Rescue Journal

i hate feeling afraid, especially when it is stupid of me to feel that way...kind of like angelina's and renee's utter fear of tiny harmless spiders!

Carol  ·  Oct. 17, 2008

there are posts i don't want to write...i get that tight, anxious feeling in my chest. it is because like pavlov's dogs...i have learned from experience that i have something to fear. so what do you do...not write what you said you would share because you are afraid of one or two or a handful or a hundred reactions? well that seems cowardly and dishonest to me so here we go.

firstly the stuff that i don't expect to fly back at me....the two new chi's have arrived. suzie and chica are cute and feisty little things...suzie is thirteen and chica is 9. both are females, both are spayed, both need dentals and both were literally crawling with fleas. thank goodness the clinic took care of that for me!

new cat in...he came while i was at work. i forget what his name is, he is about 8 yrs old and had a euth appointment today at noon, he is a major sprayer...oh joy. i will tell more about him when i actually get home to meet him (i am currently at work but finished everything unless i get a call to go out)

the vet came out to see spritely, her leg is breaking down again. she is back on injectible antibiotics, twice daily hosings and iodine soaks and we will see how she does. lisa called me when she was done poking at her, she said the hoof feels soggy but is still fully attached so that is sort of good news. true to spritely's nature, once she had her shot, the vet let her go and off she ran at top speed. she is such an amazing girl...spritely, don't run.

here comes the part i don't want to write and i was just going to do it factually without trying to defend myself...but, shit, i am too weak for here comes the pre-amble.

i am a generalist in both human nursing and sick animal care. i understand a few basic cardiac disease in a dog causes the same kind of trouble to man. livers in rabbits have the same functions as they do in cows and in people and when they don't function well they cause the same symptoms too. diabetes presents the same way for a cat as it does for a human and cancers in whatever organ produce the same disease no matter what the species is. bodies function the way bodies function...hearts pump blood, lungs suck in air, livers filter toxins and bone marrow produces blood cells...we aren't all that different when these organs work as they are supposed to and we are not all that different when they don't....we get sick.

soooo....i am not a cardiac nurse...i don't know every freaking tiny detail of how the heart functions down to every single cell. but i know the general principles and understand how things can go wrong when they do.

i am also not a breed specialist...i do not know every single minute detail of how a bernese mountain dog works...but i understand the general principles of dogs, and giant dogs, and giant working dogs bred for rescue.

i am not a species specialist..i know basic principles about dogs and cats and rabbits and chickens and horses and goats, and pigs and sheep and llamas. but i am no expert on any of them, i just know what i know from working with them all.

now i am a bit of a specialist in illness and aging in both human and multi-species animals. it is what i am interested in, it is what i am passionate about, it is what i devote my life to, caring for those who don't feel very well.

preamble done...the point is...i do believe despite what others may think that what i know and do.... actually does have real value.


petunia as everyone knows is not well. her urinalysis shows large amounts of protein in her urine. her physical exam shows a pendulous abdomen that is full of ascites (fluid). her suddenly frequent bloody discharge from her vulva shows no sign of infection.

the vet feels if we are lucky, the protein in her urine is from end stage renal disease and the excess protein is causing the ascites but with this theory the sudden bleeding becomes a mystery. so best case scenario is.... tunie's kidneys are toast.

worst case scenario, tunie has ovarian cancer which can cause large protein dumps by the kidneys, it causes sudden onset vaginal bleeding and it causes massive fluid collection in the peritenial cavity.

unfortunately despite popular belief pigs do get reproductive cancers like every other species on earth, if you happen to have a uterus, hormones and ovaries you most certainly can get cancer in any or all of them. and more unfortunately, tunie is presenting the same way my human ovarian cancers present which really and truly worries me. so both the vet and i are pretty sure we were right and tunie does have reproductive cancer.

so what do we do since she is a pig and not a dog or a human that we can haul into the hospital to poke around?

i really like lisa the vet who came today. she took the time to sit down and research pot belly pig medicine before we discussed what we should do. i think i will call Dr. Patrelli our naturopath and see what she can suggest. Lisa thought this was a good idea cuz traditional farm medicine does not have alot to offer sick pigs like tunie.

so why was i afraid to write this? gee, i wonder.

one thing i am really glad about tho, is tunie is here where she is meant to be where all of my general principles can get put together to help her feel as well as she can.

ahhh tunie-fish please ask people not to put you in the center of a political pig storm.

we love you.



ovarian cancer is the sneaky killer of women. we all have a one in seven chance of developing the disease, with a close affected family member with either breast or ovarian cancer..our chances rise to one in two. it is one of the genetically linked cancers that can be caused genetically or it can hit you out of the blue. for women with a family history, there is a test available but i am not sure how fail safe the test is.
it is called the silent killer because once you ae experiencing symptoms that tell you something is wrong, it usually has already progressed too far.
ascites in the abdomen is usually the first symptom. some women are lucky enough to have it discovered ny accident.

sigh,,,i used to live in fear of this disease,,,i watched my mom die from it...she thought she was just getting fat and bought herself a rowing machine. anyway, something is going to eventually kill me, life has no guarantees...lung cancer? some impatient moron who drives his 2 ton truck like he is james bond in a hurry to get to his secret mission, a stroke from too much stress and worry, an overly playful teenage steer?...death comes to all of us.... some sooner than later....death is the unpredictable constant. i think
we should just make sure our lives are full and worthwhile while we are here.


First, I'm sorry to hear about Tunie. Ovarian cancer is a horrible disease, and Tunie is a great, great pig.

Second, in response to Deb's comment - I'd be interested to know which blog you are referring to, Deb, and what sites you were reading that contradicted the information given there. I'm not aware of any significant contradictory information on the potbelly pig sites (both blogs and veterinary information sites) and I've certainly done hours of research on the topic of potbellies. However, medical opinions are always changing as research refines our knowledge, and there is always more to learn. In the interest of improving my own knowledge of a species I care for, I'd be interested to know more specifically what information on potbellied pigs you found contradicted. Perhaps you could post your sources or send me an email at animalsinrescue [at]


Petunia seems to be the one animal at SAINTS about whose care you are criticized ad nauseum. I'm not sure why people who keep pigs believe that they have any more actual, scientific, provable or hands on experience when it come to pigs than you do.

I recently read on another blog all kinds of assumptions and personal beliefs about the care and needs of pigs. I then went to the internet, found Veterinarians and pig experts whose information totally contradicted what I read on the blog.

Having 22 dogs doesn't make you a dog expert, it makes you a woman who lives with 22 dogs. The same goes for pigs, cows, goats, sheep. There are lots of experts out there, but they aren't generally running shelters.


I'm sorry to hear about Tunie Carol, I know she's an important part of Saints. Those who question what you do should walk a mile in your shoes.