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

  • Shannon Zapf

    Melly, I am so sorry that Gari is going through this. When you love these precious souls who cannot tell you exactly what’s wrong…it’s heartbreaking. I think we all know that you would only do what is in Gari’s best interest. You love him way too much to let him suffer. But I agree with you…plan on good news!!! I am. Thank you for this update, difficult though it was. Much love to you and Gari!!!

  • Lisa

    Gari why do you look so blonde in these pics?!?!?!?
    i hope you feel better soon. luckilly you have Melly to take care of you!!

  • Kim

    Be strong, Melanie. We will all keep our fingers and paws crossed for good news. He is a resilient little bara. But you are right not to prolong his suffering if it comes to that. We can’t make it about ourselves, no matter how much it hurts. But best best best hopes for Gari’s recovery and his poor teeth!! If anybody can get a capy through not having all his incisors, I bet it’s you. <3

  • Sam

    You’ll be doing 100% the right thing whatever happens. You’re doing your best and thats all anyone can ask. I really hope he can recover and keep his teeth

  • kathi anne

    I am crying as I read this sad news about Gari, that poor sweet little baby. But Melly, I think you and Gari and Rick are all very brave,and please know you are not facing this trial alone. I love Gari and I am glad he has such wonderful caring parents as you. He is a real trooper to go through all these tests and procedures, and I pray for his full recovery.

  • Jan

    I wish little Gari a speedy recovery and a good health. He’s the most cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Melly, please be strong!! I’m sure both of you will get through this… Lots of love xxx

  • Holly

    I have just now discovered your site and am a huge fan of Gari. I am rooting for both of you! Poor little guy,I wish I could help somehow, but you are right to protect him from any pain that isn’t necessary.

  • […] 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 2013/09/27: Garibaldi is Sick: Vet Visit 6 […]

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