Bye Bye Tinkerbell & Sugar

January 13, 2010

Had to make a trip to the vets with Tinkerbell & Sugar today. They had both started to get very old and were struggling to get around and had both got very skinny. Tinks in particular was in a very bad way, with a nasty scab on her tummy so I thought it kindest to send them on their final journey together.

Tinkerbell 14/02/07 – 13/01/10

My longest lived rat (so far) came from down in Falkirk from a breeder who had taken on a rescue litter. Tinkerbell and Doughnut were the 3rd and 4th rats I ever had. Steve named Tinkerbell and it was always too dainty a name for the sort of rat she was! She got called Tinks or Tinky for short.

She was a little hooligan, always out to play for the longest when she was younger and she could be a little bit arguementative with the other girls. She was never a cuddly rat when she was younger but after she got spayed she would sit still for longer on me and at one time actually got quite clingy. As she got older she preffered to sleep and would give me a little nip if she didn’t want to come out of bed at cleaning out time. She loved the company of other rats and would always be found snuggled up with Sugar.

Baby Tinky soon after she arrived

Posing during a photoshoot

and again

On her first birthday eating malt loaf with Pepper

And again on her first birthday.

Bye Bye Tinks, we’ll miss you loads, go find Doughnut and the other girlies.

Sugar – ?/2007 – 13/01/10

Sugar was a very special rat. She was the first rat that had babies here and gave me the perfect introduction to raising baby ratties. She arrived late September 2007 and 4 days later gave birth to 11 little ones. She was fine with me handling them from day 1. Her favourite thing while I was handling and weighing her babies was to stash food under my pillow! I would go to bed and find a little pile of (thankfully) dry rat food. She outlived all of the six of her children that stayed here.

Sugar loved food. She was always too fat but it just added to her cuddly charm. She was the perfect rat to introduce to those that didn’t like rats. She would have cuddles with anyone, just sitting quietly on your shoulder or in your arms, just loving being loved.

She was also great with other rats. She never picked a fight and was always gentle and loving. If a rat was ill Sugar would be put with them to keep them company. She would lie across an ill companion, protecting and grooming them and even did this to Tinks today on their last trip to the vets.

I know we’re not allowed favourites but she was one of mine and I shall miss her so much.

Bye Bye special girly, go find your kids and the other girlies. They’ll be waiting for a cuddle.

Sugar with her pregnant tum

In Jan 2008

Doing her favourite thing – eating!

and again, this time stealing corn on the cob with Doughnut

And one of the last pics taken of her, in Oct/Nov 2009

Losing these two is the end of an era. Between Jan 2007 and Jan 2008 my numbers grew from my first two rats (Charlotte and Treacle) to 17 rats, and then in 2008 I only got 3 new ones. Tinks and Sugar are the last two from this first year of rat keeping, my two very special old ladies.

Some ratty photos

July 27, 2009

I took a few photos today after I cleaned the ratties out and thought I’d share some with you:

Rupert looking gorgeous!

Fogwatt did her usual at clean out time and refused to move from her bed!

Sugar and Nutmeg peering out the carrier

And Sugar doing her favourite thing – eating!!

Sugar and Fogwatt need a Birthday Party soon. I don’t know how old they are exactly but it’s coming up 2 years since I got them around 20th September, so in theory they must be 2 by now as neither of them were little babies when I got them. So once I get them goodies we can have a party.

Sugar and Fogwatt

July 11, 2009

It was clean out day today and when I did the girls I took Nutmeg, Tinks, Saffron and Jemima out of their kennel at the top level, then worked my way down, cleaning the cage out. Sugar and Fogwatt were in the bottom bed and had baricaded themselves in, I couldn’t even see Fogwatt, she was that snuggled underneath a great big wodge of shredded paper. Sugar did poke her head out and come out eventually but I ended up carrying Fogwatt, still in the bed, to the carrier where she climbed out! I took a couple of photos as they looked so cute and had made such an impressive nest – Treacle would’ve been proud 🙂



Goodbye Marlon

July 4, 2009

Marlon died on Friday night. I thought he was getting better from his respiratory infection, the snottiness was getting less, he was eating and seemed brighter and was even putting on weight slowly. He was ok Friday afternoon, snuggled under the shelf with Bob, then I checked on them in the evening and he was stretched out, passed away. He hadn’t been gone long bless him. I took him, gave him a last cuddle and then he got buried in the garden.

I will do him a proper obit when I’ve found some decent photos of him.

Now of course Bob is on his own. I have decided to get him castrated and move him in with the girls. Hopefully this will also make him a nicer rat and will stop him biting and getting territorial and grumpy. I did try Sugar in with him today (she’s been spayed) so he has a bit of company and so he knows someone when going in with the girls, but he was a bit rough with her, pinning her down and making her squeak so I felt sorry for her and took her out. She’s so good natured and such a sweetie, it seemed mean to put her through it! I’m sure he’ll be ok on his own for a few weeks. I’ll phone the vets on Monday and book him in as soon as possible for the op. Fingers crossed it goes ok this time.

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.

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.

Lump results

August 18, 2008

I got the results from the girls’ lump tests. Sugar’s and Treacle’s were both benign mammary lumps and Charlotte’s was a benign follicular tumour. Obviously i’m really pleased that all three were benign and all three were fully removed.

I was a bit surprised that Sugar’s was a mammary lump as spaying is meant to decrease the likelihood of getting them and I’m sure i’ve read that rats that have litters don’t generally get them either. I don’t think she is an old girl. But then, it is hard to tell, I guess. She is overweight and weight is thought to increase the change of tumour development, so I need to get back on top of her diet. I’m assuming it means she is of a type that is particularly prone to them, so I just need to keep checking her regularly and get her back on the diet!

I have posted on the NFRS forum about Charlotte’s as i don’t even know what a follicular tumour is and what this means in term of other health prospects, re-growth etc. Hopefully someone else will have some knowledge.

They are all back in the aviary now with the other girls. They decided last week that they weren’t coming back out after play time so I left them to it. Their wounds are healing ok. Treacle’s is gone completely and Sugar’s is still only visible at either end but is healing well. Charlotte’s fur is starting to grow back but I think her wound is itching her as she has been scratching and has a couple of nasty scratches around the wound and also a strange scabby area at the top of the wound that looks like a dry blister. I’m keeping an eye on it at the moment and if it grows I shall take her back to the vet. I need to try the tea tree cream on it too. In themselves however, they are all perfectly fine and happy and i’m really pleased at how everything went.

The Freddy

August 10, 2008

I moved Sugar, Charlotte and Treacle into the Freddy yesterday, so they’re now back in the rat shed. Let them out to play with the rest of the girls today and apart from a load of bum-sniffing there was no trouble. Had to remove Sugar and Charlotte from the aviary to put them back in the Freddy when play time was finished. I’m sure they were wondering what I was up to. I just don’t think their wounds are healed enough to risk any roughness with the other girls. It’ll probably only be about a week though and they can all go back in together.

Sugar’s wound has opened up slightly right at the bottom and there is a fairly deep looking hole there, but it’s clean and not hot or anything so i’m just keeping an eye on it at the moment. I tried to get photos of all the wounds but Treacle’s and Sugar’s are in such awkward places I need someone else to hold them and Steve’s away and probably wouldn’t hold them firmly enough anyway! Here is Charlotte’s though. Pretty impressive I reckon.

And here’s their cage. (Note the Sputnik, it’s an XL version that Savic have recently started making):

Charlotte and Treacle enjoying the Sputnik:

And here’s a little vid of the girls exploring when I first put them in. They especially made a point of climbing up the bars onto the shelf instead of using the ramp, just to prove they were feeling fine!

Sugar, Charlotte and Treacle exploring their Freddy cage

Lump update

August 9, 2008

Oops forgot to update this on Tuesday. They all got on fine, all lumps removed successfully. Charlotte’s was the largest and hardest to remove as it was actually attached to some internal tissue. I collected them at about 3.30pm after being called at 1.30 by the vet to say they were awake and they were all moving about and eating straight away, just a wee bit wobbly.

We had a strange occurance with Treacle who wouldn’t stop licking her front feet as if they were insanely itchy. It got so bad that by Tuesday evening she’d made two of her toes bleed and her feet were pink and swollen. I gave her a quarter of a quarter of an antihistamine tablet, dosed her with invermectin in case it was mites and gave them some yummy food and she did stop grooming to eat. I half expected to wake up Wednesday and find her with missing toes! Luckily she was loads better by Wednesday, still grooming and scratching but not obsessively. Apparently, sometimes the anaesthetic can cause a tingly, pins-and-needles effect, so I wonder if it was that. I bought some tea tree cream to put on her feet and they’re fine now and she’s settled down and back to normal.

Charlotte and Treacle are both a bit sneezy but that may be due to being indoors and the air being a bit dry. Today i’m moving them back out to the shed, but not putting them in with the other girls yet, I just feel that Fogwatt and Fudge are a bit arguementative and I don’t want the girl’s wounds to be pulled apart due to over exertion or stress them out too much. I am going to set up the new Freddy cage and they can stay in that temporarily. I will let them out to play with the other girls though. I wonder if they’ll be pleased to see each other or not take much notice?!

The lumps have been sent off to the lab for testing and I should have the results by the middle of next week, so will report what they turn out to be. The vet said that only Treacle’s appeared to be a mammary lump, so i’m looking forward to finding out what the other two were.

I also need to add that The Rat Warehouse are marvellous and after sending them an email, explaining I needed my bits due to the rats undergoing surgery, my stuff was despatched straight away by first class post and arrived the next day.