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 Post subject: Mystery illness and not eating
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:32 am
Posts: 3
One of my two rats, Kyle, has been ill recently. He is 18 months old and usually very greedy, alert and interested in everything. Last Wednesday I noticed he didn't eat his breakfast, very unlike him, and was lethargic, puffed and hunched up. I took him to the vet on Thursday who couldn't work out what was wrong but prescribed painkillers for 3 days. This had no effect, he had not been eating or drinking so I took him to a small pet specialist vet on Saturday who still couldn't work out what was wrong, she said he was clearly unwell but not displaying any particular signs of anything. She checked his teeth but was unable to inspect his mouth as he was getting very stressed. She gave me a tub of probiotic powder to add to his food and water, if he shows no improvement then she wants to sedate him to do blood tests and an x-ray.

He is now perkier but still not himself, he isn't climbing or eating usual rat food. He is drinking and nibbles a little at porridge, banana, peanut butter and egg but he would gobble this down normally. His brother Stan seems fine but also not eating much normal food the last 2 days, but I think he's a bit confused and has been stealing some of Kyle's treat food even though I do try to separate them to eat as much as possible.

Has anyone experienced this or have any ideas? I have no idea what to do and even the vets don't know what is wrong with him!


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 Post subject: Re: Mystery illness and not eating
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:02 pm
Posts: 2716
Location: warrington, cheshire
Poor Kyle. It could possibly be heart issues. Are there any other symptoms? Does he lie hanging off a hammock? How is his breathing? Is he still lethargic?

It is difficult to test for heart problems and putting out for X-rays could potentially cause problems.

Hope there are improvements soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Mystery illness and not eating
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:32 am
Posts: 3
He hasn't climbed up to his hammock for about a week, just stays on the cage floor. He is less lethargic now but still not eating anything unless I actually feed it to him, will eat soft foods this way but not solid foods and won't even consider his normal rat nuggets. His breathing is fine and the vet listening to his chest confirming all that was fine. I don't know what else to do...


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 Post subject: Re: Mystery illness and not eating
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:44 pm
Posts: 2086
Location: Glasgow
I would check his wee for any signs of kidney failure with a urine test strip, and also check for any blood in poo, just pop him in an empty carrier first thing in the morning to do this.
I would also consider possible neurological issues, when he's out do you notice any lop sidedness in his walking, does he favour turning to one side or circling ? If you drag his hind feet against a worktop does he lift them up or let them drag ?
How is his forelimb use, can he hold food normally, has he lost dexterity in his hands ? Does he have difficulty crunching hard food, jaw strength ?

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 Post subject: Re: Mystery illness and not eating
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:17 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:32 am
Posts: 3
Thanks for the advice there, I will try the feet and urine tests when I get home. How do I test the urine exactly?

He isn't lop sided or circling, just very slow and he doesn't seem to understand not to go to close to the edge of my bed or chair like he used to, I have to keep stopping him from going too close. He isn't holding food but does hold my finger lightly when licking food from it, he completely ignores any hard or solid food as though it isn't food at all. He will only eat soft food that I feed to him on my finger, he seems to forget about it if I just put it in front of him in the cage. I am worried it is a neurological issue such as a brain tumour.


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