Vet Check at Texas A&M

Owner’s blog:

Where are we going?

Ever since I got Garibaldi Rous I have been worried about him. We really don’t know what happened to Caplin Rous and so little is known about capybaras that I now feel like everything I do is potentially deadly. This is one reason I am establishing the ROUS Foundation in conjunction with the vet school at Texas A&M University. It is also the reason I felt it was important to get Gari in for a well-capybara checkup as soon as possible.

Texas A&M is a good 2.5 hour drive from my house and with Gari, his crate, his accouterments and his entourage (Stacy Winnick and Sheldon Cheng), I felt we needed a bigger vehicle than my Prius. We ended up renting a minivan which worked great.

Garibaldi Rous and Stacy Winnick in the van

We used the crate to get Gari in and out of the van because he is still not good on a leash. He likes the crate too, the closed in walls gave him a sense of comfort in a strange, vibrating environment. But we also set up the back of the van with his poop bowl and his favorite bed so he could get out and stretch his legs.

There's no way out

Gari was really nervous about the whole thing. He was shaking and sweating just like he did when he wasn’t feeling well in the Scary, Scary Night post. We stopped a couple of times to feed him treats and let him have a bit of a rest and someone was always sitting in the seat next to him to try to comfort him but it is a frightening experience for a young capybara who’s never really been in a car before.

Dr. Hoppes examining a sedated Garibaldi

Finally we got to A&M. Dr. Sharman Hoppes is our vet there and she was able to sedate Gari by poking him with a sharp stick! The stick actually had a syringe on the end. Luckily Gari did not get the full dose because the amount he got was just right and he was out in about 15 minutes.

Garibaldi slept through the whole exam

Gari was carted off to have a series of xrays taken. I have been worried about his bone density since he walks a little weirdly and he didn’t get much sunlight when he was living up in Ohio. I also wanted a check check of his liver and a look at his stomach to make sure it wasn’t full of plastic. Gari’s been known to eat plastic. Everything came back okay though and Gari got a clean bill of health, but I do still wonder where all that plastic has gone.

Torturing the capybara

Garibaldi's nose

After the xrays, Gari had to have a physical and get his toenails trimmed. He was also given subcutaneous liquid but that didn’t work out that well. Capybara skin in much more tightly connected to the underlying tissue than the skin of most animals so they could only give him about 20 ccs at any given location. He ended up with six or eight “golf balls” under his skin.

Nails in the front, golf balls in the back

Capybara nails are not that easy to trim either. They’re both hard and soft at the same time. Dr. Hoppes used nail clippers and then switched to a dremel. His toenails were long and curved so this was a really good thing. We also had an imprint made of his little paw so that I can make Garibaldi signatures.

Filing the nails

Back into the crate

They put him back into the crate before giving him the antidote to wake him up. That worked great and he was up and around in about 20 minutes, although still groggy and uncoordinated.

Garibaldi Rous and Dr. Sharman Hoppes

Afterward it was time for all the vets, techs and students to get their picture taken with a capbyara. This is Gari’s first photo shoot and he did really well although being drugged is probably cheating.

Let's go home!

Finally the whole ordeal was over and it was back into his crate then back into the car and hit the road! Gari didn’t do much on the way home but at least he didn’t sweat and shake like he did on the way there.

Dr. Hoppes' pet rats

It’s nice that Dr. Hoppes is a rodent person. She even has two pet rats at the clinic. These guys were very impressed with Gari.

25 comments to Vet Check at Texas A&M

  • Steve Jenkins

    I don’t think these animals are suited to being pets. Little to nothing is known about them, they can display very agressive behavior including biting, and could possibly be spreading disease, much like leprosy is being spread by armadillos.

  • Liz

    So glad everything checked out OK. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Now I’m REALLY glad it was Gari going to the vet and not me!

  • Dee Engel

    Thank you for sharing the story and pictures! Poor Gari, I bet it was scary, but it sounds like he was a good patient.

  • francine

    I’m glad he’s okay! Did the vet have any intel on what caused the Scary Night?

    Whatever happened to the pink flagging DObby snacked on? Maybe capys can just digest reeeely well 😉

  • Angie Wallace

    Thank goodness everything checked out OK. What a trip! Do they think that Gari is having panic attacks? My friend had a cat that use to do the same thing, and that’s what it ended up being for her.

  • Vale

    Gari did really well! he is such a special capy 🙂

    Why do they have to give him subcutaneous liquid? was it to hydrate him while sedated?

  • Vale

    his pink nose is irresistible! I want to kiss him!

  • Alena Loiselle

    Way to go, Garbear. We love you, and expect many fun and positive episodes in the future!
    Melanie, thanks for sharing this with us. All is good, don’t worry!

  • Joann

    The nose photo is great. I must admit that when you mentioned “golf balls in the back,” I thought you were referring to something else… 😉 Of course, my mind is generally in the gutter…

  • Shari Kaplan

    I just left a comment on Facebook but I’ll paste it here too, since FB recently started its “fail” again of not posting comments after I submit them. I don’t know where they go. :/ With FB, who knows?

    I’m glad that the vets checked out so many different things w/ Gari and that he got a CLEAN bill of health in all regards! *hugs* I’ve been worried about him too, but now I too feel better, especially since his liver & digestive system were part of the checkup. I can’t imagine any capy being as well-loved & taken care of than Gari!

    The Texas A&M vet clinic sounds like a great place. I got a giggle at the part about using a dremel to trim his toenails… I’ve seen many uses for all the cool attachments a dremel has, but never for trimming a rodent’s nails! 😉 Oh, and I got all gooey seeing the beautiful pic of the sweet rats at the vet clinic! <3 The gray-and-white one on the left looks like my late Berry & Jelly, and the black-and-white one on the right reminds me of the 2 rats I had many years ago, long before my recent boys.

    Hugs from Shari in California

  • Love it. Thanks so much for posting the photos and info about Gari’s checkup. 🙂

  • Bonnie Vollbeer

    WHEW! What a huge relief to know that Gari checked out A-OK!! I, too, was wondering about him eating all that plastic. (to be truthful, I ate scotch tape & pencil erasers in jr. h.s. and I turned out well…..mostly. lol) Another area of concern is Gari’s weight. I think you have been monitoring his weight gain. Is he on track w/other capys his age? or is that a dumb question?
    Am just relieved he’s fine. Perhaps now you can relax just a bit knowing you’re doing everything you can for this sweet fella. For what it’s worth, I would have rented a mini-van too!!
    Well done Gari’s entourage!

  • Teresa

    glad to hear that Gari checked out all right and I’m glad you took him in for the vet check–It doesn’t hurt for the Vet to get to know the animals BEFORE they get sick.

  • Teresa

    Incidently–great pictures and great blog! I really enjoyed reading and looking at both!

  • Carl 3

    Oh, you were so brave Gari-bura!

  • Lissa

    Oh wow! That nosey is just adorable!

    I’m glad you have a vet you can go to who takes such good care of capys. I can’t help but think you were worried about anything you do or give him and can understand. I had a kitty that died from cancer. When I got my Symon I was overly protective. Yay to SUPER Gari, SUPER Melly, SUPER Stacy, SUPER Sheldon, SUPER Dr. Hoppes and her SUPER vets, techs, and students!

  • Jennah

    Very glad Gari’s vet appointment went so well, and thank you for posting this information about a Super Capybara with a Super entourage.

  • Renee Peters

    I am glad everything went well, and glad you had moral support for the trip. I wonder where all that plastic is too.

  • Well done to you all for getting Gari there and back in the best way possible. Must have been quite a relief


    I’m glad to hear your checkup went well. I see you made some new lady friends too. Purrrrrrr

  • Anna

    glad to hear everything went well for gari
    i <3 capybaras.
    is rous pronounced ru or roos?

  • Garibaldi Rous

    We pronounce is “rose.”

  • […] been there a long time. Possibly he had it when we got him five months ago. When I took him to Texas A&M for his well-capybara checkup, he had the lump but it was very small. I wouldn’t have even called it a lump back then, it […]

  • […] staying at my house, Stacy Winnick and Angela Mitchell. You may remember Stacy from her visit here in April. She owns Caplin Rous’ younger brother Dobby. Angela is also famous for her rodent […]

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