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 Post subject: Advice on caring for sick rats
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:33 pm 
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Posts: 4
Okay - sorry in advance for how long this post will be but we've been through about 6 weeks of constant medical issues now and the situation has gotten complicated to explain. I adopted three adult, female, rats about 10 months ago and things were great until everyone started getting sick/injured this summer. Fleur had enucleation (eye removal) surgery and was separate from the other rats for a couple weeks and just when they were about to go back together Luna and Lilly got lice. The lice exacerbated a respiratory cancer that we didn't know Luna had, I gave her pain killers and antibiotics over the weekend but she got worse so I opted for euthanasia as she was extremely sick. The next day, I came home to find Fleur with diarrhea and respiratory issues. She went into the vet that night, and was treated with antibiotics over the next three weeks, though it turned out not to be an infection but rather some tear drainage as a result of the vet not being able to remove all of her tear duct in surgery. She was perfectly happy despite the odd sneeze so we opted against anymore invasive and to just keep an eye out for worsening symptoms. They also treated her for lice and I was able to put her and Lilly back together, everyone was happy until about a week ago.

Lilly and Fleur are not doing so well as of now. The vet thinks it is related to stress from having lost Luna and being separated for so long, and probably just all the trips to the vet and medications in general. Fleur has developed some sores in her mouth that I am waiting on to heal. I've had her teeth checked and they are not overgrown, the vet thinks it is from the syringe because she has been on a long course of medications and she DOES NOT like to take them. I'm going the meds free route (she was done all of her antibiotics courses anyways) and just letting her do her thing, in hopes that with the reduced stress she will start to feel better. She's still drinking water, but I don't think she is eating as well as she used to and her activity level isnt great. I am making sure to give lots of soft foods to tempt her to eat when she is out to play and she does eat then - I also got a nutritional supplement mash from the vet and shes been eating that.

Lilly is also still not feeling well, she mourned the loss of Luna hard and is now suffering a pretty bad respiratory infection. Baytril didn't work at all, so the vet has ordered in doxycycline and I'm starting that tonight. Also she is on Meloxicam as an anti-inflammatory. Right before our vet appointment yesterday she got a nose bleed (definitely actual blood and not porphryns)!! Thankfully it stopped pretty quickly. The vet cleaned her up and thinks that from all the sneezing that maybe some tiny vessels in her nose have burst. We havent had any more blood in over 12 hours though. She's not really eating much solid food, but she will eat tons of soft foods if I put them out. And aside from her sneezing and laboured breathing, shes in pretty good spirits.

I'm trying to avoid any force feeding as much as possible, because these two seem to be super prone to stress-related illnesses. But I think their eating is improving with me offering lots of extra treats to tempt them, which is also what the vets have suggested.

This whole situation is starting to really wear on all of us though. I'm also working full time on my PhD and I live alone so there is literally no one else to help care for them. I don't know their age, as they are rescues, except that it is at least 18 months based on the fact that they were adults when I got them. Starting to think that maybe they are just getting older and so less resistant to this long term stress they have been under. My plan as of now is to just keep offering tasty foods and keep an eye on drinking, get the doxy into Lilly and hopefully when they feel better things will improve. I'm talking to my vet regularly about their progress and if things get or stay bad we will definitely go back in asap.

If anyone has any advice, or has been through anything similar I would really appreciate the input!


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on caring for sick rats
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:02 pm
Posts: 2708
Location: warrington, cheshire
Oh dear, you are all having a bad time. I can't offer any advice other than what you are doing. Hopefully somebody else has some advice. I hope it doesn't put you off keeping rats.

I hope things get better. :luck:

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on caring for sick rats
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:32 pm
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Thanks for taking the time to read my super long post and reply! It's honestly just nice to hear that someone else would advise to do what I'm doing. I'm so scared of making a wrong choice for them... I talked to the vet again today and they seemed to feel the same as me. Give the doxy and see how the weekend goes and we will check in on Monday. I'm just trying not too stress too much about them until then.

It most definitely will not turn me off of rats as pets...though I may wait until I have more savings for vet care before I get the next ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on caring for sick rats
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:02 pm
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Location: warrington, cheshire
It is a bind on money having rats. I had a period of time where I was visiting once a week. I have a great vet and very understanding where money is concerned. This week I had Star-lord neutered and Paddy put to sleep a few days later, paddy had been having steroid injections every 10 days since the beginning of June. But then on the other hand I think I might have gone 6 months without visiting.

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My current gang :hearts: Kevin, Odin, Drax, Rocket, Groot, Star-lord, Yondu, Neb
:rattyrainbow: To all those who have filled my heart, have fun at the bridge.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on caring for sick rats
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:29 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
I have no medical advice or much experience in looking after sick rats.

However, it sounds like you really care, are doing your very best for your girls and are in regular contact with your vet. I'm not sure you can do more than that and I think your rats are very lucky to have you. I hope things improve soon.

Best wishes to you and your girls.
Helen

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on caring for sick rats
 Post Posted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:32 pm
Posts: 4
Caza, I'm really sorry to hear about your loss - I know how difficult it is when they are sick and you have to make that decision. And yes, I agree with you money is tough - luckily, I had previously learned that with some particularly large vet bills for my hedgehog, so I had some savings aside for the rats before I adopted them. Unfortunately, I didn't anticipate all of them being sick at the same time so things are a bit tight right now. But hopefully our health will improve and I can start to save up again.

hjanders, Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts! Lilly is actually feeling better today I think, which seems wierd to me after only 24 hours on antibiotics, but maybe she is responding to the anti-inflammatory as well. She ate her first decent meal today (after a couple days of no appetite) and is drinking more water and generally just more active. Still showing symptoms of the respiratory infection, but I am hoping that she continues to improve on the antibiotics.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on caring for sick rats
 Post Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:29 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:32 pm
Posts: 4
UPDATE: so Lilly is currently flip-flopping between looking so much improved and then about once a day having an attack of heavy bleeding from her nose that lasts about 15 minutes. I'm not sure if that means she is recovering or not. But her appetite is certainly better and I offered her medications mixed into a treat tonight and she ate all of it voluntarily! I was ready to call the vet tomorrow morning about euthanasia, as the bleeding and breathing was a problem again but now she looks so much better. I guess I will just keep an eye on her through the night and discuss her progress with the vet tomorrow. Does anyone else have similar experience with a rat that has better and worse moments?


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