Meet the rats: part 4 – Seven and Nine’s health issues

Health-wise, Seven has, so far, been pretty lucky. The occasional mild respiratory infection and one gunky eye which we had the joy of putting cream into — drops would have been relatively simple, but it was a definite two-person job to time getting cream onto her eye and not have it blinked straight off again.

She’s two years and two months old now and showing no signs of her age other than being less manic and enjoying curling up on the sofa more than dashing around on it.

Unfortunately, Nine hasn’t been so lucky. Along with the intermittent mild respiratory problems, she has turned into a lumpy rat.

Just before Christmas last year I noticed a small lump on her rib cage, which was diagnosed as a mammary tumour and removed. She recovered well from the operation, but, in late January, I noticed another, less well-defined lump near her groin. This one was deemed inoperable.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d read up on these things and knew that they could quickly grow to overwhelm a rat or leave them weakened and vulnerable to other infections, so I wasn’t hopeful of her lasting another month, never mind reaching her second birthday; however, with the aid of a prescription for Tamoxifen, she did, and she made it to the second anniversary of coming home with us, and she’s still fighting now.

Her movement is being limited and she can’t climb any more. I think I find it more painful than she does, but I can see it is slowly taking its toll on her. Still, her appetite is very good, she’s alert and doesn’t seem to be in any pain, so we have to take each day as it comes.

Update: Rats being contrary creatures  and obviously aware that I’ve been writing about how stable their health is at the moment, both of them have decided to prove me wrong since I prepped this post and I have my third vet visit of the week this afternoon… Details later.

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