This article is from the Winter 2000 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Cindy Seale, Katy, TX
We have a pet rat named “Fluffy.” There is nothing fluffy about him. He has short brown and white fur and it lies close to his skin. But my youngest daughter decided that was a good name for him, so “Fluffy” it is.
Anyway, one morning I attended to my daily chores of feeding the fish, turning the warming lamp on the turtle cages, and saying good morning to Fluffy. Usually he is very chipper and eager for a crust of dried bread (his crust of bread is like our coffee—he needs it to get going in the mornings). But instead of looking chipper, he looked puffy. His face was swollen, his eyes were barely open, and his bottom tooth was sticking through his upper cheek. It was very gross. The girls came into the room and shrieked at the sight. “Is Fluffy dead?” they asked. If I looked like that I’d want to be dead, thought. But to calm them down, I said “Of course not. He just needs to go to the dentist.”
So I made an appointment and took Fluffy to the vet. They trimmed his tooth back, squeezed the puss out of his check and gave him an antibiotic shot. All for a mere $25. We could have bought a dozen new rats for the cost of fixing this one up. But he looked and felt much better after the visit. As I was checking out, the assistant informed me that we would need to bring him back every 6 weeks for teeth trimming. I have had several rats in the past and this is the first one that has needed teeth trimming. Obviously Fluffy is not taking care of his own teeth.
Six weeks later I took Fluffy for his next appointment. While he was there the vet discovered a tumor on his side that had to be removed. This time he came home with shorter teeth and six stitches. All for a mere $54.
The girls wanted to know why he got stitches in his side when he went in for teeth trimming. How does one explain that? (It’s kind of like taking your car in for an oil change and finding out what you really need is a new engine.) But they wouldn’t understand that, so I just told them that ‘things happen.’
It’s only four weeks before our next vet visit. I already dread it. I’m not even sure I can convince Fluffy to go. He thinks the dentist goes a little overboard on his teeth trimming. I tend to agree.