Looks like you've already reached your free article limit for the month. To continue reading, without interruption, subscribe and get unlimited digital access.
Read story below
You think you ate a tad too much this holiday gorging season?
I know of a gecko that got a blockage from its hyper-feasting. For reals!
OK. We’ve all had those horrible times in life when we have to rush Rover to the doctor to take care of an abscess, a broken leg, a schizophrenic break — and deal with Rover, too.
Whatever Rover needs, we as pet parental stand-ins will do whatever it takes to make them well again. I’m not poking fun at anyone here; lord knows I do the same. Often.
Once, by the time I got my rabbit to the vet with what I thought was a seizure, they pronounced him dead. Heart attack. Whoops. Misdiagnosis on my part. But that’s why they get paid the big bucks.
So, when I heard about a woman whose gecko was diagnosed with a blockage I just didn’t have the words. I’m sure my face said it all: “I wonder what THAT’S gonna cost?!”
First I had to make sure we were talking about the same animal. That green lizard thing? Sticky fingers? Makes millions for Geico Insurance? Does this particular gecko make millions for Geico, and thus, its owner? No? Then … let it loose (no pun intended). Do you have any idea what it’s going to cost to take a gecko to a … a gecko doctor? Who knows one?
And how do you know your gecko is even sick? Is it sitting in a corner, holding its side and whimpering? Are its big brown (or green, hazel? Blue?) eyes looking up, pleading for help? Has it a grimace on its little scaly face? Doubled over in pain? Refusing to go to school? Looking a little … white around the gills? Do geckos have gills?
And then the diagnosis: How does a vet know that its condition, is a blockage? Is a blockage a go-to diagnoses for geckos? Do they poke at the lizard and ask what its pain level is, on a scale of 1 to 10? See if it winces? Do you draw blood? From those little tiny gecko arms?
Well, apparently, this vet is a gecko-whisperer. How else would she know what was wrong with a … a lizard?
At least when my animals are sick, I get it.
Sick cats hide and pretend they’re healthy; I’m onto them, so they get hauled to the vet. Sometimes, it ends up they actually are healthy and just feeling guilty for knocking something off the bureau. The ol’ faking illness to divert punishment ruse. I was a kid once. You can’t fool me.
The dog mopes around, drags its butt, sleeps all day and looks at me with those big, brown, dopey, pleading eyes. You know it’s bad when she packs her water dish and food bowl, drags it and her blanket out to the car, pleading to go to the vet. Then barfs all over the place. Do geckos barf?
Even my rabbit was easy to diagnose. He just burst out in pustules all over. That was clue enough for me.
Geckos get, er, clogged, when they eat sand substrate people put in their aquariums. And treating a gecko blockage takes weeks, I learned. Gecko must be soaked in warm water several times a day. Umm ... I have this thing? Called a JOB?) Gecko must drink a lot of water, via syringes (Ahem, the JOB?) Gecko needs a lot of care.
I couldn’t help it. My brain fought rationality and reality checks against trying to be empathetic and understanding.
Reality: It’s a GECKO, fer crying out loud.
Empathy: It is part of her family …
Rationality: It’s a LIZARD!
Understanding: It’s her widdle baby wizard. Be nice.
It makes me wonder if, in retrospect, I should have taken my rooster to the vet when he was mauled by the racoon. His whole right shoulder has no meat on it; it’s just exposed humerus and elbow and shoulder knob-joints. There’s a couple of little shoulder wing-bones, or whatever, showing, too. None of it works anymore.
But like a friend told me, they’re resilient. He’ll be fine! He’ll grow new feathers and hide the whole exposed mess! And if you can’t see it, it’s not really there, right?
Still I wonder. Other than the fact half his wing was missing, would I have known my rooster was suffering? Did he sit in the coop and motion with his good wing to bad? Bat those little beady eyes? A weak cock-a-doodle-do? Not so much.
It’s a rooster, Jane. Tons more where he came from.
Tough it out big guy.
I don’t know a rooster whisperer.
— Reach Jane Stebbins at firstname.lastname@example.org