Garibaldi is Sick: Vet Visit 6

A happy, healthy capybara?

Melly’s blog:

Another installment in the long suffering of a poor little capybara who never hurt anyone, my adorable Garibaldi Caplin Rous. And it’s not a good one. The photo above was taken the day before we went to the vet. He looks both healthy and happy but apparently he is neither.

I’m not going to go through the whole history of Gari’s dental issues. You can read the full story by following these links:

2012/10/30: Garibaldi is Sick
2012/11/06: Garibaldi is Sick: The Diagnosis
2012/11/10: Garibaldi is Sick: Vet Visit 1
2012/11/14: Garibaldi is Sick: An Update
2012/11/15: Garibaldi is Sick: A Turn for the Better
2012/11/24: Garibaldi is Sick: Update 2
2012/12/29: Garibaldi is Sick: Vet Visit 2
2013/02/03: Garibaldi is Sick: Vet Visit 3
2013/03/14: Garibaldi is Sick: Vet Visit 4
2013/06/07:Garibaldi is Sick: Vet Visit 5

Whew! Now you’re finally ready to hear the new update!

Going to the vet

In case you didn’t know, Garibaldi always goes to see Dr. Sharman Hoppes at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in College Station. She is a specialist in exotic animals. It is about a 2.5 hr drive from our house to College Station, and it can be stressful for little Gari. This time he handled it very well. I’m not sure if it was because we had the front windows down or because Rick did not come this time. Instead of Rick, I had Mike, a cameraman from a British TV show, with me and he acted as chauffeur.

Taking the medical history

Gari got his foot through his harness and was uncomfortable as well as nervous the whole time we had to go through the pre-op. In the photo above you can see he is sitting in his little water bowl. Capys always feel safer in the water and I guess even a little water is a little safer.

You put your front feet in...

In this photo he has shifted from having his back feet and his butt in the water to having just his front feet in. He couldn’t decide which was better.

The inevitable happened

Of course he eventually spilled all of the water out of his bowl. After that he was an even sadder, more frightened capybara.

Let me out!!!!!!

Eventually it was time for him to get the shot to knock him out. He went into a different room for that and he recognized his peril immediately. Luckily that door has a deadbolt because that capybara seriously tried to get out.

Dr. Hoppes welds the capybara harpoon

If you click on the image above you should be able to see the needle that is going to puncture his thick capy hide. Poor little ‘bara.

The moment of impact

The harpoon is a pneumatic delivery system so it punches the needle in very, very quickly. But I managed to capture the exact moment of impact in this shot. Even so, you can see Gari’s foot is up and he’s already taking off.

Impact point

It only took him a few minutes to go under but he was too uncoordinated to get his hind feet into the bed. Poor little guy! You can imagine how much that must hurt.


On the table

Since this is our fifth vet visit for his teeth, it was starting to seem routine. Wouldn’t you know it, that’s just when they get ya.


A work in progress

So after Garibaldi’s great checkup last time, this time we are back to square one. Actually, we’re back to square zero. He is now worse than he was the first time we came in. When I heard that, I stopped having the emotional strength to take photos.

Here’s what they found. His rotated tooth had not grown too much, but that is the end of the good news. The bad news is that the gum around that tooth, which is the second molar on the lower right, has a serious infection. That infection also involves the gum surrounding the first molar. And worst of all is that his lower right incisor also has abscessed gum around it and the tooth itself is loose.  Dr. Hoppes has prescribed some antibiotics that may help with the infection but she is not optimistic  about the results. She believes that Gari will probably lose his lower right incisor and that will result in a cascade effect that will eventually lead to him losing all of his incisors. It is not known whether a capybara can live without these teeth.

The current plan is to try the antibiotics for two weeks. After that we will take Garibaldi back to A&M where he will see the dental specialist and have his mouth x-rayed. What we do after that depends on what we find out. I am planning on the news being good because I can’t deal with the consequences of bad news at this time. I need the two weeks to prepare myself mentally for that.

Let me say something at this time that may not be popular. I believe that the quality of life is more important than the quantity. I will not make Garibaldi suffer if there is not a good likelihood of a positive outcome. I don’t think it is going to come to that, but if it does I just want you to know which way I will go. I love that little capybara and I have devoted a huge part of my life to him, but I will not extend his suffering to serve my own ego or to appease whatever animal welfare fans he may have. I don’t want to have to make that decision and I don’t think I will have to, but there is some chance it will come to that and we all need to prepare ourselves for it. Garibaldi Rous is just a tiny bit older than Caplin was when he died and it will rip my heart to shreds if I lose him, but I will not make him suffer to spare myself.

58 comments to Garibaldi is Sick: Vet Visit 6

  • I am thinking only positive thoughts….capys are tough creatures and he has a very good life….I vote for good news..hang in there my friend….be tough

  • francine

    That poor little capy. Rodents are so good at hiding ailments, even the big ones 🙁

    Your vet team is great, and I am confident they can help Gari. Thank goodness he has you and Rick to take care of him.

    Big hugs all around. You’re taking the best care possible of Garibara.

  • pollosmoky

    Oh, no! I hope that everything goes well for both of you, even if things aren’t looking too bright right now. Went through a huge dental emergency w/my cat earlier this year and I know how awful that was, it must be even worse for you two. Sending all good thoughts your way.

  • Jacki Hammond

    My heart hurts at this news. I hope that the infection can be cleared up and he won’t have to lose many, if any, teeth. I know you take the best care of him possible. I also know, especially after recently having to make the heart wrenching decision myself for my Rascal pig, that you will not let him suffer and will show him the respect and love he deserves. My heart will break for you if that happens, but I understand. I truly hope it doesn’t come to that and that he gets better, with or without those pesky teeth! He’s a strong ‘bara with wonderful people caring for him. He couldn’t be in better hands. Sending you much love and strength, Melly. <3

  • Kate Schroeder

    I understand how much you must be suffering; my cat is having surgery to remove all but his canines on monday. But I agree with you 100% that quality of life is the most important consideration. I think you are doing everything you can to ensure a good quality for him, and no one could give him better care than you are. Good luck to all of you.

  • Poor capy. I hope the antibiotics will get things under control. I completely understand your feelings on quality of life. Gari is lucky to have you in his corner.

  • Nancye Kirtley

    Oh that is so sad..Poor little guy..I hope you get better..

  • Flora

    I am so sorry he is suffering, and I hope the meds help. I agree re: the quality of life, and you will do what you must, for his sake and not pay attention to anyone who gives you a hard time about it. They are not in your shoes.

  • Barbara Brooks

    So sorry about Gari’s teeth. Does the vet have any idea why he has so many dental problems? Maybe he needs to have his teeth and gums cleaned with a water pik every day . . . I don’t know what Gari would think of that.

  • Robyn Roberta

    My good thoughts and hugs to Gari. As his best friend, you have only him and his happiness and comfort at heart, you’re very strong and I totally get it.

  • Oh, Gari, we look so big and tough but we are just big babies. We’ll never know for sure why your bones are not strong, but that is a problem that can’t be fixed now. Be a good boy and take your medicine and make us proud!

  • Danielle

    Aww, buddy! Sending you healing thoughts! That harpoon is intense! Hope you’re all doing well.

  • Angie

    I am very, very worried. Lighting a candle for this baby.

  • rosenatti

    Oh. No. D:

  • Birdie

    I can’t imagine what you are all going thru. I hope that you know Gari loves you as much as you love him. He will understand what you do is for him even thou it is hard. I have trust in you that you will do what is best. Hugs to all.

  • Jana

    Oh poor Gari 🙁 I am sending positive thoughts and vibes and sincerely hope his infection will get better.big virtual hugs to both of you too …it must be very hard for you 🙁 xxx

  • Diane

    Thank you for the writing about this, in spite of how you must be feeling.
    I am sorry he and you are going through this.
    Naturally we all hope for the best, and he does appear to be in excellent care.
    I totally agree with you about “quality vs quantity” of life – always.
    Take care.

  • Chelsea

    Over the years, following you and Gari has been my favorite news feed. You’ve planted a seed in my heart for ‘baras big and small and it breaks my heart to hear Gari is anything less than happy and healthy. I don’t think Garibara could have a better mommy, driving those long trips and paying for all of these operations, all the while loving and supporting him. You’re both a true inspiration and you have my prayers and support – stay strong, we know you can pull through!

  • Corinne

    I am very sad that Gari’s teeth are so bad. I have everything crossed for a speedy and full recovery. He is in the best hands having you and his medical team caring for him. However I am in total agreement with you when it comes to quality over quantity. This is how we have always been with our beloved animal family members. Our fabulous vet has a saying – ‘better to let them go one week early, than one day too late’. We give our animals the best treatment possible so they have the best chance of recovery, but when that is no longer possible, a decision has to be made. This decision has to be all about them – not about what we want for ourselves. You have only Gari’s welfare and happiness in mind through all of this. Do not let anything anyone says about your future decisions for Gari upset you. It is none of their business. Having said all of this, I am of course wishing with all my heart that Gari makes a full and speedy recovery. Thinking of you all at this very difficult time, Corinne xx

  • Claudia

    Dear… I believe Gari is in the best hands ever…the hands of God. He’s also receiving a great treatment. You must trust now. You’ve done your best for him and that’s the most importat thing.
    Now, I remembered a story my grandma has told me…As we live in Brazil, you know that capys are very common here. Once, my greatgrandpa who was a fisherman found 2 baby capys near a river. As they seemed to be abandoned by their mom, he brought them home. My grandma who was a child couldn’t believe…They were the perfect pets! But this seemingly perfect story didn’t have a happy ending. One morning the family found both capys dead. They had been shot by a neighbor who was a hunter and an evil person, of course. My grandma never forgot those lovely capys and I immediately remembered her when I came across your blog and your beautiful Gari.
    Best wishes!

  • I’ll be hoping that the antibiotics are just what he needs to save those teeth – at least you caught it as early as possible.

  • Tammy Bakken

    Melly, I know you will make the right decision for Gari. We are sending positive thought your way. It will be a rough 2 weeks but, hang in there. We are thinking of you and Gari.

  • Ken Klibaner

    Oh my! I am so sorry to hear this news. You are a great owner and I love reading your blogs.

    To have an animal that you adore have a health concern that cannot be controlled/cured is the most terrible thing.

    I hope that the antibiotics help but it seems his teeth are always going to be a problem for him.

    Good Luck to you and your family!

  • Mufffy223

    Praying for ya little guy <3

  • Anne Zeltner

    SO SORRY for YOU, Gari and your humans,sending ALL the best wishes for you and Melly & Rick, I know how tuf it is for all of you. 🙁 , BIG nose kiss to the patient, from hes friend in DK.

  • Nora

    You have my respect, care, and support. You obviously love this little guy so very VERY much…He has and continues to have the best care and loving attention possible. My heart goes out to you…and him…my prayers all goes well….That’s the Hardest thing about having the “furrykids”……they are special…and like angels on earth….perhaps that’s why God doesn’t let us keep em for nearly long enough…..Hugs

  • Mikie McGinnes

    Sending positive energy for healing ++++++ to both of you. Know you will make the right decision if it comes to that even though it is hard to do.

  • Laurie Coppola

    I can only send hugs and well wishes, and keep all digits crossed for a good response to the antibiotics. ♡♥♡

  • Ed

    Try to stay positive, even though it is difficult. Even if he loses some teeth, do not immediately assume that his quality of life will be poor. As you said, it is unknown whether capys can live without some of those teeth. It’s possible that even without those teeth he will still be a happy boy.

  • JO AN

    I am so very sorry. I know the heartache of having a ill animal.

    Our prayers are with you!


    Jo An and the Crew!

  • Susan

    You can see how much you love your baby, no one can argue that. You will do what is best for him. I hope and pray you guys have many more years together, be strong.

  • Amanda

    I am thinking about Gari and about everyone who is close to him. Best wishes for a good outcome.

  • Before I even read the last paragraph, I wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you are going through this. And now – I feel even worse that you are facing that type of a decision. My deepest sympathy for your situation. I hope for the best.

  • Catherine

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. It seems that rodent health is very fragile. You owe nobody an apology or explanation, that’s for sure. Gari gets the best of everything he needs from you. Let’s just hope he bounces back and goes home and continues to enjoy his wonderful life with his family.

  • Leslie M. Bliman-Kuretzky

    Prayers and VIBES and ALL the VERY best thoughts to you dear Gari and your dear Mom. <3

  • Wendy

    Melly, I am with you on this. I know Gari, if he could truly talk, would agree. No one needs to suffer at someone’s else’s expense IF you do not have to. I know Melly you are taking the best care of Gari away beyond because of how much you care and love Gari. We all do and with that you and the lovely ball of fir (hair) our in my thoughts each and every day. Take care as I know this is hard on all. May the meds work and all be well with Gari. Love you xoxo

  • Amber Allshouse

    I think the decision to choose quality over quantity is a brave and loving one.

  • me

    Aw poor Gari!
    Praying and sending good vibes for him. I just lost my sweet little guinea pig a couple of days ago. I’m heartbroken, he was my little buddy and such a smart, good boy. I love him so much! Anyway, that rodents can hide ailments is an understatement for sure! My little guy, we realized he was sick the other night and before the next evening he was gone. He was acting completely normally until his breathing *started* getting weird really late that night. He had pneumonia, it was so bad and his sweet, loving piggy self never even let me have a hint anything was wrong until his body just couldn’t hide it anymore. I feel so horrible! I’m so glad you found out something sooner that can possibly help Gari and that you are able to get it for him! And that he has his humans who love him so much to go through so much to be able to help him. Gari, you have people all over the world rooting for you, don’t let a nasty old bug get you down!

  • Stephanie Labbate

    Whee would come to snuggle with you and give you piggee kisses if we could. Whee are sending them to you virtually.

    Lucy, Candy Cane, Chocolate Chip (The 3 Little Guinea Pigs) and Oreo (the Hamster)

  • Rawil

    Dear Gari,

    I wish you to recover soon!

  • Kristen from MA

    Get well soon, Gari!

  • Minta

    Gari has the best life any capybara could ever have, with you and My Rick, & all decisions you make for him are FOR him, which is right and good. I am praying and praying and praying without ceasing.

  • Nancy Piccirilli

    Melly and Rick,
    I know that you will be strong and do what is best for your Gari. Keep hope in your hearts and be assured that no one who thinks and feels will criticize your care of him.

  • Laurie Coppola

    I hope Gari finally got the meds he was supposed to get, and in the right flavors. Please get better, Gari!

  • I do hope the meds will do the job, and Gari will get better. It is never easy taking any animal to the vet, not knowing the outcome, but you are so ‘at one’ with Gari, that you will know if he has had enough. I shall be crossing everything that you are a long time away from making that decision. xxxx

  • Betty Mc

    Enjoy Gari each day and try to stay in the moment.Life should be lived moment to moment..noneof us really know when our time here is done. Love & hugs.

  • Mingus's Mom

    Precious Gari… I hope things go well for him and for his wonderful humans. I’ve had to let go of beloved pets before. I hope this isn’t his time.

  • I will be sure to keep Gari and Melly in my thoughts.

  • Laura McClure

    Melly — I commend you for making the decision based on Gari’s welfare and not your own. I’ve seen too many people keep their companion animals alive way longer than they should in a terminal situation because they weren’t ready to say goodbye. It is very hard, but please know that many of us who are realists about our beloved animals support you 100%. That said, I hope that it doesn’t come to that. I am hoping that the talented vets at Texas A&M can help Gari keep his teeth and his quality of life for many years to come.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>