Lando was a black hoodie dumbo.
Lando came to me with his brother/friend Vader.
Lando and Vader came to me after a member of the public called me to say she had gotten them as pets for her daughter, but her daughter had lost interest.
When I arrived to pick the boys up, the little girl in question could not have been more than 3 or 4 years old, and it still boggles my mind to this day why parents get rats for children so young and expect not to have to do a lot of the work themselves.
What depressed me most of all was that as I left with the boys, the little girl became very upset, and the dad said 'don't worry; what shall we get next?'
I can only hope this was said just to placate her.
The boys had been well cared for, however, and I have no issues with how they were looked after; they had a nice big cage, and got regular free range time.
Upon getting Lando home and observing him for a while, I got the feeling something was wrong. While he was incredibly bright, and acting like a normal, happy baby, there was something about the shape of him that didn't look quite right. He was smaller than his brother and the owner told me he always had been. He also had a 'malnourished' look to him, as in he was rather bony around the neck and shoulders and had a skinny, 'match-stick' tail. The boys had been fed on Pets At Home nuggets, which is a pretty poor food, especially for babies, and I have seen signs of malnourishment on baby rats from a diet of these blocks alone. But his brother, Vader, who had been fed the same, looked fine.
As the boys were both quite skittish when they arrived, it was hard to get hold of them, but I needed to check Lando out, and when I was able to, I quickly felt a hard mass in his belly. It was around the size of a small grape at this time, but I knew there and then that Lando was not going to live to see adult-hood.
Internal masses in rats are never good, and usually prove to be fatal.
While I didn't know exactly what the mass was, he'd obviously had it a while for it to get to the size it was, and to stunt his growth. I wondered if it were megacolon at first, but as weeks passed, it became clear it was not that.
Lando enjoyed several weeks of good food, lots of friends, and he was a bright and bouncy baby right to the end. But he then developed diarrhea, and one day he was simply laying, not seeming like he could get comfortable. I knew it was time, and I booked Lando in to be put to sleep.
I did a necropsy on Lando to find out what the mass was, expecting to find a tumour. What I found instead was a lot of nobbles all over his colon, and a large growth, as well as lots of pus. On showing the photos to other rat keepers for advice, the most likely conclusion was that it was CK.
Its always sad when baby rats die so young. Lando never got a chance to have the life he should have had, and he was only with us a few weeks.
Why Lando? Both these boys had Star Wars names because when we were driving back from collecting them, we passed a group of people dressed up as Star Wars characters!