Slow rat at 22 months

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hjanders
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:29 pm
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

Slow rat at 22 months

Post by hjanders » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:55 am

Hello,

I am looking for some thoughts and advice.

We have 6 rats, the 3 eldest of which are 22 month old sisters. They have been generally very well up to now. However over the last few weeks one of them, Popcorn, just seems to have been slowing down. It’s been a slow, gradual slowing up. Her sisters seem fine. We had put it down to her age in conjunction with the very hot weather and her very thick coat.

This morning I watched her drinking from their water bottle and she seemed to be struggling. She was licking it very slowly and possibly slightly asymmetrically. She spent ages trying and afterwards looked exhausted and nearly fell asleep in the substrate right next to the bottle.

She is still able to get about in the cage and when out for playtime can still run for short distances. She can stand on her back legs. She is much more inclined to come for cuddles than she used to be and falls asleep on us when out after a bit of play. Everything just seems to be so very slow. She seems to be eating (slowly) but has lost a bit of weight - down from 410g to 370g. I’ve not noticed any head tilt, asymmetrical movement, specific weakness etc. The only other thing of note is that she sneezes a lot but has done for a long long time. Often the secretions from her nose and sneezes are porphyrin stained. This is not new. She isn’t short of breath.

Is this just aging or does it point to anything else?

I thought I will try her with water from a bowl and maybe some soft high calorie food. I have various medications if anything is worth a try.....

Thoughts much appreciated.

Helen
Popcorn, Me-Me, Nelle, Luna, Maggie and Tutsie
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️

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[cub]
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: Slow rat at 22 months

Post by [cub] » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:53 am

Her age and the lethargy make me think maybe heart failure? If so, the standard medications to try would be benazepril (or any other ACE inhibitor, to ease the load on the heart) and furosemide (or any other diuretic, to get fluid out of the lungs). The latter helps with the laboured breathing that often accompanies heart problems, though you haven't mentioned that specifically, but it can look a bit like the symptoms of respiratory infection. I've also heard of pimobendan being used, although apparently it shouldn't be used with certain heart conditions (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy being the main one) so benazepril + furosemide may be a safer first guess. If she's not obviously got fluid on the lungs and is struggling to drink, though, I'd start with just benazepril if this is the diagnosis you're settling on, as a diuretic can lead to dehydration if they're not able to drink enough to keep up. I am quite biased though as I've had 2 rats so far (out of not very many! :? ) who developed heart failure in old age, so anytime there's any mention of lethargy I start thinking that way. There must be a lot of other possible causes though.

The lethargy does sound quite severe though, if she's struggling with drinking. Offering a bowl is a good idea; my girls certainly seem to prefer a bowl over a bottle, though they'll use both. Check for dehydration, obviously, and regardless of whether or not she's dehydrated offer her a shallow bowl of something tasty to drink every so often (mine get a little bit of hazelnut/rice/etc. milk every day, partly to reassure me they're getting their fluids as they really drink very little for some reason, and partly because they love it so much :P ).
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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