The tribulations of Hawkeye, pt 2

After last week’s little operation, I was hoping that by now I’d be almost in a position to start re-introducing the two boys. Life had other ideas.

On Monday, I took Hawkeye back to the vet for a post-op checkup. This turned out not to be with the vet who’d performed the op, but with the young man we’ve seen a couple of times, and who has a tendency to go through a checklist of symptoms inappropriate for rats. Some months ago, I took the boys in with noisy breathing, and he asked if they’d vomited at all. Rats don’t vomit – they can’t. I can’t help feeling a vet should know that – especially as he’d once told me to starve a rat before anaesthetic, and I told him straight that it wasn’t necessary. He also relies too much on taking the rat’s temperature – they don’t much like have a thermometer “applied”, and you can tell if they have a fever by feeling their tails. Anyway.

He checked Hawkeye over, and said that apart from a bit of weight loss and a small swelling, he was doing fine. The weight loss thing is being sorted – he’s eating for Britain at the moment, and it seems to me he’s put a bit back on. But by Wednesday I was starting to worry a little about the swelling, as it had got bigger. So on Thursday it was back to the vet, and this time I did see the vet who’d performed the op. She’s not technically an exotics specialist but she has an interest and is very good with rats. She thought it might be a haematoma, or an abscess (which was my first thought) so she took him off to one of the treatment rooms to see what she could get out of the lump.

The answer was “not much” – no pus, so no abscess; no blood, so no haematoma. A small amount of straw-coloured and slightly bloody fluid. She couldn’t say what the swelling was, but thought it might just be post-op inflammation. She gave me some Baytril for Hawkeye, just in case there is a bit of infection.

The poor boy went back in his carrier for the journey home, and just lay as flat as he could. He looked so miserable. When I got him home he didn’t want to go back in his cage, so I kept him out for a few minutes and he had some cuddles. He also hid his face in the crook of my arm a lot, which often says “Mum, I’m scared/unhappy” to me.

He’s bounced back, though still being a bit clingy, and the lump looks to me as though it’s going down a bit. Both boys are a bit on the clingy side which is probably because they’re on their own just now. Let’s hope it’s not for much longer.

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