Post op

All went well at the vet, though it did take longer than when Nine had her first lump removed. When I went to collect Song, she was huddled at the bottom of the carrier and just gave me a dirty look when I stroked her. But, hey, at least it was a response πŸ™‚

Apparently the huddling was mostly down to anti-vet sentiment, as she perked up the instant we got home and I put the carrier down on the kitchen table. She climbed out at the first opportunity and was happily running around on the sofa minutes later. She has been drinking and eating and doesn’t seem to be trying to worry at the wound. The only we haven’t had yet is poop.

She’ll be spending a few nights in the spare hamster cage to try to limit her dashing around a bit and then we go back to the vet on Thursday for a check-up.

Song post-op

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Song and the vet

SongSong hates going to the vet. And we’ve had two trips there in three days.

On Friday I thought I noticed a tiny lump between her front legs and after much struggling and scratching β€” she is a friendly ratty, but has never been keen on being picked up and likes being held even less β€” I discovered that she had a pea-sized lump there. So a visit to the vet was in order.

I put her in the carrier on Saturday morning and, after a few minutes of happily pootling around in there, she stopped, pooped, paddled in it, and tried to make a break for it up my arm. After a quick clean up of both her and the carrier, I managed to get her back in and she went and hid under the fleece.

It would appear that she is coming to associate even being put in the carrier with going to the vet. There must be something about the smell of the place that upsets her, because all the vets we’ve seen have been very nice and she’s never had anything nasty done to her there β€” though I suppose she could reasonably object to having had her temperature taken once…

The carrier routine is now “dash around trying to get out” followed by “sniff madly at the gaps” and then resignation sets in and it’s “hide under the fleece, flatten against the floor and don’t move”.

And once at the vet, it’s “try to avoid being picked up” and then “dash back into the carrier ASAP” and if the carrier has been moved it’s “climb mummy and hide in her t-shirt, preferably in-between her shoulder blades so she can’t reach me”.

At the vet we had fun and games trying to hold her long enough and in a suitable position so that the vet could check out the lump. Did I mention she doesn’t like being held? I have an impressive set of scratches on my hand where she tried β€” and mostly succeeded β€” to escape. But eventually we managed to pin her down well enough to confirm that she does have a lump.

This morning I took her to have the lump removed, so now I’m trying to keep myself distracted and not stress too much while I wait for the vet to call me and let me know how it went. All being well I should be able to pick her up at the end of the afternoon.

Meet the rats: part 5 – health problems redux

And then, having written that a few days ago, Nine obviously decided I was getting too complacent about her health and decided to give us a scare.

In the early afternoon, I suddenly noticed a lot of raspy, wheezy, respiratory-problem type noises coming from the cage β€” it was Nine. I took her out and held her and could feel the rattling through her rib cage. Knowing how quickly ratties can go downhill and given that she’d been fine earlier that day, I worried that this could be the infection that would be the last straw for her β€” so I phoned the vet and got an appointment for that evening. Once she’d settled down a bit, I put her back in the cage and went to try to find something to distract myself with for a couple of hours.

When I went to get Nine into the carrier, she was laid half in and half out of a fabric cube in the corner of the cage β€” nothing unusual there, her lump is large enough that it can be tricky to manoeuvre at times. What was unusual was all the other rats (we have four in total, I’ll introduce the others soon) being in there with her. Normally, she either has a corner to herself or just one of the others for company. And the others did not want to move. I had to lift them out of the way so I could get to her. Her lump was cool to the touch and she didn’t respond when I moved her tail. Now I was really worried, thinking that maybe the vet appointment wouldn’t be needed.

I lifted her out of the cage and she woke up. Not exactly her usual perky self, but responsive. I sat with her for a while, letting her doze under my t-shirt, and then we headed out to the vet’s.

And by the time we were seen, she was absolutely fine again.

I felt like a fraud describing how poorly she had seemed only an hour before. She had a bit of a chest infection β€” the vet had “heard worse” β€” and was prescribed a course of antibiotic injections. She was so much better by the time I took her for the second injection three days later that the vet didn’t think she needed any more. And that was two trips to the vet.

The third visit was with Seven. When the ratties came out for their evening lazing around on the sofa, Codepope noticed that Seven’s right eye was looking very pink, like the light was reflecting in it oddly. She didn’t seem to be in any pain and her vision didn’t seem to be affected, but it definitely wasn’t right. I did some reading around and came to the conclusion that it was probably the lens slipping out of position. So off to the vet again. Trying to keep a very wriggly rat still enough for someone to get a decent look in her eyes is almost impossible, and I have the scratches to prove it β€” she even squeaked to show how unhappy she was with the whole palaver. But eventually the vet got enough of a look and agreed that a slipped lens seemed the most likely diagnosis.

There isn’t much that can be done about the lens, it’s really a case of watching out for secondary problems like increased pressure in the eyeball which can lead to glaucoma. She has to go back the next time Nine goes in for her regular check-up and fingers crossed there are no more problems in the meantime. If there are, then she’ll probably have to be given a whiff of gas so they can get a proper look at her eyes and we could even end up having to see a specialist with her.

Troublesome creatures.

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 β€” 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 Β 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.

Almost human again

I’m starting to feel almost human again.

I don’t know whether it’s the result of the cold starting to clear up β€” though I’m still snuffly β€” or whether it’s down to having a few days off work, managing to shut up the voice that constantly reminds me “there are things that need to be done” and doing something that approximates relaxing instead.

Now I just need to build on this and figure out how to get some energy back; I still have far too many aches and twinges and am feeling generally run down. But still better than I have the last ten days.

Exhausted cont.

So I finished taking the course of antibiotics and, while the throat wasn’t as sore, overall I was left feeling even more run down.

Then the boiler decided it had had enough of heating water for this lifetime and would rather make constant clicking noises instead. Cue switching it off followed by five days of no heating or hot water while we organised getting a replacement.

Replacement installed (thank you Happy Dog Plumbing) and the opportunity for a nice hot shower. But several days of being cold and one wrong stretch led to all the muscles between my spine and my shoulder blade cramping up weirdly β€” by the end of the day I felt like I had a fluey ache pretty much everywhere.

The next couple of weeks of feeling generally run down and tired was topped off by coming down with another damn cold, which I have yet to get rid of.

Woke up with tooth/jaw ache this morning β€” was 95% sure it was just down to shoulder and neck tension and, but went to the dentist to get it checked out just in case. On the plus side, he only charged me half price seeing as it was my birthday.

Went to the GP to get more painkillers and he gave me some more, different, antibiotics as well. Which I’m not taking as I really don’t know why I was prescribed them β€” I’ll let the cold run its course.

Exhausted

Ten days of a crappy cold, followed by two and a half weeks of not quite getting rid of the cold, followed by an opportunistic throat infection, which required a week’s course of antibiotics that I am currently five days into.

Topped off with waking up before the alarm each day and having to take the antibiotics an hour before I can have food and having them not settle well on an empty stomach.

I am wiped out.