Archive for October, 2010


DR. SCURVY BILL, DVM

I’ve read up on hairless rats.  They do have some characteristics that are unique. They can get sunburned, for example. They also have a tendency to develop fatty tumors called ‘lipoma.’ These are generally harmless, but unsightly.

Let’s face it. Hairless rats are already unsightly. Lumps and bumps do not enhance the hairless rat experience.

I was surprised last Friday to find a large lump on Scurvy Bill’s smooth pink tummy. It came out of nowhere overnight.  It was an inch long and at least a half inch high.  I kept an eye on it, but it didn’t grow any bigger over the weekend. Unfortunately, it didn’t grow any smaller, either. Smooth and oval in shape, it seemed to be under the skin but on top of the belly muscles. It could be moved a little when wiggled.

I kept an eye on this lump, because I did not want to pay weekend veterinarian rates. There’s a veterinary office very close to my house, so I planned to take him in on Monday morning.

On Monday morning, I took Bill out and checked his stomach. The lump was gone! In its place was a neatly trimmed, oval shaped wound. It was very clean. Apparently, Bill got tired of the lump and did a little home surgery on himself. I was shocked, but glad I didn’t have to take him to the vet after all. Wound care is easy.

I washed the wound and put antibiotic ointment on it for the first two days. Bill kept it very clean, and prevented it from developing a thick scab. The second day, the wound seemed very deep as the tissue around it was swollen. By Thursday, the swelling had subsided and the wound was measurably smaller in diameter.  Today, three days later, it’s smaller than my little fingernail.  By next Sunday it should be completely healed.

Like most animals, rats will hide any symptoms of illness as long as they can. The lump must have caused some distress for him to be driven to chew it off. I have no idea what the lump was; it could have been a lipoma, or possibly an abscess, but those generally are caused by an injury, and Bill had no boo-boos.

It sure is handy to have a veterinarian in the family!

 

I have a friend with whom I discuss rats, among other things. She has rats. She has had rats since before I acquired Scurvy Bill, and her rats are reproducing!

There was tremendous response to a “Puppy Cam” last year. So many people were logging in to see the puppies, it made the news. Puppy fever spread, and people discussed their latest antics. Those puppies all found homes before they were ready to leave their puppy lair!

There have been other fantastically popular webcams, like the barn owl cam in San Diego. People logged in worldwide to see Molly bring in a limp rodent for her squalling brood of screeching owlets. They were surely the most popular owls on the internet!

Back to my friend’s rats. She has installed a webcam on the little puppies. There are two blues, one black, and some black and whites. They currently resemble grubs, lacking eyes and coordination. But when their eyes open, the Cuteness Fairy will dash them with a whiff of fairy dust and their cuteness will magically appear.

One benefit besides watching your favorite rat grow up, will be the availability of video clips of my friend teaching the young ones simple tricks. You’ll be able to evaluate intelligence and personality by watching these clips.

So, if you’re in Denmark and are looking for a rat, look here:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ratcamera

As these little ones get older and more active, you’ll be surprised at how catlike their play can be!

Call her 'Mom.'