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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As some of you know, I was dealing with being given four rats by a "friend" who I was having trouble bonding and dealing with since my alpha gal Myrtle was having trouble accepting the older females into the group. Well, not only are all the girls doing fine, but my financial situation stabilized and I was able to get the boys fixed. It was a rough recovery for one of them. In fact he still isn't 100% and since I've recently found out the two of them are nearly a year and half (!) I'm not sure he ever will be. The vet said wait at least ten days to begin introductions to the ladies, so I waited two weeks (14 days) and, somewhat annoyingly, things went fine. Myrtle apparently only cares to beat up other females xD....Well fast forward about two months and Myrtle has ballooned and I honestly can't remember how long it's been since she first met the boys. My instinct is to say it's been over a month, but I'd have to take a peek at the paperwork for their neuter to be sure. I wasn't particularly worried as all of them seem to have plumped a bit for winter except that one not so active male, but my god is she fat. She's literally bigger around than the bigger of the two males and twice the size of the other females. Granted, she's the matriarch so to speak, but my food is Oxbow and they don't exactly gobble it up if you know what I mean.....I've checked the boys every day since their surgery and there's nothing left but wrinkly skin as far as their parts go. I've palpated her tummy and I can't really feel anything except maybe in one spot, but I'm not sure. She seems a little less active and I'm kind of considering another vet visit at this point (just had a mite outbreak in the house that they've been treated for). She's not terrorizing the other females like I'd expect a pregnant, hormonal Myrtle to. She's not any less in love with her hobby of licking my hand and trying to claw her way into my mouth, just slower and quieter. Almost always in their box in the floor...and huge.....I'm not too flustered about this one. I have the money and the time now if she is pregnant. If not, even better. Maybe I just subconsciously want Christmas babies ;) (disclaimer: I don't really want Christmas babies that'd be chaos and besides she's an old gal at a year). I don't know. What do you guys think? Does she look pregnant or just fat? Pictures aren't great because she was so wiggly, heheh. Is it worth it prepping a birthing cage in case?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
For clarification, it has been almost two months. I went downstairs and checked the paperwork in the middle of writing this message (hence the inconsistentencies). They were neutered on October 13th along with three of my mother's sugar gliders.
 

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If it's been two months then I wouldn't think she is pregnant. She might just be big. I've had females who were bigger than my males before. I've also had very big males. All of my boys are neutered, and I waited two weeks before introducing them to any females. I've never had an issue.
 

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in rare cases you can get retained sperm and even delayed implantation, but that really is rare. 2 weeks is sufficient in the vast majority of cases, studies have shown 10 days is about right, but in reality as they've just had surgery its worth giving it the 2 weeks to both be safe and ensure there healed up. Its commonly used.

I'd give the boys a good feel over to make sure there testicles were actually removed. This may seem basic, but I did once meet a boy whose owner had had neutered and there was one testicle still very much present.

I would get her along to the vet to be checked out, she does look large enough to be pregnant and as the chances of her being pregnant are very slim unless the boys weren't properly neutered then the fast weight gain would worry me. They can get phantom pregnancies but these tend to happen on first being in with a male (even neutered) and aren't that common (also typically only last 19 days from the incedent rather than the 22-24 of normal pregnancy). The real worry though is she has something like closed pyo. I've seen this in a rat once who looked heavily pregnant, she had a massive internal infection and didn't survive the emergency spay.
 

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She looks 100% pregnant to me and if she is not pregnant then you definitely would want to get her tummy checked for any belly issues! Judging from her size you should know within 1-5 days (even today aha who knows) if she is pregnant, one of your males could still be "active" and it is always possible, not likely but possible, to cohabitat females and males for a month without the females getting pregnant immediately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Well there ya go, confirmation. Just checked both males and the one I never would've thought capable of even mounting a female still has a little, round lump in there. He's currently in with seven females...seven. Only one of them is under a year old and one has cancer. Myrtle is the only one who's super fat, but most of the girls plumped for what I'm now hoping was winter. Time to set up a birthing cage and call the vet. Grrrrrrr!
 

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Eeek! That's a lot of lady friends for one lil man ahaha Good luck with everything! :D expecting updates hehe
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Well, called the vet I had them neutered with to ask about Tweedle being seen and they kinda hurriedly brushed me off with we have nothing open before 11 after I told them the latest I could do was 9am because of work. I called around to another vet who's closer who I originally was going to neuter them with. they will see him on Monday to confirm or deny if his neuter is good. I'm a wee be it stressed out over how many babies are potentially coming if the little lump I felt was what I hope it's not, but also worried about the possibility of putting him through another surgery. There's a good chance he and his brother will live seperate if he doesn't perk up after our mites are supposed to be gone. I swear between the rats and my dog's recurring head cyst, I live at the vet. *facepalm* at least three of the girls don't look any/much fatter. I'm seriously hoping it's just a tissue lump and not cancer and not a testicle, but we shall see.
 

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A small lump could well be an area of scar tissue or left over infection rather than a testicle (lets hope).

You do have an option if it is a testicle of using cabergoloin to treat all the girls for a week. It acts as an effective pregnancy terminator, though I wouldn't use it on a doe that was very close to popping (like the girl in the photo might be)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Jeez I hope so. The vet will hopefully be able to tell me on Monday. In the meantime Myrtle is a bit fatter. Her and one of her original cage mates (Sophie) are the two fattest so far and the only two who've got fur missing around their nipples like when they go into heat. I read that they groom them before they give birth so I deprecated those two into a birthing cage last night. I also bought several big Tupperware containers to make better birthing cages, three for now, four more coming Monday off Amazon just in case. Was going to just get two 4 packs of the 106qt stet elite, but I'm not sure the two of them can wait the weekend, Myrtle especially, and I didn't want them birthing together in such a small cage (my hospital cage). So 4 of Amazon and 3 105qt sterelite from Wally World as well as a buttload of fleece to line the bottoms and enough food bowls and water bottles that each tub can have one. I'm planning on visiting the dollar store after work today for little baskets I can turn upside down and put nest material in. Hopefully the two of them can hold it in until I can get home tonight and patch some hardware cloth to the sides of the storage bins and set them up. Any suggestions on nesting material? Should I put wheels in there too or no?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Set up three of my seven birthing tubs yesterday with Myrtle by herself and the others in two groups of three. I'm also taking this time to litter box train everyone. The boys have litterboxes in the cage too and the girls are definitely using them. :) Not perfectly, but using them. On Monday the other four tubs come, by Wednesday the other litterboxes, so everyone will have their own private condo (or at least the ones close to popping) while still being able to see each other during out of cage time. My only gripe is that some of the girls chew zip ties like its candy. Mostly solved that with some tape. But one of them (*ahem* Sophie) likes to chew that too. Little farts. Also weighed them today. Myrtle is 496 grams! The closest one is Sophie at 398 grams. If she ain't pregnant, then Miss Myrtle is one heavy lady xD
 

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Possible solution to the ziptie chewing...the hardware store might have some metal ties like what secures washing machine hoses and the like. I've used those to secure things to the cage a few times.

Also, are there any humane societies or rescues nearby? Maybe they would know some volunteers who could help you with all the babies and line up homes for them when they're ready. I'm part of a Facebook group called Rat Rehoming and Transportation we are all over the country.
 

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In terms of nesting material, I offer bits of torn up kitchen roll and safe bed, I also use shredded cardboard as substrate so they mainly make there next in this. I would expect your lovely neat cage to get very much uprouted if any are pregnant, though they can leave nest building to after they give birth too. I probably wouldn't used fleece as its not the best for nesting in, can you get hold of something like aspen or carefresh (not that I like that stuff, too dusty generally) as it will let them construct more and be more absorbent. Babies stink quickly so you want to use something that will let you last a week post birth before the first clean out. Also avoid any soft wood shavings or pellets, they are particularly harmful to babies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
At the vets right now. The lump I felt in Tweedle is an abscess not a leftover testicle. The girls can go back in with their sweethearts. Now I'm confused on why Myrtle is so incredibly fat. I'm going to ask the vet about options on bringing her in and such or not and if it would be worth it when she comes back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The vet said it's quite possible he had remnants that were producing that led to an abcess, so to leave Myrtle out for a week and see and if nothing happens bring her in to get checked. She said just watch the others to see if they get fatter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Gah! Myrtle chewed her way out of the Tupperware this morning. Not by eating the zip ties, but by chewing the plastic on the edge I cut. I woke up to her sitting on top of Melody's cage staring at me like, "Hi, Mom!" The family Christmas shopping trip was today, so I had to put her back in with the others for the day (everyone else was back in the regular cage now that the vet said no way could Tweedle currently make babies). No guarantee she wouldn't chew out of one of the other storage bin cages I made while I was gone today. I checked her when I got home a few minutes ago and there was some blood on the side of her bum at the base of her tail. Freaking out, I checked and there's no bite, nothing actually come out of her hoohah. The others are all fine, but her lower belly (the little ponch in the pictures between her back legs) is very hard and it wasn't before. I put her in an uncut bin with holes bored in the lid for the night and double checked the other cage and cage tray. No babies left in there. What's up with her? Is she about to give birth? Is she infected? She doesn't seem to be in pain... This little lady is making me want to tear my hair out this week.
 

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Have you asked about pyometria or other uterus infections? At this point, I'm hoping she's pregnant, because that would be a HUGE build up of infection to cause that big of a belly if she isn't pregnant.. plus blood is never a good thing down there. When my girl had bleeding from her vulva, I got her an emergency spay right away and the vet thought it wasn't pyo (because it was pure blood, not mixed with pus at all) and thought it was probaly mycoplasma causing it. But either way, it's good that she got the spay.

She also had a very large belly most of her life. I always assumed it was because of her megacolon. But near the end of her life, when she was 2 years and 4 months old, she had to be put to sleep from kidney failure. The vet said the bloated belly might have been a sign of kidney issues and fluid retention. She also started losing muscle mass. So even though she was a chubby little girl with a big belly, I could feel her spine and bones along her back. That was another big sign (amongst others) that made the vet think it was kidney.

Does your girl have any of these symptoms? Either way, if there's blood down there on her, she should REALLY go see a vet. I hope your boy really was properly neutered though, or you'll have a lot of whoops babies coming soon! I've been following this thread since you posted, what a bizarre situation! I hope it all works out in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Definitely can't feel her spine. She felt mostly like a giant pillow until last night when that little lower ponch between her legs got harder. There appears to be no blood actually coming from her at this point, but she's been cleaning down there. No babies yet, but she's actually built a sloppy nest now (she is legit the worst best builder of the whole group...her sisters build nests like crazy right now and she'll just lay wherever), so we'll see if she has any babies today/tonight. Her nipple reeeeaaaally stick out now. They're not just missing fur around them, but the actual nipple is poking out now. Tomorrow is our week deadline the vet gave us before were supposed to call so they can see her. I'm wishing I'd just brought her in now, but I hadn't wanted to stress her if she was close to popping. My only consolation is two of my other females are starting to look seriously puffy. I may need to call Mainely Rat Rescue to help me rehome babies if half of them end up popping. I'm also hoping she's pregnant at this point, but my god that's going to be a lot of babies if he was actually producing for a short while. 0.0
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Checked her again and she's spotting! Super restless. Gah! I feel like a chicken with my head cut off running into a wall I'm so anxious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
No babies yet. She's still bleeding. Sorry if I spam you guys with updates, I'm just really worried about her. She seems to have rearranged her best again since I last checked her.
 
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