Saturday, December 01, 2007

Unfoodie Things
Well, Vegan MoFo (that's MOnth of FOod, for the uninitiated) is now officially over. I didn't come even close to posting every day but I think I posted more this month than I have in the whole last 3 months combined, so I'm happy. And I fully intend to keep it up!
However, since it is no longer the month of food, I don't mind doing a post devoted entirely to something not food... the newest beautiful addition to my rattie family. I was looking after 2 female and two male rats and trying to rehome them because their previous owner moved to Canada. One of the females, who I've named Cherimoya, was rescued by the previous owner 8 months ago and recently had a stroke, so she walks with her head on a permanent slant and has really bad balance but she is honestly probably the sweetest rat I've ever known. She just has the most gorgeous personality. And the cutest lil face, as you can see!

Anyway, my wonderful Mum agreed to let me keep her since I'm so very in love with her and for about 5 days everything was happy and lovely. Then, late last Thursday night, I was putting some food in her cage and picked her up for a cuddle only to find myself with blood all over my hands. She was bleeding copiously from her reproductive tract, which is definitely NOT normal in rats, so I was obviously extremely worried and upset. First thing Friday morning I managed to get in at the specialised rodent vet (only one in Perth!) and my suspicion was confirmed that she probably had ovarian cancer. She received a cortisone injection, to stop the bleeding, because it is impossible to operate while an animal is loosing blood like that. She came home Friday and I was feeding her watered down green smoothie through a syringe, and I continued getting up throughout the night to keep her fluids up.

Amazingly, she made it through the night and I got her back into the vet Saturday morning to have a hysterectomy. I watched the surgery (yes, it is horrible - their breathing is so slow, after every breath you're just waiting for the next one, hoping it comes) and I got to see the awful thing inside her. There was a growth the length of one of her legs (about 3 cm) and the width of my little finger just hanging off the side of one of her ovaries! It was just a big, black/blue blood clot basically, so thankfully not a malignant cancer (phew!) It took her a long time to wake up from the anaesthesia, which was made worse by her stroke, and in fact she was still a bit wobbly for a few days but amazingly she made it through! The big challenge now was, could she re-generate all the blood she lost, but fast forward a week to now and she is pretty much back to her happy, beautiful self with the exception of the big gash down her belly.

Okay, I'll come back soon with food photos, I promise!


At 9:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg rats... i love them so much!! i had a rat as well and she was the bestest pet EVER! she developped breast cancer (they have a lot of breast tissue around their neck and stuff so its very common) and had a huge lump on her side... i had her operated and she made it through and i got to keep her for another 6 months but unfortunately the tumor grew back and i had to put her down cuz they didnt want to operate on her since you could tell she was in a lot of pain... she wasnt eating and stuff... i was so sad!
theyre such awesome pets and theyre soooo smart!!

At 6:13 pm, Blogger jenniem said...

So glad that Cherimoya has bounced back. How awesome are your parents? My mother would rather put me down than let me have a rat in the house! LOL. I asked Bill if we could get one and he said 'NO'! He rarely says no so I was surprised.... when the kids are teens maybe and they rebel!


At 6:36 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

u look gorgeous. give me your hair color!!..too bad they dont bottle it :)

At 9:29 am, Blogger bazu said...

yay for Cherimoya! she seems like a survivor! I know it's been a difficult road for you, but yay for you for taking such care of her!

At 7:42 pm, Blogger Freedom said...

Hi anonymous 1 - oh I know, rats are just amazing aren't they? I'm so sorry to hear about your little girl, tumours of all kinds are sadly common in elderly rats. Two of my other girls have passed away from pituitary tumours.
Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Hi Jen, thanks for visiting the blog. So many people have such a misconception about rats... thinking they're dirty, germy, etc. They couldn't be more wrong!!
Talk soon!

Wow, thanks anonymous 2! Yes, i love my hair too - my Mum has almost identical colour but no one else in the family does.

Thanks Bazu! I just can't contain my happiness every time I see her running around her cage!


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