Friday, July 22, 2011

Foot and Mouth Disease - Merrilyn Part 14

Some weeks nothing seems to go right.  You long for a quiet life.  You want everything to go smoothly.  Why does life sometimes seem to conspire to ensure life is anything but quiet and smooth?

Thankfully all was smooth for Merrilyn.  In fact her biggest problem was staying awake!
 She was now a healthy 4.3kg and growing by the day. She was 9.5 months old.

The boys were another story.
 Those of you who've been here a while will recall that Buster broke his foot in Part 10.  We worked hard to keep the cast on for the four weeks the vet wanted it there.  He didn't want to wait much longer as Buster was growing fast and he was concerned the cast would affect the foot.  We headed to the vet's to have the cast removed with trepidation.  Had it healed well?  It had been nearly impossible to keep him from running. There was good news and bad.

  The good news was the bone had knit well.  The bad news was he now had a crooked foot.  You can see the dark "toe" at the end of the foot.  The one on the left (your left) is clearly turned in.  
This shot shows it a bit better.  Buster was now 12 months old.  Still about six months from being fully weaned.  A male kangaroo must have full use of his hind legs.  He must be strong and he must be able to run fast.  Would this defect be a problem for him in the longer term?  

A number of people leaving comments have suggested the joeys are our pets.  It may look that way from the outside but our role is to simply help them achieve their freedom to go back to the wild, not to keep them here with us.  In fact trying to keep a male kangaroo around, when they reach adulthood, can be a very dangerous thing, but more on that later.  Our immediate concern was whether we were saving Buster now, only to see him die a horrible death later.  We discussed it with the vet and all agreed we'd keep going and see how Buster adjusted.  If we felt he was going to suffer later then the awful decision could be made before he was too big to take back to the vet. Time would decide his fate.  

Then we discovered a major problem with Bob.  He'd overcome his tummy troubles and was starting to put on weight.  Then, the day after Buster had his cast removed I noticed something very strange about his mouth.
Here he his taking his bottle.  Looks fine - right (and a much finer head than he arrived with!)

Take a look this side - His mouth looks somewhat deformed.  I couldn't believe it, or believe I'd missed the extent of it in the few weeks he'd been here, though between the joeys in care and stabilising new joeys for others I'd been pretty busy.  I thought I knew what was causing it and it had to be stopped or his mouth would be permanently damaged.

You might recall Merrilyn liked to suck on her tail for security. Something I had discouraged and that she now didn't do.

Bob had chosen to suck on his foot and had obviously started doing it at a very young age.  He needed to stop.  He was almost 11 months old and quite a big joey and his sucking was damaging his mouth.  How to stop him that's the question?  He was settling in now, so hopefully his stress levels were subsiding and the sucking was now just a habit.  So the foot was gently removed every time he was caught in the act and he was distracted with a mouthful of grass.
The three musketeers were bonding, but between the 3 of them, life was certainly not going to be quiet or smooth!

This week has bought a great milestone for me in the blogging world.  My 100th follower.  I'd like to thank all my followers, as followers and regular comments are what keep us going and my blog has grown rapidly since I started serialising the life of Merrilyn and her companions just one post a week generally.

I decided to spontaneously offer my 100th follower a small reward, so please go and meet Jessica of Suitcases and Sippy Cups.  What's Jessica's blog about?  Well a family of six let's the world be their classroom as they travel together making memories.  Travel tips and guides
to great family locations are served up with a dose of humor, along with
stories to inspire families to pack up and go.  I'm so glad I found this great blog and joined as a follower, which brought Jessica over to see me and now we are building a friendship.  Jessica thought this particular posting might suit readers here and as it's about wildlife I have to agree.  See Turtles
Please go and say hi to Jessica and again, thank you Jessica and all my followers and commenters.  You're all great and I may well start doing a few more random acts of introduction at the end of a post so that you can meet a few more.

Until next Friday, take care all!

Adding this into the fun of Love Links #16 - Come and join in the fun.


  1. They're just like babies - sucking on something to sleep. I agree that wild animals should be in the wild and not be kept as pets.

  2. Many days I have my foot in my mouth, only it doesn't look so cute! Thanks for another interesting post and I headed over to your 100th follower and found it to be very interesting. I bet she shows up on your door step with all those sweet boys one day!

  3. Life can be fickle. I had no idea it was so difficult to raise a joey. It really takes a gentle hand. You do an excellent job. I am in awe. :) Will check out your friend's blogs.

  4. I am completely amazed by the dedication you exhibit in caring for the joey's. I didn't realize they were "babies" for 18 months! Who would have though that they would suck on their toes, just like human babies suck their thumbs?
    I look forward to further adventures and learning more about these animals!

  5. I love the commitment you've made to these animals.

  6. Thanks so much for the mention. It's been very interesting to read about your little brood. I'm enjoying all that I learn.

  7. Congratulations on 100 followers and thank you for sharing another great post with us! :)

  8. Congrats on the century mark!

    And I am in continual awe over what you do for the roos. Totally impressive. Shows your heart!

  9. I laughed out loud when I read about foot sucking. My 6 month old does that right now! Will it deform his mouth? I hope not! ;) So encouraged to see what you're doing for the roos. Preparing them for life back in the wild is wonderful.

  10. Congrats on 100!

    Like any great book, your stories always tug at my heartstrings and make me view life through a larger lens.

  11. Aww, they are so adorable. And it's wonderful what you're doing.

  12. it's so amazing, the work you are doing. Gook luck with the remainder of your time raising those guys. They are so sweet!

    visiting from lovelinks

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