Time hurries on

I have not written in a while, I know. I have not felt there has been much to say lately. I keep on medicating, hoping my little guy will stop wheezing, continually being disappointed. Sometimes it is a psychological battle to get him to take it – he is too smart for his own good and not yet old enough to sagely accept the slightly funny-tasting porridge for the gift that it nevertheless is – something Godric came to do over time.

Apart from that, the boys are growing, their lives a microcosm; a couple of months pass, half a year, and we don’t even notice it. We say to each other, ‘wow, the year is passing quickly’ when we suddenly realise it’s April – just like we do every year.

And in that time passing unnoticed, Tyrion goes from baby to teenager, fighting with his brothers, though still the smallest of the group.  Garrus, Mordin and Thane turn one and I am so caught up in my thoughts, I only remember 3 weeks later – unforgiveable as two of them have pedigrees and I know their exact birth date. We have a small party of muffins.

It's MY birthday!

It’s MY birthday!

Time passes, and slowly the older boys can be convinced to cuddle from time to time. My identical black Berkshires – Eric and Godric – are now easier to tell apart from the front. Godric’s nose has gone brown, while Eric’s is more grey. Godric is also now about 100g heavier than Eric – as much a sign of Eric’s current illness as of Godric’s lifelong illness. Godric has been getting his medicine in a spoonful of porridge twice a day for most of his life. They will turn 2 in just a few months. Eric occasionally lets me cuddle him now, for a short while at a time – such precious moments.

The wheezing is an issue with the current group, something I don’t recall ever experiencing before with my previous rats. Perhaps once it goes around the group, you battle to get rid of it. We keep on keeping on, trying different medications, trying to keep the temperature steady, the cage clean… Some of them show improvement, others not so much.

Anyway, here are some more photos from the birthday party:

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Added sweetener

Some medicine for rats is awful. Baytril, for example, has to be hidden in some delicious treat.

Luckily, ViralGuard Junior is designed for human children. I give it to my rats to boost their immune system. A number of them have issues with wheezing and so on, so it’s an added boost to keep them healthy. And they love it!

I just had to take a video of how excited they get to take their ‘medicine’.

Not the face!

I may have mentioned before that some of my boys are at their hormonal ‘teenage’ phase, where they scuffle a lot. Generally it’s best to leave them alone and let them sort out their own pecking order, unless they draw blood. Well, Mordin has had his ear scratched open twice now – the second time just this week. It is still healing.

Now I am left wondering, well how bad does it have to get before I should get Garrus neutered? Should I get Garrus neutered or just keep them separate? Or just see how it goes. Okay, this time I didn’t actually witness what happened to his ear, but it is most likely from another fight with Garrus. I have made sure that they have stayed in separate cages this week (though they still get together at playtime), at least until Mordin’s ear heals.

But each time this pretty boy’s ears get damaged, I can’t help but think: “Not the face!”

Model Rat: Mordin is such a pretty boy!

Model Rat: Mordin is such a pretty boy!

Excursions and Medications

Excursions

Yesterday, the rat pack went to visit granny. We were spraying for ants at home and I didn’t want to have the rats around while that was happening.

Granny was very happy to have them, but mommy was a little bit concerned they might come back five times their original size. As it turns out, granny didn’t have the heart to wake them up for food in the middle of the day (“We wouldn’t have minded!”)

My husband and I later joined my parents for supper before taking the furkids home again.

You expect me to come out there?

INTO THE LIGHT: You expect me to come out there?

My mom has a nice, completely enclosed patio, and I thought it would be lovely to let them play there for a while. I don’t have any ‘rat-proof’ room at home so they are always restricted to the bed for playtime.

But the rats were not having any of it. It was probably too early, and perhaps when it got dark, they might have ventured out, but I took the cage inside before dark. In any case, they had a lovely evening, being spoiled by granny and playing around the living room, running across the couches, exploring ‘new’ people and begging for food. Eric was a happy boy just to sit  with his dad.

DADDY'S BOY: I'm happy here, thanks. - Eric

DADDY’S BOY: I’m happy here, thanks. – Eric

Mites

Today they had some mites treatment. I have been concerned for some time now about them having mites because they have been scratching a lot. Unfortunately the Corn Cob, which I have used as litter in their ‘litter tray’ until recently, is prone to having mites in it. It can be solved by putting the bag in the freezer for 48 hours before opening it, but I often ended up buying the new bag only when the old had run out and didn’t have time to freeze it. At the moment I am trying Aspen shavings for their litter tray.
I went to pick up 2 little doses of Revolution for puppies and kittens, and shared it out amongst the rats (about 0.05ml per rat, except for Tyrion, who got a bit less because he is small). I will see how that goes and maybe give another one in a month’s time if they have not stopped scratching.

Allergex

Godric, Mordin and Garrus have been on Allergex for a week now. I think there has been some improvement in the amount of wheezing, but it has not completely cleared up. I will keep on with it for now.

 

Critical mass reached. Vet trip triggered.

Four of the boys got bundled off to the vet on Saturday. Godric has been on Baytril for most of his life now as he wheezes every day. Mordin and Garrus have also been wheezing and they have been on Baytril for about a month now, which doesn’t seem to have made much difference. So I have been thinking of taking them to the vet to ask about the possibility of using antihistamines.

On Friday night Eric’s  cheek suddenly swelled up and, while I suspected it was just a result of an overzealous scuffle, it seemed like I had reached a critical mass of rat health problems and it was time to take them.

As expected, the vet figured Eric would be fine, and the swelling has gone down pretty quickly, so no problem there. Most likely Garrus is too blame. He can be quite nasty sometimes.

For the wheezers,  I asked about the antihistamines and he gave me a dosage to give them of Allegex Elixir – the children’s syrup – and we will see how that goes. The vet also said if they had an ongoing respiratory infection, he would expect them not to be quite so healthy in all other respects. So it is possible they are having allergy problems. Like their mommy.

I hope that it sorts them out because allegies would be infinitely better than respiratory infections. I will post updates on whether it works.