Monday, April 29, 2013

The Ladies are Together Again

Cirrus on her favorite toy, the wheel
The day after my last post, during morning yogurt time, M mentioned that she thought Cirrus was having trouble breathing. Her breathing appeared to be a little labored, and her nose wasn't its characteristic pink, usually a sign of low oxygen in the blood.  Over the weekend she wasn't very interested in her mealworms and her energy level seemed down.  After holding her weight steady for the past four to five weeks, she was down to 57 grams at her weekly weighing yesterday, her lowest weight since she has been with us. Yesterday M carried Cirrus in a pouch inside her sweatshirt to keep her warm and Cirrus slept there content the whole day. The first thing this morning we called our vet to see if we could get her in to be checked out. Even though they were booked not only today but for the week, they gave us an appointment this morning for a half hour after I called. Off to the University of Illinois Small Animal Clinic we went with Cirrus.

We got in right away. After getting some preliminary information from us they went to put Cirrus on oxygen for a few minutes prior to her examination. Dr. W. came in, examined her, listened to her breathing and her heart, and said that there was some noise on both inhale and exhale. In addition, her heart sounded "muffled".  Dr. W. said that she felt there were three possibilities for Cirrus' distress - pneumonia, a congestive heart problem, or tumors. We decided to go ahead with an x-ray to find out what was going on. We were hoping for pneumonia. At least that would be treatable.

M holding Cirrus after she woke
from from the x-ray anesthesia,
We were expecting to wait for 20 minutes or so while the x-ray was being done, but it was only a few minutes before Dr. W. came out to talk to us - they hadn't even finished the x-ray scan yet. She said it appeared Cirrus had at least three tumors in her lungs, with a fairly large one in her right lung. Part of the reason her heart sounded "muffled" was because the tumor was blocking the heart.  Obviously the cancer had metastasized rapidly. Dr. W. said she could give medication to reduce the inflammation which would keep her more comfortable, but it was only a short term solution.There was really nothing more that could be done at this point. We made the difficult decision to let her go. We were able to spend some time with her after she woke up from her x-ray to say goodbye, and we were there with her at the end. Neither of us thought that we would be coming back home without her today.

Cirrus was a very special glider, and she was M's favorite. We are both heartbroken to have lost her, but happy that she is with her sister again and not suffering.  Cirrus and Virga will always have a special place in our hearts.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Holding Her Own

Our worries about Cirrus seem to have been unfounded. She has been holding her weight at about 60 grams for the last several weeks and her activity level has been good. She still is usually the first up at night and waits for M to come and get her out of the cage. I think she likes the extra attention she gets before CB and Foehn climb out, if they climb out. I'm not sure if it has been the cold gloomy weather or what, but they have preferred staying in the comfort of the pouch after their mealworm snack. It's hard to interact with them when they stay in bed. On the other hand, I have a little fun with Foehn while she is in there. I pull out most of the fleece blankets and then one by one set them near the opening of the pouch. She slooowly sticks her nose out, and as long as the blanket isn't to far out, she will come out, grab the blanket in her teeth, and pull it into the pouch. If there are a lot of pieces this can go on for awhile. CB is content to stay in the back of the pouch and let Foehn make a nice nest of blankets around him. If and when the two of them come out to play they eventually end up in M's sweatshirt and settle in for a nap until it's time to scoop them out.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Early Riser

The last couple of weeks have had us worrying about Cirrus. For about a week and a half she had no interest in meal worms, which is totally unlike her.  They have always been her favorite snack and were the first thing she went for on awakening and coming out of the pouch. She finally started showing interest in them again this week and to our relief has been eating her allotment. She was down to 59 grams at her weigh-in last Sunday. For the most part Cirrus, Foehn, and CB have been eating well as a group, but of course we don't know how much Cirrus herself is eating at night.

The latest change in her behavior is that for the last week or so Cirrus has been waking up and coming out of the pouch between 8:00 and 8:45 p.m, and hour or so than she used to. We'll usually notice she's up when she jumps on a wheel for a spin. When M approaches the cage Cirrus climbs to the front to wait for M to let her out, then climbs on to M's arm for the trip into the office for play time. Cirrus is active in the office, although she does seem to be reluctant to jump the distances she used to. It may be that age is finally starting to slow her down (she just turned 10 in March). In most other respects Cirrus seems to be doing OK, but we still worry.