I never forgot Doughnut and her sister Tinkerbell’s birthday because of it being valentines day. I got the two of them from Vicki at Mana Rattery who was rehoming them for a friend who’d had a litter due to a pet shop mis-sexing. I drove down to Falkirk to pick them up, which amazed Vicki.

They were two well fed, chunky 8 week olds by the time I collected them and so outgoing and friendly. They were introduced to Treacle and Charlotte which didn’t go too badly, but Doughnut thought she was bigger than she actually was and ended up with a torn ear, which resulted in a chunk missing, making her look a right little bruiser! She could be a little arguementative with other rats but was always cuddly and friendly with people. She was a real gentle rat. She loved her food and was a bit porky as she got older!

Soon after she was intro’d to Fogwatt and co they were out playing in the rat room when my OH asked me what Doughnut had on her so I went to pick her up and discovered she had an inch long gash on her side, that was moving about to show the muscle underneath. As usual, the OH ran away at the sight of a poorly rat so I whizzed her up to the emergency vet, who put two staples in her. When the time came to remove the staples we could only find 1 and I assumed she’d managed to get one out as she had been fussing them a lot. About a month later I found the missing staple, she’d managed to twist it right round so the open side was pointing outwards! The vet was quite amazed at her.

Doughnut was a healthy girl, who loved her food and was always one of the first out to play. She chewed the door on the play pen and was quite determined one day she’d chew her way out!

Back in November I noticed a lump in her armpit. She was booked in to have it removed in December but when the time came I found another one in her groin. We decided to leave her and monitor the lumps. They grew, slowly but steadily and she reached her 2nd birthday I thought she might show signs of getting old. But she never did and the lumps kept growing. I took her back to the vet in April and decided to try and remove the armpit one and de-bulk the other one, but when the time came they’d got too big and the vet said it wouldn’t be helping her by putting her through such a big op. The lump began to ulcerate and Doughnut was struggling to get about, so we said goodbye while she was still happy. The girls cage is looking empty without her.

I have loads of pics of Doughnut, she was very photogenic and always around, being nosy:

baby Doughnut soon after she arrived

Having a yawn and showing off her tummy


Snuggled in the sputnik with Nutmeg

On her first birthday enjoying malt loaf

Somewhere near her second birthday, helping herself to the treats with Sugar!

With Pepper, waiting for the door to open so she could escape!

And a being a beautiful old lady. Still on her way out the cage, despite the lumps.

Bye bye my little chunky bruiser, go find Charlotte and the other girls and cause some trouble.

It was a sad day today here at Northern Lights Rats. I had to have both Charlotte and Monty put to sleep this morning.

I took Charlotte out for a cuddle a couple of days ago and found her undersides wet with poo & urine. It appeared she was loosing control of her bowels or something, then because of her lump, was unable to clean herself up. I cleaned her and then checked again yesterday and today, hoping it was just a one off, but last night she was the same, so we decided it was time to say goodbye. Her and Treacle were the first two girls and the ones that started it all. Charlotte was a beautiful rat and a lovely old lady. Losing her is the end of an era.

Monty had seemed to be getting a bit better, then went downhill again, and it seemed unfair to keep dragging him to the vets to basically keep him alive with little quality of life. He just looked so sad all the time.

I will do them both proper obits tomorrow.

Doughnut was meant to be having her op today, but the vet was unhappy with the speed that her lumps had grown just since the last visit so refused to operate on her. Her lump in her armpit is now spreading along her side and the one underneath has spread around her vulva and down her back leg. The vet said she would have to leave so much of it behind that it would have grown back again in about a month and she would take a while to recover from the major op that it would be. So I bought her home and we just have to monitor her quality of life.

The one good piece of news is that Jemima’s abcess appears to be getting better. I am still getting gack out of the hole, but less every day, so fingers crossed it will be healed up soon. Poor Jemima really hates having it cleaned and squeaks the whole time whilst running up my arm. Trying to get her out of the cage is hard work now too, as she knows i’m going to soak her in warm water and poke her about!!

I’m just hoping I get a run of healthy rats for a few months now as I seem to have been having nothing but trouble recently!

Health updates

April 22, 2009

Firstly, the sad news. I had to have Luke PTS on Monday 😦 . He was really struggling to get around and had lost so much weight and looked so sad. It was such a shame because he was such a happy, friendly livewire when he was a youngster. I will put up an obit for him later – I need to dig out some photographs.

I think Monty may be getting better. He went back to the vets on Monday and had a Tylan injection, which is apparently normally used for myco in cows! He had an injection yesterday and is going back today for another one. He did seem a bit brighter last night. So, fingers crossed.

I have also booked Doughnut in for her lump removal and de-bulking operation for next Wednesday. Her lump is getting bigger and I think it will only be about a month before it gets too big and I’m not happy with it being just the lump that takes her from me. She is so healthy and happy, so I think I need to give her a chance.

Doughnut & Luke

April 3, 2009

Doughnut and Luke went to visit the vet yesterday. She said removing Doughnut’s armpit lump would be fairly straightforward but the one in her groin is very attached and very close to important bits so she wouldn’t be happy about attempting to remove all of it, but she could de-bulk it. This means removing as much as she can, but obviously the bit left will then re-grow. It is also likely she will develop more lumps anyway, as mammary lumps tend to re-grow when they are removed anyway. So, I need to decide if it is worth putting Doughnut through the risk of an op and the recovery time, for what may only be an extra couple of months. I still really don’t like the idea of putting her down because of the lumps when she seems so healthy otherwise.

The vet said Luke’s lump is straight forward to remove but she’s not sure how well he will cope with the anaesthetic, due to his rattling and general non-robustness (is that even a word?!).

She didn’t really tell me anything i didn’t know and i need to make the decision. I’m still thinking about it but at the moment and leaning towards risking Doughnut because she is so healthy and waiting with Luke until his lump gets to the stage where it is hindering him and then have another think.

Rat photographs

March 28, 2009

I have finally taken some photographs of Jemima. They aren’t very good as taking good photographs of pink eyed, pale rats is pretty impossible with a flash and it just bleaches them out completely. She is enjoying her free range time, she hurtles round at about 100 mph and is a nightmare to get hold of. She’s very busy and reminds a little bit of  Mustard. Today she thought she might get in the Guinea Pig cage! So it was pushed back against the wall and she didn’t try again after that. I don’t think they would have hurt her, but it was too big a risk. Anyway, here are a couple of dodgy photos:

PEW female fancy rat

PEW female fancy rat

And one of Doughnut just because it’s a cute photograph.

PEW female fancy rat 

Doughnut and Luke are both off to the vet’s next week to have their lumps looked at. Doughnut’s two are getting pretty big and the one in her groin is beginning to affect her walking. We were going to wait until they started to affect her quality of life, fully expecting her to start ‘getting old’  but she is still happy, still eating, maintaining weight and coming out to play. It seems awful to simply put her down because her lumps are getting too big. I hate the thought of putting her through an operation, but it seems mean not to.

Luke’s lump is also getting big and is growing quite fast. I am quite worried about putting him through an op as he is such a sickly thing, but he’s only about 18 months old and again I hate the thought of him being PTS just because his lump got too big. I shall have to speak to the vet and see what they think. I am also wondering if he does have the op about having him castrated at the same time as I wonder if he’ll be happier with the girls as he is most definitely an underdog in his current cage. Obviously though, I am really terrified of getting him castrated after what happened to Beau, so again, I shall need to really talk it through with the vet and have a really long think.

Jemima update

March 24, 2009

New girl Jemima is being picked on and has a lot of scabs across her back, so I have been watching them all carefully and Fogwatt (as usual) and Nutmeg appeared to be the main culprits. They would both chase after her and I caught Nutmeg holding on to her back with her teeth and not letting go! So Nutmeg and Fogwatt have been taken out of the aviary and have been moved into the spare Jenny cage. Hopefully, this will give Jemima a chance to build up some confidence and settle in better. I will still let them out to play together and hopefully, eventually they will all go back into the aviary together.

Jemima does seem happier already. At food time she is now sitting with the other girls round the bowl, not just sneaking down for a bit of food when no-one’s watching and rushing up to eat it in ‘her’ tube. Doughnut is being a bit grumpy with her and Sugar has grumped a couple of times, but they don’t keep on at her like the other two did, so hopefully she’ll be fine. If needs be, I can move Doughnut to the naughty cage too!

Tinkerbell & Doughnut were two yesterday, so Happy Birthday girls. They’ve not had anything special to celebrate yet, but I will get them something soon for them to share with the other girls. I always remember their birthday as it’s Valentines Day. They are both fine and spent their birthday in the usual ratty way of sleeping most of the day! I am always pleased when my rats make it to two and Tinks especially is still going strong and is ever so healthy.

Here are a couple of photos of Doughnut & Sugar helping themselves to the dried corn on the corb in the treat bag!

female hooded fancy rats eating treats

female hooded fancy rats eating treats

They’d eaten about half of it with a bit of help from Pepper and Nutmeg, when they went back into their cage, so I put it in with them so they could finish it off!!

Rat Health updates

February 9, 2009

Just a little health update…

Luke’s eye seems to be changing. It’s still looking cloudy but is now looking stained round his eye. It hasn’t swollen up and he still isn’t bothering it at all, so he’s not going back to the vets just yet. I have also just found a lump on his side, in his armpit. It feels like a mammary lump and even though mammary lumps are rare in male rats, they do get them. It really does seem that if someone’s going to get something, it’s him! I will keep an eye on it, hopefully it will be an abcess that is easy to deal with.

Pepper is also not very well. I treated her for mites a little while back as her fur is getting thin on the back of her neck and she is generally a bit scabby and scraggy looking. I have also noticed since they’ve been out free-ranging again, she’s walking a bit stiff legged and slightly wobbly. She does have grip in her back feet and she sits up still to eat, she’s just a bit wobbly and has fallen off balance a couple of times. She’s also lost a bit of weight and is generally looking old. She’s not even two yet 😦

Doughnut’s lumps are growing, but she’s still getting about fine and being her useful lovely self. Still eating well!! And enjoying free-range. Her and Tinkerbell will be 2 on Saturday and Tinky is fine. It’s a shame spaying them is such an invasive operation, as judging from Tinks and Doughnut, spaying does seem to reduce the occurrence of mammary tumours.

To end on a happy note, Sugar has finally lost some weight and now weighs in at a healthier 440 ish grams. She is definitely looking more slimline and is full of mischief. Her and Doughnut have found the treat stash and are currently munching their way through a dried corn on the cob! Will put the photo up tomorrow.

Recent updates

December 31, 2008

I can’t believe i’ve not updated this since the 10th December! Some sort-of -sad news first. The morning of the 23rd, when Doughnut was meant to be operated on, I checked her over and found another lump in her groin. I cancelled the op and took her in on Christmas eve for the vet to look at her. The second lump is not easily moveable like the first one and feels more attached, and therefore would be harder to remove. The vet said that as she has two, she may have internal ones too and there is always a chance of mammary lumps re-occuring and to my way of thinking as she already has two, there is more of a chance of her developing more. Therefore, we have decided to leave them and simply monitor her quality of life. At the moment she is absoloutely fine, coming out to play and definitely continuing  to enjoy her food! On one hand it’s sad to know that she’s not likely to be with us in a couple of months, but there’s still a part of me that’s happy that she doesn’t have to go through an op.

Treacle’s a lot better now. She still has slight snottles but is brighter in herself and has put a little bit of weight on, though she is still very skinny. She has also developed a lump down in her groin, and Charlotte has one on her side. Both of them are too old to go through an op, so it’s just a matter of time with my old girlies too 😦

Luke seems to be a bit more settled as well, so he is still with Charlie and co. All of his scabs have cleared up, so it may have been mites after all.

The three new boys are continuing to cause havoc. Bob injured his tail about a week ago.I’m not sure how, but he was in the play pen and he does climb the cage. The wound was a line across the top of his tail, so I think it’s likely that one of the girls grabbed hold of it, or he got it trapped somehow! It’s healing well, though I was a bit worried when he first did it as there was quite a lot of blood and it was obviously very sore, he was sat for ages holding onto it licking it! I have a lovely picture of him hanging off the top of the girls’ aviary, just demonstrating what a trouble he is. And it was taken a day or two after he hurt his tail! I need to take it off my phone, but i’ll put it up soon. Monty is a bit snotty at the moment, but not ill with it, but I’m giving him some Synulox i’ve got here, so hoping that will help.

So that’s what’s been happening recently. I will have to have a new year rundown and look forward but will do that in a separate post so I don’t end up with massive essay style posts!!

And if I don’t get round to it before.. Happy New Year to all 🙂

Visit to the vet

December 10, 2008

I was at the vets again yesterday with Treacle & Doughnut. Poor Treacle has an upper respiratory thing, and has had a couple of courses of Baytril, which seem to clear it up, then it comes back, so she has now got some Baytril & some Synulox to take for a fortnight. She is having her Baytril in biscuit balls as usual and I gave her dose this morning when she was in her hammock. I held the other hooligans out the way, while she ate it then when she’d done I let the others go. Sugar went straight up to her, put a paw either side of Treacle’s face and licked her mouth, ‘sharing’ her biscuit crumbs! They do make me laugh. Hopefully the antibiotics will help because the poor girl is really looking quite ill, she has lost a lot of weight and is very snotty. I keep wondering whether to move her to a hospital cage but she’s still getting about so well and she’s always snuggled up in a big pile of ratties, so it seems nicer for her to leave her with her friends.

Doughnut has a lump under her armpit. I’m assuming it’s a mammary lump. It’s grown over the last 6 – 8 weeks from smaller than a pea to grape sized, so I decided it was time to get it removed. She’s booked in for 23rd December, so fingers are firmly crossed that she pulls through it ok.