Okay, some of you may (or may not) have noticed my posting a few days ago about my chinchilla, Gizmo, being sick. He got pretty listless, didn’t want to eat or drink much of anything, his eyes got all gunked up, and he started hanging out at the bottom of his cage rather than in his house up top.
Well, I’d wanted to take him to the vet earlier this week, but we’ve only got one running vehicle, and several people that depend on us for rides, and lots of errands that needed to be run—not to mention flooding that closed down one of the major routes to the end of town where this particular vet (recommended by my regular vet, since my regular one doesn’t handle exotics) is located. Between one thing and another, I couldn’t take Gizmo to the vet during the week, and he just got worse.
I called up the vet today, knowing that there would be an extra charge if the trip would count as an “emergency hours” visit. Sure enough, a regular visit only costs $42 (before they do any x-rays or anything like that), but an emergency visit costs the $42 plus a $75 emergency hours fee. I was going to schedule an appointment for Tuesday, knowing that Gizmo probably wouldn’t make it that long, but when I said something to the receptionist about not being able to afford to bring him in today, she told me about Care Credit, which I had vaguely heard of before, but didn’t realize it could be used for vet services also. So I applied, got approved, and took Gizmo in to the vet’s today. And I’m probably going to end up using all of the credit they approved me for, but as long as I pay it off within 6 months, there won’t be any interest charges—I’m pretty sure I can do that.
As far as what’s wrong with Gizmo—the vet told me that he was showing signs of being on the way out. She thought she felt something in his stomach, but didn’t know what it was—could have been plastic, or could possibly be a tumor. He’s dehydrated, and just very listless. I told her to go ahead and do the x-rays, which show his stomach to be distended, and his bowels to be full of trapped gas. His temperature was lower than normal (they’re normally supposed to run about 99-101). Dave and I decided to give surgery a shot, so Gizmo is currently up at the vet’s with an I.V., some oxygen, and a heating pad, plus they gave him some shots. If he stabilizes, the vet said she’d do an exploratory surgery to see what’s in his stomach. If he doesn’t, the vet doesn’t want to do the surgery, because it wouldn’t be likely that he’d survive.
It’s kind of crazy to me to consider spending this much money on a little fur ball that doesn’t really like to be handled much, but he’s part of the family. It’s always fun to watch him in his dust bath, and he’ll sit and stare at me if I’m even a few minutes late bringing him his food. And when he eats, he looks like a little squirrel—he uses his paws like hands to hold his food. He’ll even sometimes eat from my hand, and has come to expect me to hand him a pumpkin seed or sunflower seed for him to eat first when I put food in his bowl.
I really hope he turns out to be okay.