Hi all - this is gonna be a depressing post. Sorry.
This is Bartleby
He's a degu.
When we first got him and his brother, we were told he'd they'd be very timid for at least a few days, and we should expect them to cower from us. When I opened their cage to put in some food: B ran up my arm, and sat on my shoulder. This became his favourite place every time I came home.
A very intelligent animal, he quite often helped us with his more troublesome brother (aptly named Loki), and loved to be set challenges to solve.
He soon learnt to stand on his hind legs to get involved in conversations, recognised mine and my girlfriends voice and ran to greet us, and generally amused and delighted on a daily basis.
This bank holiday weekend, we decided to visit the home town of hastings, so as on previous occasions took the degus with us to stay in the spare cage at my mothers place.
As usual this was fine, but everything changed when we got home.
We let them out, and they ran around as usual while we got on with things.
Then I found Bartleby shaking and limping across the floor towards his cage.
When I scooped him up he cuddled into me and continued to shake. It appears he had a stroke or seizure of some kind. He was listless, unsure of what to do.
With B sitting under my chin keeping warm, I did a google for help. We quickly got him a warm hot water bottle and a blanket to sit on, put some water and oats in a lid and tried to get him to rest.
There were no vets in the area with emergency staff who had any experience with Degus - so we'd have to wait till morning to take him.
So began a night of him cuddling with me, my girlfriend, or his brother - all the while him getting wobblier and limping more as he went. He had trouble eating and drinking had to be encouraged by us before he could deal with it.
As we crested 3am he decided he just wanted to be in his cage, and Loki took over care duties. He helped his brother to a tshirt I'd put in there at first. and they bedded down.
But then got him up on a platform where they have a tent with their bedding in. He put Bartleby inside, stuffed it with newspaper, and got in the front. They stayed there all night.
When morning came, B had trouble keeping his eyes open. He was still moving, albeit very laboured.
My GF took him to the vet while I tried to placate Loki.
The vet backed up my suspicions and agreed it looked like he'd had a stroke. She gave him a hydration shot, and gave us some syringes and a pouch of critical care formula to give him to try and get him liquid and nourishment.
Bartleby was again sat on me, but on a small blanket this time, on my lap. He alternated from there to being in the crook of my arm,each time getting slower and weaker. His brother ran over and cleaned his fur every so often, and usually sat with him for a few minutes until he moved again.
We managed to get him eating critical care every 30 mins or so, but less and less each time.
He moved up to lying on my chest, dragging himself until I moved him. He lay on his side and looked up at me. Then very softly chirruped every time I stroked him. Something they usually only do when very happy.
After 20 mins or so of this his heart rate exploded and he started really shaking and his muscles and jaw tensed.He was having another seizure.
All my girlfriend and I could do was hold him and talk to him while he went through it, he kept looking at us throughout, and was gripping my shirt with his paws.
He then stopped, for a second we thought he'd passed through it. But he was limp, and no responsive. He'd passed away in my arms.
So, why this post?
Partly as a memorial to Bartleby, partly because I really need to get this down in words, and partly to help anyone who sees this symptom in their rodent. Not that there's a happy ending this time.
Mike, I am so very sorry to hear that - Bartleby sounds like a real character. It is sad that he has gone but it sounds as if he wasn't suffering too much and was pleased to be with you both,and the way Loki looked after him is so lovely.
Loki will need lots of love now and I am sure you will give him all your attention so that you can console each other.
It is so tough when we lose an animal we love but they give so much pleasure when they are here, it is worth it.
This is all drivel, I can't think how to say what I mean. Thinking of you though
Oh Domino, how sad. Bartleby looks such a character. He obviously had a very happy life with you and Loki looking after him. His life was all too short, but full of joy. I hope Loki will be okay without his brother too.
I can honestly say I sit reading this in floods of tears I lost my two Rats recently (or what feels like recently) one had a tumor under her back legs that I paid a vet to remove.. (£100) only for 6months later it grew back I was devastated she finally had to be put down at the vets when she could hardly move.. I buried her in the back garden as I have done with most of my animals.. Then about 4 weeks later my other rat passed away... from what I can only assume was a broken heart as she just gave up on life she was fine up until the point the other died..
I post this as a way of giving you some advice.. do EVERYTHING you can to help Loki through this tuff time people don't give rodents a second thought when they pass away and mostly dislike them anyway but they are so intelligent and give so much as long as your a willing parent to them
Really sorry to hear about your small friend passing. I know how you feel my bird passed away in my hands and it truly is sad. Stay strong mate and above all don't forget all the good times you had. Its never selfish to share its more worrying when you keep things in.