If you've read my first and second Perry stories, you know that Perry is my pet iguana. This third story about him is a little different than the first two. It is a non-fiction. Oh, I tried to put a funny line or two in there, but basically it is just a description of his visit to the Vet's office. It should give one more insight into the relationship between iguana and owner.
Well, it wasn't so bad this time. Only 3 bandaids.
Today, my iguana, Perry, went to the vet. There was a small open ulcer on his leg, plus it was about time for his yearly checkup anyway. Perry is 6 years old now, and over 4 feet long. (He could grow to 6 feet before he reaches his 17-year life expectancy.)
Getting him into the cardboard box wasn't too hard. Perry is quite tame, and all I had to do is put a few dandelion leaves in the bottom of the box. That occupied him long enough for me to tape the box shut with duct tape. (A few years back, I just sort-of stuck a small square of tape across the box top. No longer. Having an iguana loose in the car can be dangerous for both of you, not to mention other drivers. And he is VERY strong! I have to tape across the top and along both edges to keep him in.)
He moved around a bit in the box during the drive. I could hear him scratching at the bottom, trying to dig his way out. But when I took him in the vet's waiting room, he quieted down. In fact, he didn't do anything until we were in the exam room with the Vet and I openned the box.
We were ready for him, having learned during previous appointments what to expect. The vet had on these massive leather gloves, and I was wearing my heaviest winter gloves. The instant the box top opened, Perry slammed his tail against the side of the box. (Two people in the hall jumped from the loud *thump*.)
His head was brilliant turquoise (translate: predator alert emergency status) and he whipped his tail several times to let us know that he would not be an easy meal. I don't know why, but for some reason he is convinced that the vet's office equals some kind of instant death warrant, so he spends the whole time fighting for his life.
Anyway, he got up on the side of the box, his tail cocked and ready to blow. I used my left arm to protect my face (a tail whip to the face will leave you bleeding and dizzy) and approached him with my right hand. He struck three times, biting the glove and jerking his head back and forth each time. If I hadn't been wearing gloves, his tiny but razor-sharp teeth would have ripped my flesh open (it happened three years ago when he was smaller than he is now; it was no fun).
I got my hand on him and managed to turn his body so that the tail couldn't get me. The vet lunged and got his hind legs. I scrambled to pin his front legs to his body - no easy task since his wiggling was so powerful. Finally, between the two of us, we had him pinned to the table, and I was able to point out the ulcer.
During the exam, Perry stopped struggling quite so hard, but did lots of open-mouth hissing. An assistant came in to hold Perry's tail while the vet drew blood from near the muscular base. We wrapped a towel securely around him to weigh him .
At the end of the exam, we set him in the box, still wrapped in the towel. Then the vet made a minor mistake. He opened the towel without somebody securing Perry's body. This freed Perry, and he stood on the towel, daring any of us to reach for it. I did, and he connected with my thumb before I was able to restrain him. It didn't hurt much, but I was surprised at the strength of his jaws.
The towel was then weighed so we could get Perry's exact weight, and I took my gloves off to tape the box up.
My thumb was bleeding.
It wasn't bad at all, but his teeth did managed to puncture the fabric and insulation of the glove. Just a minor wound, to go with the two scratches that I had gotten while struggling with him.
I took the ferocious beast home, set the box in his cage and opened the lid. Once again, he whipped his tail against the box with a loud *THUMP*. I left the room for a while so that he would feel safer. When I returned, he was out of the box and sitting on his favorite basking shelf, just as calm and mellow as you could ask for. Once again, he was Perry, the tame and easy-going iguana.
I can hardly wait till next year.
P.S. - although the ulcer turned out to be nothing to worry about, the vet did discover that Perry is mildly dehydrated. I'm told that this is a rather common situation, especially with open-air cages like I have. I'm going to go out and buy a humidifier, and I'll spray extra water on his food. For a few days, I'll also use a syringe to squirt some water into his mouth.