18 January 2009

Tilting toward trouble?


Meet "Mr. Tilty."
I first wrote about him in November. We realized then he has not just been a welcome resident in our yard, but he was making his home in a wooden nestbox high in our tall sycamore. We love him for many reasons. He is a symbol of courage and also of determination, living out a difficult winter with varying degrees of disability.
At times he runs and moves in a troublesome fashion, seeing the world at an angle because he lists to one side, like a slowly sinking ship.
In these photos, taken a week and a half ago, that tilt was not so evident. But today, when we saw him, the slight tipping had become a toppling. Once or twice he lost his balance altogether and was lying in the snow, however briefly. He also has an injury to one digit on the left front paw, which appears to be healing - but it is the tilting that is of concern to us now. He can run, he can climb and he can gather food.
But we are worried.
Wish him well. We are monitoring his progress, and his decline, if it continues.
If he cannot continue to make his way in the world and needs us to step in and help him, I hope he will let us. This is a tough winter for everyone - especially Mr. Tilty.

8 comments:

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Thanks for watching out for Mr. Tilty. Is it possible he has had a stroke?

squirrelmama said...

Yes, it is very possible he has had a stroke, or that he fell and hit his head (the most common reason for neuro problems with squirrels). In the very worst case, this has a cause that is viral, but I doubt that because no other squirrels seem to have been affected, so that is a good sign. He might even have an inner ear parasite but then, the tiltedness would not have progressed, it would have stayed at the same level. Today we have a heavy snowfall so I likely will not see him until tomorrow. Thanks for asking about him, I'll post updates when I can.

Poetikat said...

Oh, now we are sad. Poor Mr. Tilty. Will you bring him in or to the vet or how will you deal with him? I hate to think of him lying there helpless in the snow. (*eyes misting*).

Kat

squirrelmama said...

Hi Kat, our first task will be to catch him without freaking him out. If we can do that, we will let him have some rest and some warmth and assess him. It could be possible all he needs is a little rest away from the extra stresses of the harsh weather - and can be re-released. He seemed able bodied until just a day or so ago, and I am guessing the snowstorm may have overtaxed him.
Wish us ALL luck!

Anonymous said...

I work with a feral cat program at a local university, and we have an elderly cat who is both deaf and blind. It got to the point where she would sit in the middle of the street - a prelude to an ugly death. Our options were euthanasia, hospice or leave her alone. We chose hospice. She now resides contentedly in a storeroom in a cage where it's warm, she's fed and she has a soft place to lie down. It sounds as if your assessment is good and you may be headed in a similar direction. Keep us posted.
Concerned in Dallas

squirrelmama said...

Absolutely! Hospice is a wonderful option and if you are lucky enough to get an animal out of harm's way and into your care, that is the way to go. That was absolutely an option for Tilty, just to save him from a rough winter and being slowly preyed upon by whatever is out there. I have seen him since the day I wrote that post and he does seem greatly improved, so I am much less anxious about him. But the option remains open in case the weather gets harsh again and he subsequently takes another turn for the worse.

Poetikat said...

SQM - I've posted a mini-slideshow tribute to Obama on my blog. There's a picture in there I think you should see.

Kat

squirrelmama said...

Beautiful: A patriotic rodent, one who likely saw the inauguration from "ground level." I love onetruemedia.com, by the way. It rocks! I have done quite a few tributes to my critters using it - including one to the beautiful and somewhat legendary "Mister Friendly," a fellow who never quite made it in the great outdoors as a wild one.