Thursday, September 9, 2010

Georgia plays music to the rats

who seem to like it.

We had to take Cakey to the vet.
When we first brought them home as babies, Rob tried to convince me that rats didn't go to the vet.

But Cakie has been having some trouble breathing.
She is so sweet, with such intelligent bright eyes. We are all really fond of them.

It's heartwrenching when she is really panting and she won't take food. When we open the door to offer treats, she turns her head away from the food, but climbs out to be held in our arms. She doesn't want to go back in her cage. She seems to really like to be held and having her fur gently pet.

When the vet met her (I looked up rat-friendly vets on-line and found one in Northampton) she held her sweetly against chest and said, "I love rats. They're the smartest pocket-pet; really great pets. They don't live very long, though. So, they're really heart-breakers."

Cakie had two weeks of beef-flavored antibiotics, hoping they would kill an infection and she could breathe better.

I really bonded with her, taking her out twice a day and feeding her minute amounts from the syringe. She didn't really seem to like it, but she tried to be cooperative.

We went back for a follow up after the antibiotics and there was really no improvement.

The vet sadly told us it must be fibrosis of the lungs. Domesticated rats are really prone to lung conditions and also tumors that kill them off at around 2-3 years old. Our rats are 1.5 years old now. The vet said the home oxygen and nebulizer treatments don't really work but we could take her to a exotic vet to get ultrasounds if we wanted. She didn't think it would change the outcome. I didn't even know they did rat ultrasounds! I was relieved I didn't have to deny Cakie life-extending treatment because of cash flow.

The vet said Cakie will probably last a few more months and then when she gets too exhausted to eat or move we'll have to bring her in to be put down.

I felt so sad.
I asked what Jewel would do without Cakie, the vet said she would grieve, but we could socialize with her.
I asked if I should get her a friend.
She replied cautiously, "You could..or you could just wait and then get 2 more."

Oh, you mean wait until her impending death....

Yikes, they are heartbreakers.

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