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The journey of Audrey the blind, bald rat

Updated: Jan 8

Audrey the rat arrived at the sanctuary in April 2022 with her sister Edith. Audrey is a hairless rat and Edith is a patchwork hairless rat.


Patchwork hairless rats are a mixture of bald and furred. As they grow, their hair will consistently fall out, only to grow back in a new spot. Patchwork rats do not experience pain from their hair falling out, which happens around once every week.


Hairless rats are exactly like their furred siblings, except that they happen to have little to no hair. Also known as nude or Sphinx rats, these wrinkly naked rodents are just as loving and cute you just need to be aware they will have extra needs. Their skin is sensitive so will often need moisturiser and they will easily get scratched by themselves and any cage mates as they don’t have the thick protective fur. They also need to be kept warm and free from any draughts (like all rats but even more important with hairless animals).

WHEN SHE ARRIVED

Audrey never looked quite right after we took her in - she had a head wobble and was unsteady on her feet. The vet thought her eyes seemed like they could be infected so she was put on medication. She had 2 further lots of eye treatments before it was decided that the worse of the 2 eyes would need to be removed. This was a worrying diagnosis for such a young rat as the aesthetic carries so many risks along with a big operation to remove an eye. When rats move their heads from side to side it is often a sign of sight issues and the rocking is them merely trying to focus.


OPERATIONS

Amazingly she pulled through the eye removal operation and the vet was surprised how quickly she recovered and was very happy with how the wound was healing. Sadly she wasn’t a happy girl as the other eye was still clearly giving her a lot of pain and discomfort. After another 3 weeks it was decided that the other eye would need to be removed too. We were totally gutted for her to lose the second eye but we wanted what was best for her and so agreed to the second operation.


Again - amazingly she not only survived the second operation but recovered very quickly. She was very bruised with nasty scabs but as these went a new Audrey emerged…She was suddenly full of life, confident and seemed to have a completely different personality. Our fears of her becoming scared and reserved with the loss of her sight could not have been more wrong…now free of pain Audrey was quick, confident and outgoing!


She relies on her other senses and especially her mouth - she licks everything and is constantly looking for food and adventure. She loves to groom Mark and responds to his voice constantly. She does feel for reassurance when she is somewhere she is unfamiliar with but you wouldn’t know it if you met her that she has no sight as she is quicker and more confident than any of our other rescue rats.


We hope Audrey will live a long and full life here at the sanctuary with us.





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