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August 5, 2009

How I Spent My Weekday Vacation

Those of you who have been following this blog since the beginning may have seen this post about getting our two new rats. Of course, we already have five girls, so there was no way we could integrate them into the cage without neutering them. Since that day, we've had them in a separate cage all by themselves, within smelling distance of the ladies but where they couldn't get to them. Today was the big day, though! I took the day off so the wife didn't have to do it all alone.

Today, they lost a part of themselves but will gain some companions in the next few days. But, to our surprise, that wasn't all that we were going to end up doing...

Last night, the wife discovered a lump on Maude's (one of our albino hairless) nether regions, only a week after we had her in for surgery to have another lump removed. We were supposed to drop the boys off around 10:30, so I called and asked if we could squeeze Maude in as well. The doctor wasn't in yet, but the assistant said that they wer
e overbooked, but to go ahead and bring her in and she would ask when the doctor came in. I asked what the odds were that Maude could be done, and was told "I'd say pretty good. She'll already be here anyway."

We got there around 10:30, dropped off all three of them, and went out for breakfast with the mother-in-law. I'd had a hankering for pancakes since our trip to and from Ohio while we were back in Iowa, so I was able to satisfy that this morning. We had a nice time, and I even got to show the MIL (that's mother-in-law) how to use Facebook.

We were waiting for the vet's office to call and say they were done. We had even called once at 2:00 because we thought they should have been done by now, but I guess they were quite booked-up, as only one of the three had been done. Then, about 30 minutes later, we get a call from the vet that had us a bit worried.

The vet expressed some concern because of the area where the lump was, and there were some other things about Maude that had her a bit worried. She wanted to advise us that there was a possibility that Maude wouldn't survive the surgery, and wanted to get our ok to go ahead. Since we already go in with the understanding that anyth
ing can happen in surgery, we knew that this must mean the chances were even greater for something bad to happen. But we also knew that if the lump went untreated and got bigger, it would affect her being able to go to the bathroom and would eventually kill her anyway, and probably quite quickly, considering how fast the lump had already grown. So the wife said to go ahead.

I'm happy to report that everything went well and all three rats are home safely. One of the boys had already chewed his staples out before we ev
en got back to the vet's office, so they wrapped him up in some kind of surgical shirt that will keep him from getting at them. All three have to go back in two weeks to have their staples removed, but at least this time they can all go in the same carrier. No worries about pregnancies anymore!

It was a bit rough to realize we might lose Maude, though. Almost all of our rats have died peacefully at home because we didn't want their final memories to be the traumatic "ride to the vet's office." Rats (or at least ours) never like to travel and ge
t extremely agitated when they do it. But we've been lucky and we've never had a "surprise" dead rat in the cage. We've always known it was coming. The idea of losing Maude before her time kind of hit home for us.

But she's safe and doing extremely well. We're not putting her through this again. If she gets another lump, we will let it go and just try to make the rest of her life peaceful. Two surgeries is quite enough trauma for one rat.

Needless to say, that's the reason for the light blogging and tweeting today. We were gone all day and have just been enjoying a peaceful night. I hope yours is going well too.

Note: I'd like to give a shout out to the Westwood Animal Clinic in Coquitlam, BC. The people there are wonderful with the animals, very talented and knowledgeable, and they are quite inexpensive as well. Just over $200 for three surgeries i
s quite impressive, considering where we took Maude for her first one.

They are also quite good with rodents and other small animals, because not every vet handles them. We have to drive 40 minutes to get out there, but it's worth it because of the combination of skill, compassion, and economy. If you're in the Lower Mainland, I can't recommend them enough.

Here's one of the boys now!


  1. Sounds like you had quite a day. I'm glad things worked out okay. You two are so compassanate. Not people would do all that for a rat. I'm glad we raised such a caring son.

  2. My vet quoted me around 300 just to get one rat neutered. Your vet sounds like a dream come true.

  3. Yikes! That's disgusting. The first place we took Maude charged over $200 for the lumpectomy after taxes and everything. But they quoted us about $130 per rat for neutering.

    There is definitely a reason we drive the 40 minutes for this one.


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