And finally! (for now)...
MY RAT WUZZY, PART 5
Wuzzy’s surgery went wonderfully, and she woke up smoothly. None of her very small abdominal organs appeared to be diseased except for her very small uterus, which I removed, along with her very small ovaries.
The uterine and ovarian tissues were sent to a veterinary pathologist for review. My big scare was cancer, for two reasons, both of which you know well:
1) Wuzzy is my rat.
2) I am neurotic.
However, I hope to never let my love for my patients nor my extreme interest in their well being cloud my judgment—I had also written a very extensive rule out list with cancer being the top differential in a senior rat with uterine abnormalities.
I wanted to put a note on the pathology report that said “DOCTOR’S PET” and maybe include a cute picture of Wuzzy. But I know the pathologists who review our cases are excellent. It’s not as if they would put down their doughnut, dust off their microscope and really focus on this one. So, I just sent in the tissues and paperwork, and waited.
After surgery, I had Wuzzy wrapped snuggly in a towel, with only her cute little baldy head showing. Her eyes were half closed, but she was as gorgeous as ever. A kind client said, “What is that?” I held her up and replied, “My rat! She just had surgery.” She looked more closely and said, “Oh! They had to shave her, huh?” After I explained that she was hairless from the start, we both laughed. I realized it was the first time I had laughed in a week.
I have sent many rats and other pets, for that matter, home with very detailed postoperative instructions. I could give you the speech in my sleep. I have never seen one so dedicated to disobeying those instructions as Wuzzy was. And rats do not keep protective cones on. They pull them forward and off in one fell swoop of their nimble little hands. So, I made the cutest little belly wrap! Actually I made ten, and Wuzzy hula-danced out of ten. I folded my arms and scowled. Wuzzy climbed the bars of her toy-less, set-up-for-resting kennel and laughed.
The two of us stayed up most of the night. I answered calls and e-mails about Wuzzy. I am still on an emotional high from all the care I have received from concerned friends and family, and even people I had not met before Wuzzy became sick. Wuzzy got some licks in that night, but her abdominal incision remained intact. So we both won.
Six days later, I received Wuzzy’s two page pathology report, scanned it, and zoned in on the good part: “endometrial hyperplasia with chronic, suppurative and hemorrhagic endometritis,” [i] that is, a uterine infection that can be fatal if not treated. “Ovariohysterectomy should prove clinically beneficial; however, post-surgical monitoring and appropriate antibiotic therapy would be indicated also,” [ii] that is, do what you did. Surgery was diagnostic and curative, another win for both of us.
Fuzzy and Wuzzy’s food came in the mail today, the kind they both love. They are together again in their large habitat with toys and shelves, hiding boxes and snacks. All is back to normal. All is well. Boring, just like I like it.
[i] Antech Diagnostics, Chris A. Schiller, DVM, Diplomate ACVP, Histopathology Report, (Oak Brook, IL.) p.1.
Post from one year ago today...
February 5, 2016