Whether you have or have not had any experience with abscesses, you need to know this. Even if you have, this will be something you should read. Please read through my post and use the information to help your gliders in their time of need. I never thought it would happen, and it did.
11-28-2010 was a Sunday. I had a glider friend over and we were going to have a glider girl day out, to buy fabric and starbucks and hit a few thrift stores. On our outings, she usually has her gliders on her in their bonding
pouch. I decided that this time, since it wasn't so dang hot out, I would take a few with us along the ride. I am now down to two cages and they are my quad (The Fab Four) and my colony of seven (The chickens). I didn't wanna go through the rituals of all seven pottying and chance someone getting bratty and wanting out of the pouch through our day, so I decided that the Fab Four could come along. I went to the cage and pulled the pouch out. Out came Ranger, Doodle and Boomer. Where was Fuzzy?
Fuzzy came out last. The right side of his face was fine, the left was puffy and swollen. I instantly knew what it was... an abscess.
Right away, I pulled him out, with my friend standing next to me. I explained a little about what it was. After talking to another friend over the phone who has dealt with glider abscesses, (also being a Sunday) I made the decision that he could wait to be vetted in the morning. On our day out, he slept in the pouch while I checked on him every couple of hours. The swelling wasn't getting any worse and he was taking treats and water just fine.
The next day (Monday), he was no worse and I took him in to see the vet
. I asked her about draining and she insisted that it did not need to be drained and that Baytril would take it away within one week and draining it may make it worse. After my asking a few more times, I could see her irritation so I let it be. I thought "Well, she's the vet
here, so I'll take her word for it. She knows what she is doing." . I had a good amount of Torb left, so I didn't ask her for any.
Tuesday, it was a little puffier but Fuzzy seemed to be feeling a bit better. I read a couple posts on here, then GC was down and if I tried, I got a 404 message. So, I waited and googled what I could on other boards for abscesses. Mind you there's only so much you can do on a phone.
Wednesday, Fuzzy could not see out of his eye. It was a slit and I made the decision to remove him from the Quad to REALLY monitor him. I cleaned his eye with some sterile water and a q-tip, since it was a little gunky. He got to play around the livingroom and do all he wanted. He ate and drank fine, his face was like a puffin. I called my vet
and asked her again if I could bring him in to drain it. Again, she insisted that the Baytril would take it away. I tried to get opinions from other vets
and they would not give an opinion unless they saw the glider first. Only one did and he recommended to switch Fuzzy to Clavamox since it is more of a broad spectrum antibiotic. I asked my vet
about this and again - she insisted the Baytril would do it. "Just give it a few more days." .
Thursday, the puffiness was down some and his eye was a showing a tiny bit. At the back of it was a little bit of red, marking irritation. I gave him his meds and cleaned his eye a little bit, to see if that helped, which of course, did not. My vet
is closed on Thursdays. I noticed later that night, that some of the swelling had moved to between his ear and eye. This sent me into crazy mode.
Friday, the red was still there but he was still hoppy and happy like the doofus that he is.
I called my vet
again to ask if there was anything else I could do for him and to let her know about the additional swelling near his ear. I offered to bring him in and she again, insisted that it might take another day or two for his face to show any real improvement. I decided that maybe it was just the super over protective mom in me and I needed the shut up and leave it be. Still, in the back of my mind, something was not right. I was checking the inside of his mouth to make sure there wasn't anything draining for him to swallow like crazy, nothing was there.
Skip a day and go to Sunday.
Fuzzy smelt odd. Like, a dead rotting mouse that you find at the back of your cupboard kind of odd. I thought maybe it had drained, but there was nothing on him. I knew the smell and I thought to myself "prepare yourself, he may not make it". I gave him his meds, he was still eating fine and drinking. I called my vet
's cell and wanted to leave a message letting her know I would be in the next day with him so maybe she could assess what the smell was. I looked at Fuzzy's face and at the back of his jaw was a black spot. It had no hair. I hung up the phone without leaving the message and walked to the bathroom with him in my hand.
This next part is a bit gross, and I am in no way saying that it is okay to do this, unless you know for a fact, what you are doing, being in the medical area for a very long time and following a licensed veterinarian
. Either way, this needs to be heard or read.
I got it to drain. Fuzzy didn't even notice it. This green, gross brown icky horrid smelling JUNK came cascading out of his face. Gauze pad after gauze pad after cottonballs and tissues, it finally stopped. I put a little bit of pressure and more came. I felt so bad, but I knew it needed to be done. I could see instant relief in his face as the pressure was leaving. He started to wiggle so I decided enough was enough and I flushed it out with sterile fluids and cleaned him up best I could.
Estimating, I would say about 2 - 3 ml of stuff came out of his face. I had a tiny bit of junk in a syringe for the vet
to do a C&S on in the fridge now.
I got him settled into a pouch and cleaned up the loo room while I called and left a voicemail on my vets
cell, letting her know what happened. She called me back and asked me to come in the morning to get some SMZ-TMP. In the morning (Monday) I took Fuzzy with me, and got the meds. I thought she would want to see him, but she was very busy. One of her techs spoke with me about it and told me to start the meds right away and continue keeping it cleaned and making sure to drain it every few hours.
When I found the black spot, it was about the size of a small pea. At this point, it was the size of a small lima bean - or two small peas.
Wednesday, I ran out of Torb. I asked my vet
if I could get some more from her and she stated that he would not need it because once an abscess ruptures, the animal is no longer in pain... At this point, I was very adamant about the fact that I felt he needed it, since he had an open sore on his face... Right now, I am sure you are raising your eyebrow just as I am as I type this out and just as I told her why I felt he needed it. Obviously - it was a losing battle.
I was cleaning his face (again, I will not disclose what I used exactly, as I am not a vet
) and following with sterile fluids and neosporin. He still had a good chunk of blackness on his face, but it was looking better. I let him have a few hours out of his E-Collar every day, to play and groom, until he tried to groom his face. Back in the Collar he went if he did.
Friday, I ended up cutting a small, loose part of the 'scab' off of his face. This allowed his face to breathe a bit more and let it drain without it building anything up.
This past Tuesday, the rest of it was barley hanging on, so I wet a q-tip and wet the area a bit, helping it come off a little bit more. Off it came! The tissue was pink and the fat was yellow and everything looked like it should in a healthy face.
Wednesday, I got home from picking Sal up. I walked in the room and said my normal greeting. "Hiya Fuzz!" . Normally, I get a crab or he pokes his head out to see who it is. This time, I didn't so I picked the pouch up and looked inside. He crabbed his butt off at me and even lunged. I picked him up and immediately burst into tears. He was ice cold and wanted nothing more than to kick my butt. I clicked my heating pad on and called the E-vet
to ask what I should do, before I got there. They told me that I should keep him at home and do exactly what I was doing, because they would do the same and charge me 150 bucks for it. Wednesday night, I slept on the sofa with Fuzzy in his pouch on my stomach, under a blanket, with a heating pad. I slept so light, I may as well have not slept at all. Every time he moved or made a noise, I woke up to check him. I did the same on Thursday. By Friday morning, he was able to retain his own body heat and started eating better once again. Still - he slept in his pouch, on the sofa, under my blanket and on a heating pad.
Ever since I had found him with the abscess, he slept in my shirt during the day, or his favorite bonding
Today, we are a little smaller and REALLY on the heal. (Think from thumb diameter to pinkie)
I am so very proud of him for being so tough and understanding when I need him to be still while I clean his face or apply the topical ointment. He doesn't really mess with it and I have let him out of his E-Collar while he is on me or I let him play freely in the livingroom. I know the boys all miss him and he misses them. I can't wait for them to all be together again.
The things I want you ALL to take from this post:
Go around the board and get phone numbers. Write them down in a book because when you need the boards the most for reading, they might be down. Get at least two numbers for each issue might need help with. I have a few numbers in my cell phone but like Connie said when I spoke to her through the middle of this all, "Stuff happens. Computers fritz and cell phones get lost, stolen, break or die."
Any abscess, no matter what, needs to be drained. Don't let it go. If your vet
won't do it, go to another one that you trust. (In my case, my usual vet
is no longer at his office >.<)
I know how to, but: Know how to administer meds to your glider.
Have an E-Collar and know how to use it. I have an army of E-Collars but you always need more than one. I also know how to use mine and a very trick like way to get it on my gliders.
In case you don't have my phone number, it is 480-246-5668. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. If you call and I don't answer, leave me a voice-mail or text message me.
Okay, 4:12am... I think I need to get some sleep. I just wanted to get this out for you to read. I will post the progressive photos tomorrow, sometime.