Thanks to phone assistant Jenny there’s also a happy ending to the story of Potter, a small wallaby whose mother was hit and left alive in the Woodend area on 9th September. Jenny was unable to get anyone to respond either to the injured adult or the small joey so called a member of her family who lived in the region and who agreed to pick up the joey to ensure it was safe and didn’t also become a road victim. Jenny then drove to Malmsbury to pick up the joey,placed it into a pouch with a hot water bottle and then transported it to me.
A check showed very erratic, difficult breathing, this could have meant fluid, possibly blood, in the lungs; he could not stand although no structural damage could be found. He was also dehydrated despite his mother still being alive that morning and the caller assuring Jenny he had been the person who had hit her. Our only theory is that mum had already been injured when she made her way onto the road, possibly up to a couple of days before, and she had stopped producing milk or perhaps been in enough pain to not want the joey to suckle [I have had this experience before]. Pain relief was given as were antibiotics to cover any possible problem to the lungs and the joey was then placed into a warmed bed to settle. The joey was checked a little later, breathing was still very much abnormal. I considered soft tissue damage was probably the reason for its being unable to stand despite there being no swelling to any part of the body, neither did any area feel warmer than it should which would indicate damage. It was decided to take the joey to the vet as soon as it could be arranged. Being Saturday afternoon, this took a little time as I traced my vet from place to place – what did we ever do before mobile phones?
A thorough check was made by the vet who diagnosed a possible collapsed lung, with probably lots of bruising. Antibiotics had already been given on arrival so they would already be doing their work. The inability to stand was also put down to soft tissue damage only despite nothing being visible. Twenty four hours later while feeding him I noticed underneath one foot had swollen to almost twice its normal size, the swelling was not noticeable on the top of the foot, it was worse around the heel area. Despite lots of probing and manipulating I could still not find any injury. After another 24 hours I decided to ask my vet to call in to check the swelling. After a thorough examination I was assured there were no broken bones, damaged ligaments or any other damage that would prevent Potter finally walking [although I had to promise not to be mad if something eventually surfaced]. Three weeks down the track Potter was able to stand and a little later began to tentatively explore around my feet. Soon he began hopping around the kitchen and then explored further around the house, each time he disappeared I waited with held breath for his return, always fearful I would have to go looking and would find him laying unable to move. These days Potter is spending time outside, he loves nothing more than standing up to Mitzi, a larger wallaby, and when bottle time comes around he’s always first in line and thinks nothing of attempting to beat up the much larger kangaroos; if he isn’t fed first everyone suffers. He’s come a long way from the little 900gm animal whose daily routine included pain killing injections, antibiotic injections and sub-cutaneous fluid therapy [fluid given directly under the skin]. Despite all his problems he has more than doubled his weight in the 2 months he’s been in care.