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.

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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

Powdering their noses

June 20, 2008

No, the girls haven’t suddenly got style conscious, they’re just being their usual destructive selves.

I have (had) a little tub of antiseptic wound powder on my desk in the rat room. It’s very good stuff that you can just dab a little of on a wound and it helps dry up the wound and aids healing. Treacle and Sugar decided the tub looked interesting and chewed it. And chewed it. And then chewed it some more. By this point there is no bottom to the tub and most of the powder is on the table and assorted bad rats. I was the other side of the partition cleaning out the aviary so missed all this. By the time I noticed it was too late. Treacle and Sugar in particular had dainty white noses and patches on their fur and when I picked them up they left a powdery trail across my jumper.

I do have a photo of the mess they made but it’s on my phone. I will upload it and put it on here later. Horrible gits! Just as well I love them really.

because Sugar has so far managed to lose not a single gram. Bless her.

The Alpha Herbal food finally arrived and is now the base of the shunamite mix and they seem to really like it. Their bowls are empty in the evenings and because of the lack of fresh food i’ve had to put another bowl in the boys cage as they’re eating more dry food.

I think the alpha herbal is a better mix as a ‘kidney friendly’ diet for Treacle and Charlotte. As rats get older most of them have a degree of kidney failure. One way that has been suggested of controlling this is controlling the protein intake by reducing it and providing digestible protein such as eggs and fish. Both Treacle and Charlotte are about 20 months now which is classed as ‘old’ so even though neither of them are showing symptoms I thought it would be good for them to modify the diet. It’s not exactly as recommended in the Scuttling Gourmet book which is detailed here: Kidney friendly rat diet but I do have the recommended cereals in my mix and the dog kibble I use is a fish and rice one (from James Wellbeloved). My next mix will contain the higher proportion of salt crackers and I will need to get some egg noodles. I am not adding the extras at the moment as they are not recommended for younger rats, but I will get some nature diet lite to give them more regularly. Fingers crossed it will help prolong the lives of my two old ladies.  

About a week ago I first discovered how much my rats love corn on the cob. We gave them one and they demolished it in about two hours! So yesterday evening we gave them another two. They demolished these in the same amount of time and made a horrendous mess doing so. They left all the sweetcorn shells behind – covering the shelves. They didn’t do this last time, we think they did it this time because the cobs were slightly older, so probably a bit more tough on the outside! Here are a couple of photos:

Rats eating corn on the cob

And one of the mess this morning:

Sweetcorn shells. The mess the rats left behind.

Free Range time

June 8, 2007

Free Range time is very important for rats. They are very intelligent and need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy. My rats are let out for at least an hour every day, sometimes for longer. They have a play area that is a section of our bedroom corderned off with two sheets of perspex. This gives them a safe place to play where they can’t chew wires or fall off shelves and injure themselves. They have access to the cage and can get on top of the wardrobe and up on the window sill. I have some tubes and a wine rack for them to play in, but they seem to prefer climbing all over me and chasing each other around. They are let out in the evening when they are most active and occasionally during the day if they’re awake. If they’re let out during the day they are still let out in the evening as if they aren’t Treacle and Doughnut start chewing the bars in protest as soon as the light’s out. Spike gets let out whenever h’s awake and i’m in the bedroom. He is allowed on the bed and the computer desk. His cage opens out onto the desk and we put up a ramp to the bed. He’s often awake in the mornings so he come out in the mornings quite a bit, especially at the weekends. He’s very good and unlike the girls, doesn’t attempt to get onto the floor and escape.

 I have just added another video, of them climbing up me from the floor, to my youtube page. www.youtube.com/lauraspetportraits