Daisy, Peach & Apricot

July 2008 - March 2010

Peach, Apricot & Daisy

Peach, Apricot & Daisy

Daisy, Peach & Apricot have joined the family

Some very happy news!

Daisy

Daisy

We have been on the look out for a friend for Petal since we got her. It didn’t seem right to get some babies from the pet shop. For one Petal’s a little on the older side and might not appreciate some squirmy babies. If they didn’t get on that would be another cage we’d need to buy. So, we called the RSPCA to see if they had any possible friends for Petal and they told us about a young mum and her two babies who had just come in.

When Derek phoned about the rats and he was told ‘mum and babies’ I had vision of some tiny little eepers, who wouldn’t be suitable friends for Petal. Even so we went along anyway, and I’m glad we did, because ‘mum and babies’ are actually about six and three months old respectively.

Mrs Bumble (mum) and her two daughters Bubble and Squeek – as they were called – are adorable. They were in a large cage on the floor of the small animals building, snuggled up together in bed. As soon as we knelt down they came pooring out to see us and completely won us over.

Once home we settled them into a temporary cage – hopefully they will live with Petal – and left them to settle in. As we always do we gave them new names so Mrs Bumble, Bubble and Squeek became Daisy, Peach & Apricot. I think they suit them much better.

Peach & Apricot

Peach & Apricot

While we were collecting the girls there was also a cage of three boys, who are Daisy’s sons. It was hard but we felt it best not to bring the boys home with us. Instead we have decided to give it a few weeks to see if anyone else takes them, if not I’m sure we’ll have some new arrivals to report on.

Introducing the little rats to Petal

The main reason we were so keen to adopt Daisy, Peach and Apricot is that we have a lone female rat, Petal, who is very lonely. As Petal is a rather mature rat it was our hope to find another rat nearer her age, once we saw Daisy and her daughters we couldn’t leave without them.

Four little rats out playing together

Peach, Apricot, Petal & Daisy

When we introduced them for the first time Peach and Apricot were very shy and spent most of the time in their cage. Daisy, on the other hand, was much more friendly. In fact I think she was a little too friendly for Petal’s taste and our old girl needed a lie down. I’m not sure if it is the heat that got to Petal or Daisy being a bit over excited, but we’ll keep trying with the girls and hope for the best.

Petal's moved in

I was cleaning the girls out and decided to let them all play together while I worked. Because Daisy, Peach and Apricot are so young and full of energy I had previously moved them into the Furplast Furet Plus that we’d bought for Petal.

I cleaned Daisy and her daughters cage our first and, as they are never impressed with cleaning out time, they disappeared into the smaller cage Petal is living in. As Petal didn’t seem to mind I left them too it and it kept them out of my way while I was busy.

However, once the big cage was clean and back in place, Petal decided she was going to move back in – it had been her home after all. I extracted Daisy, Peach and Apricot from Petal’s cage and they followed Petal over to the big cage.

Our four rats checking out their home

Well, by the time I had finished cleaning the smaller cage all four girls seemed happy and settled in the big cage together, so I left them too it. Last time I checked on them the were all heading off to different beds. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and hope it’s going to be that simple.

Apricot has got the snuffles

Our little rat ApricotJust over a week ago Apricot’s breathing started making a really nasty clicky sound. At the time the girls had a plastic igloo and Apricot was spending a lot of time in it. They also kept making the igloo smell really bad by peeing on the shredded paper in it. We took the igloo off them and replaced it with a fabric bed I’d made, that would give them better ventilation. I was concerned that Apricot had inflamed her airways by sleeping in the soggy bedding. To be on the safe side we also took her to the vet to get her some medicine.

Worryingly she hasn’t really improved. Being still quite small and easy to keep hold of I have been able to give her the Baytril straight into her mouth. I follow this with a yogurt drop to make sure it all goes down, so I know she’s getting her medicine. She is bright and bubbly, but there are times when you can see her breathing is getting her down and it scares me.

I know it’s one of the downsides of keeping rats that there is very little you can do for them when it comes to health issues. With her age – she is quite young to be getting respiratory infections – the fact she is otherwise healthy and active and that she’s not responding to the Baytril, we are concerned that there may be something else wrong with her. Our vet did talk to us about x-rays to see if there may be a tumour, but this wouldn’t really do us any good as they wouldn’t be able to treat it and it would only distress Apricot.

It’s hard knowing that all we can do is give Apricot her medicine, love her and hope she can beat whatever is making her poorly. She is our girl and we love her very much so we’re going to keep trying.

Sick rats and we're not sure what's going on!

First off I’m pleased to say there has been some slight improvement in Apricot’s condition. She is still wheezy, but it has been more off than on today. Yesterday we noticed her sister, Peach, sounded a bit rough, but that seems to have stopped. Fingers crossed it will stay that way.

Apricot with her sister, Peach

Apricot with her sister, Peach

On the down side one of Apricot’s brothers, Lime, has started wheezing. This has really confused us, because they don’t even live in the same room. We had to take one of our other rats, Pepper, to the vet yesterday to have some stitches removed and we asked about the breathing problems. The vet said it was unlikely we could have transferred anything between the two rats, especially as they live in separate rooms, which is what we thought. We collected extra Baytril for Lime – just in case – and we are keeping a close eye on the rest of the guys.

Our vet did mention asthma. If we see no improvement in either Apricot or Lime, we’ll be heading back to the vets to find out more about asthma in rats and how to treat it.

Update on Apricot

Petal with Peach & Apricot

There has been a slight improvement in Apricot’s condition; she has breaks in her wheazy breathing in which she looks perfectly fine. It may be wishful thinking, but I am sure the length of the breaks is increasing. Hopefully she will continue to improve. She’s not on any medication at all now, it seemed to have no impact on her condition and she was getting a bit fed up of having a syringe stuck in her mouth.

One of my prefered methods of feeding rats Baytril is to mix it in with some baby food, but Apricot must be the first rat I have ever known who doesn’t like baby food! I bought some stuff called Nutri-Stat, which apparently a pea sized amount of can sustain an adult rat. She is a bit picky about eating that too, but she will have a bit so that’s something. When rats get poorly they can loose weight so easily, before you know it they can feel like skin and bone, so I’m hoping that won’t happen to Apricot, she is such a tiny little thing as it is.

Apricot is doing well

Apricot

Apricot

I am very pleased to say that Apricot is doing much better. She has stopped wheezing and is much more confident, probably because she is feeling so happy. There seem to be no ill effects of being poorly so young, as she is the same size and weight as her sister Peach. So we are feeling very happy.

Our vet has talked to us about an infection called pasturella, which is what he thinks Apricot, and her two brothers who are also ill have. The long term prognosis is not great, as there is no cure. The illness progresses with bouts of respiratory problems that gradually wear the rats down. All we can do is keep an eye on Apricot’s condition, make sure she doesn’t loose any weight, keep her stress free, that kind of thing and see what happens.

For now we are just happy Apricot, and her brothers, seem to be through the worst of their initial illness and are happy being naughty little rats.

Some new medicine for Peach & Apricot

Peach and Apricot

Peach and Apricot

Things have been a bit difficult with Peach and Apricot, the respiratory problems that have been plaguing Apricot, and two of her brothers, started troubling her sister Peach. It is really weird because they are not ill like you would normally expect with a respiratory problem in rats, but their breathing sounds terrible. It is hard to explain, but the noise they make is like a rattle and it is all the time, both girls and their brothers are physically fine and run around and get into trouble like healthy rats.

To top it off, the girls they seem to be suffering from some sort of skin condition. It started off with them scratching themselves very badly around their faces. My first thought was mites and I treated all the girls with a spot on mite treatment, but it didn’t help. They were turning their pretty little faces into horrible scabby messes and weren’t allowing them to heal.

When it was obvious the mite treatment was not having an effect we took both girls to the vet, and explained what was happening. As well as the scabby faces, Apricot has had a scab on her back, just between her shoulders for some time, its condition has never changed, but it shows no sign of healing.

Our vet was baffled as to what is causing the problems with our little rats, but she was pretty confident that with everything that is happening the rats do not have pasturella as was previously suspected. With all that’s gone on and the fact no other rats, besides the siblings, are affected our vet now believes that the problem is to do with their immune systems.

Apricot and her scab

Apricot and her scab

Whatever is going on, Peach and Apricot needed help, so our vet has given them steroids. Their are some possible side effects with taking steroids, but they will help stop the itching that is making our little girls scratch their faces so badly.

The tablets have been an instant help with the girls and they are showing no side effects from the drugs, so fingers-cross they are going to be okay.

An operation for Apricot

Apricot (front), with little Pearl (before she passed) and her mum Daisy

Apricot (front), with little Pearl (before she passed) and her mum Daisy

Not that long after the sad loss of our other rattie girl Pearl, after an operation to remove a lump, we had to go through another operation with our sweet little Apricot. Although I am pleased to say that Apricot has had her lump removed and is well on the way to making a full recovery.

Apricot’s lump was under her right armpit and it was a horrible hard, hot and black thing. Despite all Apricot’s health and skin problems we felt we had no choice but to have it removed. Even though the lump was very hard and immobile it was removed easily and after a good nights sleep Apricot was full of bounce and acting as though nothing had happened.

With the death of Pearl after a similar operation, and our concerns over Apricot’s health before her surgery we are doubly thrilled that she is doing so well. Our little girl may not look like the most beautiful rat, but she is a fighter and we love her very much.

Our little girl Peach has died

Peach was very much a little live wire, always running around and bouncing, despite all the health problems that have plagued her most of her short life. Sadly in the space of two days Peach’s condition deteriorated and she passed away. It was such a shock, one day she was bouncing around and playing, and the next she wouldn’t eat and suddenly looked so frail.

Derek and I were with her when she passed away, so we at least know she was peaceful and were able to hold her. Just loosing our sweet little Peach is hard enough, but with all our other sweet guys who have passed away recently, including two of Peach’s brothers, it is doubly difficult.

Our little rat, Peach

Still, we are looking forward to spoiling our little rattie family over Christmas, maybe letting them have a bit of Christmas pudding.

Daisy has a lump

Sweet little Daisy

Sweet little Daisy

This is a very hard update to make, while Daisy is fine and healthy she has a lump and unfortunately because of its location we’ve decided not to have it removed. We first noticed a pea-sized lump on Daisy’s neck not long after Pearl died. It was hard enough finding a lump on another rat after both Pearl and Apricot had both had lumps removed, and of course Pearl dieing, but also the fact it was on her neck. We took Daisy to the vet and she confirmed what we were concerned about, that a lump on a rat’s neck is not the easiest thing to remove. There are a lot of blood vessels in the neck and if the lump is attached to one of these the chances of the rat surviving the surgery can be very slim.

To make matters worse, the lump increased in sized very rapidly further adding to our concern that it may be attached to an artery. With everything that has been going on with our little rats we decided not to have Daisy operated on, as loosing her during surgery is just too much to for me to contemplate. For now Daisy is her normal happy self. The lump is very big, but she is not letting it bother her at all, she runs around and climbs with the rest of her rattie family.

Daisy has always been a strange little rat, she’s a bit like a ghost. She’s very quiet and she sneaks around like she’s in her own little world. We suspect she may be deaf, which would explain why she doesn’t respond to things like the other rats do. We love her very much, not just because she’s mum of Apple, Bramble, Lime, Peach and Apricot, but because she’s our ghostly little girl.

Daisy with her family in happier times

Daisy with her family in happier times

We are treating Daisy extra special and spoiling her with baby food, which we use to give her daughter, Apricot, her daily medicine so Daisy gets the spare. While Daisy is not the sort of rat you can cuddle she does appreciate food, so she is very pleased about being spoilt.

Not a good day (part two)

Our rat, DaisyDaisy’s lump had gotten to a size where it was beginning to cause her problems. It was affecting the mobility of her arm, if she jumped down off something she couldn’t bring her left arm forward and would land on her face or the lump itself. The lump itself was also starting to ulcerate; the skin being stretched too taut causes this. So we made the difficult decision to take her to the vet and have her put to sleep, before she really started to have more serious problems and risk the lump getting infected.

We took her last Friday afternoon and it was a very difficult day, we love our Daisy so much, and she was such a funny girl and has given us many happy memories. To make things worse we also had to have one of our boy rats, Conker, put to sleep earlier that morning.

Things just aren’t the same without our spooky little girl, she was such a funny little rat but we love her so much.

Goodbye to our brave little girl, Apricot

Apricot up to mischief

Apricot up to mischief

As I’ve said before, Apricot had been very ill for a long time and over the past month her condition had deteriorated. She had been scratching her skin a lot more, and she had quite a few open wounds. They weren’t deep or anything scary, but they must have been causing her some discomfort – not that Apricot ever let it show. She had also developed a head tilt and was having problems with her balance, so she would often topple over when she was running about. On top of this she had two tumours, one behind each armpit.

Even though Apricot looked a bit of a fright, she was still our beautiful little girl. She would be waiting for us a playtime, as keen as always to come out, and go running around like nothing was wrong. Still we knew she couldn’t carry on with things the way they were, so we made the difficult decision to have her put to sleep.

Like her sister, Apricot was a fun and active little rat and she loved nothing more than charging around their room at full pace and bouncing. Even at the very end Apricot still wanted to play, but we knew we had to say goodbye before her condition started to really affect her quality of life.

It is always hard to lose a rat, but somehow saying goodbye to Apricot was doubly difficult. I guess it’s a mixture of losing so many of our rattie family, one after the other, and that she is one of Daisy’s babies. We’ve never had a mum and her babies before, it always seemed very special and losing Apricot is losing another part of that experience.

Peach, Apricot and mum, Daisy

Peach, Apricot and mum, Daisy