View Full Version : Tia has a tumour... (Sad Update)

Miss Z
07-08-2007, 06:58 AM
Hello everyone, remember me? Not been around that much recently, so I hate to be back with bad news.

I was playing with Tia last night before I went to bed, when I picked her up and felt a lump just under her right armpit brush against my fingers. Of course, I inspected it immediately, and I think I fear it is a mammary tumour.

It's about the size and shape of a slightly squashed pea and feels a little like cartilage. It doesn't hurt her when I touch it. I can't decide if it's benign or not, it seems pretty easy to move around under the skin but I'm not sure if a small part of it is attached or not. It's not yet visible unless you look really closely at her from upside down, and as yet it doesn't appear to be impeding her movement.

I am totally torn as to what to do. Naturally, she'll be at the vet ASAP on Monday (today's surgery is emergencies only), even though I probably won't be there as I'm on an overnight trip to the Peak District. If my prediction of a tumour is indeed correct, which I'm 99% sure it is, then I know what options they'll give but I have no idea which will be the best one for her.

Either they find it's benign and offer to remove it. Yeah, it might cost a bit, but I'll just have to make sacrifices such as missing a couple of riding lessons if that's what it takes. However, Tia is an old girl, coming up to 2 1/2 soon. I doubt she's got the best ticker out there. Putting her under anaesthetic would be a risky business that her little body just might not be able to cope with. Also, we could remove this one, and another will come back, either in the same place or in a new area entirely.

The other choice is just to leave it until it becomes so large that it's taking over her life, and she'll have to be put to sleep when that time comes. I don't know how quick tumours grow. I don't suppose they're particularly quick, but all those cells dividing every 20 mins or so, I suppose it won't be too slow either. I have to ask myself if I could really stand watching her get weaker and weaker until finally admitting defeat and throwing in the towel.

I've always known that rats are prone to tumours, but until you're own is affected you just don't realise how prone they actually are.

If anyone has some info or advice on dealing with tumours in rats, that would be great for me to know, otherwise, maybe some PT magic in the form of good vibes could help both me and Tia right now.


07-08-2007, 07:30 AM
I know what you are going through Zara. ((((HUGS))))

I had a rat a few years ago and the exact same thing happened. I told her to the vet and was told that 90% of tumors in domesticated rats are malignant. I know that is not something you want to hear. I was also told it is the #1 cause of death in domestic rats. My vet told me about 85% of domestic rats get them at some point in their life and usually they develope around or just after the 2 year mark. Sweetpea (my rat) was a little over 2. He also said that it seems the life expectancy of rats was on a down. And a good precentage of them we not living past 3 or so. The extracted a little fluid from Sweetpea's tumor and it was malignant. It grew very fast and went from the size of a pea to the size of a golf ball in about 6 months. In was under her left front arm. In the armpit. When I brought her in as it was getting virtually impossible for her to get around my vet said their was another forming in her groin area under her back leg. He figured she was full. And eventhough she was still active and eating and affectionate he felt keeping her any longer was cruel. She couldn't get around well and he felt that considering the size of the tumor it would be only a few short days before she would show signs of suffering. He felt she already was but just not showing them outwardly yet. I let her go. She was just over 2 when I discovered the tumor and not quite 3 when she passed over.

I am sorry. I am sure this is not what you wanted to hear but I felt honesty and telling you straight was the best way to go. It would give you some time for it to sink in and for you to enjoy your time with her. I hope and pray it isn't a tumor though. Please let us know what the vet says.



07-08-2007, 08:54 AM
Oh Zara, I'm so sorry to hear about Tia. Do what you think is right for Tia. Only you know whether or not she's suffering. If I had to choose for Winkie to operate or not, given the chances of him not making it through the surgery, I'd take the chance. That's only my opinion, sweetheart. What is there to lose? I mean, if it's malignant, her chances of surviving and suffering are about the same as her making it through the anesthesia, why not. Does that make sense to you??? I by no means mean any disrespect. You are a very wise, mature young lady and I have the utmost respect for you.

Do what is in the best interest of Tia. And know that you and Tia will be in my thoughts and prayers.

(((((HUGS))))) and love,


07-08-2007, 12:19 PM
Poor Tia, you must be so upset right now:( But if I know you Zara you are trying to stay strong and do what's best for Tia. And I know you will. Many prayers on the way for Tia that whatever you choose will bring her happiness:)

07-08-2007, 12:42 PM
Major ((((hugs)))) going out to you & Tia.
You know how much I adore that beautiful little girl of yours. I wish I could throw in some advice or an opinion, but I've only had experiance with a mouse having a tumor. The tumor didn't grow all that fast, but it was painful to see her losing her strength and watching her give in to her illness.
I know you want only the best for Tia. Afterall, Tia is probably one of the most spoiled rats on PT. ;)
Good vibes & thoughts headed out for Tia.

07-08-2007, 03:11 PM
:( My heart sank when I read this topic, Im so sorry Zara.

I hope that its nothing serious, Seriously go to www.fancy-rats.co.uk and check with them for any vets near you, alot of people on that site could relate to your problem and could probably give you better advice that I ever could.

As you said before, Tia is still a young girl at heart so hopefully everything will be ok!

If you want to use my account PM me and I'll give you my details.

07-08-2007, 03:15 PM
When I read the title I was hoping and praying it wouldnt be your Tia, Zara! :( Such a sweet girl!

Whatever you decide I am behind you Zara as I know you will do the best for Tia,

Give Tia loads of hugs from me please!


Miss Z
07-08-2007, 03:23 PM
Thank you everyone.

And a big thanks to Michelle, too, I'm glad that you were straight with me as, you well know, I'm not a person that likes to beat about the bush. I'm so sorry about Sweetpea. That's my main dilemma really, wondering whether I can cope with evading the inevitable for as long as possible.

Donna, I see what you're saying about risking the op. I suppose we'll just have to see what the vet recommends and take it from there.

Oh, and thanks for the link to the site, Holly, it's been helpful to me. Again, I'll see what the vet says tomorrow before I take any action.

She's booked in for a vet appointment at 4:40pm (GMT) tomorrow. I'll be ringing at about 5ish from my trip to hear how things went and what the situation is. Fingers crossed, I guess.

07-08-2007, 04:39 PM
Aww, Zara..I'm sorry to hear this news. I will be praying that Tia is OK.

07-08-2007, 05:09 PM
Hey Zara -- so very very sorry to hear about Tia. When we were still had rats (about 15 years ago), our favourite boy Ratfink got a tumour as well, and the story is pretty well the same as kittycats_delight. I'm hopng for the best for Tia, and keeping my fingers crossed for you guys. *hugs* _A_

07-08-2007, 05:48 PM
I'm really at a loss for words, Zara :(.

I hope that the outcome for Tia is well, but only you truly know what's best for her.

Sending you lots of good vibes and major (((HUGS)))!

07-08-2007, 05:49 PM
Zara, I'm so sorry you and Tia are going through this right now. I saw the thread title and immediately hoped it wasn't your girl. I can't offer much in the way of advice, but I'm sending some good vibes your way. I hope everything works out as well as it can.


Scooter's Mom
07-08-2007, 07:08 PM
I had a mouse (Shelley) who developed a tumor. I noticed it the day we moved into our new house... it started so tiny but it grew fast. The vet I took her to agreed that she wasn't in any pain, but when she started to show signs of being in pain it would be time to have her put to sleep. She was such a sweet girl. She ended up passing on her own, before she ever showed any signs of being in pain.

Good luck with Tia. I hope and pray she remains pain free and happy for a long time.


07-09-2007, 01:34 AM
Oh Zara. :( I don't even know what to say. ***HUGS*** and good vibes for both you and little Tia Maria.

07-09-2007, 11:15 AM
In all honesty, given her age and the location of the tumor I wouldn't recommend removing it if it is indeed cancer. At her age she is already a senior, and not to sound mean, but on her last leg. Putting her under anesthesia would be very risky, and I would hate to see you spend all that money for nothing. I have seen it all too many times. We have done so many tumor removals at the clinic I work at and each rat was put down within a couple of months after the surgery, either due to the tumor coming back or more growing in it's place. Fortunately some died during the surgery. IMO it's just cruel to put an older rat through so much when they are on their way out anyway. I don't mean to sound rude, but I want to be honest with you. Tumors in rats grow very very fast (most of the time), and even if it is removed chances are it will just come back, and when they do they grow even faster and are a lot more painful.

Veterinarians do not know much about rats, as when they go to vet school pocket pets are not a large part of the cirriculum (sp?), so please do your research and try to find one that has studied lab animals. I know that you will. You are a very smart girl. :)

In all the years I have owned rats I have only had one with a tumor, and she was a rescued PEW lab rat that came from the UofO testing facility. It's stories like this that make me stress the importance of buying from a breeder and not buying from a petstore. I have bred rats for close to 10 years and all have lived past the age of 3, sometimes even 5, and none have suffered the horrible things that petshop rats have. Granted, I've owned plenty of petshop rats too (even myself cannot resist letting a cute blue dumbo baby get eaten by a snake) and all have suffered tremendously with Myco and other illnesses. It's a very sad thing.

And on a happier note, not sure where the vet came up with rats not living as long as this is not true. Due to good breeding rats are now living 3 years plus, and not dying of these dreaded diseases, but dying of old age. We are definitely on the road to giving these little guys a better life.

The best you can do is make her comfortable and happy during this time, whether you opt for surgery or decide to let her live out her last days until you know it's time to say goodbye. Offer her plenty of kisses and cuddles and spoil her with yogies. :D

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the tumor is not cancerous, or that it is simply a sebaceous cyst and we have nothing to worry about. I feel awful for you. Rats just have a way of leaving their tiny pawprints on your heart. They are such amazing little creatures. My prayers are with you and Tia. I know you will do what you see as best, and you have my support either way. :) Please keep us updated.

07-09-2007, 11:35 AM
My son had a pet hairless rat, Molly, when he was little. She was the coolest gal ever. She developed pneumonia and was taken to the vet as it came on so sudden I thought she was dying and wanted to have her PTS while he was in school. She was bleeding from the nose and everything. When I arrived at the vets, full of tears, they checked her out and said it was pneumonia. They could put her down or I could try antibiotics and an injection of steroids. I figured Molly deserved a chance and so did my son to say goodbye. She got better. A few days later she developed a tiny little pea size lump in about the same area as your Tia. I knew what it was and her age was unknown, as we got her as an adult and she was at least 1.5 years, so we were guessing 2-2.5. I did not take her back to the vet as the vet told me when she had pneumonia that their life expectancy is only about 3 years. I did not want to put her through surgery so we watched and waited for any sign of discomfort. The lump grew fairly rapidly. It was about the size of a quarter, but not perfectly round, and I noticed that it was starting to interfere with walking but she still did not appear to be in pain. I had to make the decision to put her down just previous to the holidays(for anyone who has children will understand, I could not bare to have my little boy wake one morning near Christmas and her be gone). It was a very difficult decision to make but that is what we are here for, to love them while we have them but to make the right decision to let them go when we know it is for the best. IMO I would not put her through the surgery. Molly had been a completely happy healthy girl up until the pneumonia and I often wonder if that was cancer to, maybe in her lungs(?). We bought her about 6 months of time after the pneumonia and then she went to the RB. If I have to do it again I would do the same thing(of course considering the age of the rat first). I wish you much luck and hope that Tia just had a benign tumor.

07-09-2007, 01:24 PM
Zara i'm so sorry to hear about beautiful Tia - like many others, my heart sank when I saw the title of this thread.

Did you manage to get to a vet today? I've got my fingers crossed for Tia, but know that whatever you decide is going to be right for her.

Keep us updated. ((((((hugs))))))

Miss Z
07-11-2007, 12:23 PM
Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and words.

Tia went to the vet on Monday as planned, and I phoned my mum as soon as I could that day (I was on a school trip in the Peak District). The vet gave her a check up and confirmed that it's most likely a mammary tumour. He couldn't put his finger on whether it was malignant or benign, but he did say that at the end of the day it doesn't make much difference treatment wise. Apparently, the tumour had swollen quite a bit during the night, and the vet suspects that there is some sort of infection within it, most likely mastitis. She has a week's worth of antibiotic oral solution, and then it's decision time.

I'm doing my best to reach a decision, and like many of you have mentioned, I'm leaning towards her not having the op. I know that I would feel like I sent her to her death if she just didn't survive the anaesthetic. Then again, if I just let the tumour run its course and then braced myself for the final outcome, I wouldn't be able to stop myself thinking that perhaps the op could have helped. One thing I have decided, though, is that if the mastitis is not stopped by her medication and she starts to experience pain, then I will take action. I couldn't leave her to suffer.

In her self, she has been well today, she was a little lethargic yesterday but I think the antibiotics make her a bit drowsy. She really hates the stuff, poor girl. Today we put some honey on the end of the syringe to encourage her to take it (she's now realised what comes out of the syringe and she won't take it for anyone!) and I made a huge fuss of her when she reluctantly gulped down the last mouthful of the medicine.

I have to be straight - whatever happens, it's the beginning of the end. I just have to decide how much I can prolong the end until it becomes unfair for Tia.

I'll take some pics of her this week and post them, I think it's high time you saw her again.

Thanks again everyone, Tia sends heartfelt kisses!

07-11-2007, 12:51 PM
Oh Zara I am so sorry that Tia is sick.(((HUGS)))

Suki Wingy
07-11-2007, 03:31 PM
Oh Zara ((hugs)) I have tears in my eyes just reading this and how well you are dealing, I can't imagine... :(

07-12-2007, 09:05 AM
Oh Zara,

I'm so sorry. You, girl, have a heart of gold. Know that we are here for you. Give Tia hugs and kisses from Winkie and me. She know's she is loved and she was very lucky to have you in her life.



My Peanuts
07-12-2007, 09:47 AM
Zara, I'm so sorry to hear Tia is not doing well. Prayers are on the way.

I'm about to be a rat mom for the first time, my boys were born about 2 weeks ago and they come home in the middle of next month. From all that I read, short life spans tend to be a curse for the rat mom. Even though her life seems short, it is in fact a full life for a rat and no matter the outcome, that should bring you comfort.

Zara, you are very mature, not just for your age but for an adult, and if it comes to you making that very very tough choice I know you will choose the right thing.

07-12-2007, 10:06 AM
Zara, you are very mature, not just for your age but for an adult, and if it comes to you making that very very tough choice I know you will choose the right thing

I couldn't have said it better, My Peanuts.

07-12-2007, 01:07 PM
I couldn't have said it better, My Peanuts.

I third that.

Im sorry to hear it not good news.

What ever you choose to do It will be the best for Tia.

Miss Z
07-12-2007, 04:46 PM
Oh my, everyone, I really don't know what to say. You guys are some of the greatest friends I have, even though I've yet to meet any of you. Thank you all SO much for being there for me and Tia. It means a lot.


Tia's been more active today and has been running around my room like she always has done this afternoon. The tumour doesn't feel any bigger yet, and still there's no sign of pain when I touch it, so hopefully we've killed of this infection before it took hold.

Pics should be up either tomorrow or Saturday, I had a little photoshoot with her this afternoon and she was a very good little girl and posed for the camera.

I'll update this thread every now and then when there are any updates that you may wish to be informed of.

Diana, I wish you the best of luck with your future rat-kids, you will love being a rat mum for the first time. And it is true that the short rodent life is a curse for all rodent owners, but I am sure that you will treasure every minute you have with your little buddies just as much as I do with Tia. You'll never forget a moment.

And thanks again, to all who have been sending good vibes, thoughts and prayers.

Miss Z
07-17-2007, 06:13 AM
Just a little update.

Tia finished her course of medication, and we took her to the vet again yesterday. He had a feel of the tumour and whilst he doesn't think it's much bigger (which could mean that it will grow slowly - we can only live in hope), as the antibiotics didn't reduce it, then it's definitely a mammary tumuor.

We discussed all aspects of treatment. I just can't put her through the op. All the stress and pain she will experience with a small chance of her surviving the anaesthetic anyway, plus knowing full well that it could be fruitless and it could come back, it's not fair on her.

There is steroid treatment that she can be prescribed that could slow down the growth of the tumuor, but these have so many side-effects including making her aggressive and even shortening her life span anyway, so I'm not prepared to risk that.

Instead we agreed that we will just monitor how it goes. If there ever does appear to be a rapid growth in the lump or it seems to be causing her pain, we can telephone the surgery and collect some more antibiotics and anti-inflammitory solutions. I can't say I'm satisfied, but I think we have chosen the safest and kindest method of 'treatment' for Tia.

Thanks for continued support and prayers. She's been doing really well lately, pretty much as full of life as she always has been, and still loving her food!

07-17-2007, 01:25 PM
I'm glad you've pretty much come to a conclusion on what you're going to do. It must put your mind at ease a bit. I know Tia is in great hands, and you're doing a great thing by thinking of her well-being first.

Again, ((((hugs)))) to you & Tia. You both are still in my thoughts. :)

My Peanuts
07-30-2007, 01:07 PM
Any updates on Tia? I hope she is doing well.

Miss Z
07-30-2007, 01:47 PM
Any updates on Tia? I hope she is doing well.

Thanks, Diana, I'd forgotten that I needed to update this thread.

Yes, she seems to be getting through life quite comfortably, but I must say she has slowed down a lot physically. I think I recognise this purely as old age kicking in rather than the result of the tumour, although I don't suppose it's helping. Of course, there's life in the old rat yet, she's still keep to wander around my room and come and sit on my lap in the garden when weather permits us to do so, but she's no where near as lively and wriggly as she once was and is much more content to sit still and be fussed over than ever before. I've also noticed that she has a bit of bother getting up the ramps to the different levels of her cage; almost dragging herself up on the ladder, which is quite steep, and I have helped her up on a few occasions. Once she's level again, she moves normally except her steps are ever so slightly more laboured. I wondered, do rats sometimes suffer from artheritis? I've checked her over and she definitely has no injuries to any of her limbs, but I have noticed for some time her back legs do seem stiffer than they used to be.

Good news is, though, the tumour is barely bigger since the last update. I think the only growth since then has been a small, peppercorn sized protrusion forming on the original tumour mass, but other than that, it's the same. It doesn't seem to cause her any pain or discomfort at all, so I'm hoping that the tumour is not overly aggressive and will be a slow-grower.

Thanks for the continued support, everyone.

07-30-2007, 02:03 PM
It sucks when they get older. I am sorry Tia seems to have slown down a bit, but with you I'm sure she will get the proper care she needs. :) Good luck to you both!!

Miss Z
07-31-2007, 04:58 PM
She's worse. All of a sudden.

I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but I think the tumour has spread to her brain. The stiffness isn't artheritis, it's paralysis. It started in her tail, and it's steadily moving up her spinal column. She's been acting odd recently, like she's vacant, and been doing things that are unlike her, such as momentarily pausing and chattering to herself, bulging her eyes and wetting herself in her sleep. Only in the last few hours she's been so lethargic and she's keeping movement to an absolute minimum.

She still eats and drinks and as far as I'm aware is passing urine and faeces, but she can no longer hold her food in her front paws as her back paws are too weak to support her. Just an hour ago, she was eating something from her food bowl and suddenly started to choke as she had evidently eaten the last chunk in one gulp. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, for at least 3 minutes she lay gasping before I think she did manage to cough it back up and chew it. I can't let her live like this, what if that happens again when I'm not around?

She can barely turn herself in her bed to get comfy, I have to help her do so. It's no way for her to live, and she seems so far gone, I think nothing's really going to help her now. My mum will be getting her prescription of antibiotics tomorrow in the faint hope that they'll do some good, but somehow I doubt it. I have made my decision that if she is no better than this in 3-4 days, then I cannot continue her suffering any longer. It's not fair to Tia, and she comes first.

I think the end may be near. :(

My Peanuts
07-31-2007, 05:33 PM
I'm so sorry Zara. I always say this, but one of the most wonderful things we can do for our pets is to end their suffering. Hang in there. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Tia.

Your PT family is here for you.

07-31-2007, 06:11 PM
Oh no :(
((((BIG HUGS)))))
Prayers and thoughts for you and Tia.

07-31-2007, 09:35 PM
I haven't been on much, and it breaks my heart to come back to see this. :(
Major (((((hugs)))) & positive vibes headed your way. You both will continue to be in my thoughts.
I'm hoping for all the best.

Miss Z
08-07-2007, 01:49 PM
Sorry I didn't update sooner, I just wanted to keep monitoring Tia and making sure her condition was definitely stable before I posted this.

She seems better. Now, I'm not going to say miraculously better, because she is definitely not the rat she once was, but she's still trying her hardest to be Tia. I let her 'run' around my room each day just the same as always, although now it's more of an amble around my room. Yet, an amble is better than nothing. She still likes to sniff everything as she goes along, and shuffles over in my direction when I call her.

Her back legs aren't great. Her muscles in that area have vastly decreased in size and she can no longer get herself up to the next level in her cage. So, she just lives on the bottom part now. However, her cage is massive (it's intended to house about 4 rats), so it isn't like she's cramped or anything, and she gets at least 2 hours a day outside her cage. She sleeps a lot more than she used to, which is understandable, but she is still eating well and drinks pretty well too.

She's been on her medication and is taking it well, even though I think she's getting rather tired of having a syringe shoved in her mouth every day. She has two drops of Metacam on a treat as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory (for the mammary tumour, which is still walnut sized for the moment, and also may help with any pain she may experience in her legs) and 0.25ml of Baytril antibiotic to try and stem the tumour growth. I also give her 2-3ml of water in a syringe morning and night, just to make sure that she's definitely hydrated.

I'm still debating with myself whether she has a pituatary tumour or the paralysis is just due to old age. Sometimes I think the way she suddenly stops, stares and teeth chatters randomly are signs of senility, but then she doesn't seem to exhibit the posture associated with brain tumours. I won't rule it out, but I'm hoping that it's not the case and that the paralysis will be managable.

She isn't in the clear, but I think she's as good as she's going to get. I'll post some pics of her and the gerbils once I've posted this.

Thanks for all the thoughts and support.

08-07-2007, 06:23 PM
Zara, I know what you are going through. Sadly, as pets age so does their bodies. I am glad to hear Tia has slightly improved, hopefully it will continue. I love Tia and I hope she can keep getting better. She's a fighter for sure.

08-07-2007, 09:52 PM

Tia will be in my thoughts and prayers. Let her now that her Winkie wants Tia to know that he loves and misses her very much and will be in his thoughts as well.

(((((((HUGS))))) to you my favorite PTer! ;)

My Peanuts
08-09-2007, 10:24 AM

That's the best news that could have been hoped for. She is eating and drinking and that says a lot. More prayers on the way.


Miss Z
08-12-2007, 06:50 AM
Well, her condition has worsened a little since the last update, but in all honesty, that had to be expected.

She seems a little paralysed in her front paws now, although not yet drastically so. She really has to flip those back paws in order to go forward, but still, she is making the attempt to move around. I cling onto this as a sign that she still wants to live.

She still eats and drinks, although now it's a little more complicated. I'm not sure whether she's getting some paralysis in her jaw, as she seems to have a little difficulty biting a piece off crunchy foods. I've checked her incisors and they seem to be in pretty good nick, considering that Tia has never been a chewer and has never had her teeth clipped in her life. I can't really get a good look into the back of her mouth, but as it's an actual biting issue, and not a chewing one, I don't suppose that's where the pain, if any, is coming from. Please correct me if I'm wrong, though, and I will have another look.

So, beause of this, I crush half of her food into smaller pieces for her, which she finds so much easier to eat. All the fresh food she receives now is soft, such as banana, pear, cheese, overripe strawberries, and she still enjoys her leftovers as she wolfed down some lasagna last night. She's lost her belly, but I don't think she's morbidly thin. As far as drinking goes, she seems to have on and off days. Three days ago, I didn't see her drink once. When I offered her some water cupped in my hand, she turned her nose up. The next day was the same, and I was getting rather desparate, increasing the water I give her by syringe to 4 ml 3 times a day. However, yesterday and today her drinking habits are back to normal, as I type she is drinking now.

The tumour is bigger. I don't think the antibiotics are helping much. It's now about the size of a rather squished ping pong ball. http://petoftheday.com/i/our_smilies/frown.gif

The biggest dilemna I face is that I am going on holiday in exactly one week and will not be around to care for her. Tia, and the gerbils, are booked to stay with a woman who specialises in caring for small animals whilst their owners are away. Tia stayed with her last year, and the woman spoilt her rotten and said she was one of the best guests she'd ever had. I think this woman is somehow linked with an animal care association, but I can't remember exactly.

The thing is, Tia needs so much attention right now that I only feel that it's being done right if I do it myself. Just to name a few, she needs her meds once a day, water given to her by syringe if she appears not to drink, her food crushing, help with grooming, her muscles in her back legs flexing by hand to stop them seizing up, her back end cleaning as she often urinates on herself and cannot clean it all, her eyes sometimes need wiping too as she gets dust around them and cannot balance enough on her hind legs to clean them with her fores; all that on top of everything that needs to be done for a healthy rat. I know this woman wil care for her well, but can we honestly expect her to give up so much time to look after her?

And of course, the fear of her not being there when I return is eating me up. Tia pines fo me strongly when I go away, even when other members of my family are around. I'll be gone for two weeks with the rest of my family, and whilst she's sustained this before, she's ill this time. The thought that perhaps she's staying strong because I'm around her for at least 75% of the day is whirring constantly around my head. What if, when I've gone, she becomes depressed and loses the will to carry on? I also cannot bear the thought of her in the vet surgery, about to be PTS, wondering where I am...

I just have to hope that she can somehow, miraculously, keep going.

08-12-2007, 06:55 PM
Zara, I know Im in London, but if there is anyway I can help out let me know, I dont mind ratsitting for you if you can possibly bring her down here? Im not sure what she is like for travelling? You know I take Ronnie everywhere with me and my work is only 15 minutes away from my house so it wouldnt be far so she could possibly come to work with me. Ronnie enjoys travelling but I guess not all rats do.

Im sure if you explain to the lady whats happening she will keep a close eye on her for you.

Let me know if I can help at all.

08-12-2007, 07:00 PM
Zara, I really don't know what to say but I know you will make the best decision for Tia and you're taking wonderful care of her. (((HUGS)))

Miss Z
08-13-2007, 07:12 AM
Zara, I know Im in London, but if there is anyway I can help out let me know, I dont mind ratsitting for you if you can possibly bring her down here? Im not sure what she is like for travelling? You know I take Ronnie everywhere with me and my work is only 15 minutes away from my house so it wouldnt be far so she could possibly come to work with me. Ronnie enjoys travelling but I guess not all rats do.

Im sure if you explain to the lady whats happening she will keep a close eye on her for you.

Let me know if I can help at all.

Holly, that is really kind of you to offer, but I doubt that we'd be able to find time to get down to London. My dad has quite a busy week at work so I don't think he would have chance to take time off before the holiday. My brother is a football club all this week, so my mum needs to be around to pick him up each day. Tia doesn't seem to mind travelling, but of course, I've never taken her on a journey via car for more than 20 minutes.

But once again, that's so sweet of you to offer, and shows what great and caring people there are on this forum. ((hugs))

I'm going to telephone the lady this afternoon and explain to her the amount of care Tia will need. I'll also have to telephone the vets and book an appointment for sometime this week; we're going to get her checked over as she's nearly finished her course of antibiotics. We will also have to give permission for Tia to be PTS if she becomes gravely ill whilst we're away :( , and I will explain this to the lady too. I've started to type out a care sheet for the lady too, because there's quite a lot to remember and I just want to be sure than an aspect of her care isn't forgotten.

I checked the lady's card and she does have an award in small animal care, which gives me some hope that she will know what to do if there are any crisis situations whilst I'm not there, and will recognise the signs of pining from those of pain.

Tia seems about the same today, still quite lethargic but willing to shuffle about and tuck into whatever you offer her. We've noticed that it's most difficult for her to move around in her cage, as the shavings obstruct her a bit, but the bare floor is a little slippy for her. So I had a brainwave and nicked the rubber mats from my dad's car, gave them a good scrub with disinfectant and put them on the base of her cage instead. I think this makes it a lot easier for her to move about now. But I don't know how long it'll take my dad to realise that they're missing. ;)

Thanks for all your continued support, everyone, all kisses and scritches for Tia were much appreciated by the little madam herself. :)

08-13-2007, 03:42 PM
These are the times I wished I could drive.. :rolleyes: !!

Just wanted to point out if that lady has the internet you might want to give her a link to www.fancy-rats.co.uk . That site has so much information and the people really do know their stuff on there. Im sure she will apreciate the sheet.

If its anyway possible dont dismiss my offer its always open for Tia if its needed. :)

Miss Z
08-18-2007, 09:25 AM
So, I'm off to Cyprus tomorrow. And we've come to the point at which I was dreading, leaving Tia in someone else's care.

My mum had a good conversation with the woman who is taking care of her. She seems prepared to take everything on, which is good. I've written her a list of stuff that needs doing, and what to look for in Tia's behaviour. I'll demonstrate to her how to administer her medication, too.

We took her to the vets a few days ago, and thankfully they were quite happy with her condition. She's lost a lot of muscle around her back end, but isn't underweight or dehydrated, which is great. They said I must have been doing a good job with her medication and flexing her muscles for her, along with cleaning her up after any 'accidents', as she doesn't appear to be suffering and looks considerably bright-eyed and perky given all her ailments.

The tumour is an ugly beast now. She's getting a bit of hair loss around it as it swells so she's getting a pink, ping pong ball sized lump behind her right foreleg. :( However, she barely seems to pay it any attention and she doesn't scratch or bite at it, as the vets said she may do. She's a tough little girl, I'll give her that.

Even though things have looked up since her last scare, I know I will worry myself sick over her for the duration of the hoilday. I'm going to keep in contact with the lady. I just hope I don't get 'the' call which will say that it's time...

A little PT magic would be a great benefit to Tia and I, it's kept us going so far!



08-18-2007, 09:46 AM
Zara, I don't know what to say. I've got tears my eyes because I can only imagine how hard going away is going to be for you. Try and remain positive for Tia's sake....she may pick up that somethings wrong or worrying you?

I'm sure the lady who is caring for her will give beautiful Tia as much undivided attention as she possibly can. If she knows the situation and hasn't run a mile...she's a great person. Not many people would take on the responsibility of a poorly animal.

I will keep both Tia and yourself in my thoughts whilst your away...but please promise to give an update as soon as you can. I feel like I know you and Tia....and I've never even met you!!

Take care and have a great holiday xxx

Miss Z
08-18-2007, 04:10 PM
Aw, thank you Mandy. ((hug))

We took Tia on 'her holidays' this afternoon, along with the gerbils too, of course. My room feels desperately empty without her!

I'm confident that this woman will do good with her, whatever happens. She seems really concerned for her welfare and obliged to everything I explained that needed to be be done. She's in a quiet area of the woman's house in a cosy room, so I'm hoping she feels safe and comfortable. The gerbils are in the same room as her, and even though Tia doesn't care much for them, I think they'll remind her of home.

I hope the gerbils will be alright too! This is the first time they've been away from home, after all.

I have my fingers crossed tightly that she'll pull through. But whatever happens, I'm glad we took a chance on her, as she showed us what a fighter she is. I just hope the risk pays off.

This holiday better be flaming good, because I need to relax! ;)

And thanks everyone for the support, you're the best.


Miss Z
09-03-2007, 03:41 PM
Tia got through the two weeks almost without any problems whatsoever! It's the best I could have hoped for. In fact, the gerbils caused far more trouble than she did (see my gerbil thread also in pet general). Tia is one tough cookie, and she doesn't go down without a fight.

She took her medicine and was very well-behaved according to her carer, and was more than prepared to potter about the room in which she was kept. She was eating and drinking well, although a couple of times the lady gave her a little water via syringe to keep her well hydrated.

The tumour has grown and now it sticks out at a strange angle under her foreleg, but she still seems to ignore it as best she can. The paralysis has worsened slightly, but not yet drastically so as I feared it would.

Apparently, Tia had another choking incident, but once again managed to bring it back up herself. We don't know what got stuck in her throat, but we can just be thankful that she managed to sort it herself.

She's fighting on, and I'm proud of her. She's really not letting either of her ailments destroy her lust for life. I reckon she's a real inspiration.

All those thoughts and prayers worked in those weeks I was dreading most, so, from Tia, my family and I, thank you all so much. At least now I know I will be around for when the inevitable happens.


09-03-2007, 08:11 PM
Dear Miss Tia,

Winkie here. I just want you to know I think you are the most beautiful, BRAVEST rat I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I think about you all the time and you are in my prayers.

Love and kisses,

Your Winkie ;)

09-03-2007, 08:15 PM
I was going to ask but I didn't know how she was so I was waiting for your post. Glad to hear she made it through okay. I know you were worried about that. Thanks for letting us know! Keep it up Tia.

09-03-2007, 08:55 PM
That's wonderful that Tia is doing well.(((HUGS)))to you and Tia.

Miss Z
09-06-2007, 02:46 PM
I knew I would be typing this sooner or later.

She's really not well at all now. Her back legs are awful, and it breaks my heart to see her trying her best to move around now. She seems stiff and uncomfortable, plus as she's got no strength whatsoever to lift herself off the ground, she's urinating on herself so much that it's getting hard to clean it up every hour or so. It can't be nice for her covered in pee all the time. :(

She's still eating, but doesn't move about as much as before, and can no longer reach her water bottle. I have to take it down and offer the nozzle to her to allow her to drink.

I am contemplating where exactly I draw the line that marks good and bad quality of life.


09-06-2007, 02:58 PM
I would draw the line when Tia cant eat anymore. Although is sounds like she is already not having an very good life.

09-06-2007, 03:17 PM
OMG! Zara! (((Hugs))) and mega (((Hugs))) :eek: :(

A tiny kiss to Tia aswell.

Zara, you have been the perfect mummy/owner for Tia, just do what you think is right for her, you have done that so far and Tia has had a wonderful life...

(((Hugs again)))


09-06-2007, 03:18 PM
I'm very sorry she's doing so poorly. Unfortunately you can't be there 24 hours a day to clean her up and offer her water, so you need to weigh her ability to tolerate longer periods while you are sleeping and at school without water and without being cleaned=( Only you can decide.

09-06-2007, 03:31 PM
Aw, Zara, I am so sorry. I know you have been dreading this, and I fully support any decision you choose to make.


09-06-2007, 03:35 PM
Oh Zara.. I wish I could just reach through the computer and give you and Tia biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig hugs! :(


09-06-2007, 04:03 PM
It breaks my heart to read this. :(
I'll continue to keep her in my thoughts until that day comes.
I know the hardest thing is not being able to be greeted by that darling face of hers after its her time(its how it is everyday without Sid here), but take pride in the fact that you've stuck with her through thick and thin.
Zara, Tia is the luckiest rat in the world to have you as her mum. There are few people in this world that would go to such lengths for any rodent, and I'm glad to know that you are one of them.

Major ((((((HUGS)))))) to you & Miss Tia.

09-06-2007, 04:50 PM

You are in my thoughts and prayers honey, as is Tia. She lived a wonderful life with you, sweetheart. Just remember all the wonderful times you had with her. Your heart will tell you when the time has come. Listen to it.



Tia my darling,

This is your love, Winkie. I just want you to know that you are and always will be my first love. Your love from afar.

Love and kisses,

Your Winkie ;)

My Peanuts
09-06-2007, 05:37 PM
I'm so sorry Zara. I really don't know what else to say. As you have been, Tia and you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

09-06-2007, 08:12 PM
Aww I'm so sorry about your little rat Tia,

I hope she breaks threw this, of course I want her to be with you longer, get better little Tia! :(

09-07-2007, 01:38 PM

I know I haven't been here a lot and have really trying to avoid here but anyways I just wanted to let you know that you as well as Tia are in my thoughts and that I am praying and hoping for the best for both of you.

I know Tia is strong and I know she can fight this.


09-08-2007, 02:54 AM
Hey Zara,

I'm so sorry to hear about the decline in Tia's health....she has been a fighter for so long now. I'm sure I speak to everyone when I say that you have been a great fur mum to Tia and your courage and adult look on life is an inspiration to us all.

Your heart will tell you when it is time to make a decision - listen to it.

Sending you big (((((hugs))))) and lots of kisses for Tia.

Take Care xx

09-08-2007, 03:12 AM
How sad it must be to see her struggle to move about. Could you fashion her a little cart with wheels? Some toy car or something? Poor Tia. You'll be in our prayers, still.

Miss Z
09-10-2007, 01:47 PM
... but she has suddenly become quite a lot worse in the space of a few hours.

I'm not sure whether she's had a stroke, but she's lost the use of her left hind leg completely, and she is tilted now when she walks.

That is, if you can call it walking.

It's so harrowing to watch her now that I feel the pain and discomfort for her with every step she takes. She needs a breather at least every 30 seconds, and then finds it quite difficult to get going again. She's eaten a little today, but not an awful lot, although she does usually eat mostly in the late evening so I'm hoping she will find an appetite.

To be honest, though, if she does eat or not, she's another step closer to the bridge, and she's not far off now. If a vet saw her now, I believe s/he would reccommend that she is laid to rest. I'm giving myself a day to think this over, but if I for once believe she is in pain, then make no hesitation, I will not see her suffer for my own selfish needs.

This comes at a time which I really could do without, as another major matter has arisen within my family that I am still getting my head around. At such a time, I would depend on Tia. Now the prospect of losing her in the middle of it sends a cold plummet in my gut. I think I'm heading for another January 06. http://petoftheday.com/i/our_smilies/frown.gif

09-12-2007, 03:39 AM
Thinking of you and Tia Zara xxxx

Pawsitive Thinking
09-12-2007, 08:54 AM
We will help you through it in any way we can

09-12-2007, 03:18 PM

09-12-2007, 09:28 PM

Just wanted to check in and see how Miss Tia is doing? You've been in my thoughts and prayers lately.

09-12-2007, 09:39 PM
Zara...whatever day it is, it will be here in 2007...and we are here for you.


09-12-2007, 09:54 PM
*Hugs* for you and Miss Tia.

Miss Z
09-13-2007, 12:06 PM
That's about as positive as I can get. As I type, she is awake, and attempting with her heart and soul to drag herself to her cheese. I am in awe of her ability to thrive when her body is collapsing around her.

As originally thought, I am now unsure as to whether she had a stroke. You see, it is her left side which seems considerably weakened, yet her head is not tilted quite like I originally imagined. When she manages to shift her weight into a more equal balance, she looks quite normal. It is only when she walks that all her weight flops to the left. Movement is laborious for her. Having said that, she does not confine herself to her bed, and more often than not when I am around, she is up.

I had a scare on Tuesday night, she seemed very limp and unresponsive, and when I laid her on her bed, she did not flinch at all. She lay in the same position until I went to bed myself, and I prepared myself that I might have woken up to find that she had gone. I was distraught, of course, but also considered myself lucky that I would not have to make the decision I'd been dreading, and that Tia would be comfortable, and none the wiser.

I woke the following morning earlier than usual and felt the plummet in my stomach as I remembered, and bracing myself, I climbed out of bed and switched on my desk lamp. And there she was, awake and in the middle of her cage, albeit flipped over to her left, eating the hard boiled egg I'd left in the hope she might gather an appetite.

Of course, that means nothing to the bigger picture. I must be straight here, Tia could go tonight, or she could see out another week. I just don't know how quickly her illnesses will accelerate again, I can only judge that they will be very soon, as the series of events so far has barely left any breathing space. I don't think she can get any worse than she is now and I am not expecting miracles, but as long as she continues to teeth chatter when she feels my touch upon her back, then I cradle and protect her right to live out her final days with the family she loves so much.

I am sorry that I only feel like replying to this particular thread for a while on PT, my mind is just quite preoccupied with more pressing matters, such as this, which I believe prevent me from responding whole-heartedly to those of others. I don't want anyone to think I'm blowing my own trumpet by doing so. I will, however, now reply to the lovely PMs I have been sent, and I apologise for not doing so sooner. Thanks also to everyone who replied and is keeping Tia in their thoughts, I am sure they have kept her with me until now. Now I wish for your thoughts to be with her as her life draws to a close, in hoping that she is satisfied, and knows how loved she is.

09-13-2007, 12:06 PM
Sorry I haven't been posting much Zara. I have been thinking about you and your Tia. I know you will do the right thing for her and give her the best you can do in this difficult time :(

09-13-2007, 02:32 PM
aww you're making me want to cry! This is a lot like what happened to freddie, my cat. she had cancer and we didnt want to do surgery. she was laid to rest in 2005.
I'm so sad it might end that way with Tia.

Tia's got lots of hugs, nuzzles, and licks coming from my end of the computer!

I'm so sorry this is happening to you and Tia. :(

09-18-2007, 05:22 PM
Zara, I am so sorry I didn't see this update earlier! I am glad to hear Tia still has an appetite, this is such a sad situation to hear of. I feel for you. I went through the same thing with Sassy(who is now much better). I wish you both luck!

How is she doing now?

Miss Z
09-21-2007, 02:19 PM
Sorry I've been away for a bit and haven't updated sooner. With school starting and such, I've been quite busy lately.

Well, she's still with us, pretty decrepit I must say, but she's thriving. Her appetite has diminished somewhat although she doesn't say no to the odd slice of corned beef or hard-boiled egg, and still takes all her medicine brilliantly. We've started to give her baths to get the pee off her fur when she has accidents instead of the baby wipes now, it means that she doesn't need cleaning up so often and makes her feel a lot more comfortable too.

It feels quite odd talking about her now for some reason, whether it's because I know I've already said everything I want to say about her condition in previous posts, or that I'm simply hanging onto each day whilst she's still here and don't want to dampen them, I don't know. All I do know is that the day she departs could be now, could be next week, could be anytime. She has done amazing so far, we really thought we'd have lost her a few weeks ago, and she's battled on up till now. For such a little body and such a tiny heart, she is working overtime to stay put.

I love her to bits and still dread the day that's looming, but I think now I've realised that when it's really time, then it's her body's reward of rest for its efforts.

09-21-2007, 02:26 PM

Hang in there, honey. I know how precious Tia is to you. You're doing the best you can for her right now. Make her comfortable and love her.

My heart and prayers go out to you. Winkie sends Tia all his love too.



P.S. Thanks for the hard-boiled egg idea. I never knew how much Winkie liked them till you mentioned it. He also loves pitted dates.

09-21-2007, 04:37 PM
Thanks for the update. :)
Its nice to hear Miss Tia Maria is still hanging in there, she definately is a fighter.

Give that girl a kiss from me & my gang, will you? We're all hoping that her strength stays as long as comfortably possible.

Still sending good vibes.

09-22-2007, 07:57 AM
Thanks for the update on the beautiful girl. I am glad to hear she is doing okay. It's great to hear that. (((hugs))) Trust me, you will know when it is her time.