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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — the vet had “heard worse” — 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 — 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.