Possible PT?

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Noodles
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:37 pm
Location: Bristol

Possible PT?

Post by Noodles » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:40 pm

Hi All,

I think our 18 month old female rat may have a PT. Symptoms are:
- Lethargy
- Decreased Appetite
- Slight loss of balance
- Tail flicking/writhing (I know this is normal for some rats, but she's never done this before)

She's already very skinny (210g). This is due to multiple myco flareups and an increased breathing rate so she really struggles to gain weight, even with high calorie powder supplements, and is now losing more weight with the reduced appetite.

She started being lethargic on Saturday evening (3ish days ago), I gave her some Doxy and Inflacam and seemed to perk up by Sunday morning but went downhill again Sunday night so took her to the vets Monday morning (not an exotic specialist). He had a feel of her and couldn't feel and lumps so treated for myco as she's so prone (0.19 baytril twice per day, 0.08 Doxy twice per day, 0.31 Inflacam once per day and gave her a shot of Inflacam and Baytril to try and get her eating again. He offered an x-ray, but I asked if we could treat for myco first.

She's not really responding to the medicine and her balance is now a little off (although she still manages to jump from the floor onto the bed). She can still hold food with both paws and does not have a head tilt. I can't see any signs of ear infection and presumably the meds would help this.

Does this sound like a PT? Any ideas on next steps? I just don't want her to be uncomfortable, she can still eat and drink unaided at the moment. I'm not sure I want to put her through the trauma of x-ray to diagnose a tumour. If they would offer a steroid shot without the x-ray I guess that would be best case scenario? Ultimately I just want what's best for her if that means her being pts.

Any help/advice is very much appreciated.

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[cub]
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Re: Possible PT?

Post by [cub] » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:29 pm

I am hardly an expert but here are my thoughts...

- Lethargy, laboured breathing, and inappetance make me suspect heart disease. It's only one of many possibilities for those symptoms, but in an older adult that hasn't responded to standard mycoplasma treatment, it goes up the list of suspects. Standard treatment for heart disease is benazepril at 1mg/kg per day, with furosemide at some kind of dose (it seems to vary :P ) twice a day if there's fluid on the lungs. Diagnosis is often by just trying treatment and seeing what happens, though my vets like to do a quick x-ray to check for heart enlargement as well. You can ultrasound a rat heart to get a more specific diagnosis but very few vets have the equipment and experience to do it.

- It could also be a respiratory infection caused by a bacterial species not susceptible to Baytril/doxy. Mycoplasma is merely the most common cause of respiratory infections but there are plenty of other possible causes. In my experience the first alternative antibiotic usually tried is co-amoxiclav.

- An x-ray won't find a pituitary tumour (they are far too small) but could find larger masses elsewhere in the body.

- The balance problems could be caused by various things; an ear infection may not respond to Baytril/Doxy, depending on the bacteria responsible. (I did actually have an ear infection clear up on Baytril once, but it's not generally the first choice.)

I hope some of that waffling was helpful ... hopefully your vets will be able to figure out what's going on.
Poo-shoveller to: Lita, Xeltan, Calyn, and Din.
Fondly remembering: Lia the scruffbag, Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit, Falere the contrary, Mirala the best and finest, Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.

Noodles
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:37 pm
Location: Bristol

Re: Possible PT?

Post by Noodles » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:25 pm

Thanks Cub, your advice is really appreciated.

My main concern in the short term is that she's off her food and as she's already really quite underweight I fear she won't have a chance to possibly fight whatever this is. She did snatch a whole cheesestring off of me yesterday though and proceed to eat a fair chunk of it :lol: At this point I'm happy for her to eat as much of whatever she'll eat.

The vet didn't strike me as someone who was open to try a few different things unfortunately, or really open to my suggestions. It's so hard to not sound like you're telling a vet how to do their job isn't it? :roll: I'll take her back tonight and hopefully they'll give some other options.

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[cub]
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Re: Possible PT?

Post by [cub] » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:42 pm

If her inappetance is causing a lot of trouble and you want to try treatment, steroids can increase their appetite. They should also help (albeit temporarily) with any possible tumours, so that might be the kickstart you need to get some improvement going.

Hope it went well at the vet :luck:
Poo-shoveller to: Lita, Xeltan, Calyn, and Din.
Fondly remembering: Lia the scruffbag, Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit, Falere the contrary, Mirala the best and finest, Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.

Noodles
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:37 pm
Location: Bristol

Re: Possible PT?

Post by Noodles » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:48 pm

Got home from work and she was so hungry, ate a piece of popcorn, some coco pops, two pumpkin seeds and a quite a lot of her powdered high calorie food which was a relief. Had the loveliest vet who said it was worth continuing on as we are if she could be getting her appetite back and gave her a baytril injection to help her out. He’s more than happy to give steroids or prolactin if she doesn’t respond to the antibiotics so that’s good to know. Would be interested if anyone has experience with prolactin?

She’s now snuggled on my lap dozing so all in all a fairly positive evening considering. Fingers crossed things start to improve. Thanks for your help Cub, sometimes its just nice to vent to someone who understands :)

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