Archive for November, 2011

Enrichment

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Today I introduced my hornbill to a rubber treat dispenser meant for small dogs. I put pieces of meat inside and left it on my floor for him to discover. In less than five minutes he was on it and figuring how to remove the meat. Next time I’ll cut the meat into bigger pieces to increase the level of difficulty.

Happy Thanksgiving

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To catch a fly

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I was filming my hornbill tonight on top his cage. He does all sorts of silly things, way too many to name here. But tonight he spotted a little black dot on my ceiling and went after it. He flew from the top of his cage to my ceiling fan, got a good angle on it and then jumped up and caught the fly. What an amazingly skilled hunter! So cool. I’m glad I got it on tape.

Also, maybe some day I’ll name him. ;)

Beautiful Baby

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The camels on Today.com

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<3

Read the full story here

http://www.today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45356587/ns/today-today_pets_and_animals/

The dog and the camel

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My mom visited today and brought along her dogs, Bentley and Wellington. Bentley was recently rescued from the shelter, so this is the first time he’s ever seen Baby.

Baby is gentle with all animals and loved Bentley immediately and if you look closely at the very beginning of the video, you can see that he even tossed Bentley some of his food. However, Bentley was apprehensive of the gift and dived around Baby like an action hero facing a ticking time bomb.

Baby was unimpressed. Crazy kids…

Though, it wasn’t long before Bentley sensed Baby’s gentle nature and laid down next to him to chew on the asparagus stalk Baby had tried to share with him earlier.

Your moment of cute…

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Baby at five weeks old

Selenium

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The importance of Selenium in camels

Baby on a foggy day

What is Selenium?

Selenium is an essential trace mineral. Basically, Selenium is absorbed into proteins and acts like an antioxidant to enzymes to prevent cell damage from free radicals. Though small amounts of Selenium can be found in meat, most the Selenium we get is from plants grown in soil that contains the mineral. However, in the United States a lot of soil is severely lacking in Selenium and it’s important to know whether you live in one of those areas.

It’s also important for camels.

Selenium deficiency or toxicity is cited as the number one cause of death in camels in the United States by camel veterinarian Dr. Wright. And most of this can be prevented by checking to see if you’re in an area that has low levels of Selenium or not. If you are, a simple Selenium supplement (used for horses) can be added to camel’s diet to make up for the deficiency. One most be careful though, because overdosing is just as bad as being deficient and the symptoms of both are similar.

When a camel is Selenium deficient his or her muscles will weaken and thin as they begin to deteriorate. If caught early enough treatment can be effective, but because the heart is a muscle, permanent heart damage can occur if left untreated.

If you’re thinking of getting a camel, it’s so important that you supplement with the correct level of Selenium for your area.

Please see Dr. Wright’s paper here for proper dosage and more in dept information on this very important mineral.

(http://www.allcamels.com/articles/selenium.html)

Because of her paper online, I knew that my area was Selenium deficient and I was able to supplement both Nessie and Baby from the very fist day I got them. This was a great thing, because camel babies are much more vulnerable to lack of the mineral.

Baby as a Baby

Baby carrying his whip

However, a couple months ago Baby began displaying symptoms of Selenium deficiency despite being supplemented. I had a vet out to have his blood tested and the results that came back are baffling. His Selenium levels were in perfect range (so the supplements worked!), but his Vitamin E levels were very low.

Vitamin E and Selenium work together and because of this Selenium supplements almost always also contain Vitamin E. So how or why was Baby deficient? I’m still trying to find that answer.

The treatment for Baby was three weeks of high doses of Vitamin E (10,000 units). I also gave him rounds of probiotics (probios and turval) and plenty of Vitamin E rich fresh vegetables. These treatments improved his overall appetite and mental state, but he still has weakness in both back legs. I can imagine that the muscle lost he suffered must take a considerable amount of time to rebuild and I’m hoping that’s all it is. His complete blood panel was completely normal and he has no other symptoms aside from the weakness in his back legs only.

Every day I wake up and go outside to see him and hope that his legs appear stronger, but even after treatment they seem exactly the same as before we started.

Thinking of losing him is unimaginable. Baby, you need to get better soon.

Nessie in the news

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Nessie and I on ABC. I love the introduction.

If you haven’t seen Lawrence of Arabia… you are really missing out. :)

Nessie the Sweetheart

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