As the days go by 

I haven’t felt a lot better about the loss of our hens, Mother and Mrs. Pickles, until yesterday.

There are 5 people I’ve met who are the most intesting people I know.  I cannot possibly put them in order because they are each the most interesting in their own way, so in order of how long I’ve known them: Mom, Dad, Grace, Dr. Zoologist and Dr. Entomologist.

The entomologist and the zoologist couple returned for a presentation at my DAR chapter yesterday.  I had anxiously waited 5 months for them to return.  The zoologist gave his presentation in October and they returned for the entomologist’s presentation.  Each of them had an American Revolution-related topic, although I would have been happy with bugs or animals.

I asked how they had been.  Their response of pleasant visits with family was expected, but the news of their dog dying on its 14th birthday and their tortoise dying 50 years after they found it was totally unexpected.

They’ve had other dogs in the past 50 years, but only one tortoise.  In their years of traveling in an RV, they usually brought a dog and the tortoise.

Tires inflated, check.  Hook-ups in order, check.  Coffee, check.  Dog, check.  Tortoise, check?  I knew people travelled in RVs with dogs, but traveling with a tortoise?  Granted, I have not met a lot of people who travel in RVs.

People get birds that live 50 years or more, but there probably aren’t many people who expect to find a tortoise in the middle of a busy road and welcome it into their family for 50 years.

Necropsy results are in

To lighten the bad news, I will share what made me laugh when I told my husband the vet called to let me know the report was in:

Me: “The vet called with Mrs. Pickles’ results.”

Husband: “What was wrong with her?”

Me: “She is dead.”

Husband: “No, I mean what was the cause of her death?”

Me: “Lethal injection.”

Before proceeding with the lengthy list of items in the report, I will note that the vet asked the pathologist about Mrs. Pickles having fowl pox and he said she could have had it, but did not have it at the time of her death. The vet also asked about the antibiotics given & was told the bacteria could simply have been resistant.

I have only included the condensed results from the report (originally 3 pages in what appears to be 8-pt font). The necropsy was performed at the TVMDL in College Station, TX.

Histopathologic Diagnosis:

  • Systemic lymphocytic inflammation consistent with Avian Leukosis virus
  • Eyelid: Focal granulamatous blepharitis surrounding coccoid bacteria

  • Molecular Diagnostics:

  • Mycoplasma: MG negative and MS positive in relatively large amounts

  • Necropsy Diagnosis:

  • Severe sinusitis, conjunctivits with periocular abscesses
  • One big pig

    A giant hog wandered through our front yard & down the street to the neighbor’s garbage bin.


    We aren’t allowed to have pigs (or privacy fences) in our neighborhood, so I don’t know where he came from.


    He is almost as tall as the neighbor’s garbage bin.

    Goodbye, Mrs. Pickles

    I asked the vet to put Mrs. Pickles to sleep this morning. I also asked her to send Mrs. Pickles’ remains to the state lab for a necropsy.  It will be interesting to finally know what the problem was.

    If the vet ever wants to write a case report, I want the necropsy report to be there for her.  I have pictures that were taken every 1-4 days going back 6 months, weekly weight records for the past 4 months, and the vet has her records from the past 6 months of regular visits.  It would be a nice report, even if it’s never published.

    Mrs. Pickles was our smart girl and contributing to science is how we will honor her.  Leaving her with the vet & knowing what would happen to her was heartbreaking.  We will box and bury some feathers in our little chicken cemetery.