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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.