It’s been a while since I last updated, but a lot (and I mean A LOT) has happened since then. (Don’t worry, Chunky is okay FYI). This will be long, but I feel that it is an important read. I really would hate to see anyone else go through what we’re going through now.
But I wanted to post this update for any future owners who might run into this situation, and also as a cautionary tale.
So I last left off with - We were pretty sure that Chunky had a tooth problem, but had not received an official diagnosis yet. I took him back to the vet
that following Friday. She confirmed that yes, it most likely was a bad tooth. But unfortunately, her clinic didn’t have the right equipment to X-ray tiny glider teeth. He needed a clinic with more fancy equipment basically. So she gave me a referral..TO THE ER HOSPITAL I HAD JUST TAKEN HIM TO! Yes.. the one that recommended we trim his teeth.
I told her about my concerns with that, but she told me that was their ER/on call vet
who said that (who was not an exotic vet
). She said that, that particular hospital actually had an exotics department, but most importantly.. had special diagnostic equipment for exotic/avian mammals. Sounded good to me! I was ready to get to the root of the issue!
So we make an appointment with an exotic vet
there for the following Thursday. I expected them to radiograph his teeth, and most likely make a follow up visit for the extraction. Because of the current pandemic, I couldn’t go in with him (everything is car side pick up). So they come out and get Chunky, and I waited in the parking lot to get a call from the doctor.
About an hour later, I get a call from him. He explained that he examined all of Chunky’s teeth and found the bad tooth. It was back molar, that was so decayed it had cracked in half. He said that the tooth was so bad, he was able to just use a Q-Tip and wiggle it out. Mind you, this involved no anesthesia or sedation (that should of been my first red flag - that they removed a tooth from his tiny mouth while he was awake). But I put my trust in this place and was happy that they found the problem and fixed it.
I brought Chunky home and sure enough, all his symptoms stopped by that weekend. No more drooling, and no pawing at the mouth. I was elated, at least temporarily.
That following Saturday, I took Chunky out for his normal cuddles and play time.
I was shocked when I saw a golf ball sized lump bulging from his abdomen.
This thing was enormous! And it most certainly wasn’t there the day before. I was freaking out. I called the vet
who did his tooth extraction, and asked him if he noticed a lump of any size on his abdomen when he examined him on Thursday. He said absolutely not, and if it’s there now, it’s new. I asked if I could bring Chunky in to see him for an emergency visit.. but he said he was on vacation and there was no other exotic vet
there to see him.
He told me a few places I could try, so that’s what I did. I ended up driving an hour into Boston to the ASPCA hospital.
They took him in immediately and kept him overnight to have an ultrasound in the morning. I got the call from them the next day with the findings.
Chunky had a herniated bladder. For anyone unfamiliar with what this means - he basically had a tear in his abdomen wall and his bladder popped through. The giant lump was a mix of swelling/fluid associated with the hernia.
I asked the vet
there how in the world that happened.. and he said he was just as shocked as I was. He said in all his years examining gliders.. Chunky’s case was the first one he’d ever seen. I asked how something like that would happen, and he said it was due to trauma, major trauma to the abdomen. I asked if it could of been an old injury (because remember, I did just rescue these guys about a month ago), and he said no.. not likely. This was a new injury. He said even if Chunky sustained a small hernia in the past, something recent had to have happened to cause it to herniate his bladder (basically turning a small injury into a major one).
I told him all about his recent tooth extraction, and that only two days (not even) that lump appeared. He was very frank with me and said “I would give them a call immediately and ask to speak to someone in charge”.
I can’t come to any other conclusion than that Chunky was injured during that tooth extraction. I know damn right well he didn’t sustain any major trauma in my care those following days. I don’t have anyone else living in my house except my husband.. who absolutely didn’t do anything to him either (I’m their main, well only, care giver). I’m the only one who handled him after that tooth extraction.
I asked the vet
if this could have happened from Chunky falling in his cage and he said most likely no (also, Chunky moves around pretty well in his cage - I never seen him even struggle or stumble while hopping around in there).
said it could have happened if he was dropped, or someone squeezed him to hard, or something along those lines.
I’m beside myself. I truly believe something happened to him during that tooth extraction. First off, the timing is incredibly coincidental, and secondly.. the removed his tooth while he was awake and alert! The vet
who did the tooth extraction said that the tooth was already loose and almost out anyway... but still, that requires them to hold Chunky still while they wiggle it out.
My theory: I don’t think it was the actual vet
who caused the injury. I’m guessing it was probably whoever assisted him, or, whoever was handling him either before or afterwards. I think they maybe held him a little too tight to keep him still during the procedure.
Also - I came to find out afterwards that, that particular vet
.. didn’t even work at that hospital. He was called in as they don’t really have an actual exotic vet
employed there full time. They contract them in from other places for when they need them. If I knew that..I don’t think I would of went through with the visit. Not because I don’t trust the vet
they call in.. but because that tells me that their usual staff doesn’t handle exotics on a regular basis.
So Chunky had his surgery this morning to repair the damage done to his bladder and abdomen. I was majorly relieved when they called me this afternoon and told me it was a success and he woke up from anesthesia just fine.
This whole ordeal has been extremely stressful for us emotionally and financially. The whole surgery and hospital stay for Chunky was $3600 in total. I usually always make sure to have some emergency back up funds.. but this was a huge unexpected expense. But the alternative was to euthanize Chunky.. and that was NOT happening.
So Chunky is still there in hospital tonight and possibly tomorrow night too. They’ll let me know tomorrow if I can take him home. I already went over the aftercare with the vet
, so I’m all prepared for when he comes home.
I’ve also put a call out to the clinic who did the tooth extraction. That was yesterday and they still haven’t called me back yet. But I’m not letting this go. I want answers.
I wanted to post this as a warning. I didn’t ask enough questions. I just trusted the hospital and accepted their plan of treatment. What should of been a few hundred dollar issue, turned into a few thousand dollar issue. But most important, more important than the money, is that they severely, and almost fatally injured my Chunky!
So don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they’re stupid questions!