This is a heartbreaking update to give.
We only have one rat left with us now.
As you may know we had 4 boys left for some time, after a horrendous winter where we lost 3 of our boys quite quickly. Franklin, Darwin, Einstein. That left Wilson, Louis, Edwin and George with us.
Franklin, we do not know for sure, but I think he may have had a pituitary tumour based on his symptoms. It was the first time I made the decision to euthanise a pet. In hindsight I wish I had done it sooner for him. I force fed him food and medicine for a while, and he didn't like it. But he didn’t eat, drink or move without my help. I felt horrible in the end, keeping him alive when I knew really it would be kinder to let him go. I was just holding on and hesitant. Darwin and Einstein both suffered respiratory problems. Darwin for most of his life, as a lot of you will know if you’ve watched my videos with them. He always had little clicky breaths. But he was a trooper and still lived to a ripe old age and enjoyed his life. He always surprised me. There had been a few times I was sure he was going downhill and may not recover, but he proved me wrong, perked up and held on a bit longer each time. And he honestly seemed happy despite being sick, right till the end. Einstein, other than gaining too much weight at one point was generally quite healthy. Though his health went downhill fast after losing Darwin. Perhaps something to do with his age and the stress of being separated from Dar, who he was with since birth.
I recommend that everyone that has or is interested in pet rats read about Mycoplasma by the way. It's a bitch. http://2ndchance.info/ratlover.htm
These are our more recent losses. These boys passed away within the past month.
Wilson. He was healthy most of his life, but he developed some discolouration in one of his eyes. We took him to the vets several times and he took medication, but they were never quite sure what it was. We always joked that if Wilson was sleep then everyone else was awake, and if Wilson was awake everyone else was asleep. He was extremely chilled and liked to do his own thing, sleeping was his favourite hobby. I feel like because of this it may have been harder to notice his symptoms, I rarely ever saw him eat or run around. He was just like that, quiet but funny and odd. So it was difficult to spot changes in him. However, one day I saw him roll off a ledge in the cage. He seemed delirious and I immediately took him to the vets. They gave him an injection and it seemed to perk him up a little and I kept a close eye on him. For 2 days I don’t think he left the bottom platform of the cage, and was eating and drinking a lot less, though he did still eat some food. I got up the next day planning to take him back to the vets again and found him passed away in the cage. He looked peaceful and was being cuddled by the other boys. I still don’t know why it happened, which is very hard to deal with. It makes it very easy to blame myself and start criticising every aspect of how I cared for him. I’m thankful at least that it was fast, he wasn’t sick for a long time, and he was being cuddled by his brothers when he passed away.
Edwin passed away last week. Edwin was the rat that seemed the most affected when he lost cage mates. He looked visibly stressed and his behaviour changed. He had been on medication in the past for respiratory problems after I heard him sniffling as he was breathing. After the course of medication he had no more issues until recently when the myco got bad. I gave him two medications twice per day, gave him regular steam treatments which helped him breathe, took him to the vets regularly. He seemed unwell but was still drinking and eating for a few weeks, then he stopped. He rejected all his food and medication. I attempted to force feed him but it stressed him out SO much, he really hated it and I felt cruel. I had to start thinking about if it was worth putting him through this. After refusing to eat, drink or take medicine for a few days he was looking and sounding awful. I took him to the vets and broke down, explaining how many boys we had lost. I asked them to tell me, honestly, was he suffering and they said yes. And that he was unlikely to recover due to his age (they were all over 2 years old) and the fact we had tried medication many times at this point. So I let him go.
I came home after that, checked on Louis and George and cried. A lot. I tried to do some work to take my mind off things and when Alex came home we got ready to pop to Tesco and grab some dinner. We were dressed ready to leave and I went over to the cage, I noticed George laying somewhere he usually did not. From the second I looked at him I had an awful feeling. I quickly opened the cage and stroked him, hoping he’d pop up to see what I had for him. But he was gone. The same day as Edwin. He just passed away in the cage. I picked him up in complete shock, held him and cried while Alex called the vets who were about to close. We ran there with him and they quickly checked him to see if there was anything they could do. But I knew he was gone. Leaving the vets I felt my legs wanting to give up. I wanted to sit on the floor outside the vets and just cry and cry. I can’t believe we lost Edwin and George on the same day, and I don’t know why. I keep blaming myself. It’s easy to do when I don’t know what happened. When I broke down I told the vet I felt like it was all my fault, and she tried to comfort me. But I keep having those thoughts.
George I think was the youngest of all our rats. I rehomed him and Franklin from someone else and I don’t know his exact age. But he always seemed like the youngest to me. He was so incredibly sweet. I saw him happily nibbling on his biscuits that day. The only health problems he had were one of his legs he seemed not so confident on, though he could still climb. And a spot in one of his eyes, just like Wilson. If they are related or not I don’t know, though they looked a bit different. He had been to the vets about it, been on a course of medication and we were keeping a watch on it. But other than that he seemed fine :(
Louis is now the only rat with us. I feel so bad for him. He looked so sad the first few days. I have downsized him into a more appropriate cage for just him, and fortunately he seems to be feeling better. I think he looks sad some days, which is understandable, but he also still loves his biscuits and pasta and pods. I’m so thankful every time he excitedly snatches a treat from me :') He’s not a young bean either bless him, and I won’t be getting more rats. But I will be with him every day, doing the best I can to make him happy.
I miss all my boys so much. I cry for them all the time. But I know that they had an awesome life, and I’m thankful I got to be their mumma.
I don’t know how to end this. Other than to say thank you for your love and support, thank you for loving and caring about my beans.