I had to have Treacle PTS last Thursday. Since just after New Year she had suddenly become very lethargic, barely eating anything and she was wobbling on her back legs. She was still climbing out the cage for a little trundle round and still had her characteristic bright eyed look, but by Thursday she was dragging her back legs and just looked so ill. She obviously wasn’t giving up, so I had to help her on her way.

She came home on 2nd Jan ’07, one of my first pair of girls that started it all off. She was returned to the shop by someone who wasn’t allowed rats in their rented accomodation on the same day I had already decided I was taking Charlottte, so she came home too. She was always braver than Charlotte and was always one of the first to investigate anything new. She accepted new rats readily, living with 10 other girls at the maximum and was always to be found snuggled in a big heap. Her one quirky thing with the other girls was every so often she would attempt to drag them around by their ears! I was never sure if she was being hormonal or just plain bossy.

She loved to get in my sleeves and inside my fleece or jumper and I could normally tell it was her from the enthusiastic barging about. If there was somewhere she wanted to be she just kept shoving until she got there! One of her favourite places to get when she was younger was my printer, which she’d dissapear inside, then re-appear, trailing inky ratty paw prints everywhere. I used to stuff a towel in the opening to attempt to block it, but she knew she’d got in before, so she just kept on digging and pulling until she got inside. She taught me how determined rats are and how well they remember. If I blocked an escape route she’d previously used, she’d remember where it was and work and work to get round the block.

One of the things I will always remember her for is her nest building. She would work for ages on a nest, tirelessly running up and down the cage with mouthfulls of shredded paper untill every last bit was added to her creation. I’m so pleased I got her on video doing it, it makes me smile every time I watch it.

Bye bye Treacle-pud (or Treaks). The cage is empty without you & we miss you so much.

Treacle on her first day:
female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

Playing in the printer:
female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

Treacle and friends:
female fancy rats in a hammock

Treacle wrestling a coconut snowball from my OH:
female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

Towards the end, Treacle looking out of the igloo:
female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

And last Thursday, snuggled in my fleece. You can see how skinny she is here 😦
female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

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.

Goodbye furry cushions

October 17, 2008

I finally got round to booking Beau into the vets for his castration. He’s going in on 5th November and I really hope it helps. He can be such a grumpy git. Poor Luke has a few scratches or bite marks on his back, which i’m assuming is due to Beau. Hopefully it is, as the castration should solve the problem, however, if it’s one of the other boys it may mean splitting them up, which I don’t really want to do. I’m still undecided on whether to put Beau back in with the boys or in with the girls. I think i’ll start with him back in the boy’s cage, then if things don’t improve, or he ends up getting picked on, then i’m sure he’ll be fine with the girlies.

I’m a bit worried about Treacle at the moment, she’s lost a whole load of weight and is so skinny, her sides go in behind her ribs. She has a wee bit of sniffling which has developed over the last couple of days, but she still seems pretty bright, coming out to play, eating and nest building! She stole a bit of dog food off of Fudge earlier. She doesn’t seem as if she feels ill but I think i shall get her up the vets next week. I’ve been reading through my ‘scuttling gourmet’ book and I’m planning on adding some of the kidney-friendly additives suggested to their food, in case it’s kidney problems causing the weight loss.

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.

Getting ready….

August 4, 2008

for tomorrow’s lump removals. I am begining to get organised. Hopefully anyway! Luckily I am only working till 11 tomorrow so I will be able to collect the girls from the vets as soon as I am allowed to. And my work are very kindly allowing me some time to drop them off between 9 and half past in the morning. (not that I actually asked for permission, just told them I had to!).

I need to clean out their carrier, which the vet is going to put them all after their ops so they come round together which will hopefully minimise stress a little. I also have to take food for them so have got some nature’s menu puppy food and will mix some tuna and rice up and put some strawberries and grapes in a bowl so they have a choice. It’s quite a high energy mix with lots of protein and carbs and also moisture to avoid potential dehydration. I can fit a water bottle to the carrier, so will put some ‘Dr Squiggles’ (a vit/mineral supplement) in their water and may also mix up some lactol for them.

I also went shopping last night at Rat Warehouse and ordered some Nutrical and some Polyaid. Nutrical is a high calorie dietry supplement especially suited for sick ratties who aren’t eating a lot, so it will help the girls if they aren’t eating very well after their op. The polyaid is also a food substitute for emergencies which I think goes in their water. So, hopefuly I’m sorted for all eventualities. I keep telling myself they will be fine and Sugar and Tinks were fine after their spays which are more invasive generally than a tumour removal. I just worry about them going under the anasthetic and not waking up, or being too weak and not eating properly.

I’m going to make up a hospital cage for them to go in in our room and I have a hot water bottle I can wrap up and put under half of the cage to keep them warm. I do think i’ve thought of everything. I shall update tomorrow on how they got on.

Lumpy ladies

July 24, 2008

I haven’t been to the vets for a while with the rats so they must have thought it was time for me to take a trip as I have three girlies that have developed lumps in the past week, Sugar, Treacle and Charlotte.

I am pretty sure Sugar’s is an abcess as it seems to be getting darker and moved about freely with the skin. It’s not popped yet, so i’m bathing it in hot water to attempt to speed it up a bit, so hopefully it will soon.

I’m more worried about Charlotte and Treacle, especially as they are old ladies now (about 21 – 22 months) and old lady rats are prone to mammary tumours, particularly badly bred petshop ratties (which they both are).

Charlotte’s is on her side, about the size of a marble and pretty hard. It does move about with the skin though and I can get my fingers round behind it, so it doesn’t seem attached. According to my ‘rat health’ book and ‘NFRS handbook’ mammary tumours are normally benign and it’s generally the attached ones that are something agressive. They can be removed quite easily, so hopefully the vets will remove it if it is a tumour, as she’s still bright and full of life. It’s also recomended spaying them at the same time as this can help prevent tumours re-ocurring which they generally do, but i’m not sure about this due to her age and it being a pretty invasive op.

Treacle’s is weird. It’s on her chest (breast bone area equivalent in a person) and is soft and moves around. Sometimes it seems really noticeable and othertimes not so.

I’m off up the vets with them this afternoon so will update later.

I think i’ve said before that every so often Treacle goes mad and spends ages carting bedding about to build a massive nest. She was doing it again the other day and I finally got a video of her. I took the vid Thursday early evening and by bed time the whole cardboard box had been shredded and added to the nest. And yesterday she added food to it as well!!

I don’t know if it’s just her personality or if it’s hormonal, but I do know that as long as the girls live with Treacle they won’t go short of a big comfy bed! Here she is…

Treacle the nutty nest builder