Monday, January 12, 2009

The Duck Whisperer

For Christmas, my friend Shari gave me a hilarious book called Enslaved by Ducks. I haven't finished it yet, but the title intrigued me enough to start it right away.

While I don't generally feel like my animals have me wrapped around their little paws -- or webbed feet, I am most assuredly a sucker when it comes to a wounded animal or a baby of any species.

The day before we were planning to get rid of the last of the puppies, the very aggressive "play-all-the-time" female puppy decided to play with Cedrick the gander. Fortunately, we got to him quickly, but not before she managed to pull out a mouth full of tail feathers and remove a huge patch of skin on his back. Pobrecito!!! Poor thing!!!

The photo really doesn't do it justice. I'm pretty optimistic and not very squeamish, but this was gross and I warned all the kids that Cedrick was in bad shape and not to expect much. Silly me -- I forgot how much my kids pray for their animals!!!

Here I'll insert a commercial for my favorite first-aid item: Goldenseal. Google it. It's amazing. On small cuts, I sprinkle on a little goldenseal powder and call it good. Deeper cuts, sprinkle the wound and cover it. Missing large patches of skin -- make a strong infusion, cool it and bathe the wound 3 or 4 times a day until all danger of infection is passed.

I do have a little experience with maimed animals and goldenseal. About 7 years ago, one of our barn cats showed up with a gaping wound on her neck. She'd been shot, and the bullet, while missing the jugular, managed to lay the skin open halfway around her neck, exposing tendons and other things which really shouldn't be exposed. I took her to the vet (not my regular vet, BTW) who told me that she would need upwards of $300 worth of medical attention and then she might not survive.

I thought that was a little excessive for a barn cat who didn't really like people all that much and liked me less than most. I asked him to shave the wound and took her home. From that point on, he treated me like an abusive parent and did all but call me a murderer.

Well, I took Kitty home and did my "Goldenseal Therapy" on Kitty who then became a member of the family because she had to live in the bathroom for 3 weeks so she wouldn't reopen her wound.

At the end of 6 weeks, you couldn't tell where the wound had been. Cost of the vet visit: $40. Cost of a 3 week Goldenseal treatment: $5. Being able to say, "I told you so!" to the vet: priceless.

So, back to the ducks. In addition to dousing Cedrick with herbs everyday, we also needed to keep him clean and out of the yucky duck pond, so guess where he ended up...the bathroom. But ducks stink, so that didn't last long. Jessee borrowed Seth's iguana cage and we kept him outside on the roof most of the day.

At the end of 3 weeks, he still had a good-sized wound, but the flesh had begun to grow back and he was growing pinfeathers. Yeah!!! Now he's back in the general duck population and quacking merrily along...and the obnoxious, over-eager puppy is gone!

I wonder how many animals you have to treat to get an honorary veterinary degree?

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Wow! You might have found another way "in" in your ministry down there...just help out with injured animals.

So...did you have the opportunity to show the vet your healed cat? What did he have to say?