Kyuss






Kyuss was a topaz rex dumbo.

Kyuss was from Shunamite rats in Newcastle.

I'd wanted a topaz rat for several years, and was so happy when I was offered Kyuss, along with Warlock.
Kyuss was, like Warlock, a wonderfully gentle, loving, affectionate rat. My brother gave Kyuss the nickname 'cream-puff' on account of how stupidly fluffy and cute he was! Unfortunately, Kyuss had an accident which cut his life short, and resulted in him not having the quality of life he should have had in his later months.
When I took on Freddie and his brother Strudel, I was doing an intro with them and Kyuss's group. Things weren't going too bad, but Freddie was being a bit confrontational with the other rats. Kyuss, who was a high ranking rat at the time, merely wandered over to sniff at Freddie, and got a nip. It was nothing serious, just a warning to keep away. Unfortunately, it seemed to take Kyuss by surprise, and he jumped into the air, landed, then dashed away.
I thought nothing of it at first, as these sorts of things happen all the time in rat intros, and he'd certainly seemed to be able to move quick enough when he ran off! But I then noticed that Kyuss was reluctant to use one of his front legs. I picked him up and manipulated it, but he didn't show any signs of pain. I decided it was probably just a sprain or pulled muscle, so put him back with an aim to keep an eye on it.
The next day, Kyuss was still limping, but the leg was not swollen, warm, discoloured, or any other signs that would indicate a break, so I let him be for a few more days. These kind of injuries in rats are rarely treated with anything by a vet. Even a break in a rat's leg is usually not given anything other than perhaps a painkiller; there isn't a lot you can do with sore legs in rats other than let them heal on their own.
Soon, Kyuss began to use the limb tentatively, so I figured he was healing. But a short while later, it seemed to once again be causing him trouble, and he was moving it, but knuckling over on it, like he was walking on his balled up fist. I decided then to take him to the vet.

The vet said the pain actually seemed to be coming from his shoulder rather than his leg, and he suspected a small fracture here. But he said that there wasn't anything that could be done about this, other than possibly removing the entire limb, but he didn't reccomend this operation. Other rat people I spoke to told me that limb removal ops in rats are best avoided, and that even if he isn't using the limb properly, its better to have one non-functioning limb than no limb at all.
My vet said that it was likely on its way to healing up and just to keep an eye on it to see if it caused him pain. If it did, we would then need to think about whether it was worth attempting an amputation or not.

Kyuss dealt well with his disability for a couple of weeks. He would not use the limb other than for balance, and always had his fist balled up when walking, but he seemed to otherwise be behaving quite normally. This only lasted a short while, however, before he began to show signs of pain. He would sleep excessively, not want to move unless necessary, and was just too lethargic and inactive for a rat of his age.
I took him back to the vet who said that it was now not an option to do a surgery, and the only thing we could do would be to give him an anti-inflammatory and painkiller, and see how he goes. If this helped, he could be on it for up to 6 months without problems, but ultimately, this was a problem that would probably have to result in a euthanasia at some point.
Kyuss was put onto Metacam, which did seem to brighten him up somewhat, and I began to lessen his dose over time to see how little I could get away with giving him. Soon, he was off the medication totally, and didn't seem to need it anymore.

The original injury happened in September, and Kyuss was put to sleep in June, so his decline was a gradual one. His mobility became less and less, to the point where he would scoot along on his chest as nerve damage had made it so he could no longer use either front leg to walk. He could, however, pick up his food, and wash using them; they just weren't strong enough to support him in walking.
For a long time he coped extremely well, still able to eat, drink and live a fairly normal life for an old rat. But in June, there came a point where he could no longer lift himself up enough to get to his water bottle. I would offer him water daily, but it was obvious to me that an animal that cannot get to its water comfortably when it wants to doesn't have quality of life. He still wanted to eat and drink, but it was a struggle for him.
Having to have Kyuss put to sleep was a horrible decision to have to make. In his head, he was still a bright, perky, affectionate rat with a distinct child-like joy at the world. But his body just couldn't cope any longer. He was only 2.

Why Kyuss? Kyuss is the name of the band Josh Homme was in before Queens of the Stone age. Thusly, it is the name I gave to the rat character I based on him, and I always wanted an orange rat in real life to name after him. Like Warlock, Kyuss had his name even before I picked him up.

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