B Oct 28, 2017
D Jul 19, 2018
When Larry arrived here with his buddy Grace on May 24, he’d already been in care with a ‘pinky’ carer friend for 5 weeks previously. Found when he was 868g and 5.5 months old, his mother dead from unknown causes in a paddock. Larry had been lying there for several days and was lucky to have survived at all.
He had ‘third eyelid’ when he arrived, so we suspected he wasn’t as strong as other joeys. Being rescued so young makes his fight a harder one as he hasn’t received as much immunity from his mother as older rescues. All the same, we’ve seen third eyelid before and released those kangaroos, so didn’t expect Larry would be any different.
Larry saw the vet twice during the eight weeks he was in care here. He wasn’t putting on weight correctly, he was lethargic and towards the end, he became wheezy. He was on a broad-spectrum antibiotic in case there was an infection in his lungs, even though they sounded clear to the vet.
Through that period, Larry continued to eat well and drink his bottles, there was no warning sign that Larry was in serious trouble, until 6am the morning he died. Rae found Larry lying in his pouch struggling to breath and for the next 107 minutes, we tried to save his life using oxygen and a nebuliser, checking his mouth and nasal passages for blockages.
Larry stopped breathing at 7.47am, his heart stopped shortly after. We asked our vet for a post mortem, to try and determine what happened to Larry. Did Benson injure him when hopping into his pouch, was it a disease? Sadly, we only learnt that Larry died from ‘Acute Respiratory Distress, suggesting immune compromise, or a secondary spread from teething or perhaps directly from his mother.
What we believe now, is that Larry died from a virus. He had watery eyes for several days a weeks earlier – as did 3 other joeys, and Penny had also been wheezy. We believe it’s a virus that healthy kangaroos can probably manage on their own. Certainly, Penny and Benson required no medication if they also had the virus. Larry’s buddy Grace however, crashed after Larry died. Also found as a cold pinky (lying alone on the ground), the stress of Larry’s death wreaked havoc on her little body and we had to work hard to save her life. Thanks to a vet in Wagga Wagga who specialises in macropods, and our friends at Bed & Broccoli for putting us in touch with them, we now know there is a strong human antibiotic which can cure kangaroos from almost all viruses. Grace, a weaker joey like Larry, would not have survived without it and we’re grateful for that.
This information doesn’t bring Larry back, but it will help save other joeys like Larry in future. Sadly, for him, his already compromised little body just couldn’t cope with the extra pressure of an illness.
He was certainly a happy joey, full of bright personality. We called him Larry because we could tell he was a larrikin and we were looking forward to seeing more of that personality come out and shine. We miss that little boy and his beautiful personality very much. Larry’s favourite things were his milk and watching the big kangaroos outside through the windows at night, from the safety of his pouch.
We would like to thank Resting Pets in Moruya for their support during Larry’s cremation, Sean at Caseys Beach Vet Clinic as always, Nikki at Bed & Broccoli for the antibiotic suggestion and putting us in touch with Jaimie and Mark Sayer from Australian Veterinary Hospitals in Wagga Wagga, who provided the information and dose rates for the antibiotic which may have saved Grace’s life. Lynne and Kate for donations towards his medical expenses and those who sponsored him for the short time he was in care: Brooke, Lawry, Robyn, Stefanie and Tracy. Thank you.
RIP Little Larry the Larrikin. We love you so much. You stole a huge piece of our hearts and took them across the rainbow bridge with you. Hop free with your mother again beautiful baby boy.
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