Saturday, 29 December 2007

Bad to worse

Sorry for the gap between updates but things really are going from bad to worse round here. Both Nadia and Donkey have left us. Donkey just faded away and passed away peacefully here. Nads' prolapse turned out to be a tumour and she had to be put to sleep.

Then, about a week before Christmas, my Grandpa was admitted to hospital with a heart attack. He is still there now and, well, things aren't looking great.

Skip has gotten bunged up with poo again. It's probably partly my fault as with Christmas and Grandpa I guess I wasn't as attentive as I should have been and it got out of control. I've been trying to debung him for days now. We seem to be finally making some progress at last cos I've been working on it hourly today.

So, if you're waiting to hear from me about a homing application my apologies. I will get back to you once things have settled down a bit.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Today has been a horrid day. I didn't have much time to clean people out during the week so I planned a big cleaning blitz today. Oddly enough I was really looking forward to it. Not so much the shovelling vast quantities of poo bit but just spending the day in there with everyone and getting everything sorted out.

So the first cage I cleaned was that of Donkey, Smokey, Dre and Eminem the degus. They were two separate pairs up until last week when I introduced them. They had seemed to be getting on well together but today I found fresh blood in the cage. Donkey was looking a bit sorry for himself so I took him out and found he was limping. So I called the vets, got an appointment for two o'clock and went back to my cleaning. I did a few more cages and then got to the cage containing Nadia, Whiskers, Biggles and Pretty the degus. There I found more fresh blood and began to wonder what on earth was going on. Everyone in that cage looked fine in themselves, all bright and active, but Nads was my prime suspect as she has two hernias and I was worried something had happened with them. Well it was even worse than I had imagined. When I picked her up and looked underneath I found that she had a prolapse coming from her girly area. I knew this was very bad news indeed. So she was duly added to the vets appointment an off we went.

Donkey should be apparent break so probably just a sprain/bruising. He has had metacam and baytril and we'll see how he gets on.

Nads' outlook is very bleak but I wasn't willing to give up on her just yet. The vet we saw was very nice but a) didn't seem quite knowledgable enough about rodents for me to be totally confident in her judgement and b) suggested that there was a very small chance that things could be repaired with surgery, which was enough for me to latch on to. At the moment Nads is her usual, incredibly evil self. When I was cleaning her cage out she was running in her wheel. At the vets she climbed up me and sat on my shoulder chirping in my ear twice. To me that's not the actions of an animal in terrible pain. So we decided to see how she goes until Monday when Sandra Super Vet is back from her holidays. If anyone can fix her, Sandra can. In the meantime she is also on Baytil and Metacam and we have to watch very closely to make sure she can wee and poo. I've seen her poo for definite, so we're just waiting in hope that she shows us she can still wee ok too. If at any time this weekend she looks to be suffering we will of course take her back and do whatever needs doing :(

I have no idea if I have done the right thing and I think there is a very good chance that we will have to let her go on Monday but I just couldn't bring myself to send her on her way while there was a chance (however small) something could be done for her and while she was still so bright and active.

Please keep her in your thoughts. She is an incredibly special little girl who drives me mad most of the time but I have an enormous amount of admiration and love for her.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Great News!!

Well after the vet visit Skip continued to bloat more and more and to become quieter and more sickly looking. I was so worried, and sure that we would be taking him to the vets this weekend for his final journey.

So I posted again for advice on and the wonderful Vic (RatGirl@RatRitz) gave me some excellent advice as usual. She said we could try laxatives but that this was risky and was really kill or cure. She said we could also try giving him an enema. I wasnt keen on this idea but it seemed we really needed to do it as we were fast running out of options.

So we settled down to do this Thursday evening and discovered that Skip's anal passage was totally full with very hard, dry faeces. I'm talking a build up at least twice the width his anus should be and at least an inch long! I did squirt some soap solution and liquid paraffin up there as best I could but it was so solid I could see this wasn't going to work on its own. So, armed with some tweezers, I began breaking bits off and pulling bits out bit by bit!! Poor Skip obviously didn't enjoy this but he was so good and so patient, not once even thinking about biting me. We carried this on for a couple of hours, with a couple of breaks for Skip so he didn't get too upset. Eventually I began making real progress and I could see and feel that things were getting much better. Then, suddenly, slurp and pop and out came the last solid bit like a giant spot. Quite satisfying in an incredibly disgusting kind of way!! And then followed the most unbelievably enormous quantity of bubbly, liquid poo. You remember those indoor fireworks called the snake which looked like a big unravelling dog poo? It was just like that! Poo poured out of him for a good couple of minutes and then I gave him a good clean up and settled him in a cage on his own in the bathroom overnight so that he was warm and not pooping over Quest and Tim. I was so worried that he would go into shock or something but in the morning he burst out of his bed, overjoyed to see me (why?) and full of beans and energy. He was right back to his old self again! Quest and Tim were really pleased to see him and he was delighted to be back home. He is eating well, still just fruit and soya milk at the moment, and there are no signs of him getting blocked up again at the moment. I think its something we'll have to keep a very close eye on really. We need to feed him a very restricted diet, check him for bloating and blockages daily and help him out with medication when he needs it.
Of course, it's not secret that I adore Skip with an absolute passion and I was very unsure about him ever going to a new home. Well, now we know that he definitely has special needs he definitely has to stay. I can only think of a handful of people I would be confident to home him to but I really think it would be too much to ask of someone to take him on not knowing if he might only have days or weeks to live and with him potentially needing more enemas etc. So Skip is now officially staying put and, of course, that means Tim and Quest will be too :D I won't risk having Skip neutered in case the surgery upsets his digestion but Tim and Quest will have the snip so that they can come out and play with the girlies at least. That way they can join the others for dinner too, meaning that Skip doesn't have to share his special food and they can still enjoy the normal food too.
So, who knows, maybe all we have done is bought Skip a bit more time. Maybe that will be days, maybe weeks, hopefully many many months. We'll just have to take each day as it comes and be very vigilant. I do know that if anyone can fight this, then Skippydoo can.
I will get new pictures of my three handsome boys to add them to the rat page officially soon :)