Lately Ruma has been sneezing a little more than usual and sometimes I hear a little rattle in her breathing. I tried giving them an over the counter slime thinning medicine for 10 days (they were spoiled rotten as I mixed it in with all kinds of amazing foods) but there wasn’t a lot of improvement. So I decided it was time to go and see the vet.
I had heard of a vet not too far from me, who was very experienced in taking care of pet rats. She was recommended to me through the forum I am active on and I even heard of people traveling up to 80 miles to see her.
I called on the thursday afternoon after Christmas and lucky me, they still had room that same afternoon. Back home I prepared the travel basket I just bought for the ladies to be transported in. I had decided I wanted to take both, because I was new at the vet’s office and also because I didn’t want to stress either one out by taking them apart.
I put a dirty towel from the cage in the basket so it would smell familiar. I had tried putting them in once before, when I just bought it, but they didn’t know how to get out faster. I needed them to stay calm this time, so I hoped their own smell would help them.
I also added a few treats and then put in the ladies. Well, their own smell really didn’t reduce the stress level one bit! Within seconds Koko was trying to gnaw her way out and Ruma was sticking her little nose through each hole sniffing VERY loudly and alarming me even more.
I stayed strong though and once the lid was closed, I kept it closed. Since it was raining, I covered the basket with another (clean) towel and carefully placed it on the passenger seat in my car. I took off about 30 minutes before my appointment, not knowing exactly how long it would take me to get there. In the car the ladies kept running in circles, sniffing and gnawing and I felt so sorry for them, I started to sing. I sang Adele songs to them and miraculously, after about 5 minutes of singing, the ladies had settled down. They were not relaxing, but they had curled up together and stopped panicking.
Once I got to the vet, I was 20 minutes early. I waited in the car for about 10 minutes but then decided to just go in. They invited me into the exam room after just 5 minutes. Funnily, the vet instantly knew Ruma was the one I was coming for. he told me American blue rats often have weaker airways and are prone to get all kinds of infections. Ruma was very happy to be taken out of the basket and after licking my hand was happily transferred to the vet’s hand where she continued her licking process. The vet listened to her little longues and to my relief told me they were clean.
What could it be then? Well apparently the air in my apt is too dry. This didn’t surprise me entirely, since I wake up every morning feeling like I licked the sahara that night and I quit smoking over 2 years ago, so it can’t be that ;). Simple solution: water on the radiator, cooking without using the hood, showering with the door open and drying laundry in the room. Just to raise the humidity. Should be simple enough.
She also quickly checked Koko, who wasn’t nearly as relaxed as Ruma, and confirmed my idea that she is a little overweight. We talked about what I feed them and she agreed it can’t be that. Koko simply needs more exercise. But how to make a lazy rat move more? Well, more on that later. I am just very happy they survived their first visit to the vet and I didn’t have to give them medicine 🙂 Hoping this will be the last visit for a while.