Monday, 25 November 2013

Update 25th Nov 2013

Amiri is now completely independent of Kiki and is in the process of being chased off by her. Here's a photo of him in the house, looking nervous.

Amiri - 24th Nov 2013

Here's Kiki coming after Amiri. After this photo was taken, she lunged at him and chased him up and down trees through the garden.

Kiki (back/left) and Amiri (Front/right) - 22nd Nov 2013

This is where the mother possum gets some of her own back for the face scrabbling and ear-biting she had to put up with when the baby was younger. But it's unfortunately a necessary thing; the young ones soon have to move away and fight other possums for a territory, so they have to learn to be tough and self-reliant as quickly as possible.

Kiki is still in good health. Her latest baby is just starting to make her pouch bulge visibly.

Kiki - 24th Nov 2013

Dexter is still about, but still no photos yet. He still occasionally sleeps in box 3.

Wasabi has returned briefly after several weeks absence.

Interestingly (considering the last blog entry) he has an eye problem. You can see that his right pupil is milky, irregular and not dilated like his left is.

Wasabi (problem with right eye) - 19th Nov 2013

There has been some debate about what the actual problem is and what should be done about it. Apparently, the look of the pupil is consistent with uveitis, however other symptoms of this condition - redness, swelling and evidence of pain (squinting, blinking etc.) - are not present.

The treatment for uveitis is a corticosteroid eye cream, which has to be applied hourly for a couple of days, followed by a gradually reduced applications over the following week. This means keeping him in captivity for a week to 10 days and subjecting him to almost continuous eye-pokings during this time. That would be an extraordinarily stressful experience, and I've heard that ringtails are even more susceptible to stress than brushtails. I could imagine that after an ordeal like that, he would no longer be the friendly and cheerful little possum he currently is.

Also, I believe he may be currently looking after a young one (frequently two adult ringtails are seen in the yard, each with a baby in tow; I'm not certain, but it's fairly likely that Wasabi is one of these adults). If so, the baby might get into difficulties if Wasabi was captured for treatment.

There's also the problem that if there are corneal ulcers present, steroid cream will make the situation worse. There is a test that can be done to show the presence of corneal ulcers (you put fluorescein dye into the eye and any damage to the cornea shows up green), but this test is somewhat stressful in itself and if it's negative it doesn't tell you whether it's uveitis or some other condition. For instance, a head trauma that damages the optic nerve can also produce similar symptoms, and in this case steroid eye cream would be useless and the stress of capture would make things worse.

As things stand, he otherwise looks healthy (in fact more healthy than normal since he often appears with scratches and other minor wounds). He doesn't appear to be in pain and can make his way around the yard without difficulty, so on balance I believe the best thing is to leave him alone and simply monitor his condition.

As of tonight (nearly a week after the problem was first noticed) there has been no change in his condition and he continues to be his normal confident and friendly self.

1 comment:

  1. Poor Amiri. And poor Wasabi. For completely different reasons! We hope the eye does a miraculous cure.