Luke came home with Beau early in January 2008. They had both been in the pet shop I work in for many months and had ended up out the back, being treated for mites as Beau had bald arms and Luke had a bald spot on his head. I’m fairly sure it was simply Beau barbering because he was bored, however, as it stopped as soon as they arrived home. They had both got big, so I ended up adopting them.

They moved in with Charlie, Jools and Rupert with Luke and Jools to be found snuggled together from about 2 days of having Luke! Luke was a livewire. When he was at work he was the ‘pr’ rat because he was so friendly and would go to anyone. He remained that way here and was always up to mischief. He would actually run around at free range time, rather than sit on top of the cage like the other boys!

He liked tea and would always finish the dregs given half a chance.

In November I noticed he was getting a bit thin and Charlie was giving him a bit of grief, but after the move here they seemed to settle down so I left the four of them together. He got an infection inside his eye in January, then at the begining of February I noticed the lump in his armpit. My lovely, lively boy slowed down, lost weight and slowly lost interest in life. I took him to the vets for the final time on Monday.

Bye, Bye my beautiful boy. Run free now and find your brother Beau.

With Jools soon after he came home.

Exploring during free range

Found something to munch

Sharing a cuppa!

Snuggles with Beau (RIP) and either Jools or Rupert

And eating a stolen digestive

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.

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.

Luke’s poorly eye

January 31, 2009

Luke really is a sickly sort of a rat! If rats could take out shares he could get some at the vets!! He now has a poorly eye. I noticed it last Tuesday, the day before I was due to go to Perth for the day with work so my OH kindly took him to the vets for me. His eye had gone cloudy and is sunken slightly. There seemed to be a bit of white goo as well. The vet gave us some eye drops to apply three times a day (which is quite difficult to hold a wriggly rat and get the drops in his eye and not on his head!) and said it was internal damage and to take him back in a week if it hadn’t cleared.

It has got slightly better, no goo anymore but it is still sort of cloudy looking – it looks the same as the other eye but has a purple look to it, not black. I took him back to the vets on Thursday and saw a different vet who said it is likely he has blood behind the cornea of his eye, which will hopefully clear itself. It is likely he is blind in that eye but it isn’t bothering him at all.

The only thing the vet said to watch for is if it starts swelling or becoming painful, in which case it is likely glucoma and he may need to have his eye removed! Fingers crossed that won’t happen. So at the moment, we’re just keeping an eye on him and will take him back if it gets worse. My poor boy, he really does seem to end up with everything!

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 🙂


December 2, 2008

Well I have made a decision about what to try with Luke. He is definitely not happy at the moment and is particularly nervous of Rupert & Charlie. I have decided as the first course of action to attempt to intro him to Bob, Monty & Marlon. If that doesn’t work I will re-think my options.

Yesterday Luke met Marlon for about 10 minutes out on the desk in the rat room. They sniffed each other and that was it. Marlon was too busy wanting to get off the desk to explore but they sat on my lap together, taking very little notice of each other, so I was pleased about that. I then put Marlon away and Monty met Luke. He was slightly more boisterous with his sniffing but it was only sniffing, nothing more. He was more interested in the smells on the desk as well as was slowly getting a bit puffed up, so I put him away. I think Bob is going to be the hard one and it was only 10 minutes with the other two, but it was a promising 10 minutes. I am planning on doing intro’s very slowly in the bath, which is total neutral territory, introducing the 3 boys to Luke one at a time and going from there. So, fingers crossed.

Boy trouble!

November 23, 2008

Some people reckon boy rats make better pets than girls because they’re bigger and squishy and less active. I have decided that mine are just trouble!

I am worried about Luke because he still appears to be being picked on. He has several scabs on him, some of them long scratches so not scabs from him scratching himself or anything. I’ve given him some invermectin, in case he does have mites or anything and i’ll keep an eye on him. I think it’s Charlie causing the wounds because i’ve seen them scrapping and Luke seems very wary of him. I’m not sure what to do with them – I could take Charlie out, then I’d have to put him somewhere and he’s definitely not got to the stage where castration is needed, as he’s fine with his brothers. The most sensible thing seems to be to remove Luke, but not sure where to. I’m not leaving him on his own and am terrified of having him castrated. I don’t think the new boys will accept him as they are very confident. I could try though. I thought about putting him with Sugar and Tinkerbell as they’ve been spayed but I don’t really want to take them out of the girly group and I’m not sure if he’d still hump them and annoy them. I will have to ask for some advice, as he’s not really happy at the moment and he’s such a lovely boy, so people friendly.

I am also having trouble with Bob, who is showing some over-dominant behaviour towards me and bit me today! A couple of times i’ve had him out on my lap and he’s got foofy and grazed my knuckles with his teeth, but not bit. He did it again today so I went to get a grip of him and put him on the floor and he sunk his teeth in hard & definitely deliberately. It’s amazing how much rat bites bleed and how much they hurt! He was fine afterwards, letting me pick him up to go back in his cage. I’m just crossing my fingers he doesn’t do it again.

So, I have decided – boys are just trouble (well a couple of them anyway, most of them are absoloutely fine 🙂 )

The boys

November 2, 2008

I got some lovely pics today of the boys all snuggled up together in their hammock today, so thought i’d share them on here.

I’m a bit worried about Luke at the moment. He seems to be so much skinnier than the other boys and he’s got a couple of scratches across his back and his tail, i’m worried he’s being picked on. I’ve been watching them closely around the food and he does seem quite wary if the others are around. He waits for them to finish before he gets something out of the bowl and a couple of times i’ve seen Charlie sitting across the bowl preventing Luke from getting at it. There are two bowls of food in the cage so he can still get to food and he’s definitely not terrified of the others or anything (he climbed into the hammock earlier, straight over Rupert), he just seems to be a bit of an underdog which is a shame. If it was just Beau causing trouble it wouldn’t be such a problem as his op on Wednesday will hopefully solve his problems but it’s the other three as well, particularly Rupert and Charlie. I’m going to wait and see what happens after Beau has been castrated and what that does to the group dynamics and if Luke still appears to be being picked on, I shall have to separate him and Beau. 

They are such a nightmare at times, they have little squabbles and I end up thinking they hate each other, then find all five led in a heap like the photos:

male pet rats asleep<br /> in a hammock

This second one shows Charlie’s head where he was squidged underneath Beau and Luke.

male pet rats asleep<br /> in a hammock

And this was later on this evening. Luke wrapped around Rupert.

male pet rats asleep<br /> in a hammock

I see them all together like that and wonder why I worry!