Back after a long gap – all that house move stuff rather got in the way of life! We moved, in the snow, three weeks ago and the rats probably coped better than we did. They spent two nights in temporary accommodation – the boys in a Mary cage and the girls in the small hospital cage – until we were able to get their proper cage set up again, but they didn’t seem to hold it against us too much.
Sadly, however, Radar is no longer with us. A few days before the move I rushed him to the vet as I was concerned that he was in pain or discomfort (he was already on Baytril for a bout of the sniffles) and we started him on Metacam for pain relief. He perked up a little, then a few days after we moved he suddenly lost the use of his back legs. By this time he was refusing to take Metacam, which was a bonus in a way as it meant the vet could give him a steroid injection. After a few tense days, during which we put him in the hospital cage to make sure he was able to eat soft food without Hawkeye stealing it, he picked up a little again. He went back in the big cage, and for the next week or so we gave him porridge and baby food with added vitamins, and he tried to eat the dried food with varying success. He was pretty much incontinent and still couldn’t use his back legs, but he was alert and as active as could be expected.
Then on Sunday evening we realised he was bleeding, and it was pretty much game over. At first his behaviour was much the same so I didn’t rush him to the vets – he was still pottering around, still eating and still interacting with us and with Hawkeye. But I made the appointment for Monday evening, and by the time I got home from work to collect him he was obviously deteriorating. The vet agreed that there was nothing more to be done, and Radar was put to sleep. I brought him home, showed him to Hawkeye, and tucked him away safely till we have a spot ready to bury him.
Hawkeye was a bit withdrawn at first. Monday evening he spent a long time on the sofa with us, watching telly and having cuddles. Last night and this evening we have had short playtime sessions with him and the girls all together – he met them briefly while Radar was still alive – and he seems to be coming round to the idea of their company. I’m not too sure how they feel about it. Bitesize has always been the more dominant of the two girls, and she and Hawkeye clashed briefly last night, but this evening she appeared to capitulate to him. She was sitting on J’s lap, Hawkeye climbed up, and she ducked her head beneath his. Then she went very still, he wandered off again, and she hid her face in the crook of J’s arm for a few minutes. So I think she has had to swallow her pride, and doesn’t feel too good about it, but hopefully she’ll get over it. We will have some intensive intros over the weekend with a view to opening the access between the cages after cleaning on Sunday.
Wish us luck. I’ll keep you posted.