Despite my optimism last time, Hallowe’en pretty much bypassed our household! Maybe someone will wear the batwings again next year. October proved to be a month of challenges – at the end of September my mum had a fall and was then in hospital for a few days, followed by care homes until she was ready to go home. This meant her dog stayed with us, which changed our routines completely of course.
Mum went home on the 31st and I stayed the first night at her house to make sure she was ok (she is fine, but not as mobile as usual quite yet). On the 30th, at cage cleaning time, I realised that Drumknott had sprouted an enormous lump on his backside – it had come up quickly and was very hard so I could only hope it was an abscess, and get him to the vet as quickly as possible to get it checked and dealt with. This meant fitting appointments around getting my mum home and settled on the Monday. Unfortunately when the vet had a look he was pretty sure it was a tumour, so then it had to be removed the next day – more fitting appointments around other commitments, but we managed it, and the lump was successfully removed, though I will have to keep an eye on it in case it recurs. He is now recovering well, thankfully.
In amongst all that last week, Dimity became ill too, with a head tilt. This is normally a symptom of an ear infection or stroke and in either case the treatment initially is a basic antibiotic plus an anti-inflammatory. If it’s an ear infection there’s usually fairly rapid improvement, but either can leave the rat with a permanent head tilt. She has improved a little, but I suspect that it may be due to her adapting as much as anything. It’s a little hard to be sure but I did think at one point that one eye was bulging a little, which together with the head tilt could indicate a brain tumour, but I’m not so sure now. She is soldiering on, anyway, but tomorrow will be the last day I can give her the anti-inflammatory drug so after that I think we will be asking the vet for a steroid to see if that helps. (My vets don’t like giving steroids straight away in case there is underlying infection, as the steroid can suppress the immune system and cause the infection to worsen.)
In happier news, we will be getting three new girls soon from a friend who breeds nice silver fawns (ginger, like my beloved Cromarty). I think we’ll be getting them next month at the NFRS Christmas show, unless we can arrange to meet before then, but it’s such a busy time of year. And then we’ll have to think of some suitable names…