Oh dear – I’ve been neglecting the blog lately, haven’t I? Very sorry – I’ve been scarily busy of late, plus J has been working away from home which means the weekends are the only time I see him. We have had a few ups and downs, not to mention scares, just recently. Domino is very frail now, and clearly isn’t going to get better so we are into that state of keeping her comfortable for the time she has left.
Some weeks ago we rushed her to the vet as she was showing signs of pyometra, a uterine infection that usually needs a spay to sort out. She was far too weak to cope with major surgery, but the vet and I agreed that she was still too active and lively to be put to sleep. We tried her with antibiotics and to my relief they did the trick, at least as far as we can tell. Since then her Hind Leg Degeneration has of course got worse, but apart from that (and the eyesight, and the occasional wheeze) she has kept going.
I had started to think about putting her in a single level cage, to minimise opportunities for falling off shelves (she does like to fall off things). The problem would be that by herself she might be lonely, but with the younger girls they are quite capable of eating all the food, and indeed I’ve seen them swipe food from her on several occasions. While I was still considering options, she got herself stuck half in and half out of a hammock. I have no idea how long she was there – I found her when I got up the other morning. She seemed unaware of her surroundings and had possibly slept like that for a while. This decided me – if I didn’t move her, she would end up hurting herself. So for a few days now she has been in the little ‘hospital’ cage, with a water dish instead of a bottle as it’s easier for her, and easy access to softer foods. I usually have a box of the very fine porridge for babies, so she has that for breakfast. She can have mashed banana, or scrambled egg, or a variety of other tasty things.
Yesterday we were sure the end was close. She seemed unaware of what her food was and chose to stand in it rather than eat it. I got her out to wash the porridge off her fur and give her a cuddle, and she slept on my shoulder, partly wrapped in a towel, for 3 or 4 hours. This morning, I tried her with porridge again and she ate it – slowly, and not quite all of it, but it was an improvement. Since then she has had some Nutrical and mushed veggies. A better day than yesterday, but I’m under no illusions.
So at what point do you say ‘Enough’? To be honest, I don’t really know. She responds to me and is still keen to eat and drink, so I’m not sure that time has come just yet but it won’t be long. I’m not sure she is capable of deciding for herself and just letting go, as so many of our rats have done in the past. Another day or so will be all she has left, and if she doesn’t let go herself she may need some help, but while she is still inclined to guzzle a whole blob of Nutrical without pausing for breath, I am going to let her carry on. Just a little longer.