I have had Imogen for about 6.5 years. I got her for Christmas sophomore year of college, and I used all of the money I got that year to buy her. In college, she slept at the foot of my bed and roamed the apartment as if it were her own. She loved being around all of the people who would come in and out, and especially loved stealing pens and chips from their abandoned backpacks.
Since college, Imogen has had to adjust to living in a cage. She really likes getting out every now and then and running around, chasing Pete & Samson throughout our loft. She really really likes sneaking out of our front door and roaming the halls............ which is why I quickly learned to keep a very close eye on this little bandit.
Yesterday, I noticed that Imogen was shaking and as I got closer to her cage I realized that she was really sick. My heart immediately dropped as I picked her up and realized that she was entirely skin and bones. She's always been a very small ferret, but the amount of weight that she has dropped in the past few days scared me to death. I looked in her litter box, and realized that I haven't had to clean it for almost a week. It may sound like I haven't been very observant, but you would be surprised how quickly her health has changed -- I kid you not, the day before she was running around the cage like her normal self.
Panicking, I got on the internet and immediately tried to look for a home remedy. I knew that I needed to at least see if she would respond to food, so I ran out and picked up chicken broth and chicken gravy baby food. I mixed the baby food with some warm water and hand fed her, and she dove her face in it... devouring half a bottle right then and there. I gave her a small bowl of warm chicken broth before bed, tucked her in, and told her that I love her so very much and I'm not ready to say goodbye just yet. Before nodding off, she hobbled over to her litter box, climbed in, and pooped. Happiest I have ever been about a living being using the bathroom! (this makes me wonder if she has a tooth ache... because she has been keeping all of her food down and is acting like she's starved to death...)
This morning, I ran to her cage and dug through her blankets and felt relieved that she was still alive. Ferrets can change drastically from even the smallest illness, and I knew it was very possible that she would not survive the night. This morning she ate a little more of the baby food, and I tucked her in before leaving for work. This evening, I will check on her again and most likely take her to our vet. If you haven't noticed, I've been avoiding it, because I know it's going to cost me a fortune and as old as she is... the reality is that she may not improve.
This is the first time in my life that I've been the one person responsible for deciding what to do with a sick pet. As a kid, I remember begging my dad to take our cat to the vet -- no matter what the cost, I remember guilting him into x-rays, blood work, you name it. I'm sorry that I put him in that situation now, because this is such a hard decision. There is no easy way about it, especially when people are judging you and telling you that you need to spend thousands of dollars and if you haven't saved, you shouldn't own a pet in the first place. That's not fair. Life happens, and these things seem to have the worst timing. There are so many things to think about before handing over hundreds or thousands of dollars. Especially when you don't have that money to spare.
But the more and more I think about it, Imogen is responding to what I've been doing so far. She's pulling though, and I would hate for something to happen and for me to look back at this moment wishing I had handled it differently. I have an appointment after work, and then I'm going to feed her some more and take her in for an exam. I'm afraid of what the doctor will say, but even more afraid of what will happen if I keep stalling. Hopefully the next few days will bring some kind of good news.