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Panta Rhei

I’ve been quiet lately. Mainly because it’s the curse of any blog: after some time you start to kind of forget it exists. Also it’s summer and my brain melts under the heat, it’s hard to do anything. Hopefully autumn arrives soon.

This update is mostly about our rats though. It’s not easy talking about a friend that just passed away, even if that friend is “just a rat”. It’s never easy.

Półklocek (Half-block), Szufla (Shovel), Szpadla (Spade) and Fantom (Phantom) are no longer with us. The few months that passed weren’t kind.

April 2013. Półklocek, well, was ill for some time. Rats don’t live long over two years usually, and the brothers had their second birthday early this year. Półklocek had heart and lung issues but medicines kept him in shape, somewhat. Until one day he literally stopped breathing after he lost balance and fell from a tray in the cage. His legs weren’t as good as before. This was not the end though. We managed to bring him back to life with a technique close to human resuscitation. He was weak but survived. At least for a time. We knew his time was nearing its end. We bid him farewell at the vet to not prolong his suffering. Amazingly, his brother is still alive, age two years and eight months. Klocek also has the same issues, his hind legs barely function, but he seems happy. He still tries to hop around, cares for others, cleans them and behaves like a good old grandpa overseeing his comrades.

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May 2013. Szpadla unexpectedly had a small outgrowth appearing on her jaw. It grew quickly though and turned out to be a tumor. Our vet managed to cut it out two times, but couldn’t get rid of it completely, as it was connected with the bones. On the next visit nothing more could be done as the tumor threatened to constrict the trachea in a few days. Szpadla was the first of our original three to leave us.

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June 2013. Szufla started to behave strangely. She began to lose balance sometime, had troubles with holding food in her paws and generally acted like she was a bit disoriented. The cause turned out to be a pituitary tumor. The bad news was that such tumor is basically a death sentence, because it can’t really be operated hiding deep inside the rat’s skull. There are hormonal drugs however that help with the symptoms, although they are very costly. We would do pretty much everything for her so she started to take the medicine every three days. Thing is, the drug needs to be eaten and is extremely unsavory. Even if mixed with food the rat would just try to spit it out. You can imagine that feeding Szufla with it wasn’t easy. It helped though. She regained a lot of her composure and was clearly feeling better. It was only a symptomatic treatment though and unfortunately after some time the drug stopped working. Szufla lost weight and the last time we gave her the treatment she didn’t even really defend herself from it. We didn’t want her to suffer any more, the tumor must have caused headaches in that stage. It was probably one of the hardest decisions we made, but Szufla fell into her last sleep on June 13th.

She was probably the most characteristic one of the whole lot. “Super Szufla” as you can see here (in Polish). She was “mine” and her passing hurt a lot.

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August 2013. Fantom Started to have similar symptoms to Szufla. We were unsure but it certainly looked that way. She was probably the most active one before, “trolling” others as we used to say. She liked to play, provoked others, always sprinting to get the best food. She wasn’t easy to acclimatize at the beginning but finally started to mellow with age and turned out to be a really likable one. And then boom, very aggressive pituitary tumor. She literally lost all energy in one day – that’s how quick those thing can appear on rats. According to her “trolling” character she acted pretty normally when the vet examined her so it was hard to give a definitive diagnose. She got the same treatment as Szufla, but it appeared to not work at all. It took one week to turn a healthy and active rat to a shadow of her former self. She passed away this Friday. It was so sudden we still can’t believe it.

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We have a few new rats as well. The white albino-like is Jednorożec (Unicorn), or Król Tęczy i Jednorożców (King of rainbows and unicorns). What’s the origin of this great name, you ask? We got him from a friend that always said that our rats have strange and ugly names. So the condition was, we give him a nice name. And we did.

He’s with us for a few months now. We got him so the young Fantom had some company near her age. Jednorożec is blind and pretty skinny, although he gained some weight recently. Some douchebag left him outside after apparently not caring anymore. “An albino pet rat surely can survive in the wild!” Jednorożec lost one eye when he was fighting with birds for food, infection cost him the second one. He was starving when found, barely able to walk, wounded. He survived though. Despite losing sight he’s very active, other senses are enough for him to jump around. He likes to be petted and is fond of humans despite his history.

Szatan is the only one left from the original group. Her mood visibly soured after losing her sisters. She’s still adorable though. There are also two newcomers: a young male, Zabrak (called that after our friend) and a female, Szafa (Wardrobe). Szafa is probably the smartest of the whole lot. She wasn’t too trustful at the beginning but is acclimatizing.

And that’s it for now. As a bonus, you can watch some older video clips of our furry friends here.

~ by omeg on August 11, 2013.


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