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Discussion Starter #1
Hiya guys!

I've had Angelina since December, she was given to me by a friend who had a bad allergic reaction to her. Doris is very sweet, but she can be a handful! She likes to get her own way and she hates to be in her cage (which is okay by me!), and she loves her treats.

She's about eight months old now and she's absolutely goooorgeous. She loves to come outside for walks with me when the weather is nice. If it's warmer she'll bounce along in my hood, if it's cooler she'll curl up against my chest inside my jacket and poke her nose out.

I don't have a lot of pictures of her but these ones will have to do for now:





My second rat (that I bought about an hour ago!) I don't yet have any pictures of, but her name is Millicent, or Mighty Milly because she is huge compard to Angelina Doris. I'll upload photos of her when I get some.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

Aaaw, they're both beautiful! Millicent is brave, coming out of her cage so soon after moving house! I don't think i've seen any other blacks on here...these two are the first blacks i've seen, anyhow :)
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

Those are actually both pictures of Doris, I don't have any pictures of Millicent yet, she is a mismatched hooded something or other! I don't completely understand all of the colourations yet but I'm getting there!
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

What a beautiful girl! And I love the name Millicent! Most agreeable :D
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

Thanks for the responses guys. :D

The first night between Doris and Milly went pretty good. I usually will let Doris stay up late with me (I'm up all hours of the night), but last night I put her in the cage because Milly wanted to be in her cage as well, and I didn't think it was a good idea to give Millicent the impression that Doris was going to run free while she was going to stay locked up.

Doris spent the night in her cage and Milly spent the night in the travel cage I bought for introductions.

I went into the store looking for a companion for Doris and I came out with two things. A true friend for Doris who it is fairly apparent will teach her a little ratty respect, and someone who desperately needs love and care.

After looking at her in the store it was fairly obvious she had not been cared for well. I can hear her sneezing and she has a cough, and she is getting on in age. I call her Millicent the Mighty because she is not fat, but much bigger than Doris. Doris is about eight months old and judging by her size, and the look about her, Milly is probably over the year and a half mark and has birthed a few litters. She seems well socialised but she is more inclined to spend time in the cage. She was brought into the pet store by someone who either didn't want her anymore, or simply couldn't keep her anymore. I am sure she will come out more often as she gets used to me and Doris. Last night she slept in a little fold of blanket and I stroked her while reading before I went to sleep and before the girls went back to their cages.

If anyone can give advice on what to do about Milly's respiratory problem I would really appreciate it. I am aware that she should see a vet soon but if there are over-the-counter medications that I can buy her to treat her at home I wouldn't mind hearing about those also. Even if it is a chronic age condition anything that will help her with the discomfort would be appreciated.

On to introductions! When I bought Milly I took one look at her and thought - this old war horse is going to toss Doris on her wee butt, oh boy. She nipped my fingers through the bars (she has done this just once, never since, and I have put my fingers to her cage many times to show her fingers are for kissing and treats do not go through cage bars), but she did not seem to mind being picked up too much though it is more difficult to pick her up than it is Doris because of her size.

To my surprise, when I brought Milly home last night, there were no confrontations between the two girls. I put a little extra virgin olive oil behind each of their ears so they both smelled similar and put them both in the bath tub to say hello. Well! They were neither of them very inclined to say hello, but to get out of the bath tub. Instead of getting introduced they both put all of their efforts into jumping out of the tub, so I took them out and decided to introduce them on my bed. There wasn't any real confrontation, but I was surprised to find Doris immediately took charge instead of the much larger Mrs. Bulstrode (Another nickname for Millicent, who is named after the very large Millicent Bulstrode in the Harry Potter books). She climbed all over Millicent, attempted to go for rides on her back, put her paws on her face, nicked food from her (I had to steal a pellet back from her so she wouldn't hide it under my bed and the fuss of screeching at me she kicked up was amazing. She is reeeealllyyyy not used to not getting her way). So this went on for about as long as Doris and Milly were together last night. There was no direct confrontation, just Doris bounding about and making a big show of being in charge.

The first outright confrontation came just about an hour ago, around 6:00 am (I went to bed early so I've been awake since 5:00), when Doris was once again batting Milly about the ears and being a little brat. When Milly first came here she hurt her paw (I am really not sure how. I just noticed her squeaking and licking her hand, her paw appeared to be bleeding slightly. Whatever it was she took care of it herself and she will now put the paw on the ground and walk around without any trouble, although I am still hesitant to touch her paw), and I think Doris must have nipped it or bumped it or something because Milly gave her the lashing of a lifetime. It lasted about two seconds. They were both sitting on top of the nest box together, there was some squeaking, and Doris was tossed to the floor on her butt. The look of "SHOCK HORROR!" on her face was too much and I burst out laughing. She sat there for a moment on her butt looking horrified and promptly took off like a rocket.

She now treats Mrs. Bulstrode with much more respect, though I can see that there may be a few more lessons in respect to your elders before there is any hierarchy between them defined. Millicent is by no means a bully or ill-natured, but it is apparent to me that she will not be shown up by any whippersnapper.

I don't have any pictures of Milly right now and I won't tempt her out to be photographed because she is happily snoozing in the nest box. I'll definitely post some soon.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

Although I do admire the fact that you'd take home an ailing, older rat, do you know about proper quarantine? Rats are highly susceptible to airborne viruses such as SDA and Sendai, which run rampant in pet store settings and pass to rats extremely quickly. Both viruses can be fatal if not treated immediately and aggressively with antibiotics and other medications. Proper quarantine separates and isolates the spread of disease. This includes bacterial infections, viruses, funguses, and parasites (both internal and external). All new rats (and other rodents, for that matter) need to be quarantined in a completely separate airspace (meaning a different house or apartment) for 3 weeks. During that time you observe them for any illnesses or symptoms, and treat anything that pops up.

Introductions needs to be taken slowly - even the best introductions should take about a week or a little more. Although having a rat in a carrier for a couple hours (with bedding, food, and water, of course) is alright, it's not an acceptable cage for more than that amount of time. When you bring home a new rat with the hope of introducing them and bonding them to your previous rat(s), you need to plan ahead in case things don't work out. Make sure you have enough money for a second cage and be willing to get the new rat a cagemate of his/her own.

Considering her deplorable condition from your description, what medications is she on?
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

I wasn't aware of proper quarantining at all. Thanks for letting me know - I'm still new to this. I have no one who is able to take her though, I don't have a separate apartment she can go to. I can keep them in separate rooms of the house in separate cages, but that is the absolute best I can do.

In a pinch, I can easily just get the bus to the strip mall up the road and pick her up another cage for a decent price, so I am not particularly worried about that.

As for medication, she is on nothing right now. I bought her less than 24 hours ago and I have been asking about what sorts of medications she will need. She does not seem to me to be in deplorable condition, just ill. Her coat is glossy, she is eating and drinking normally, she is curious, her eyes are bright and don't appear to be glassy, and she has no visible scabbing. I'm not an expert but it looks to me like she just needs some medication for her respiratory problem, and in the future perhaps something for arthritis. She moves more slowly than Doris, and more carefully, but she is also much older and larger.

Just to be clear about her travel cage - it is an actual cage. It is not a plastic container similar to a dog or cat carrier. It is the same as a typical cage, only smaller and with a handle for carrying. I know she should not spend much time in it, nevertheless, and she does not. The tray is left open for her to come and go as she pleases on my bed and I supervise to make sure she doesn't fall. When I sleep, she does go in the travel cage, but she is not interested in much else than finding a nice spot to sleep in right now anyways.

Thank you for the advice.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

Do you have a normal rat vet that you go to? For an upper respiratory infection that's gotten worse than just sneezing (IE. the coughing), she should be on a combination of antibiotics - the most commonly prescribed are Baytril and Doxycycline. Remember to have her on the meds for a full three weeks! If you don't see improvement within a week of having her on the medication, you need to switch/add something to her med regimen.

As far as quarantine - I think we've all brought home a new rat immediately when we were newbies, not knowing about proper quarantine. I've actually done it quite a few times before learning about the precautions you should take. But for now, what's done is done. Separating them currently won't do anything. If Millicent has any disease or infection, Doris will have contracted it by now (it can take up to a week for symptoms to show, though, so don't think you're out of the water if she seems fine!). Considering Milly's current condition, she really shouldn't be put through the added stress of meeting a new rat. For now, until she's on medication and feels better, she should be housed by herself.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

I don't have a vet that I see currently. Last year when I first decided I wanted to house small animals I called all of the veterinary offices in my area and none of them were willing to see to see most small mammals or birds. It's mostly cats and dogs. I will call around again, and if no one is willing to see her I'll have to order the medication online myself and ask one of the breeders in my area to help me. I know of one person who bred rats for many years who should know fair bit about health issues.

I've also moved her away from Doris so she won't be bothered until I have seen to getting her medication.

As for respiratory problems, it's time for me to head to the store and pick up some throat lozenges for my own coughing problem.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

Where are you located exactly? I can try and locate a good rat vet for you :)

You can't order Baytril or Doxycycline online, though. They have to be from a vet. And unfortunately, when it comes to upper respiratory infections, there are no home remedies that anyone can suggest. At this point, she needs strong antibiotics, and anything less than that will just be a bandaid over a much larger problem. If upper respiratory infections aren't treated immediately, they can quickly turn into pneumonia and become fatal, or at least have long-term side effects.

To help alleviate her symptoms temporarily though, steam up the bathroom and sit with her for 10-20 minutes. It helps ease the congestion. Along with that, dark chocolate is a bronchodialator (plus, rats love it!).
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

I live in St. John's, Newfoundland, on the East Coast of Canada.

I will definitely try the bathroom trick. I don't have any dark chocolate on me now but when I am feeling a little better I'll take another trip to the store and pick some up.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

Wench said:
As for respiratory problems, it's time for me to head to the store and pick up some throat lozenges for my own coughing problem.
As you mentioned you are new to looking after rats, Wench, I thought I should mention that strep is one of the few conditions that rats can catch from humans. I don't know if that's what you have, but I thought you ought to know, just in case.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

No, it's not strep I have. It's a flu bug my brother had last week. Thank you for letting me know though.

I've run into more problems with Millicent. She seemed fine today, but she now appears to be having what look to me like seizures - caused either by pain or something else. My brother called me into the room today while I was in the kitchen boiling water for tea, saying that she was "flipping out". What she was doing was holding herself up against the bars of the cage and jerking violently. I approached the cage and saw that she was also feebly chewing on the bars. It looks like her health is a lot worse than I thought.

I put my hand next to the cage so that she could not reach me if she decided to bite, but that she could smell me. She settled down, but before she smelled my fingers it was almost as if she couldn't see me.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

I don't know if rats have them, but it almost sounds like a panic attack. Does she seem to calm down when you handle her outside of the cage?
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

She is usually very calm inside of her cage or out. Doris may have set her off, I brought the cages into the same room while I was doing some cleaning.

I admit I have been afraid to pick her up for fear of being bitten, but being on this forum and hearing about rat health conditions does help to calm me down and have some perspective instead of just thinking "RAT IS NUUUTSSSS."

She's going to need her own full-sized cage and a trip to the vet for some medication. I can pick her up a second hand cage of a decent side on the cheap but I can't go all out right now as my own health has needed serious tending to these past few days.

I've been calling around making enquiries to vets but by reasonable estimate it will be two weeks before she sees a vet, and I'm predicting serious bullshit (excuse the language, just upset over sick me and sick rat and unwilling vets) from someone who knows nothing about rats, who will tell me there is nothing wrong, my rat is old, and then charge me fifty dollars.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

Definitely not a panic attack (rats don't have those, btw) - that sounds like a seizure. Poor girl :( That's horrible that you can't find a vet, or even one willing to work with you on only very basic knowledge. Unfortunately I didn't realize you were all the way up in Canada - I can get vet recommendations for most anywhere in the US. But, with a bit of searching, I did come across a recommended rabbit vet. Most rabbit specialists also specialize in other small animals, so it's worth a try. The website said that it's just outside of St. John's, so hopefully it's close to you. Here's the information:

Dr. Hendrik DeZeeuw
Sunrise Animal Hospital
1 Sunrise Ave
Mount Pearl, NFLD
Phone: (709) 368-7981 (also for emergency)

By the sounds of it, she's getting worse and worse. If you can't find a vet who will see her for a wellness exam or prescribe medication, you might have to start calling around and asking if they'll at least euthanize her. Although it's not a pleasant thing to think about, she seems to be deteriorating very quickly.

I really hope that you'll be able to find a rat-savvy vet soon, since I know this situation is getting very frustrating for you (I'm sure it doesn't help that you're sick yourself too!). Even if Millicent is too far gone for treatment by the time you do locate a good vet, at least in the future you'll have a place to go with Doris or any future ratties.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

Thank you very very much for the recommendation. I have always been under the impression that Sunrise were a strictly cat and dog clinic, I can get to them very easily on the route 21.

Milly seems okay today but I am not. I guess when I thought it would be kind to take her in, I didn't think of how kind it would be to me. I'm kind of having an emotional weekend and just looking at her and knowing she is going to die very soon makes me just burst into tears.

Why do people do it? Is it so hard to treat other creatures with respect and with love? Just looking at her makes me feel as if my heart is breaking in half, and I have only known her three days maximum. Someone must have owned her for a long time, and looked at her every day, and abused her every day by ignoring her tiny, simple needs. I mean what does she ask for? That you make sure she has a nice little corner to sleep in? Food? Water? I'm sure she would get it if she could. I'm sure she would go get her medication if she could, or tell you she is sick and needs care, or tell you she needs a romp outside her cage, just long enough that she doesn't get premature arthritis because someone couldn't handle an hour a day.

I'm sorry I'm kind of just letting this come out, I haven't even known her that long and I'm getting so worked up, but it is honestly as if I am feeling her pain. I've had a really bad virus/bug/whatever these past few days and this morning it was the worst when I woke up, my ears ached from internal infections (that I'm pretty prone to), it hurt so badly to swallow that I started crying. And I thought...because someone would not care for her, Millicent wakes up to this every time she has a nap, every time she takes a rest. She probably feels it in her sleep. And I wouldn't wish it on anyone. And there she is, the least deserving creature in the world, and she can probably barely breathe.
 

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Re: Meet My Girlies

I admire your empathy so much. I've rescued a few rats myself, and my best friend runs a rat rescue, so I have seen so many neglect cases. It pains me knowing that some of my rats have had horrible, horrible pasts, but it also makes me realize how happy and content they are now; now that they have a big cage, toys, good food, and always get vet care as soon as they need it. As unfortunate as it is, many people just don't relate to or care that much about animals. They see them as lesser beings and seemingly don't make the connection that they, too, have feelings and get sick sometimes.

Try not to think about her past, as hard as it may be. Just keep in mind that you're doing everything you can for her right now, and even if she doesn't make it, at least she lived her last days knowing love.
 
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