Thursday, 12 March 2009

Vet Visits

Last week we took Reya degu and Gilly and Simon the mice to see our specialist vet, Rob at Seers Croft. Reya developed a lump under her jaw which Rob believed was tooth related. Gilly is one of the welsh mice who had mammary tumours. Her tumours had gotten very big so I wanted Rob to check and see if she was ok to carry on. He agreed that she was still comfortable although he didn't think it would be too long for her. Simon had two of the blocked sebaceous glands that the welshies have issues with. In general Rob has recommended against removing them but Simon had developed one in the middle of his back and was worrying at it. He also had one on his ear. So yesterday we took Simon to have his lumps removed and to be neutered at the same time, we took Reya to have her abcess removed and teeth trimmed and we also took Reya's sister Kandi to have her teeth as well. Simon, I'm delighted to say since he's a bit of a fave of mine, coped brilliantly with his surgeries. Kandi's teeth were pretty bad but all went well for her. We were a little concerned about Reya as she refused to eat initially but she's looking fine again this morning (if a bit bald, bless her). While that lot were off having their bits done, I cleaned out Gilly's group and gave Gilly her daily check over. The sparkle had gone from her eyes and she had started to look uncomfortable. It was time :(

When I spoke to Rob to see how everyone else was I asked if he was consulting that evening to see Gilly. He wasn't but he stayed behind especially to see her. He could so easily have referred us to one of the other vets in the surgery to perform the simple task of sending Gilly on her way but he didn't. He likes to see things through. This is what makes Rob so special (as well as his incredible knowledge). There are pictures of him examining Rhino's in the surgery yet he shows the same level of care and respect for what most people would call vermin as he would for an endangered species. And what is more, he didn't even charge us a penny for the times he examined Gilly and for letting her go. He just wrapped her carefully in a little tissue shroud and treated her with amazing care. We are so incredbly lucky to have found him.

Run free Gilly bean. It was an honour and an inspiration to have known you.

Friday, 6 March 2009

We're One Year Old!!!

STAR is a year old today and to celebrate we've written our first newsletter. You can download it from here

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Ratty Reshuffle

I decided to have a little move round this morning. Bianca was looking much brighter so I decided to see about putting her back in with Linette and Shalina. They were all delighted to see each other! I was worried about the other two bothering her wound and Shalina was a little over interested at first but then seemed to settle down. I'll keep a very very close eye on them but Bianca is so much happier to be home with her friends. Once she is healed I'll introduce the three of them to the resident girls so that Bianca can bond with them and Shalina and Linette can (hopefully) find a home together.

Earlier on there was a kerfuffle in the rodent room and I found Edwina being a bit mean to Blue again. I think she is probably a bit bored with staying in a single level hospital cage when she's young and healthy. So I decided to try something else I've been pondering too. Deanna the trekkie has recurring respiratory issues which have flared up again so I decided to try her with Blue in the hospital cage to make treating her easier and give Edwina a break. Well intros between Blue and Dee went without a hitch so they are now happily together. I'm so amazingly proud of Blue, she really is doing brilliantly at the moment.

So then I introduced Edwina back to the other girls which also went very well so now everyone is back where they belong which is fab :)

Friday, 20 February 2009


Yesterday Bianca rat went to the vets to have a mammary lump removed. She was joined there by Barry the mouse and Foxy the rat who both went in to have their little man lumps removed! Happily both coped very well and are home and recovering nicely. Bianca on the other hand has been a nightmare. The op went well but when we went to collect her I noticed that she had removed her stitches. And boy had she been thorough, leaving a huge gaping hole in her groin! So she stayed in overnight and was put back under anaesthetic to be restitched. But she did the same again in the night. So this morning she was knocked out again and this time she was stitched, glued and stapled back together! She is home now and so far everything is still where it should be. She looks a bit tired and battered poor girl so lots of spoiling is in order. I've kept her separate from her cagemates Linette and Shalina for now because last time one of that group, Brooke, had a lump removal the others chewed at the wound when I put her back in.

Things aren't going so well for that group. They were rescued from a home in Warwickshire where there were loads of animals who hadn't been cleaned for months and had been allowed to interbreed. The conditions were bad enough to make an experienced rescuer vomit. We took in Bianca along with 11 other girls and 3 boys. The three boys were Harry, Fred (now Angus) and Robson. Harry died a few weeks ago of tumours, Angus has a suspected brain problem and Robson has chronic respiratory problems despite them being only a little over a year old. Of the twelve girls 8 have been homed. Two of those has passed on and one has suspected kidney problems. Both Brooke and Bianca have now had lumps removed. Tonight I've heard that Maiya (now Tansy) has an ear infection which has led to a head tilt. To have so many health problems in such young rats cannot be a coincidence and must be related either to their poor genetics or the lack of care they suffered previously. I can only hope that their daughters, the trekkies, benefit from their better care although Deanna already has chronic respiratory issues herself.

Anyway the long and short of it is that we have decided that Bianca will remain here. I must admit I'm a bit downhearted tonight. This group of rats are very special to me having arrived here very scared and blossomed into confident, loving rats. They don't deserve so many problems so young :(

Monday, 16 February 2009


Finally, after nearly two years, Harry and Munchkin the spiny mice have been offered a home! Together! With someone who already has experience of spiny mice.

Pinch me someone, quick!!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Run free Harry & Rhona

Poor Harry took a sharp decline and we had to let him go to the bridge on Thursday. It's awfully tragic that he should leave us so young and when he was really just starting his new life.

And last night Rhona the mouse took herself to the bridge. Rhona was one of the welsh mice we took in who developed tumours. I made the decision over the weekend that it was time to let her go but she passed away peacefully in her sleep last night.

In happier news the three mice we had neutered a couple of weeks ago have now all been introduced to some ladies and are very happy boys! Peter has already journeyed to his new home with his two new girlfriends. Despite all the recent sadness and upheaval with the boy mice falling out, I did spend Saturday with a huge grin on my face watching the boys enjoying company again.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The wonders of Snow

The sad times are continuing here unfortunately. No updates on the poorly people here but there's been a flurry of sad updates from past residents of late. Rest in peace Charm, Oliver, Naboo, Snippet, Sprite, Ana, Svetlana, Squiggles & Shadow who have all left us for the bridge this month. Even when they're not here any more I still feel each and every loss. I'm just grateful to their lovely new owners who gave them all such nice lives and who kept in touch to let me know when their time came.

So anyway with snow bringing Wallington to a halt, no trains, no buses and roads covered in 8 inches of snow, a couple of days off work have been a godsend. I've been able to catch up with the cleaning out, get a few bits and pieces done and I even took a bit of time to enjoy the snow! With the sprog dogs of course!!

It has also meant I've had time to spend with our new arrival! This is Foxy. Born in a rodent farm where rats are intensively and indiscriminately bred just as dogs are in the more well known puppy farms, he ended up in the Reading branch of a well known national chain of pet shops. Whilst on sale he developed an abcess and was separated from his siblings while he underwent treatment. Being away from other rats at such a young age and a critical stage in his development has left him unsure of other rats. Consequently he was put into their adoption centre and advertised as needing a home where he would live alone. A rat that cannot live with others is incredibly rare (I've know two in almost 500) and I was sure all he needed was a home willing to try. He was collected from there by one of our adopters and handed in to us for rehoming. Buuutttt, as it happened I had just, a few days before, come up with a possible solution to a problem which had been troubling me. Quest and Tim are now 14 months old and living as a pair. The plan had been to neuter them to live with the girls but, to be honest, after losing their brother Skip I lost my nerve and I couldn't bring myself to do it. And now all of a sudden they're a bit old for an elective neuter but i have to face facts that one day one of them will go and leave the other alone. I realised the solution could be to mix another younger male with them and have him neutered so that he can stay with them until they leave us and then move in with the girls. And then I heard about Foxy and then I saw his picture and it was like it was fate. So we are now on day three of introductions and we're making slow progress. I'm incredibly proud of Quest and Tim who have been good as gold with their rather mixed up new friend and aproached intros with their usual vigour and enthusiasm (as you can see!). At the moment Foxy is quite scared of them but I'm sure we'll get there before very long.

In other happy news, Fred the neutered boy rat went to his new home on Sunday with Becky who adopted another grumpy neutered boy Barney from us last year. Note the matching names! They were also very similar looking so perhaps another example of fate intervening there? Either way Fred is very much enjoying his new home already (even if he is a little confused as to why that biting thing doesn't work with Becky).