Abscess and no help from vet

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BillyCricket
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Abscess and no help from vet

Post by BillyCricket » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:57 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm new here and I was hoping some of you could provide me with some advice. I have two female rats, sisters. Had rats as a child and was delighted to get two new family members but it soon became clear they had suffered some kind of trauma because they were impossible to handle. I have tried and tried but after a year, countless deep bites and stressful rats and owner I decided enough was enough. They got to run round in the living room most nights (with me hiding on sofa because they would literally attack my feet, auw) and have enjoyed loads of treats and more over the years. They're about 2.5 years old now.

I've always dreaded this day and here it is. One of them developed an abscess. She has gotten skinnier but was still eating plenty, so I put that to old age at first. Two days ago she still seemed fine, but now she didn't even leave her wee house when I brought treats. The vet says I can try and move them up in the cage, but says it will be so stressful, especially since they are not used to being handled. He thinks it's best to see what mother nature decides. I understand his decision, but I feel so bad for her. And her big fat sister who seems to be in good health still.

Has anyone ever had a rat with an abscess? What did you do? Do you guys agree I should leave her be? Even though they've cost me more stress than joy (even changing the water bottle was a stressful job) I do care for them a lot and hate to see them hurting. They'd always run up as soon as they heard me come in scouting for treats and well. I'm rambling.

I'm torn. Take them on a stressful journey to the vet and put them through being grabbed and all. And what about the sister who still is healthy. How will it affect her...

Thanks for reading this, I hope some of you can give me some advice.

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[cub]
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Re: Abscess and no help from vet

Post by [cub] » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:55 pm

How do you know it's an abscess? Tumours can also come up with that kind of speed, and it's often not possible to tell for sure what it is without at least palpating the mass, if not a fine needle aspiration. Weight loss despite adequate caloric intake and behavioural change both definitely suggest some kind of underlying illness; a simple abscess generally wouldn't cause that kind of thing, unless it's painful.

I'd most certainly look for another vet; one that advises you to just wait and see when the animal is clearly unwell evidently either doesn't know much about rats, or doesn't value the rat's life or well-being much. If you're in the UK and on Facebook, this group may be able to point you at someone more knowledgeable and caring: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1849856665043534/

Handling them with thick gloves, and bringing them both to the vet together rather than just the ill one on its own, can reduce stress for all concerned. It will still be a stressful experience, but the symptoms all point to something potentially quite troubling going on and just leaving nature to take its course is not the responsible decision, as you seem to have intuited. The vets will likely need to anaesthetise the patient in order to examine her, if she's this difficult to handle.
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn and Zephyr Mick Jagger (Edgeworth).
Fondly remembering: Din the Sith Lord, Zephyr Donovan (Phoenix), Xeltan, Lita (NLA32), Lia (NLA28), Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28), Falere (NLA36), Mirala (NLA36), Zephyr Opold, and Rila.

BillyCricket
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Re: Abscess and no help from vet

Post by BillyCricket » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:09 pm

Thank you for your reply. You're right, I don't know if it's am abscess, could be a tumour as well. I actually phoned the vet back half an hour ago, asking if we can come up after all. Can't stand the sight of her hurting. She is in a little box now with her favourite blanket and loads of favourite treats. You think I should bring her sister too then? She is still eating, suppose that's a good sign. But I see blood on her paw and she more like crawls then walks now..

She was easy to grab, just not fast enough anymore, and for the first time ever, she didn't bite, nor her sister as I opened up the cage. Her big sis is still looking dandy, she has always been the big fat one despite her little sister being way more feisty when treats were handed out.

It would be great if the vet could help her but I'm afraid it doesn't look good. She has always been small but she is tiny now. Appointment is at 4!

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[cub]
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Re: Abscess and no help from vet

Post by [cub] » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:24 pm

I've generally found that rodents are less stressed by the journey and the strange environment if they have a familiar companion along for the ride. If the vets do need to euthanise her, though, I wouldn't put her body back in the carrier with her sister as that might lead to her sister associating deaht with the vet practice (and with the smell of the anaesthetic gas which should be used prior to the euthanasia injection – make sure they don't inject into the heart without anaesthetising the rat first).

If you are left with a lone rat, she'll need company, either by taking on some new rats if you intend to continue keeping rats (preferably from a good rescue or breeder), or by rehoming her to someone else.
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn and Zephyr Mick Jagger (Edgeworth).
Fondly remembering: Din the Sith Lord, Zephyr Donovan (Phoenix), Xeltan, Lita (NLA32), Lia (NLA28), Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28), Falere (NLA36), Mirala (NLA36), Zephyr Opold, and Rila.

BillyCricket
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Re: Abscess and no help from vet

Post by BillyCricket » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:54 pm

We'll take both rats to the vet. Unfortunately there is no way my partner will go for new rats. Such a gutter, cause they are such nice animals, but these little biters put him off. Can see why, but we had a nice routine with them despite not being able to handle them. As long as we kept our hands and toes to ourselves, they were fine. There was a time they would jump on the sofa and come up to me, which I thought to be a good thing, but after a mean full on snap in my thigh I really gave up.

I'll ask around about rehoming. But she is an old bittie too. Think that would still work? We're in Northern Ireland. I'll ask round.

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cyber ratty
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Re: Abscess and no help from vet

Post by cyber ratty » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:58 pm

Sorry your experience with rats has put your partner off, but rats from a good breeder are so very different. It would be worth getting in touch with Torchwood Rattery who are the only NFRS registered rattery in NI, and maybe you could meet her rats and see if you can be persuaded to add more after all. :luck:

BillyCricket
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Re: Abscess and no help from vet

Post by BillyCricket » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:25 pm

Hi cyber ratti, awk I know. We just got unlucky with these two, or should I say. It was unfortunate for them! They just couldn't handle it at all, and I've tried. But at one point I couldn't even let them get up to me by themselves as they would sniff and walk over me but then still randomly bite. I have scars even! But I like to think they were happy as long as we left them be. They still sort of interacted, coming out when I would talk to them.

I will definitely check them out if we do decide on more rats! These were rescues, and though I don't regret having them, I wish they hadn't been this scared of people.

Unfortunately my wee one is no more. It wasn't even a tumour or anything, just a really weird lump from her body. There was blood on her nose, all over her wee chest and even though she would still eat her treat, she left most and she didn't move away from me (not like her) and she could barely keep herself up, falling on her side and everything, walking in circles. She started to wash herself when the vet took her away so I said stop, but then looked at her again and.. She just looked so done. So tiny, just sickly. There was nothing the vet could do. It is crazy how sad one can be over a wee animal, isn't it? Think I feel worse for her sister, being alone. She still looks so healthy. I'm asking around, see if someone else has an old bittie somewhere. She is easy going so it might work.

For now it is healthy good treats, lots of wee blankets to crawl into and chats for her.

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[cub]
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Re: Abscess and no help from vet

Post by [cub] » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:29 pm

I'm very sorry for your loss, but it sounds like it was absolutely the right decision for her. It definitely seems like there was more going on than just the lump, judging by your description, and 2.5 years is old for a rat, so she did well despite her rough start in life.

If/when you do want to introduce a new friend for your lone girl, start with the carrier method. There's a written guide to it here, and there's also a link to a helpful video at the bottom of the article: http://www.isamurats.co.uk/the-carrier-method.html
It's not the only introduction method, but it's the most reliable one that works in the most circumstances.

I would definitely get in touch with Torchwood. Some breeders will rehome or even temporarily lend their ex-breeding adults/seniors, so that could be something to discuss. Rats from even a half-decent breeder will have much more reliable temperaments than rescue or pet shop rats, so meeting some of the well-bred ones might convince your partner to come round!
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn and Zephyr Mick Jagger (Edgeworth).
Fondly remembering: Din the Sith Lord, Zephyr Donovan (Phoenix), Xeltan, Lita (NLA32), Lia (NLA28), Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28), Falere (NLA36), Mirala (NLA36), Zephyr Opold, and Rila.

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cyber ratty
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Re: Abscess and no help from vet

Post by cyber ratty » Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:56 pm

Sorry for your loss. Best of luck in sorting companions out for your other girl.

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