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 Post subject: Is it possible for a rat to recover from serious illness?
 Post Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:07 pm
Posts: 34
Hi all

So I'm having an awful week with our Buttons. I've been living abroad for a couple of months and the girls have been living with my mum (who has had rats before and loves them both). I got a call from her on Tuesday night saying Buttons had started dragging her legs behind her quite suddenly and was very lethargic.

By the time I got here yesterday morning she was limp, cold feeling, one bulging eye, head rubbing on the floor and going in circles or doing roly-polys. Took her to the vet who said it could be ear infection, PT or stroke. We have had her on Loxicom and Baytril since Tuesday but no improvement as yet - she is only 1.5 years old and has been spayed.

I am going back tomorrow to ask for a steroid injection for her - but she won't drink or eat anything and tonight has just been laying in my arms making a gurgling sound.

Is it possible she will recover from this? She is still a baby to me and I don't see how this has happened so suddenly. The vet says it can take 4 days for the baytril to kick in.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I have separated her from her cage mate but kept the cages together as Toffee keep aggressively barbering Buttons and Buttons doesn't have the strength or will to push her off.

Any advice or experience would be welcome - I'm going out of my mind with worry. X


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible for a rat to recover from serious illness
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:29 am 
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I'm afraid it sounds pretty serious. :(

An ear infection would not affect her back legs, so it's not that.
A stroke would most likely affect just one side, and although a major stroke could affect her whole body, it would do so from the start rather than there being further deterioration, and if there were to be any improvement it would be showing by now.
A brain tumour of some sort (not necessarily a PT) is possible, but should be treated with steroids, and is obviously not curable.

Another possibility is a severe urinary/kidney infection which has spread to the rest of her system, in which case baytril probably isn't the best antibiotic. I think Septrin is the best for a UTI, but it may have progressed too far to treat effectively.

Rats can recover from quite dramatically bad scenarios, but unless you see some improvement very soon, then it may be kinder to let her go.

Regardless of what happens with Buttons, it sounds like the relationship between her and Toffee isn't the most content, so if you are going to carry on keeping rats, I'd start looking for a couple of kittens quite urgently.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible for a rat to recover from serious illness
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:35 am 
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Agreed. Stop the Loxicom immediately as NSAIDs can't be given with steroids. You're supposed to leave a 24h gap in between them, but honestly, given Buttons' condition, if you want to try a steroid injection I'd risk it even if the gap is less.

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Fondly remembering: Falere the contrary NLA36, Mirala the best and finest NLA36, Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible for a rat to recover from serious illness
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:07 pm
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Thank you both. Overnight her condition had got even worse, and she couldn't swallow the medicane or water even with a syringe, her eyes weren't opening properly and she wasn't even trying to move.

The vet said that the noises she was making were noises of distress and it was unbearable to see her suffer so much, so we let her go.

Absolutely devastated - can't believe we lost her so young and I don't even know what to.

Now looking for an older lady rat to keep Toffee company, as we wanted these to be our last pair - but until the last day they got on incredibly well, so I don't want Toffee to suffer too.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible for a rat to recover from serious illness
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:38 pm 
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It sounds like you did completely the right thing, not that that makes it any easier to cope with. So very sorry x

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible for a rat to recover from serious illness
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:18 pm 
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So sorry for your loss, it really does sound like you did everything that you could. Run free Buttons :rattyrainbow: Give some scritches to Toffee, I hope you find a suitable companion for her soon :hearts:

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible for a rat to recover from serious illness
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:21 pm 
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Thank you all. It's the awful part about loving pets I suppose. I still so shocked as she was so young and we don't know for sure what happened to her. I know this is silly but 3 of my rats that have passed have all had neurological issues and I'm starting to worry it's something I'm doing. Please tell me it's not possible?

Yes on the hunt for a couple of rats to foster with toffee or ex breeding does etc. So if anyone knows of anyone who has some please do let me know. I'd like to get toffee company asap.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible for a rat to recover from serious illness
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:52 pm 
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Based on surveys, it seems the average life expectancy of a pet rat is only around 2 years. 1.5 years may be below average, but that's the thing with averages: sometimes you get more and sometimes you get less. :(

I won't lie; husbandry can affect the likelihood of neurological problems. But genetics is likely an even bigger factor, and age itself is the biggest risk factor of all. I'd be unsurprised to find the same issue arising in closely related individuals; additionally, PTs in particular are very common in older intact female rats. So honestly I'd put it down to age and genetic background. :hearts:

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Poo-shoveller to: Zephyr Delanynder, Lia, and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Falere the contrary NLA36, Mirala the best and finest NLA36, Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
Avatar by Ursula Vernon.


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