Saturday, April 4, 2009


Can't sleep.

Ahhh the joys of night shift. Turns out it is not my turn to go to days just yet. Be patient Emily.....

A week ago last Sunday I came home from work that morning, and did my usual round on all the animals. Where are the boys? Do they have food/water? I give them a good petting and them move onto little Sierra, my ferret of nearly 6 years who just turned the ripe old age of 7 January 12. She's usually in her hammock chillaxin. I always check her food/water too and make sure she hasn't knocked her blanket off her top(sleeping) level to her bottom(pooping) level. (I know...gross) So this specific morning she popped her little head up to look at me and I immediatly noticed that in the course of 24 hours, she had lost pretty much all the hair on her back!!! I freaked and grabbed her out of the cage for an inspection. Clumps of hair had fallen out and I noticed her little tummy was really tight and distended. 

Here come the water works. You see, I have been mentally preparing for "this day" when something went terribly wrong with her for awhile now. Ferrets just don't live very long and she has surpassed my other two by a longshot. My first, Madee, was 5 when she got the dreaded adrenal disease and Sadie (Sierra's sister) was only 3 when she got a spinal cord tumor. With Sierra being 7 now, we are in uncharted territory!

I ran into the bedroom and woke Andrew up shrieking for him to look at her. It was really hard for him to see her without her hair. I put her in our bathroom to see how she was walking etc. She was walking just fine, but didn't seem to have that pep in her step.

I babied her all day, and then first thing Monday morning we called for an appointment with our beloved ferret specialist Dr Kendrick who we have been with for 10 yrs!!! I wouldn't trust her with anyone else, even though he referred us to a ferret specialist out in Farmer's Branch. We made the 1 hr drive to Mansfield together, and the whole way I talked to God and selfishly prayed for Him to give me more time with this sweet girl while at the same time praying that she was not in any kind of pain or suffering. Once we got there, they popped her on the scale and I immediatly noticed that the little girl had gained a whopping 5 oz since her appointment the month before in Febuary! Not good. Especially when you only normally weigh 1 lb 10 oz.

He took a good look at her, listened to her heart/lungs, felt her tummy, and watched her walk around on the floor. She even peed and pooped for him. He verified my suspicions of her tummy- that it was very swollen, but he gave me really good news as to why this sudden change in her! He explained that older ferrets just don't handle the time change very well. 

I was like "That's it???

 I was prepared for some very bad news! I had been holding back the tears the whole appointment. Just being in that room brings up some very sad memories for me with Madee and Sadie.

He proceeded to explain that when the time changes, older ferrets have trouble regulating their hormones. He said the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and adrenals just don't "talk" to each other correctly and it was a simple fix. This hormonal offness made her spleen swell which explains the distended tummy.

So she's just a hormonal girl like the rest of us! I told Andrew that now he had to deal with 2 hormonal women in the house. I don't think he laughed. He did laugh though when I explained to everyone the horseshoe male pattern baldness look she had going on. 

She received a fancy melatonin implant in her back that will secrete melatonin correctly for the next 3 months, a lupron shot, and another shot to help her with all the itchiness she has been having. Praise Jesus, because her treatment worked! She already has a beautiful, new coat of hair coming in and within a day her tummy and personality were back to normal!!!!

We are going to continue to love on her and make her as comfortable as possible in this new geriatric ferret stage we have never encountered before. To celebrate, we got her a new pink and green "cozy cube" with matching hammock as she had completely destroyed her old one. She is back to her old bouncing around self too! Thank you Lord for answering both of my prayers of asking for more time with her and asking for her to not hurt as well!!!!

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever."
Psalm 107:1

In honor of Sierra, I'd like to list some of our nicknames for her...

Little Ceasars
Sierra Mist
Little Sierra
CiCi's Abici's (don't ask...I don't even know how that started)

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