area of the small intestine, the veterinarian said their must be an obstruction and he would need surgery as soon as possible. I was in shock and very scared but of course had to do whatever needed to save him. We had discussed the possibility of surgery and the cost and as much as I was worried how I was going to pay for all of this, I had no choice but to do whatever necessary to save my baby.
He did well through surgery and went to California Veterinary Specialists that night for overnight care where they kept a close eye on him and continued fluids and pain meds. I was so happy when he was cleared to come home the next morning. He has been recouping well since then. He has gone from eating nothing and being lethargic, to wet food feedings every 2-3 hrs, to now eating wet food and (just today) his dry food on his own and is also more alert. It is hard to keep him separated from my other two ferrets and not let him out at all, but so far he is taking it okay. They definitely all miss each other, but I am hoping his progress continues this well and he is back to normal real soon. He has a week at the very least before I can even consider taking his cone off and letting him out...
I have had my share of vet bills in the past (for my cats as well) and I find a way to deal with it and pay them, but this time I find myself asking over and over how I'm going to do it. This bill is significantly larger than any before. I am embarrassed to ask, but I don't know what else to do. I was hoping you could include Oliver in CLIFFNotes and my reaching out for help. His vet bills were extremely expensive and I need help any way I can get it. I know times are tough for everyone now, especially being Christmas, I completely understand how crazy it is that I even ask. But, I guess I am hoping for another miracle. I am so fortunate to have Oliver be saved and home, but his bills also have me really worried.
His first visit at All Pets cost $379.31 for his exam, x-rays, fluids and meds. His barium, surgery and meds the next day totaled $1,480.36 and his overnight care at CVS was $217.30. Total bills equal $2,076.97 ! I had to split the cost between two credit cards and I still owe All Pets for about half of his surgery cost ($735.94). I hate asking for help, especially when it comes to money, but even if just one person reaches out and understands, it still helps! If anyone can help, they can send me a check, or send it directly to All Pets Animal Hospital and let them know it's for Oliver Koraus. If they can't help out right now, these bills will still be lurky for many months to come...
I would really appreciate you including this in CLIFFNotes (obviously you'll want to shorten it) in hopes there may be someone who can help. Even just a dollar adds up!
All Pets Animal Hospital
285 N. El Camino Real
Encinitas, CA 92024
Note - Jamie volunteered her services as the photographer behind our LegalizeFerrets.org Calendar. So we're passing the hat for Ollie. Use the below button - why not throw in five bucks? Or pay the hospital directly - thank you!
If you have trouble with the above link please use this link and send me an email it is for Ollie.
Should 14 Year-Old Get a Ferret?
Last week we ran a letter from Lisette M. who wanted to know what to say to persuade her parents to allow her to get a ferret. Two very different answers came in:
I don't know where you live, but if you have friends at school who have the adorable carpet shark, bed bouncer, or living slinky maybe they might show your parents how they respond to humans. Get the book Ferrets for Dummies.
I consider it the bible for ferret lovers. You must remember that not everyone or every family are ferret people. We have three Cats, three Dogs (Pugs) and ten living loving adorable little critters called ferrets.
Ferrets are expensive, wonderful, fun, sweet, cute, and safe, but EXPENSIVE. Anytime a minor gets a pet, it falls to the parent to take care of it, at least somewhat. Most kids and teens don't have lots of cash for vets, and often the same teen that wanted the pet will get bored of it (I rescued my ferret from kids who were out on their own for the first time and neglected their buddy so bad he almost died!).
When you have an illegal pet, the parents also take a risk, and may not be as willing to do whats necessary to keep the fuzzy safe and at home- like LIE to police, wildlife officials, friends, and landlords. If you do decide to get a ferret, you have to either find one in CA or smuggle it in. The person wanting the ferret will do anything- but the people around them may not!
But my biggest concern is not the legal issues, but what happens to them when you grow up and move away, esp to college? Most dorms will not let you have any pet, let alone a ferret, and you aren't going to change your plans for an animal (its just not likely). Parents that didn't really want it in the first place, aren't likely to keep it once you are gone. Just as bad, they DO keep it for you, but don't play with it and it suffers from the loss of losing you AND being bored- both are serious issues for ferret, who need lots of love, playtime, and attention. Ferrets live about 6-8 years, with some even 10yrs old! Where will you be at 24, and how many places will you have lived in that time? Where will your ferret be???
If you have money for vets, convince your parents to take the risk, then I see ONE solution- get an older ferret, one that is not likely to live past your 18th birthday. This sounds weird, but just listen- older ferrets are calmer and already trained. There are lots that are 5 or 6yrs old, with plenty of life left, that need good homes. They are likely to come with cages and other expensive accessories (so you can save your $ for vets). I got my ferret when he was 4 and he's the GREATEST! Super fun, and he doesn't bite or chew things up like a baby/untrained ferret. Unlike dogs, ferrets love you at any age, you don't need a baby. This way, you can have your ferret, and he will have a home with a loving person, and you won't have to worry about dorms/apartments/parents that don't want him, when you grow up.
In the Absence of Hard News
- Here Are Some Predictions for 2010
It sometimes takes me awhile to think of what I can put in CLIFFNotes every week when really there is nothing much to report on. - Then it dawned on me, this is the perfect week to make my predictions. So here's what I think will happen.
#1 - Work will be completed on the studies currently being done by Dr. Geo Graening at Sacramento State University we need to file the Environmental Impact Report between June and September of next year. No feral ferrets or environmental or health impacts of any kind will be found regarding domestic ferrets any where in North America. The actual EIR will be filed late in the year 2010, and we will be on our way towards legalization. There will also be the literature review and it is much harder to predict how that will pan out. How will Dr. Graening and staff deal with the unscientific and biased pieces that have been put out there?
And our favorite:
#1-1/2 Dr. Graening and staff will work very hard for their money!
#2 Attorney General Jerry Brown will be elected as California's Governor in November and Democrats will increase their majorities in the state. While Republicans are more likely to agree with us on ferret legalization, they tend to turn aganst us with the first call from the Farm Bureau (or any unfounded opposition). Democrats have been less supportive, but have been more honest. - Expect the Sierra Club and the Audobon Society to continue their opposition to ferret legalization and their continued refusal to even talk with us. A Governor Jerry Brown will be an improvement over Arnold Schwarzenegger in terms of ferret legalization - but he won't be easy either.
Two Side Notes Here:
- We sent Jerry Brown a candidate survey when he was running for Attorney General and we couldn't get him to respond.
- Don't buy or accept any Sierra Club or Audobon Society books or calendars this year for Christmas. I don't think the Farm Bureau sells calendars :-)
#3 Support for ferret legalization will continue to grow. We currently have 4,463 subscirbers. We started the year with 3,895. This list is very clean and people do drop off because they unsubscribe or their email bounces back so that is quite an accomplishment.
For More Professional Psychic Opinions,
- Come to my Birthday Party!
I'm turning 51 next week - on Dec 27th, and it is a coincidence (or a very nice lead in) that I've hired a professional psychic to give a reading for ferret legalization as a whole - and individual readings will be available. I don't wish to put my address in CLIFFNotes - but if you are near the La Mesa area, consider yourself invited!
Sunday - Dec 27th from 3 to 6 pm
|My favorite question of the year - what color ferret do you want? One of each, please!|
- Filipino Buffet
- Psychic Reading
- Meet my new baby ferret (but hand sanitizer will be available)
I'm leaving for Las Vegas on Christmas morning and picking up two babies, though Jim says I can only keep one (note to self, load up Jim's eggnog). - But that's what I want for my Birthday.
I will email everyone who says they are coming or may be coming prior to the party. It looks like 20 to 25 people will be there.
Answers To Your Questions
From Marshall Ferrets
Do ferrets carry Toxoplasmosis, and is it as highly communicable through fecal eggs, as with cats? Are there any things that a pregnant ferret owner needs to avoid (like litterboxes) for safety's sake? I happily turned over my fuzzies paper-cleaning duties, but am still concerned, since I spend lots of time snuggling with my fuzzy.
Ferrets, like many animals, can be infected with Toxoplasma gondii. Infection in ferrets probably occurs wherever infected cat feces contaminate ferret food or ferrets have access to uncooked meat. Cats are the definitive host for toxoplasma and excrete the oocytes for approximately 10 days only after infection. Since ferrets are not definitive hosts for the parasite, they do not excrete the oocytes in their feces when they are infected. You will not be able to be infected with toxoplasma due to handling of the ferret litterbox. However, following rules of hygiene are always important. It is important to wash your hands after changing the ferret's litterbox and after handling any pet, but there is no need to limit snuggling time!
lunteer, they never saw any similar case. The vets recomended to give her Prednisolone(for allergy), wich works fine but only until I stop the suggested dosis, and she gets all swollen again... Lately she's been also having problems to defecate and losing weight. I'm desperate.
These are general symptoms and may be caused by a number of issues from infectious to cancerous. It would be helpful to know what diagnostics have already been done. I would suggest taking bloodwork including CBC and Chemistry and testing for Aleutian Disease. Have they taken x-rays and ultrasound? Without these initial diagnostics, it will be difficult to decide on a specific course of action. Since you have gone to 4 vets already and there are lots of good exotics vets in CA, I assume most of the workup has already been done. You may want to consider going to UC Davis with your ferret. Their Exotics Dept. is well-respected. You may want to confirm that they have someone in the dept. that has a good amount of ferret experience. However, even if you do go to UC Davis, you may not find out any more specific info.
Aleutian disease can be tested through Blue Cross Animal Hospital:
Blue Cross Animal Hospital
ATTENTION: Dr. Blau - CEP TESTS
401 North Miller Avenue
Burley, Idaho 83318
Phone: (208) 678-5553
Do you have a question for Marshall Ferrets? They handle more ferrets than anyone else in the world. Your question is routed through their customer service and veterinarian departments. We appreciate the information! Send your questions to email@example.com
Help Needed With Ferret Round Up
The Ferret Round Up scheduled for March 20th in San Diego was supposed to be at a church in Kensington. The Church unexpectedly rejected our application - saying we didn't meet with their mission statement ?! So if you have an idea for a location, please contact FA President Lance M - his contact info is at the bottom of this newsletter.
Wysong Affiliate program has so far netted us $251.07. My cat so far loves Wysong. Ferrets Quito and Fausto aren't so sure - they're big on the Marshall Diet. But I like to offer choice so a bowl of the Wysong Archtype 1 is in their cage. It is a very different texture than any other ferret food I've ever seen. The Wysong affiliate money will come in very handy when we get the next bill for the EIR.
It is nice to look back and see what we've accomplished this year. Not since right before Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a ferret legalization/amnesty bill have California ferret lovers been in such good shape. Our ducks are in a row!
In this terrible economy donations to our effort have more than doubled - so far just short of $17,000 has come in this year. Not enough to compete with the Farm Bureau, Sierra Club or the Audobon Society, but we are a determined bunch and I really hope 2010 will be the long-awaited "Year of the Ferret."
Our Calendars have done a great job. Our earlier "Ferrets Are More Fun" T-shirt also produced great donations and orders
After the next quarter of the EIR is in and paid for, I'd like to order more of the t-shirts with the design on the front.
If anyone has a use for the calendars such as an educational table, please let me know. We've made money on them but there still are a lot left over.
Have a very Merry Christmas or whatever you call your holiday. Stay safe and send in some cute photos of ferrets under the tree for the final issue of CLIFFNotes for next year.