This past week, Janet and Chrissy, two of our foster rats, started their day like they usually do with their foster mom, Tracey, by enjoying their morning yogurt drop treat. These rats were part of a larger group of over 35 rats who were surrendered to us due to their owner being overwhelmed with animals in the home. Many of the rats were sent to various rescues and shelters throughout the state, and quite a few of them were sent into our foster homes in order to receive additional care and socialization. Janet’s foster mom, Tracey, is a veterinary assisting instructor with extensive rat experience and her own pet rats that she even brings with her to school where she teaches at Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford. Janet, after receiving her morning yogurt drop treat when she arrived with her foster mom at work, began to show some signs that she was having a tough time breathing. An observant student from the vet assisting program noticed a significant amount of drool with pieces of the pink rat treat she had taken. She was having trouble breathing and holding her body in a very stiff, arched posture. Since rats can’t vomit, she was having a difficult time clearing her air pathways and her foster mom became worried.

Tracey began to clean out her oral cavity as best as possible, but when things were not improving, it was clear that Janet needed more intervention, so she was brought to the Angell at Nashoba Clinic on site. Recognizing this was an emergency situation, they offered their support, even without being set up to treat exotics. The staff administered oxygen and heating support as Janet’s temperature had fallen dangerously low. Dr. Amber Leavis was quick to offer educational radiographs as they were an important tool in assessing how negatively affected Janet’s airway was. The entire team at the Angell at Nashoba clinic went above and beyond in supporting Janet and her foster mom. Oxygen support at an emergency hospital and invasive care come with a significant cost and it is hard to invest major finances without having a better idea of whether an animal will make it through the treatment or not. 

Dr. Laurence Sawyer DVM, and the Medical Director at the Angell at Nashoba Clinic, helped Janet’s foster mom do a full exam of Janet’s oral cavity and dislodge any material they could find that was stuck. Veterinary technicians helped with their inventive thinking by preparing an anesthetic machine for a rat and warming up rice bags for warmth.They also assisted Dr. Leavis with the radiographs.  

Finally, Janet was able to go home with Tracey who provided her with round the clock supportive care in the hopes that the multiple antibiotics prescribed by Dr. Leavis would fight off any potential of pneumonia. By providing warmth, syringe feeding, and lots of TLC, we all held out hope that Janet might recover… and Janet did just that! By the next day, she was able to eat on her own, was quite active, and her temperature normalized. Their generous care from the staff at Angell at Nashoba and Tracey’s quick action helped save Janet who is now doing very well. Janet’s sister, Chrissy, was also very happy to have her cagemate back to normal.  Rats are proven to show great empathy for other rats, and humans as well.  

Without the willingness of the Angell at Nashoba Clinic to jump in and help, we are not sure how things would have ended up for Janet. They graciously donated their time and resources to help us give Janet the best chance she had at survival- and it paid off! Janet and Chrissy are now enjoying lots of love, socialization, and play time while they await their new home which they will be heading to on the week of Christmas. Janet certainly experienced a Christmas miracle!

Angell at Nashoba is a clinic dedicated to providing quality care to the general public as well as offering deeply discounted services for qualified low income families. They are a great clinic with a major focus on supporting pet owners who may not be able to afford the high costs of veterinary medicine. If you are interested in learning more about the Angell at Nashoba Community Veterinary Clinic, you can click on the link provided below to access their website.

Angell at Nashoba Community Veterinary Clinic:




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