Thursday, November 24, 2005

Vash and D'Artagnan: last of their line

Vash or D'Artagnan Vash or D'Artagnan
After Meryl died a few months ago, Vash and D'Artagnan were the last two mice from Rem's litter left alive.

Vash up close
Vash sniffing the camera

Vash was the first to fall ill; in early November he started having trouble breathing (much like his siblings). We put him on antibiotics and fed him lots of ice cream, but within a week he had died, leaving D'Artagnan alone.

We tried to keep D'Artagnan company as best we could; he was still the same chubby, slothful, amazingly friendly mouse, and he'd beg for sunflower seeds whenever we walked by.

D'Artagnan eating
D'Artagnan eating a Rice Krispy

On Sunday we made some roasted cauliflower, and D'Artagnan excitedly wolfed down some extra cauliflower. However, on Monday night we noticed that he was breathing noisily (wheezing), and had started losing weight. We fed him some antibiotic-laced ice cream, which he seemed to have some trouble keeping down. On Tuesday we gave him another batch of antibiotic ice cream, but this time he couldn't keep it down at all: he'd lick at it a little bit, then turn around and regurgitate it onto the bedding. He kept trying to eat the ice cream, but finally gave up. We then force-fed him the antibiotics (using a syringe), which he didn't like at all.

Last night D'Artagnan actively avoided being picked up, something he's never done before. We finally picked him up and fed him his antibiotics, and then held him for a long time. He seemed to perk up, and even shakily explored us (including crawling up onto my shoulder for a while).

Vash or D'Artagnan

This morning D'Artagnan was breathing (and asleep) when we woke up, but when my SO checked on him an hour later he was lying still on the bedding, not breathing. Thus passed the last of Rem's litter, on Thanksgiving Day; none of her litter lived to see a second Thanksgiving dinner.

Three of the six day old mouse babies Three of the six day old mouse babies
Rem's entire litter at six days old. From left to right: Deuce (D'Artagnan), Wide Stripey (Tomoyo), Narrow Stripey (Meryl), Ace (Athos), Genie, and Runt (Vash).

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