We thought we had a 9:00am appointment earlier this week with the vet. It was time for Ray’s annual check up, and to review the heart-worm, flea and tick prevention programs. Upon our arrival, we were told that our appointment was not until 9:50 … so what to do?
We decided that as Ray can always make good use of some extra mileage in his day, we would take him out and check out the area around the vet building. Just across the road, there appeared to be a quite extensive park area with trails, bridges and at least one very large pond, so it was a natural choice to cross the road and walk the trails.
We had been out for around 30 minutes, and were heading back in the general direction of the vet building (Carol had the leash), when Ray suddenly dived forward and grabbed a large object. Carol intuitively grabbed his jaw and shoved her hand in his mouth and pulled out what could have been a dead rodent! As she threw it down on the grass, Ray leapt forward and grabbed it again, but this time he swallowed it.
I was researching barn owls sometime ago, and I learned that they are a threatened species in England due to excessive rat baiting. Apparently people are baiting to get the rat population under control, but keep baiting as a preventive measure. Unfortunately, when there are insufficient rats to clean up the bait, other rodents (i.e. mice) will eat it. Barn owls love to eat mice and similar rodents, with a predictable outcome.
Given the body of water in this park area, it would have been a classic rat baiting area and so my immediate thought was … what if that rodent had been poisoned?
We were soon back in the vet building where we explained what had happened. Ray’s favorite vet (Natalia) was available and her immediate reaction was that we should get him to empty his stomach. Poor Ray was muzzled; flipped onto his side with Carol and I stroking him, talking to him, and holding his front end firmly down, while they took some blood for routine testing, and then gave him in IV supply of something that would make him vomit.
After a few moments, and with his muzzle removed, he was standing in front of us looking very unhappy, and Natalia was standing with a large plastic bowl at the ready! Probably about a minute later, poor Ray’s stomach was ejecting everything in it and, on top of one load of partially digested breakfast, was a black lump which she quickly took and examined. She managed to expose the tail and claws of a mouse.
Ray was rather “wiped out” for the next few hours, but soon recovered from his ordeal. We later had a call from Natalia asking how he was doing and whether he had forgiven us for putting him through that experience. I told her that he was back to normal with us but, when he sees her again (today at 8:50am)…. I would not want to predict his reaction. She may just need to have some special treats ready if she expects to be his favorite vet once again!