Frostbite in Capybaras, for Real

Little Dobby swam in his pool even when the water was winter cold. He never liked snow, but refused to sleep indoors, preferring his heated bed outside. Sometimes the blankets froze. Mostly our mild winters prevailed. I didn’t know how lucky I was.

Deep in thought, Dobby wonders why his pool is crunchy.

Dobby was born in Texas. Weather there is variable, but never cold for very long. That changed last month. Polar air drifted down and froze the ground then snow and sleet followed. Many areas lost power, and for many that also meant no water.

I re-post my winter blogs every year, and this year, with crazy weather approaching, I doubled down. I don’t think anyone thought it would be this bad, or that the power grid in Texas would fail so catastrophically. It wasn’t only Texas that froze, it was the entire midwest. Everyone prepares for winter, we all do to some extent, don’t we? Preparing for winter is not the same as preparing for suddenly being transported to the north pole for a week. That would be well beyond what most of us would prepare for. And yet, there we were.

The ROUS Foundation veterinarian in the Dallas area is currently treating animals with frostbite: chickens, ducks, monkeys, lemurs, goats, and parrots. Ducks have specially designed feet that accommodate cold weather, and goats, well they have little hooves! It’s unheard of and I suspect many veterinarians in the midwest are suddenly facing unusual cases of frostbite.

Sadder but wiser capybara

I have a friend with two young capybaras that are currently being treated for frostbite. They have lost their toes, and are doing well, post-surgery. They are facing their first challenge: preventing infection. Once they heal, the next challenge will be fitting prosthetics and physical therapy. They face a steep learning curve for each phase of recovery, and we hope to learn a lot from their experiences.

Meanwhile, there is the cost of veterinary treatment. If you can help, here is a link to the Go Fund Me. Donations of any amount are appreciated, and they are tax deductible.


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